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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All Stories, Fantasy

I Will Gift My Dragon by LC Gutierrez

Other people’s dragons?  Maybe you find your rooftop scorched and have to change your weekend plans.  But when you say “MY dragon”, that’s a different story.  My world was all fucked and I could no longer ignore it.  Two choices: 1- Keep stumbling along, half-assing a mediocre existence, or 2 – Take control. 

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All Stories, Fantasy

The Lighthouse Keeper by Loredano Cafaro

Today Leonardo comes home crying. When his father and mother hear what his school friend has told him, they understand that the day they have feared for a long time has come— the moment when they will have to start crushing his dreams. They speak to him, say that his friend is right; tell him I do not exist. But they are wrong.

I dream, therefore I am.

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All Stories, Fantasy

Voice of Feathers by Dominic Walker

The night is nearly empty. Even the rodents and insects have gone. All that remains is a girl walking alone along a pitch black path. She is wearing a red dress. A streetlamp flicks off as she passes underneath. A moment later she stops outside a small house. This is where she vanished.

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All Stories, Fantasy

Shut Your Hellhole by Gabriel Munro

The Thing at the Border:

But erecting a building on consecrated ground presents its own challenges. Wailing banshee? Use stone-wool insulation for soundproofing. Vengeful demonic presence? Mix a dash of salt into the foundation concrete. Ghosts? Use the phrase “historic charm” in the branding. Carlos is ready for anything.

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