Cale Canis

When Frederick Francis Cale was a babe, he observed his father’s dog barking at a cat which had stepped across the street and swiftly dropped to his hands and knees and keened at the top of his lungs, to the surprise and amusement of his parents and the grand terror of the tabby, which, wide-eyed, sped off to the distant alley from whence it had come.

From that moment on, whenever young Frederick would chance upon a cat, he would fall to all fours and bark until exhaustion overtook him.

At first, his parents were greatly amused, but after several months the boy’s behavior remained unchanged. Mr. Cale feared some dark aberration had taken root in the lad’s mind, but could find no example, in the excavation of his memories, of any queer turning in the child’s development; his upbringing had, until recently, been completely normal, which made the boy’s strange behavior appear, in retrospect, all the stranger.

“Surely we should speak to him.”

“Oh, darling,” Mrs. Cale cooed, “Its just a phase. He’ll grow out of it.”

“Perhaps you’re right.”

The next month, the Cale’s neighbors, The Cumberlands, bought a young feline from the local shelter and gave it to their daughter Esmeralda, as a present for her birthday, who decided to take her new ward for a turn around the culdesac. When Esmeralda passed the Cale House, young Frederick, upon spying the cat, rushed to the window, howling and yelping and slobbering upon the glass, giving the girl a terrible fright and causing her cat to tug against its leash, tail flickering, hair standing on end. Mr. Cale shut the window, shot his son a withering glare, shook his head and bounded quickly from the house to greet the woman upon the green and grey.

“I’m sorry. We’ve no idea why he does that.”

To his great surprise the woman only smiled and laughed.

“Its alright. I’m sure its just a phase. Worse to be too strict than too lenient, right?”

A year passed and Frederick’s peculiar behavior remained unchanged—indeed, had compounded. The matter came to a head when, in the month of January of that year, Frederick, in one of his canine fits, tried to bite Esmeralda’s cat. Despite his wife’s protestations and the fact that the Cumberlands were nonplussed about the affair, Mr. Cale sent the child off to the local shrink.

One day, scarcely a month into Frederick’s new regime, the Cale’s phone rang. Mr. Cale answered and was greeted by a frantic female voice.

“This is the Cale Residence?”

“Yes ma’am. This is Arthur Cale. I assume this is about my boy?”

“It is. Please, come as soon as you’re able.”

“What happened? Is he all right?”

“There’s no time to explain. You must see for yourself.”

“Very well, I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

He hung up the phone and, with a thrumming heart, dashed to his car, and spun out of the short, white gravel drive.

When Arthur arrived at the shrink’s office, he found the psychologist snarling at a tree.

A cat upon its gnarled branches.

Fiction Circular 7/11/19

THE LOGOS FICTION CIRCULAR is a weekly series which collects independent fiction from around the web so as to treat the works to a wider audience. Recommendations for new author/publisher inclusions are welcome.


§00. Editor’s note: Links affixed to author/publisher’s name (if any) will redirect to author/publisher social media; links affixed to story/article titles will redirect to a relevant site whereupon the named piece is archived. The ‘authors’ section focuses exclusively on individuals who author and publish their own literary work; the ‘organizations’ section focuses exclusively on independent presses (lit-mags, e-zines and other literary outlets comprised of more than one person) who publish fictive work of (at least) more than one author. Lastly, the ‘literary ephemera’ section focuses on non-fiction work, including (but not limited to) certain poems, such as news articles, reviews, interviews and critiques. All author/publication names arranged by alphabetical order (including ‘the’ and ‘a’).


§01. Editor’s note on criteria for inclusion: A publication is considered ‘independent’ if it does not rely upon the staff, organizational prowess, or financial backing, of one or more large corporation, academy, government or other large institution. For example, Sink Hollow Litmag will not be included in the circular, not due to the quality, or lack thereof, of their work, but rather, because they are supported by Utah State University (and thus, are not independent); Thin Air Magazine, likewise is supported (in part) by university funding and hence, will not be included.


§02. Editor’s note on timing of publication: All works included are those read by the editor during the week of publication; their inclusion does not mean that they were written / published the same week as the circular containing them.


AUTHOR (FICTION)

From Jane Dougherty, Ambush.

 “… if I sit here much longer I’ll be so old I’ll have forgotten how to string a bow.” (J. Dougherty, Ambush)


From Jeff Coleman, The One That Got Away.

Giles has the man right where he wants him. He’s not a man, of course—at least on the inside—but something much worse… (Jeff Coleman, The One That Got Away)


From Little Fears, Be Someone.

“Is that another Sprite?” asked Cuttle.

“I think so,” sighed Parrotfish. “It’s depressing. They pass on so fast. They barely have time to figure out who they are.”

“I don’t care,” replied Cuttle. “When I was young, my mum said I could be anyone I wanted.”

“Isn’t that called identity theft?” asked Parrotfish. (LF, Be Someone)


From Shantanu Baruah, Whimsical—A Flash Fiction.

She was a mystery, no one knew where she came from. (S. Baruah, Whimsical)


From The Dark Netizen, the microfiction, Beast.

Its appearance disturbed the quiet of the forest.

The legendary beast was as beautiful as it was ferocious. It made quick work of most of the party. I was enthralled by its presence as it chewed up my last remaining partner. I did not want to harm it.

It didn’t resonate with those thoughts… (Netizen, Beast)


ORGANIZATION (FICTION)

From 101 Words, Exist To Nowhere by Lauren Everhart-Deckard.

We ripped the doors off my rusty mustang, Joni and I. They came off easy, like moth wings. (L. Everhart-Deckard, Exist To Nowhere)


From Aphotic Realm, Sherrick And The Train by Dan Maltbie.

A single BOT stood before the executive area with its blaster mechanically trained on the bounty hunter as a swarm of cleaning drones sprayed and tidied the offices beyond. When Sherrick neared, an electronic croaking emerged from the dingy security robot.

“HALT! Bounty hunter!” (D. Malbie, Sherrick & The Train)


From Crystal Lake Publishing, Shallow Waters Vol.1: A Flash Fiction Anthology (Kindle Edition) edited by Joe Mynhardt.

Shallow Waters—where nothing stays buried.

With twenty-two dark tales diving beneath the surface of loss, love, and life. (Amazon promo synopsis for Shallow Waters Vol.1)


From Horror Sleaze Trash, The Night I Drank With Bukowski’s Ghost by Benjamin Blake.

I took a sip of whiskey, and started playing air guitar along to the bluesy track coming over the speakers. (Benjamin Blake, The Night I Drank With Bukowski’s Ghost)


From Jellyfish Review, Repeat Visitor by Rachel Wagner.

he runs down the hill away from the green monster and steps down its steps to rescue his toys from the car. (R. Wagner, Repeat Visitor)


From Literally Stories, Beneath Your Skin by Rose Banks.

You weren’t yourself, that night. (R. Banks, Beneath Your Skin)


From Milk Candy Review, Bodily Fluids by Marissa Hoffmann.

Nicole Kidman says she doesn’t kill spiders or even ants. I wonder if that’s because she has people to do that for her? (M. Hoffmann, Bodily Fluids)


From New Pop Lit, Jerusalem by Zachary H. Lowenstein.

The air was crisp and cool. The scent of pine was wafting and the Earth continued to exist despite anyone’s desires. (Z. H. Lowenstein, Jerusalem)


From Reflex Press, Hagstone by Chloe Turner (excerpted from her book, Witches Sail in Eggshells).

 She’d thrown off last night’s childish panic; had woken calm, absolved, a greedy hunger in her belly. The answer would come from the stones. (C. Turner, Hagstone)


From Short Prose, Bones (excerpted from Glass Lovers).

“This city lost its compass, I am telling you, Miguel. Bones. This city is filled with bones.” (Excerpted from Glass Lovers)


From Spelk, The Promise Of Science by Tim Love.

Mathematicians love finding connections between once unrelated topics.

Descartes connected geometry and algebra. He had less luck with body and mind — as different as time and space, he wrote. Einstein created space-time but couldn’t connect gravity with quantum mechanics.

Meanwhile entropy and aging took their toll, random mutations accumulating with each cell division, not all bad. The strongest survive. (T. Love, The Promise Of Science)


From The Cabinet Of Heed, Suppose by B. Lynn Goodwin.

Suppose Hannah, age 9, closed her eyes and announced, “I have windowless eyelids”? Would she be creative or silly? (B. L. Goodwin, Suppose)


From The Drabble, Spittin’ by Maura Yzmore.

After Mom turned the house into a shrine, with Father’s photos everywhere, his college graduation portrait spat on me from the windowsill. (M. Yzmore, Spittin’)


From The Fiction Pool, Suvvern Cabman by Tommy Sissons.

The occasional hedonistic partygoer, donned in the macabre, or barely donned at all, was passed out on the yellow lines, dreaming of fluidity – ex-partners and money. Slews of drunken plague doctors, Pennywises, Day of the Dead señors, mime artists, brash women with demonic and celestial get ups bustled into pools of human jungle at every doorway. (T. Sissons, Suvvern Cabman)


From Story Shack, The Lone Pine by Martin Hooijmans (with art by Lars de Ruyter).

In his grief he did not notice that the square had filled up with people, all looking up at him in expectation. When an amplified voice started speaking he noticed though. He also noticed that no one was laughing at him. Then, one by one, lights started flicking on in the buildings surrounding the square, and that’s when he saw. His fellow trees, all decorated as well, surrounded by people laughing happily, brightened the numerous rooms of the buildings. When they saw ‘Lone Pine’ in the middle of the square, he could swear many of them began to glow even more. His heart lifted. (M. Hooijmans, The Lone Pine)


LITERARY EPHEMERA (NONFICTION)

From Alina Hansen, Ceramic (poem #417).


From A Maldivian’s Passion For Romance, a review of Before Jamacia Lane by Samantha Young.


From Cajun Mutt Press, A Perceived Shift by Jonathan Hine.


From Cristian Mihai, Do You Want More Readers? Write Like Yourself.


From David A. Estringel, the poem AI! AI! AI! (A Tartarus For Youth) at Blood Moon Rising Magazine(Issue #77).


From Examining The Odd, Lord Dunsany (Edward Plunkett).


From Human Pages (Tim Miller), My Mother’s Sister by C. Day-Lewis.


From Jaya Avendel, the poem Inside The Heart.


From Joanna Koch (Horrorsong), Clutch.


From JPC Allen, a writing prompt for those seeking to try their hand at historical fiction.


From Monica Carroll, I Am A Thorn.


From New Pop Lit, a short piece on the literary works of Ayn Rand.

 


From Okay Donkey, the poem Wound Study by H. E. Fisher.


From Søren Gehlert, the poem I Care Beneath The Alcohol.


From The Mystique Books, a review of The Farm by Joanne Ramos.


From The American Sun, a rumination on American culture as reflected in the nation’s fiction in Quiet Desperation is the American Way.


And lastly, from Thoughts Of Steel, The Crucible.


 

Fiction Recap 2019 [#1]

Selected fiction works we have published as of this year.


June


May


March


February


July


§

We extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of our gracious patreon supporters and avid readers.

Pen & Pedagogy

“Very Dadaesque.” Elliot Moss cried, gesturing with his half-empty wineglass at the thin, nondescript mechanical pen laying upon the floor at the northeasternmost corner of the rectangular, low-ceilinged art gallery.

“Indeed,” Sabrina Vesora agreed, adjusting her scarf, studying the artifact as a crowd of journalists and local social climbers moved by. It was situated such that its nib faced the northern wall, a black sole-scuff-mark moving out in a slender arc from the nib to the right of the device, trailing off to nothingness.

“Highly abstract, yet, even still, the message is deftly inscribed.”

Moss nodded hesitantly, vaguely, uncomprehending, “Yeah,” He set his glass upon a nearby table and knelt, removing his phone and snapping a few shots of the pen, “Its great how imaginative the students have become with their art—shaking off all that stodgy hyperformalism.”

“I know! And look what they’ve come up with when they’re unconstrained—all that they’ve been able to say without speaking a word.”

“I’m not sure I get it,” a old man to Vesora’s immediate right remarked flatly, stroking his beard with his champagne-less left hand.

She cast the man a withering look and gestured to the pen.

“Its pointed towards the wall—to declare that most of our communications are superfluous, doomed to fail, fated to run into obstruction, into a wall. Yet, the scuff mark, moving away from the tip, out towards the center of the room, which compels us to turn our attention away from our own ‘writing’—from ‘the wall’—back to the lives of others, then, true communication is possible, but only if our instruments, and our empathy, move counter to our instincts.”

The old man furrowed his brows and tilted his head to stare at the pen from a different angle.

“Yeah,” piped up Moss, removing himself from the floor, phone photo-filled, “Its a metaphor. Social commentary—but subtle. Doesn’t beat you over the head with the message.”

The old man turned, addressing a finely dressed man with a custom-tailored black coat, tipped at the collar with white fur, “Oh. Hello, Mr. Partridge.”

“Salutations, Mr. Cramm. I was just speaking with Mr. Wakely, he tells me you’re planning something at the docks; but more on that latter—how’ve you been enjoying the gala?”

“Marvelously. As per usual. But I could use your expertise on this piece… not really sure what the artist was going for,” he replied, gesturing with perplexity to the pen by the wall.

Lynder Partridge’s keen eyes moved to the pen and lit up with recognition.

He then strode between the trio, knelt and gingerly plucked the pen up off the floor and examined it in his leather gloved hands.

“You’re ruining the installment,” Vesora exclaimed befuddled, “What are you doing?”

Lynder smiled opaquely, “Returning Mr. Wakely’s pen. He lost it around an hour ago.”

Fiction Circular 6/27/19

THE LOGOS FICTION CIRCULAR is a weekly series which collects independent fiction from around the web. We are consistently on the look-out for new authors and publishers—recommendations are always welcome.


§00. Editor’s note: links affixed to author/publisher’s name will redirect to author/publisher social media, links affixed to story/article titles will redirect to the site whereupon the named piece is archived. The ‘authors’ section focuses on individuals who author and publish their own literary work, the ‘organizations’ section focuses upon independent presses, lit-mags, e-zines and other literary organizations who publish fictive work of multiple authors and ‘literary ephemera’ focuses on non-prose non-fiction literature, such as certain poems, news and art theory articles, reviews, interviews and critiques. All author/publication names arranged by alphabetical order (including ‘the’ and ‘a’).


§01. Editor’s note on criteria for inclusion: a publication is considered ‘independent’ if it is self-contained and sustaining, that is to say, if it does not rely upon the staff, organizational prowess or financial backing of large corporations, academies, governments or other large entrenched organizations. For example, Sink Hollow Litmag will not be included on the list, not due to the quality or lack thereof of their work, but rather, because they are supported by Utah State University (and thus, are not independent). All works which are included are those which were read by the editor during the week of publication; their inclusion does not mean that they were published the same week as the circular containing them.


AUTHORS

From Ian Kelly, Box Office.

Sex scandal followed drug rehab, relationship turmoil ran concurrent to family fall-outs.

All of it was box office. (I. Kelly, Box Office)


From Ramya Tantry, Human Trial.

“Subject 23 is not responding. Should we call it?”,the resident asked.
“Yes. Clear it and bring in Subject 24.”, the doctor replied.
“Doctor, Why are we killing humans?”
“We are not killing.Everything is trial and error until we find a perfect match.We are creating Super-humans.” (R. Tantry, Human Trial)


From Shreya Vikram, Like Dying, Yes.

There is no death without the dying, and yet there can be no comparison between a corpse and its body. (Vikram, Like Dying, Yes)


From Steve Hart, Promise of Shaconage—Act 85: The world changed (serialized novel).

This night was still and muggy. The river flowed slowly from the lack of rain. Everything seemed hot, even the cool grass and bed of ferns upon which he rested. (S. Hart, Promise of Shaconage)


From The Dark Netizen, The Misty Stone. The story of a jungle expedition gone awry. Reminiscent of H. Rider Haggard.

“Boss, why are we rushing it so much? Why not wait until this deathly fog reduces? We have lost half our men trying to navigate the perils of this jungle in such poor visibility. All this just for a stone?” (TDN, The Misty Stone)


From Thoughts of Steel, “Nomad” (our ending was your beginning).

It’s been so long since our brief eternity passed from wonderland. (Thoughts of Steel, Nomad)


ORGANIZATIONS

From our own site, the poem The Lord of Want and the short fictions, Lanterns In The Night, The Fissure, &, Strawberry Moon by K.E.—as well as Roadkill, a short story by D. A. Estringel.

For a moment there was nothing in all the world but those eyes. The fleeing shadows unmasking a face, bloodless as the white-bone of the moon which loomed above them like the half-formed relic-egg of some unimaginable beast, aborted-fetal in the endless gyre of its galaxial womb. (K E, Lanterns In The Night)


From Examining The Odd, a republication of American writer, Clark Ashton Smith’s short story, The Forbidden Forest (1943), and Dunce by Mike Russell.

‘What’s underneath the plaster, mister? Show us!’

They swear he has a third eye under there. (M. Russell, Dunce)


From Fictive Dream, The Storm by Suzannah V. Evans. The story a town which undergoes a strange, amphibious transformation.

 When she undressed, it seemed to him that her skin was water. (S. V. Evans, The Storm)


From Gone Lawn, Home by Cecile Barlier.

Above the seat next to Jacqui, the head of my brother Guil surfaced like a puppet. (C. Barlier, Home)


From Jellyfish Review, A Great Fall by Mark L. Keats. Appears to be some of kind of political metaphor.

When it was reported on later, no one questioned how it had gotten up there, on the wall. There were no ladders or even built-in footholds. No trees to climb. Only an immense sense of presence. (Keats, A Great Fall)


From Jokes Review, Memo From Senior Management by Josh Trapani.

Hey, Team! Wasn’t last week’s mandatory active shooter awareness training a blast? Those instructors did a bang-up job. We were blown away! So glad we bit the bullet and shelled out for it. (J. Trapani, Memo From Senior Management)


From Literally Stories, Evil Is Afoot by Frederick K. Foote. A macabre tale of betrayal and retribution. That which is evil is not necessarily that which appears so.

“The night creature finds me sitting, waiting on the doorstep of the inn. It comes not as a raging monster, but as a handsome young gentleman dressed in quality and taste. I’m thankful for that consideration.” (F.K.F., Evil Is Afoot)


From Lost Balloon, Terrarium by Amanda Hays.

He never watches reality television, says it makes him feel weird to spy on all those other humans. He stares at the lizard. (A. Hays, Terrarium)


From Molotov Cocktail, Slip The Collar by Kelsey Ipsen.

The physiotherapist is pulling and tugging at me. We hear a crack in my shoulder and see that a bone has popped out of my skin. We both stare, the bone is shiny-white and oddly sharp.

“It will get worse before it gets better,” the physiotherapist reminds me, and I nod before arranging my next appointment. On my way home, I purchase a lightweight and oversized jacket to cover up my protrusion. I don’t want to offend anyone. (K. Ipsen, Slip The Collar)


From Musepaper, President Marilyn Monroe Devours Her Young by Joanna Koch.

I’m going to disappoint you. But you know that already. If I don’t, you’ll keep me around and alive. And where will that leave us? Like an old married couple. (J. Koch, President Marilyn Monroe Devours Her Young)


From Okay Donkey, Ganymede by Chelsea Harris.

The owners before us were in their seventies, stabbed in the heart and the neck by a couple high on junk, looking for money. (C. Harris, Ganymede)


From Poetry Under Cover, Traitor by Indira Reddy.

i sigh,
my traitor body,
slipping towards

evolutionary dead-end,
evokes moments
where we touched
the soul (I. Reddy, Traitor)


From Reflex Fiction, Arigatou by Max Riddington. A somber meditation on fading memory.

My dad is speaking Japanese. With a Leicester accent. He is not Japanese but was in Hiroshima during the war, after the bomb dropped, so he picked up a few phrases, none my mum ever wanted to hear. Back then he was eighteen and had hair. Small compensation for knowing every day you might die. (Riddington, Arigatou)

From Short Fiction Break, Forked Tongue by Jess Bagnall.

I try moving to shift the feeling; only to find my body frozen in place. (J. Bagnall, Forked Tongue)


From Spelk, I Love Our Voices When We Sing Off-Key by Timothy Boudreau.

I tell you we have our own light, our own suffusion (T. Boudreau, I Love Our Voices When We Sing Off-Key)


From Splonk, Drowning A Mermaid by Gerard McKeown.

I asked where all the water went.

‘All around the world,’ you said, then dived in yourself. (G. McKeown, Drowning A Mermaid)


From The Arcanist, What Do You See When You’re Both Asleep? by Christi Nogle.

It was strange at first, like seeing colors you haven’t seen before.

You’re supposed to train for several months before it’s safe to use full-time. (C. Nogle, What Do You See When You’re Both Asleep?)


From The Drabble, Riding Motorcycles by Dianne Moritz.

Driving down Flying Point

Road today, I thought

of you and me winding

up Mount Tamalpais,

dust coating our happy lips. (D. Moritz, Riding Motorcycles)


From The Fiction Pool, The Carriage by Adam Kieffer.

My forehead yawns above my eyebrows to the brown grey tufty triangle formerly known as my hairline. I can live with the grey hairs (in fact I think they are quite distinguished for a man of my position) but the thinning & the receding? (A. Kieffer, The Carriage)


From X-R-A-Y, The Call Was Coming From Inside The Cockroach by Maggie Dove (RomComDojo), a charming tale about the peculiarities of regional pride in America.

I found out that day that the real, scientific term for the legendary New York cockroach is the “American Cockroach”.

They were the same goddamned bug.

And New Yorkers still said theirs were superior. (Dove, The Call Was Coming From Inside The Cockroach)


LITERARY EPHEMERA

From Drunken Pen, Facing Rejection & Fighting Imposter Syndrome.


From the Guildy Pleasures podcast (S01 E05, 01-28-2018), Dan Klefstad reads a excerpt, entitled, Hauptsturmführer Soren, from his novel-in-progress, The Guardian.

He’s also come up with a Hollywood pitch-line.


From JPC Allen, Writing Tip—Benefits of Screenwriting.


From HorrorMadam, a interview with horror author, Nick Stead.


From New Pop Lit, The Literary Brat Pack, on the authorial trio of Bret Easton Ellis, Jay McInerney and Tama Janowitz.


From Rebecca Gransden, news on the release of her new novella, Sea of Glass.


From Silent Motorist Media, a interview with author, S. L. Edwards.


 

Fiction Circular 6/6/19

§00. Editor’s note: links affixed to author/publisher’s name will redirect to author/publisher social media, links affixed to story/article titles will redirect to the site whereupon the named piece is archived. The ‘authors’ section focuses on lone individuals who publish their own literary work, ‘organizations’ section focuses upon independent presses, lit-mags, e-zines and other literary organizations who publish fictive work of multiple authors and ‘literary ephemera’ focuses on non-prose non-fiction literature, such as certain poems, news and art theory articles, reviews, interviews and critiques. All author/publication names arranged by alphabetical order (including ‘the’).


§01. Editor’s note on criteria for inclusion: a publication is considered ‘independent’ if it is self-contained and sustaining, that is to say, if it does not rely upon the staff, organizational prowess or financial backing of large corporations, academies, governments or other large entrenched organizations. For example, Sink Hollow Litmag will not be included on the list, not due to the quality or lack thereof of their work, but rather, because they are supported by Utah State University (and thus, are not independent). All works which are included are those which were read by the editor during the week of publication; their inclusion does not mean that they were published the same week as the circular containing them.


§.AUTHORS

From Always Trust In Books, a review of The Girl In Red by Christina Henry (from Titan Books).

The book sounds ridiculous.

The Girl in Red takes the spirit of a classic tale (Red Riding Hood), spins it on its head and injects it into a post-apocalyptic world where one wrong move could get someone infected by a deadly virus or worse, captured by the government for quarantine or the new militias that roam to lands seeking people to impart their nefarious urges upon. Red only has her sharpened instincts and calculated approach to traversing the terrains to rely on for survival. If anyone gets too close then Red does have her trusty axe to protect herself.

 

— Review of The Girl In Red


From Shreya Vikram (who never fails to impress with her syncretic poetic acumen), a number of recent pieces, including, Faith, When Dreams Die, Monster, Insomnia, Even When I Do Not Scream, I Hurt, and most recently, Faulty Taps.

“I have written this play for myself and I know how it ends.”

 

— Faulty Taps


§.ORGANIZATIONS

From New Pop Lit, a republication of Lost Face by Jack London from the similarly titled collection of short stories which recounts a gruesome tale of a Russian adventurer named Subienkow who is captured by ruthless Amerindians in the Yukon.

“It offended his soul. And this offence, in turn, was not due to the mere pain he must endure, but to the sorry spectacle the pain would make of him.”

 

— Lost Face

Also from New Pop Lit, This Is, by Sophie Kearing.

I don’t hide my sacred rituals out of malice.

 

—This Is

And further, New Pop’s debut ‘3D short story,’ Vodka Friday Night by Karl Wenclas. A gritty, multi-perspective crime drama. Full review forthcoming.

Kirk sat drinking vodka in an after hours den near downtown Detroit with a skinny black prostitute named Jakayla,  the kind of spot where if you’re white and male you’d better arrive with someone they know because otherwise they’ll think you’re a cop.

 

— Vodka Friday Night


From Reflex Fiction, A Careless Smile by Lee Hamblin.

She throws the cutting at my feet, repeats, and all the while that stupid cat of hers sits perched on the sofa’s armrest, watching like he understands all that I don’t, being more a man than I’ll ever be.

 

— A Careless Smile


From Spelk, Salt & Vinegar Tongues a charming tale of an idyllic, sea-side meeting by Steven John. I really liked this piece and hope we get to see this relationship develop in future stories.

Also…

Suntanned. Smells of seaweed. Shelters in a cave…

I suspect she’s a mermaid.

“This one will win,” I say, and give her one of my coins.

Three cherries. A hundred penny coins pulse from the machine. She shrieks and laughs. She unties the knot in her shirt-front and, holding up the hems, fills the cotton pouch. Her loose shirt shows the freckles between her suntanned boobs. I give her another penny and the same thing happens. Then I tell her we’ll lose ten pennies, then we’ll win again.

“Are you a fucking freak?” she says and tries to take my notebook. I hide it behind my back. Her up-close skin smells of vanilla ice-cream and seaweed.

 

— Salt & Vinegar Tongues

Also from Spelk the confusing, The Fabric of Tombstones by B. F. Jones.

Found this piece rather confusing. It is not explained why she resented the memory of her son nor how he died (if indeed, as is implied, he died at all). Seemed to me that for narrative coherence, the tale should have been longer. I didn’t care for it.

He calls her one evening, slowly resurfacing, rebirthed once again. She knows he won’t be there for long. He will be gone soon, forgotten by her faulty brain, and her heart will break over and over again with each one of his deaths.

Don’t call me again, son.

Don’t come over anymore.

And she hangs up the phone, killing him, one last time.

 

— The Fabric of Tombstones

The Monster & The Paige

The Squire found the monster sleeping beneath the splintered shade of a dying willow, deep within the ancient forest. Its poisonous carapace the size of a redwood’s trunk, its terrible tendrils slithering like great leeches into the pale and colorless earth. Where once the eft and mew had gibbered with frivolity, there was now only silence.

All about the fathomless, grotesque singularity, the skulls of various animals lay in fractured disarray. Bird and bitch. Lizard and shrew. Heifer and man. The porcelain remains of the children proved singularly disquieting.

The Squire unsheathed his glimmering blade and inhaled sharply, quietly, steadying his kettle-drum heart, steeling his fraying nerves. His travel-stained boots furrowing the decaying vegetal carpet. Muscles tensing like corded wire.

“For The Maiden!” He declared silently to himself before throwing his leather-cuirassed body from behind the foliage of the wasted dale, straight for the hideous calamity which lay slumbering some twenty feet off.

The young man had scarcely unconcealed himself when the beast addressed him.

“Thou hath two eyes yet miss my thirty?”

“I care not for whither thou sleepest nor wake. Only thy destruction shalt sate my want. What ruin thou hast wrought upon the fair maid’s crop. In like manner,

“Then upon thy marrow shalt I sup.”

The great beast shifted upon its amorphous stalk and opened its terrible jaws that bore a likeness to both the crocodile and tardigrade. The Paige brandished his blade and ducked one of the monster’s leathery, vine-like tentacles and then hew it from the ghastly body with a singularly powerful slice. The beast issued forth a bloodcurdling howl and barreled forth in squamous, erratic increase.

Again and again the knight weaved skillful circles round the vile aberration, dodging its feral movements and dismembering its grotesque and swarming weaponry. At the last, the beast had more wounds than appendages and swiftly reared up upon its thick russet trunk, lashing out with it’s last venomous tentacle and unleashing a vicious creaking snarl.

Before the paige could strike the unhallowed creature down, a voice intruded upon the scene.

“Oswalt!”

The young boy turned to behold Stacy, similarly aged, some eight years old, pigtailed and garbed in baggy overalls, stained at the knees with grass and mud. The teen jerked her thumb over her shoulder toward the clearing beyond the wood.

“My ma made pancakes.”

Oswalt smiled and dropped his wooden sword and raced up with Stacy to her parent’s vinyl-sided stucco house.

A old crow flapped down from its thorny throne to look with odd angled gesticulations at the thorny, mangled weed upon the fencepost and the chipped and ligneous blade beside it.

Fiction Circular 2/22/19

§00. Editor’s note: links affixed to author/publisher’s name will redirect to author/publisher social media, links affixed to story/article titles will redirect to the site whereupon the named piece is archived. ‘Independent individual authors’ section focuses on lone individuals who publish their own literary work, ‘independent publishing organizations’ section focuses upon independent presses, lit-mags, e-zines and other literary organizations who publish fictive work of multiple authors and ‘literary ephemera’ focuses on non-prose non-fiction literature, such as certain poems, news and art theory articles, reviews, interviews and critiques.


§01. Editor’s note on criteria for inclusion: a publication is considered ‘independent’ if it is self-contained and sustaining, that is to say, if it does not rely upon the staff, organizational prowess or financial backing of large corporations, academies, governments or other large entrenched organizations. For example, Sink Hollow Litmag will not be included on the list, not due to the quality or lack thereof of their work, but rather, because they are supported by Utah State University (and thus, are not independent).


INDEPENDENT INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS

From Byron F. McBride, A Long Night. Reminded me of the first episode of the tv series The Hunger.

The night was over, and I was heading home. Bennett Vandermeer had invited me for dinner, on account of his being featured at the art gallery Pluto-Neon, and his need to shove my face in it.

 

— A Long Night


From The Dark Netizen, a brisk but amusing fractal, Sinking.

The mermaids smile back at the sailors, unaware of the radioactive nature of the submarine’s doomed contents…

 

— Sinking


INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING ORGANIZATIONS

From Defiant Scribe, Grope, by Ian Simons, a surreal comedy concerning the monumental consequences of small happenings.

“The deer gave her a curious grunt as she flew by, and then she continued moving out into a fold in space, a maelstrom amongst the stars that was spinning, smearing old light in the darkness.”

 

— Grope


From Fictive Dream, Solitaire, by Travis Cravey. A flash fiction about mental illness.

“She didn’t say goodnight, or kiss my forehead, or tuck me in. She just kept playing solitaire. Sometimes I could hear her crying. But she never stopped playing.”

 

— Solitaire


From Flash Back Fiction, The Fur-puller, by Peter Burns, a dour, historical fiction concerning a poor, afflicted family struggling in England. Whilst it is somewhat maudlin in a begging-Mr. Bumble-for-gruel kind of way, its also deftly written. The tonally resonant audio-reading accompanying the story further adds to the Dickensian experience.

Mr. Matthews lays the sack on the scales. Rose doesn’t blink, for fear of missing the tilt of it, doesn’t breathe, for fear of losing more than she already has. Billy coughs like he always does, dry and brittle.

 

 

— The Fur-puller


From Reflex Fiction, White Line, by John Brantingham, a brisk flash fiction piece which follows a man’s reflection on violence, basketball, scars and stoicism.

From Storgy, The Perfect Family, by Susan Bloch, a sorrowful tale of a seemingly wonderful family that hides a dark secret. A study of inaction and its consequences.

That was the last time I saw Holly before sirens went off at midnight. Before medics carried out a black bag on a stretcher.

 

— The Perfect Family


From Surfaces, Not Me, by the inimitable Manuel Marrero. A impressive, soaring, dizzyingly baroque debut for the Paul Allen business card of literary websites. * best of the week

American life had subsided into an almost zen-like complacency, the Hegelian end, anathema for the Judeochristian disciples, ripe agency for the monolatrists. But vatic forces were gathering now to disrupt their binary equilibrium.

 

— Not Me


From The Rational Argumentator, The Wales Technique, by Gennady Stolyarov II. The story of a actuary who grapples with the problem of a blank spot in his predictive models. Mr. Stolyarov’s story is quite refreshing, as it is the only scifi story I can remember reading this year that isn’t a grim dystopia.

“The Black Hole… I can see it clearly in the region with fewer data points.”

— The Wales Technique


From X-R-A-Y, Spores, by Lukasz Drobnik. A surrealistic and metaphorical take on the superhero genre. Superb prose.

The monkeys can see her from afar with their laser eyes, their shark-like teeth glistening in the dark.

 

— Spores


LITERARY EPHEMERA

From Adam Lock, Is The Talented Writer A Myth? The short answer is “no,” it is a reduction. For those without preternatural receptivity to literary ends, practice avails. Mr. Lock writers: “Good writing is a talent. This idea has always frustrated me because it is indiscriminate and takes no heed of the hours of hard work a writer puts in to improve their craft.” I would contend that good writing IS a talent (the baseline for all human behavior is genotypic), but it is not only arrived at by way of individual genetic proclivity (ie. where sociality comes into play). Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the premise which Mr. Lock attempts to untangle, his piece is well worth a read (especially if one happens to be a author or would-be author).

-is there is a distinction between mindless repetition and deliberate practice.

 

— Is The Talented Writer A Myth


From The Arcanist, It Cost Ray Bradbury $9.80 in Dime To Write ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ by Josh Hrala, a historical-philosophical piece concerning how it was that Ray Bradbury came to write his well-known science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451 (originally titled, The Fireman) on a dime-rented typewriter. One of the reasons the piece stands out is its focus on work ethic (and the lack thereof amongst the writerly class); a topic which the author notes in the opening,

“There’s this false notion among non-writer folk that in order to sit down and write a novel, conditions must be perfect. As if writers have to perform a series of rituals designed for channeling an elusive, just-out-of-touch muse. Writing only by candlelight after sipping Colombian espresso on Thursday mornings while wearing a smoking jacket and facing true north, for example.”

A excellent piece. Highly recommended reading, especially for would-be authors.

I got a bag of dimes and settled into the room, and in nine days I spent $9.80 and wrote my story; in other words, it was a dime novel.”

— Ray Bradbury


Thanks for reading.

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Oniria

By Iliana Vargas (translated by Toshiya Kamei)

§


A seahorse poked his bluish snout out of the window.

She asked him if the icy air tasted like plankton and foam.

He soaked his antennae in the coffee she was drinking and drew a cloud of jellyfish on the table.

Electricity in the eyes, she said.

Transparent riddles on your tongue, he said.

She flew after the cloud.

He blew his snout and tattooed in the window a green dream talisman in which Earth gave birth to another planet, and while it was in labor, it guffawed so brutally that with each jolt it expelled lots and lots of humans and other undesirable beings, offering them to the fiery jaws of the universe.


§

Iliana Vargas was born in 1978 in Mexico City, where she still lives today. She is the author of the short story collections Joni Munn y otras alteraciones del psicosoma (2012), Magnetofónica (2015), and Habitantes del aire caníbal (2017).