All Stories, Fantasy

The Good, the Bad, and the Zombie by Matt King

The Good was the worst. The Bad was worthless. The Zombie, at least, was willing.

Life is so energy intensive. Though the Zombie held few thoughts in its putrefying head, this one stuck as flies buzzed feverishly around, attracted by the kill on the street. The Good had done it. Savagely struck down the child and then walked on fingering his rosary beads as if he’d just blessed the poor little soul.

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All Stories, Fantasy

A Better Bargain by Matthew Ross

Whoah, lad! Stand easy there—I just want to talk. It’d be that poxy old wizard that sent you in here then, eh? Well, he may treat you like a fool who just fell off the turnip cart, but I’ll shoot you straight—I’ve no reason not to. No doubt he snatched you out of whatever backwater town you hail from because you’ve a drop or two of old Edern Dawnblaze’s blood in you, and he knows as well as I that only a Dawnblaze can seal me up inside this cave for another thousand years.

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All Stories, Fantasy

Under Threat of Salvation by Marco Etheridge

I’m out on the far edges when the Gelic pounces out of nowhere like they always do. She snatches my lapels with ivory clean hands, pulls her smiling face close, breath clean as death, asking me throaty-voiced did I know my very own personal saviour.

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All Stories, Fantasy

The Rabbit Man of Munyaka by Harrison Kim

Rabbit man is belted into the traction machine at the physiotherapist’s clinic.  His giant Easter Bunny costume head is hooked on the coat rack with the rest of the suit.  He’s been hired by Mall Supervisor Frats to greet the Great Wizard and her children here in Munyayka.

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All Stories, Fantasy

Fashioned at Last Into an Arrowy Shape by Travis and Lucas Flatt

I watch the Mayor dash about the rooftop, clutching his toupee against the wind. “My building!” he says,  “Grey–what have you done to my building?”

I get it. They gave him the city in decent shape; he doesn’t want it broken.

Over on the balcony, rock-megastar Alex Grey is not empathetic, mumbling: “Just hang on, brother,” his voice a rumble beneath the shrieking wind. Grey tweaks his low-E peg, plucks his tortoiseshell plectrum across the string, holds the guitar up to his ear, and nods, satisfied that he’s in tune. We’re standing on the world’s biggest amp. During the morning bustle to blockade the New York Harbor, Grey sent a battalion of roadies to lash, strap, and solder hundreds of amp cabinets to the Empire State Building.

 

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All Stories, Fantasy

My Wife’s Short, Strange Career as a Certified Ouija Boardologist  by Dave Henson

Lois let out a whoop. “I passed!”

I went to my wife, who was sitting cross-legged on the sofa. The laptop’s screen displayed an image of the certificate. “I knew you could do it, Honey.”

We were out of college five years and married three, but not making enough at the milk studio to feel comfortable starting a family. So soon after the veracity of Ouija Board spiritualism was scientifically validated, my wife enrolled at Alternate Realities Online University.

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All Stories, Fantasy, Horror

Lives End Where Two Roads Meet by Enyi Nnabuihe

There were naked children rolling tyres in the rain on this particular Thursday the masquerades came. About seventeen of them; their wet, charcoaled skins, and little, rubbery limbs, emitting joy, radiating hope. There were mothers breastfeeding children in front of their shops; talking and selling, chatting, laughing and howling with the winds that accompanied the rains. There were dogs, goats and cats, roaming, resplendently, around the muddy streets, feeling at home.

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General Fiction

Week 384 -Born Too Late; Five Timely Tales and a Saturday Special Not Written by Tom

Once upon a time it was possible for a writer to earn a living writing short fiction. Now, by a living, I mean at the lowest level of subsistence. Enough for a rented room, paint-thinner bourbon, shake doobie, stamps and cigarettes. The late Harlan Ellison used to get by working the penny-a-word market for the pulps. But this was back when thirty dollars a week could support a person.

The thriving magazine market began to die off during the fifties. Some say TV did it in, as it had radio plays–maybe in the same manner that streaming is draining television today. Whatever the cause, writers like Ellison began to write for TV because that was where the money went. 

Still, that doesn’t completely explain why the paying short fiction market dried up long before online journals (such as ours) could do to it what Napster did to record sales. After all, novels did not die due to TV; mass market genre paperbacks still sell; so do anthologies written by the masters of fantasy and science fiction. But writing short stories no longer supports even the least demanding lifestyle. And like poetry, it may be that more people write short stories than read them.

But it is still an art, thus valid. Sadly, malletheads think that anyone can write a short piece and the real art (aka, money) is in novels. Malletheads see good and profit as being the same thing. Although I believe that producing a great novel is a monumental accomplishment, it doesn’t follow that short fiction is inferior to the long form–save for the effect each has on your bank account. Besides, some writers are distance runners while others are sprinters. Dorothy Parker discovered that she was a short track specialist incapable of writing a novel, and drank a bottle of shoe polish after she had spent the advance for a novel she could not write. She survived, as do her shorts, which, unlike the lady herself, have never been out of print. 

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All Stories, Fantasy

Fang-Liu House by S.Y. Chen

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Fang-Liu House is an old hotel near the entertainment district. Sitting in the middle of the row, its dilapidated plaster crumbling out of hairline cracks caused by creeping vines.

On the front of the house hangs a plastic banner, secured to the balcony, the red faded to salmon, and the yellow lettering almost white, “CRIMINAL CUSTOMERS NOT WELCOME. SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY WILL BE REPORTED TO THE AUTHORITIES.”

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