A soft, steady breeze, with no puff to it, lifted over the edge of Horseshoe Creek and carried with it the sooty odor of a dead fire, a dank, drifting smell that came like the death of an animal a man has long known, perhaps a favorite horse, like a black stallion unseen at night but a dark star in the sunlight. Another person might say the odor was of an old market in a corner of town or an old home left to rot in the wake of a hundred battles that raged around it, the inhabitants, a man and his whole family, gone to dust in one of those fierce battles, so that their essence alone remained of them. One could almost see the house as it stood decorated with gardens, pet animals, and lusty children bouncing with life. Yet the odor, despite various images passersby would have, remained the cold, dank ashes of a fire long gone into night’s realm, thus it came back each and every nightfall thereafter.Continue reading “The Ghosts at Horseshoe Creek by Tom Sheehan”
“What can you tell me about Eustace Randolph? What sort of man was he?” I asked as I took out my notebook. Gillian Reynolds, Secretary of the Friends of Eagle House, let her excited smile slip slightly at the corners.Continue reading “The Photographer’s House by Sarah Jackson”
Versatur Circa Quid!
No less an authority on speaking one’s mind than Mark Twain knew that the artificial concept called Free Speech is best left to the dead. That’s why many of his franker observations on God and the human condition were held back from publication until well after Twain’s employer, Mr. Samuel Clemens, joined the ever growing legion of Spirits (which currently outnumbers the living thirty to one), in 1910. I, Judge Jasper P. Montague, Quillemender, know all about the sweet freedom of death, for I have been a member of the Spirit world eight years longer than Mr. Clemens/Twain, which means I am free to “overshare” with impunity.Continue reading “Hannah and the Homophonic: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical by Leila Allison (with a forward foreword by Judge Jasper P. Montague, Quillemender)”
I’d just walked into the office and hadn’t had time to set my coffee down when Vicki stuck her head in and said, “HR wants you to call them, it’s about Jack.”
“Is he here?” I replied.
“In his cubicle, talking to Eileen.”Continue reading “Jack’s Back by David Thomas Peacock”
A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical by Miss Renfield Stoker-Belle, Noted Supernaturalist Featuring an Appearance by Judge Jasper P. Montague, Quillemender And a Futile Forward by Leila Allison
It’s a fallow and disconsolate world in which we live. Even here at this side of reality populated mainly by Pen Names, Imaginary Friends and Fictional Characters, you’ll find more Juggalos per square inch than persons with sustainable IQs contributing to the gene pool. The pain of it all becomes clear on the day you look in the mirror and correctly suspect that the best years have gone by. You gaze into the reflection of your suddenly cautious, peering avatar and wonder what happened to the footloose, laughing face who had been looking back at you every day up through yesterday. It seems impossible that this paradoxically “new” used you has ever had an interesting thought in her life; or that she had even at one time tolerated the Juggalos–as long as they stayed upwind of her location. Continue reading “Zippy and the Zephyrling:”
He plays the trumpet brilliantly on the corner of Grand and Victoria. He doesn’t look like he’s from this era. He’s impeccably dressed, from his crisply fitting suit to his smooth fedora hat. There aren’t many folks that can pull that off. He’s cooler than the freezer aisle on a sweltering summer day. He performs the type of yearning melodies that give you the goosebumps. I’ve never seen anyone put any money into his basket.
But First, Noted Supernaturalist Miss Stoker-Belle, Unnecessarily and Inexplicably Evacuates the Contents of Her Mind
Before I educate the readers on the ways of the Footfallfollower ghost, I’d like to introduce an innovation to the world of literature; an innovation of my invention (here, I will allow the suspense to build). Of course no stylistic innovation can spontaneously occur without inspiration. Hell, even Shakespeare played Hollingshead for a stooge–Right? In my case the Big Idea presented itself in the otherwise useless world of modern pop music–specifically that dodge-word creators of such use to obscure naked acts of plagiarism–namely, “sampling.”
But First, A Word From “That” Noted Supernaturalist, Miss Renfield Stoker-Belle
Unlike you “real” guys, I, as a Fictional Character, am able to speak directly to my “Creator” (aka, the nom de plume called “Leila Allison”). There ain’t no praying involved, nor are there a bunch of “mysterious ways” to incorrectly interpret. No, my Creator isn’t the type of deity whose image might be gleaned from the strewn innards of a calzone. To put it plainly, we meet and I tell her how it’s going to be whenever she wants something from me. Such happened when Allison came around and muttered something about having me take over the Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical introductions on account of my having actually written a Feeble Fable and appearing as a “Supernaturalist” in past stories.
At long last Stardom! Right?
Here! Follow my voice! Over here, I say! For God’s sake, man, come over to the fire. What in heaven’s name are you doing, out in such a storm? Come and warm yourself before you freeze where you stand. There, it is only a whistling nook amidst the snow and the cruel wind, but it affords us some small respite and the luxury of civilised conversation. Here we will wait for a break in the weather. I would share with you a morsel, but I have none. Rest and talk must serve as our sustenance. I note that you are hardly dressed for being so deep in the mountains. A light jacket? Such flimsy trousers? I know I must look a fright, unkempt and unshaven, but I am something of an exception. Those who linger in these hills generally know the value of good boots and a winter coat.
But First a Word From Judge Montague’s Great-to-the-4th Granddaughter
Whenever a woman is constantly besieged by unseen faces and disembodied voices, it is for the best that she believes that the legions of non-violent hoo-doos and haints that only she experiences are real, and are not indicative of a mental illness (technical name for the affliction: scewious loosiest). Such is the case with Yours Truly. And although you may think that my thinking “it is for the best…” is misguided, I assure you that the hoo-doos and haints (whether they be actual or of my own creation) want only happiness for everyone.