A weekly dissemination of fiction writing from around the web.
From Candy’s Monsters: Grandma’s Ghost (2019) by Candy Corman. A intentionally not-so-spooky tale of a encounter with an apparition.
“Did you ever talk to someone you thought might be a ghost?”
From Fictive Dream: Maximum Thrill Level by Kate Gehan. A rhythmic, repetitious tale of one woman’s struggle with emotional instability during a rollercoaster ride.
“He’d mow the lawn while she and her daughter were at the amusement park because she didn’t have the energy to fight the city’s warnings and for some reason he still cared. Xeriscape it! Pave it over! She didn’t care!”
From Harsh: End by David Sprehe. A man and a dog venture through a shifting wasteland, dotted with sound-eating bats, tingle worms and walls of flesh.
“Bats are taken down. Absorbed into antennas.”
From Literary Heist: Who Killed Publishing by Dan Klefstad. A short story about sharks, remoras and the depredations of the publishing industry. Mr. Klefstad’s second novel, Fiona’s Guardians is set for release this year sometime in October from Burton Mayers and is now available for pre-order in the US and UK.
“The remora hitches a ride and gets fresh air in its gills. It pays for that ride by eating smaller parasites off the host, as well as loose flakes of skin – all of which slow down a shark when he’s hunting. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.”
From Literally Stories: Face of the Mountain by Tom Sheehan. A son discerns visages in a mountain range. Written with fever-dream style, that fluidly bounds from one hazy scene to the next.
“Figures leaped at him, not the mathematical kind, at each twist and turn in a trail he had carved into the face of the mountain…”
From Misery Tourism: The Fertilizer Man by William H. Duryea. A curious, highly original tale of revolt and regret. Best of the week.
“He had been told that ice storms create landscapes of extraordinary beauty, that it was as if the trees were glass or crystalline and the earth had become a freshly polished parquet floor. He suspected that those who said this thought that beauty was a preservative.”
From New Pop Lit: The Mysterious Case of the Sticky Drawer by Nick Gallup (who one enthusiastic reader described as a latter-day Dashiell Hammett). A pulpish whodunnit.
“Somebody knew there was enough cash In that drawer to tempt even a spoiled upper middle-class kid.”
From Odd Fiction: A Vacancy in Staffordshire. A group of paranormal researchers confront a sharply-dressed man in a forest near a strange hotel. Lending greatly to the stories allure, is the author’s ability to consistently provide ‘the what’ without revealing very much of ‘the why.’
“He knew local news would be the only resource desperate enough to report on a black-eyed kid sighting. But apparently, his interests weren’t as niche as he once believed.”
From Rejection Letters: A Rejection Letter To Hawaiian Pizza by Zach Murphy. An irate writer explains how Hawaiian pizza killed his grandmother. A humorous flash work.
As I began to hesitatingly scatter a few pieces of pineapple onto a cheese pizza, I thought to myself: Is this what it has come to? Is this where it all ends?
From Richard R. Becker: The Stranger. After the loss of his wife, a Sioux Falls restaurant owner is held hostage by a gunman. Whilst the ending is thoroughly unsatisfying (as it finishes completely without explanation), the author notes the story will likely be continued. I, for one, certainly hope for another installment.
“When Bill laid Rosie to rest a week later, he buried his love for the diner along with her.”
From Sanity in the Diamond Age: The Mechanism (an excerpt from ‘Reality,’ a novel) by Neovictorian. A paranormal researcher contemplates his dissatisfaction with monism.
“The ‘power of positive thinking’ was known long before Dr. Peale’s excellent book, was commented on by authors from Classical Greece to Victorian Britain. If there is only matter, then thinking is merely the firing of neurons and the allocation of electrochemical energy.“
From The Blue Nib: The Grief Tourist by John Higgins. A melancholic tale of a vacuous stripper’s perpetual disinterest in her equally vacuous suitors. Written with Higgins’ characteristic emotional deftness.
“To me, they’re no different, all of them, and thinking that I could be attracted to them because of their easy, confident mannerisms is like saying a shop clerk could fall in love with a customer because they make effortless small talk at the till.”