When I was little, I was afraid aliens were going to eat me. Of course, it was just that Twilight Zone episode I’d seen, To Serve Man, the one where a message of peace turned out to be an alien cookbook and the world was its meal, people being fattened up on a spaceship for the slaughter. They had to convince me it was just a show, a parable about humanity and all that.Continue reading “To Serve by Yash Seyedbagheri “
The cathedral clock across the street from Nick’s home rang out the hours, the quarters. The clock chimed out his life, the Westminster Quarters and memories floating from the august belfry, the huge bells hidden inside, the clock ticking. The clock Nick once tended to.Continue reading “The Flight of Time by Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri”
Under the light of a punchy, yellow moon, Pops jammed a cigarette in my mouth and put his thumb to work on our flip-top lighter. After a while, the flint wheel peeled up his scab and showed me his insides, which were bright and clean (and A-negative, Pops says). He sucked the blood like barbecue sauce, then flick, flick, flick, nothing, flick, flick—Continue reading “Worm Cheeks and the Search for Lunar Secrets by Brandon McWeeney”
Jimmy’s knees were indented where his elbows dug into them.
He gently moved to and fro on the swing. He could hear his father singing some old song that he’d heard too many times. He looked across the road and saw Charlie The Paedo staring at him. Jimmy knew if he told his dad, he’d end up in jail again.
He heard the pub door open, “Here you go son. Is your mum not back from the bogs?”
The boy shook his head. He accepted the crisps and can of Coke.
So, Hugh now joins the teeny tiny group – well I say group – there’s only one other, of writers with 100 posts on the site. CONGRATULATIONS. It is fair to say that it has probably been harder for Hugh. As editors I think we are tougher on ourselves than we are on other authors. We are so keen not to be seen to be showing any sort of positive bias that we are brutal with each other. However, Hugh always accepts rejections and edit suggestions with good humour, humility and professionalism.
He is the backbone of Literally Stories, he has kept on going through his own personal traumas, never letting what is happening in his life get in the way of his work on the site. He has been an incredible rock when the rest of us have had our own dramas, kind, sympathetic and stoic (hahahahaha – his hate word – ha) and he makes the work, which at times can feel overwhelming, worthwhile and rewarding. As well as the reading and emails, Hugh comments on the stories and together with other of us give feedback to authors who have requested such or who we feel deserve an explanation as to our decisions or a suggested edit. He writes almost all the Saturday roundup posts and let’s be honest they are hilarious and a brilliant end to the week, even though the times when he says ‘That’s it there, Diane. Sorry’ I do quake in my boots.
I have never actually met Hugh, or Nik in person, or Adam or Tobias for that matter, but I count them among dear friends, but Hugh, and Nik are the blokes I want to have a drink with, the blokes I can count on to unload to when life throws cabbages at me and I just want to say thanks and, Hugh, my life is richer for knowing you. You are a fearless, uncompromising writer and I admire that more than I can say and many, many Congratulations on reaching this outstanding milestone.
Never Being Confused
It was a typical day in the life of Jim and Debbie, the parents of SeptemberThe28th.
They were on The High Street championing their offspring’s cause as usual. They wore their ‘Asexual Is Not Fluid UCUNT!’ Tshirts, The back of which said ‘LGBTQI+Forever!!‘ And underneath that was ‘I am not a label!’
This is one of two stories that I’ve been given free gratis with. I really do appreciate that and that is why I wanted to explain why I chose this one.
I was playing around, for so many reasons, with changed perceptions and this is what I came up with.
My fellow editors felt the content was too strong but it had to be for what I was going for. I wanted to see if I could alter a reader’s sympathies and to do that I needed the situation to be so abhorrent that they would need a real change of heart.
I wondered if we always fall down on one side or another with our sympathies or were there situations where, until all was revealed, our initial gut feelings may not be relied on and would be changed not just dramatically but more than once.
Foreword: This is a story that I have been given the go ahead with even though it was a split decision and wasn’t accepted as a majority. I am very grateful.
I wanted to explain where this came from. I think this is the best example I have of a state of mind dictating a story. Writing is therapeutic. To go somewhere you would never tread yourself is as liberating as you can get. I’ve always thought when life really gets to you, do something horrific on a sheet of paper. Challenge yourself to write a character that has no redeeming qualities what-so-ever.
You can end up with something dark, ‘passionate’ and an MC that you’ve absolutely no empathy for.
…And its fun to worry those who want to analyse the writer more than the story!
(Last Warning – Very strong language and distasteful adult content / attitude. Do not read if you are liable to be offended.)
My older sister Nancy and I love funerals. We go at random every weekend, ingratiating ourselves into the crowds, the friends, the family. We pretend to weep with the mourners, while we absorb things with the coldness of detectives, me in an oversized suit, borrowed from Dad. Nancy in one of Mother’s nice black gowns. We love the darkness, the garb, the somberness. The people gathered together, mothers and children, cousins, nephews, people with connections we cannot fathom. Being so close to darkness, a kind of whirl, excitement. We don’t know dead people, the wildness of loss. Mother and Dad are divorced, but that’s different. They wear fedoras and lavender and false civility. Even our grandparents still live, regaling us with tales of meeting Teddy Roosevelt and other trivialities.
Sometimes while driving alone through the empty mountain roads, the weight of the world sits heavy in my chest and it hurts to breathe. Naked trees shiver in the wind. Leaves unlatch and write in silent cursive across my windshield. Their tongue is the sacred, hidden language of the earth.
Continue reading “Sacred, Hidden by W Tyler Paterson”
I just don’t know! What’s this world coming to? A security guard who is nothing but a slip of a girl. It’s not right.
But no matter. It’s the shopping centre’s problem. I have to admit that it’s nice that they give me my breakfast. But in saying that I’m paying them enough. She does check on me, I’ll give her that. But surely that should be a man’s job?