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 Circular 6/13/19

§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 Circular regular, The Dark Netizen, the microfiction, Studying Fishes, a darkly humorous tale of deep sea exploration and a diver who gets far more than he bargained for. Netizen has a true Shyamalanian talent for twist-endings, one skillfully deployed in Studying.

All I wanted to do was to get closer to the school of undiscovered fish I saw before me.

I was already at maximum safe distance from the vessel.

I had swum out quite far away from the other divers, who were trying to hail me on my communicator.

Ignoring the garbled message I was receiving, I held my arms out in full extension hoping the fishes would come towards me.

My idea worked and all the fishes started swimming towards me, just as I received the message clearly.

“Red alert. Red alert. Return to vessel. Fishes confirmed as man-eaters…” (Netizen, Studying Fishes)


§.ORGANIZATIONS

From Literally Stories, A Major Error in Judgment by Harrison Kim, the tale of a troubled man living in a town which rejects him. One of the more eccentric pieces I’ve read this month.

 “Princetown will not escape my wrath.” (Kim, A Major Error In Judgment)


From Reflex Fiction, the flash-fiction Hidden House by Patrick Flanary, a exposition on the vacuousness of a fickle and passionless affair.

‘I leave Beijing after New Year’s Eve,’ she’d texted. No punctuation, but an emoji stifling its own giddiness with one hand. Maybe Jessica wanted a fling. Yes, maybe tonight, with no tomorrows in store, they would beat the holiday intrusion of solitude together. (Flanary, Hidden House)


From Spelk, the mournful microfiction Urn by Ernest Gordon Taulbee.

When their baby died, the corpse was cremated. They split the ashes and separated. (Taulbee, Urn)


 

Fiction Circular 3/15/19

§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).


§. AUTHORS

From Shreya Vikram, Paper Doll, by Shreya Vikram. A phantasmal and cautionary digression on art and emotion.

The heart, you see, is a deceitful thing. Its blood will choke you as fast as it gushes with life. In the end, it’s your heart that will guide the knife to your own throat.

 

— Paper Doll


From Steve Hart, Promise of Shaconage (pronounced Sha-co-NAH-hey), a novel in serialized form. One of the most interesting new literary projects I’ve yet come across. Highly recommended.

The river teemed with danger.

Timpoochee sensed it and was, suddenly, unsure about it all.

Water was Timpoochee’s love. The river, the long man, running from the tops of the mountains of the blue world to the great salt water was the beginning of all life. The water feeds his rich land, tapped by tall, stately pines which sway in the wind and moan soft, low protests to the disturbance…

 

— Promise of Shaconage, Act 1: The Water


From The Dark Netizen, Purpose. A (very) short horror story.

“I noticed you. That proves you are unusual,” said the Scarecrow; “and I am convinced that the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones. For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.”

 

— Purpose


§. ORGANIZATIONS

From 101 Words, The Visitor, flash-fiction by Renate Schiansky. Anticipation and diffidence. Feels like a story half-told. Like so many flash-fiction pieces, I wish it were longer.

“Everything must be in perfect shape for him! She vacuums the carpet and swipes the tiles. The doorbell rings. Her heart beats faster.”

 

— The Visitor


From Fictive Dream, Being The Murdered Professor, by Cathy Ulrich. On a death in a family and life thereafter. Curious in that it is written in the style of a eulogy, but to the dead, rather than the living. There isn’t much in the way of a resolution but, perhaps, that was the point.

The minister will stand at the front of the chapel. He’ll barely need the microphone clipped to his lapel, his voice rising like riverflow. He’ll read the words of Matthew, Mark, John, Paul. He’ll say this song was written by a man who lost everything, have the congregation sing It Is Well With My Soul. The minister will relate to your death through the words of men, the minister will fill the chapel with the words of men.

 

— Being The Murdered Professor


From Flash Back Fiction, From Darjeeling, With Love, by Kiira Rhosair. The tale of beleaguered field worker. The story, like many of Flash Back Fiction’s published pieces, is accompanied by a audio reading of the text. Ms. Rhosair has a novel forthcoming.

“Uphill, lush rows of foliage are speckled with faded cotton saris. Her sisters in suffering have moved on. She wonders if one might have a drop to spare. Neither her legs nor her voice will carry up. The country is free but she is not, trapped in the mazes of this place the sahibs call Heppi Balli.”

 

— From Darjeeling, With Love


From Flash Fiction Magazine, A Touch of Glass, by Rob McClure Smith. A tale of a deranged man who believes he is made out of glass. I don’t agree with the illusioned man that we are “all glass” but many people are certainly more brittle than they might outwardly appear. Additionally, Mr. Smith’s prose is very good. Looking forward to more of his work.

“You think a mirror lies?”

“A window is not a mirror,” I informed him.

“We are all glass,” he said, looking very serious. “The slightest touch of another breaks us, and we return to nothing. You are a glass man for I see right through you.”

 

— A Touch of Glass


From Monkeybicycle, An Imaginary Number, by Sian Griffiths. A whimsical tale of a mathematically talented girl who encounters waltzing beings from another planet.

“That night, she danced with aliens. They spoke to her in math.”

 

— An Imaginary Number


From Public House Magazine, Solstice (1998), by Dan Klefstad. The story of a seemingly normal man who works for a extraordinary being, a alluring and mysterious vampire named Fiona; however, problems arise when another vampire, the cold and aristocratic Søren Fillenius, arrives at their residence.

A fantastic work. Highly recommended.

“Fiona never spoke with me about anything like this. She’s only 230. I assumed she’d be fine as long as I set my alarm each night before dawn. My voice cracks: ‘Fiona expects to die before you do?'”

 

— Solstice


From Reflex Press, Have We Got A Story For You?, by Al Kratz. A flash piece wherein a fly named Notorious is slain and creativity is embraced in all its undulations, its peaks and pitfalls.

“Why should the dull get light? We shove notes into our back pockets and judge the end of the storm.”

 

— Have We Got A Story For You?


From Surfaces, A Good Thing In Bad Shape by Shane Jesse Christmass. A short tale of a hard-scrabble American couple living fast in metropolis. Mr. Christmass wields a unique, quicksilver style that, to my knowledge, bares few comparisons. *best of the week

“A great dome full of machinery … intricate mechanisms … molten metal.”

 

— A Good Thing In Bad Shape


From Terror House Magazine, First Day In Hell, by Dior. A black comedy of a hapless souls argent passage through the fiery deep. The story is quite humorous, though the writing feels a bit rushed. In my opinion, the author has quite a promising career ahead as a social satirist.

The man came across another person for the first time since his arrival. It was a man hanging from a medieval-style gallows, but his eyes were open and moving. “Hello?” the man asked, as more of a test rather than a greeting. “Hello. You’re new, I assume,” the hanged man replied. “Yeah, I just got here,” the man replied, still hopping from foot to foot. “How long have you been up there?” “Since 2006,” the hanged man replied with a sigh. “Why are you down here; you seem like a normal old man,” he asked, looking up at the elderly man dangling from the rope. “Well, it’s a long story. When you get to reception, ask the Devil if you can use a computer and Google John Money; that’s my name. That will tell you all that you need to know-”

 

— First Day In Hell


From The Arcanist, Lucky Albert, by K. C. Shaw. A tale of a man who is continuously assailed by a mysterious assassin and yet remains completely and impossibly unscathed. Things are not as they seem…

“Someone tried to kill me!” Albert joined a group of his followers and accepted the first of what he expected would be many pints. “I was on my way down the Varner Fell when a boulder tumbled in front of me. It missed me by inches!”

“Just an accident, unfortunately,” someone muttered.

“Oh yes?” Albert said, instantly belligerent — his defining trait. He swaggered over to the man who had spoken, an elderly shepherd with a dog under his chair. “That’s the third time this week alone I’ve had an accident.”

 

— Lucky Albert


From X-R-A-Y, Now He Sees Shadows, by Gregg Williard. On George W. Bush, Heinlein and art.

“I appreciate your point of view,” he told me. “But many Americans do not enjoy  modern art or space stories. That’s what makes our democracy great.  And why the enemies of freedom hate us.”

 

— Now He Sees Shadows


§. LITERARY EPHEMERA

From New Pop Lit, How To Change Literature, by Karl Wenclas. A short update on NPL’s still-congealing literary model, which they dub the “3D Story.” Very interested to see its debut (and if you’re a author or avid reader then you probably should be too).

“EVERYONE involved in the literary game in any way needs it– including at the highest levels, which are filled with caretakers and functionaries as much as literary artists. The scene is starved for a new kind of product– akin to the automobile business in the early 1950’s before the arrival of the Corvette, the Thunderbird, and the Mustang. (Especially had the only models available back then been stodgy Studebakers and Ramblers. Which is the condition of today’s established literary world.)”

 

— How To Change Literature


Thank you for reading. If, in place of buying a cup of (probably over-priced) coffee, you would like to support our work, you can do so here.

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).

Fiction Circular 2/5/19

Editor’s note: Links affixed to author/publisher names will redirect to author/publisher social media; links affixed to story/article names will redirect to the named story/article.


INDEPENDENT AUTHORS

First up, Andrea Nicosia published a untitled short story concerning a dream.

A dire battle, and I was fighting. — A. Nicosia

Jason Simon published, On Returning, a fever dream rumination on social isolation and personal transformation.

-my heart no longer felt affection for these alien people and their barbaric rituals, their trivial matters of fleeting importance or their malevolent, false gods. — On Returning

Noah J. Wayne published the long-form short story, Convict. A story of one woman struggling within a partially automated prison. Highly recommended.

“Five minutes have been added to your sentence due to disobedience,” the guard said. — Convict

Sara Codair published Are We Like The Phoenix? A steampunk flash-fiction concerning volcanoes and time-travel. Whilst the plot and characters were interesting, it suffered from the perennial problem which afflicts nearly all flash fiction: being too short.

Even over the rhythmic growl of the ships engine, Lisbeth heard thousands of micro gears churning away. Of all the arcane devices she possessed, this one was the most powerful. — Are We Like The Phoenix

Stumbled across Vic Smith‘s 2018 short story, Caged, a gritty crime thriller.

He’d got Frank out of Dartmoor, and had to stand guard over him in this dingy flat and wait for orders.

They hadn’t come. Whatever the plan had been, it had failed. — Caged


INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS

From Cheap Pop, Sanctus Spiritus, 1512 by Sarah Arantza Amador.

The camp cried and prayed, and she sat in her cage, focused on the smell of sea brine and the cook’s meaty neck. — Sanctus Spiritus, 1512

Also from Cheap Pop, Still Life With Prairie, 1860, by Natalie Teal McCallister.

Little girls be brave, brave as your mother. Little boys be meant for the earth, let your blood water the prairie and come alive again in the red of sunset. — Still Life With Prairie

From Coin Man Stories, Puzzles, Part 1, by José Alves de Castro.

– And now, for 200 points: Find the difference!

The audience stared excitedly as the contestants probed into the two universes looking for anything that might be different, each of the contenders searching differently for the tiniest changes. — Puzzles, Part 1

From Flash Fiction Magazine, Dead by Joe Cappello.

Martin Aurely was dead inside. It wasn’t physical, but a persistent feeling that there was no feeling. Where there is no feeling, there can be no life. — Dead

From Hagstone Publishing, Let Me In by Michelle Simpkins.

She can deal with the fingertips scuttling over the glass window of her front door. She can pretend they are tree branches scraping the house. She doesn’t mind the muddy footprints on the porch. If she doesn’t look too closely in the morning, she can tell herself an animal visited during the night.

It’s the voice that sends her diving under the blankets with crawling skin and clenched teeth. — Let Me In

From Jokes Review, Tropicana On Steroids by Sean Trolinder.

“You don’t drink juice from a needle.” — Tropicana On Steroids

From New York Tyrant Magazine, I Called Shotgun When You Died by Christopher Kennedy.

I come to understand eventually: There is no sun. There are no stars. The coast is never clear. — I Called…

From Reflex Press, Night Swimming by Susan Carol.

She could not swim but we still swim for her. Search the ocean for her and find her only at night. — Night Swimming

From Spelk Fiction, Roachburn, 1908 by Neil Campbell.

In the village of Roachburn, all blinds are drawn. The pregnant woman cries night and day. Another woman cries. A mother and an aunt cry too, behind walls buffeted by winds across the moorland. — Roachburn, 1908

From Terror House, Moments, Part 1 by Chika Echebiri.

I feel my shoulders slump as I begin to weep softly, thinking that Richard could be lying helplessly somewhere, seriously wounded or even dead. — Moments, Part 1

From X-R-A-Y, Blood! by Oliver Zarandi.

I remember, he says. Your life is one filled with tragedies. I may order another soup. — Blood!

LITERARY EPHEMERA

From Ghost City Press, Bird Bereavement by Alisa Velaj.

Morning was slow to come,
with a lonely canary in the other cage,
now facing the empty one in front.
Oh, how long we waited for our canary to sing!


Thanks for reading.

If you have recommendations for inclusions in the next LOGOS fiction circular, or wish to submit work to LOGOS, feel free to contact our administrator.

If you wish to support our work, you can do so here.

Firebug

Devlin Carver heard it in the morning. The dull scratching on the ceiling that had kept him up half the night. Something in the walls…

He rubbed the dream-dust from his eyes and rose and paused, listening intently. The scratching intensified for a brief moment and then fell silent. Shortly, the sound started up again in roughly the same spot.

Insects.

Carver cursed under his breath and moved to the left to examine the wall, placing his ear against the dull, green surface. The sound of multi-legged skittering greeted him. Could be termites. Pine beetles. Ants. Something else. Maybe a family of mice or some other type of rodent. He considered his options as he showered and hurriedly dressed. He’d need to call a exterminator to rid his tiny house of the mysterious scourge on his way to work. Unless…

“I wonder if I could make a trap?” He mumbled aloud as he brushed his teeth. He had no idea what kind of insects were in the walls and thus, had no idea what kind of trap to build. When he thought on the matter for just a little longer he realized he had no knowledge of insect traps whatsoever. He knew that sticky paper could get rid of flies and certain zapper-lights could kill moths and other light-drawn night-fliers, but he’d no notion of how to construct such items, nor where to purchase them and figured it didn’t much matter because such devices wouldn’t work inside his peeling walls. He hoped his erstwhile guests weren’t possessed of some vile disease. He’d heard of that before. Read of it. Bug disease.

Suddenly, the scratching came again – so swift and loud and sudden that it caused Devlin to swallow a little of his toothpaste by accident. He cursed under his breath and turned to the flat, tiled wall. There was nothing. It was as if the creatures in the wall could tell when he was near…

*

Devlin arrived at work five minutes late and was met by Jamie Brinks outside his work station.

“Where in Waldo’s name have you been?”

“I was only five minutes late.”

“Seven now.”

“Shit.”

“Cameron is gonna flip.”

“He’s always flipping about something.”

“You been sleeping ok, man? You look a little… brittle.”

“Couldn’t sleep last night. Some kind of… infestation… in my house. You know me. I keep tidy. Don’t know how it happened. But, anyway, it sounded like… insects… or… something.”

“Gross. Sorry to hear that.”

“Can hear them in the walls. Gotta call an exterminator. Know any?”

“Uh, yeah, actually, I do. When Maggie brought back one of her weirdo foreign plants, turned out to be filled with some kind of tree-killing beetle and the damn things went around and started fucking up our orchard. Killed the fuck outta all the trees. Can’t remember their names. The trees or the bugs. Anyways, we called this small company that operates out of the suburbs. Cheap, quick, clean. I can give you the number.”

Brinks reached into his suit’s inner breast pocket, withdrew a memo pad and a pen and began furiously jotting down a name and phone number.

“Thanks, man. Appreciate it.”

“Ah, shit, here comes Cameron.”

A short, fat man strode – or rather waddled – up to the duo, his pin-prick eyes smouldering with strange intensity and his shiny, spa-smoothed brow reflecting like a mirror. He looked, to Carver, like some kind of disgruntled bullfrog.

“You’re late. Again.”

“Sorry.”

“I don’t need apologies. I need good workers who know how to set their alarms. Clearly that isn’t you.”

“But sir-”

“You’re fired.”

*

Devlin Carver shook his head and ate a pickle and called the waitress of the diner over and ordered another coffee; he wanted a drink of something stronger but detested the taste of alcohol. He simply couldn’t believe he’d been fired for being only a few minutes late. It was only the fourth time in four years. So what, he thought furiously, so what if I’m late, so fucking what? He thought back to his time at the company, clicking a keyboard, filing reports, getting yelled at for incompetence and laziness. Four years of his life down the drain. Four years of his life spent laboring for a company whose board and CEO he’d never even seen or talked to, four years he could have been building up his own company, his own venture, his own life, rather than serving those he didn’t even have the courtesy to give him the time of day. It was all their fault. Them and those things in his walls.

Motes of dust like flecks of burning gold spun through the ambered light of the Jenny’s diner. He wondered who Jenny was, if she was the fat woman behind the counter to the far left of the room or the hot little number serving beer and sandwiches to an old couple at a table to the right. The duo must have been in their late sixties, perhaps old, and yet they chortled and moved with a vivacity that Carver associated with the gilded fervor of youth. He bet they had plenty of cash to burn. Coasting on retirement funds. Subsidized unto the tomb. The pickle raised before his mouth slipped from his hand and splashed upon his breeches, soiling them with juice, prompting a muted curse. The man’s fists shook as he picked up the pickle and grabbed a napkin off the table and began sopping up the mess as the buxom waitress, returning from the old couple, began to laugh, siding up to Carver with a twinkle in her eye.

“Having some technical difficulties, sir?”

“Doing fine. Thanks. Just dropped my pickle.”

” You dropped your pickle on your pickle.”

She laughed raucously but quickly brought herself under control as her boss shot a dissaproving frown in her direction. Carver wanted to punch her. Wanted to slam her over-powdered face straight into the corner of the table. He remained silent.

“I’m sorry, sir, I shouldn’t laugh. Anything I can get you?”

“Got a new pair of pants in the back?”

She smiled and chuckled as Carver forced a smile.

“Fraid not.”

“Didn’t think so. Thanks for asking.”

A jolt of realization shot through his mind and he scrambled for his phone as the waitress went about her work. He had forgotten his date. Julia was going to be distraught. What was the time, he thought frantically, what was the time! He pulled out his phone and sighed.

He was late for his date. Late by half an hour.

He paid for his meal and hailed a cab.

*

When he arrived at the Scallop he was greeted by an exceedingly prim, mustached waiter who leaned towards his ear.

“You are Mr. Carver, yes?”

“That’s me.”

“Julia Farrah, with whom you had secured a reservation, wanted me to deliver a message,” the waiter handed a small folded piece of paper to Carver and then shifted away.

“Where’d she go?”

The waiter paused briefly arched his brows, “She left, ten minutes ago.”

*

Carver blamed the things in the walls. For his firing. For the spilled pickle. For missing his date. Costing him his relationship and it but fetal and barely formed, so filled with promise, now dashed. He would have gotten up at day-break if the whatever-in-the-walls had not have kept him up half the night with their incessant chittering.

He swigged vodka from a ceramic coffee cup adorned with palm trees and hula girls and looked out the window of his decaying apartment at a gang of youths harass police officers on the street.

“It’s not my fault.”

As if in response he heard the chittering. A rancid insectal thrumming.

“It’s not my fault.”

He started, eyes widening and then swore and threw his cup at the wall of his study where it shattered, raining ceramic fragments to the floor. The noise ceased momentarily and then picked up, louder than ever. Carver’s ears rang. His head felt as if it would, at any moment, burst under the strain of the ratcheting aural assault.

He rose and kicked the wall, but the sound only increased. He swore and snatched up his cell and punched in the number that Brinks had given him. A smooth male voice answered on the other end.

“Y’ello.”

The voice sounded strikingly familiar to Carver, though he could recall who it belonged to or where he’d heard them speak.

“Hi. This is Devlin Carver. Jamie Brinks gave me this number. Said you were a good exterminator.”

“You say your name was Devlin Carver?”

“Yeah.”

“I think I know you.”

Devlin paused, furrowing his brows and pursing his lips, “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah, you’re Julie’s friend, right?”

Devlin froze, his knuckles going white about the phone, eyes engorged with the dying amber light that filtered in through his windows from the slowly setting sun. He had heard this voice before, at Julie’s family’s Fourth of July party…

“Who is it, babe?” A female voice inquired from somewhere in the near distance.

Devlin hung up the phone. He knew if he didn’t he’d scream. The noise started up again, scratching the interior folds of his brain much as it scratched the plaster and drywall. He rose and moved from his study in the far left corner of the room to his bed on the opposite side of the room and threw himself against the sheets as motes of dust leapt into the air. In the golden light of the vanishing sun, they looked to all the world like ashes from a crackling fire. The noise continued to pummel his brain, now coming from the floors and the ceiling. He put the pillow over his head and then screamed as his bed began to reverberate with the chittering.

Carver leapt off the bed and lit a candle on his nightstand, shut his window and ran for the kitchen and turned on the gas and left the tenement as the sun and the world was covered in shuddering darkness.

*

Carver watched the firemen tend to the charred ruins of his former home. The ensuing flames from the explosion had taken out at least five other apartments. The skittering sound had ceased. The things in the walls were gone. Gone forever.

Unless…

Unless the creatures in the walls were fireproof…

Fiction Circular 10/5/18

With October underway, Halloween swift encroaches — which means a bevvy of horror fiction will be cropping up as a prelude to Samhain festival and fantasy.


INDEPENDENT AUTHORS — SELF PUBLISHED WORK

First up from circular regular, The Dark Netizen, a serialization of microfictions culminating in the unnerving and surreal short, Uninvited Guest 2. Here are all the parts in the series in chronological order:

Cave TripCave Trip 2Uninvited GuestUninvited Guest 2

“Dear uninvited guest, you don’t have the right to refuse my offer…” —Uninvited Guest, 2.


From the excellent Iain Kelly, the humorous microfiction, View Askew.

“Archie heard the ominous creak.

After the dust settled, Agnes poured Winnie a top up. They watched Archie pick himself up and dust himself off, before charging after the small squirrel, profanity turning the air blue.” — View Askew.


From Jhedron, The Dark (excerpt from Revenge Of The Hyrm). A intense, visceral slice of scifi fury.

“Schripp was focused on the eyes of the girl. His sword, razor sharp, a fractions gap from her throat, and then the world exploded. His face was an agony of pierced flesh and his vision was gone.” — The Dark.


From Blogggedit, a new horror story, IT’S OVER. Its little jumbled (we’d recommend a editor) but her concepts are always gripping.

“So how can I stop all this?” Alice pointed towards the broken mirror on the wall of the dance room and said “that’s the exit. Go. Go fast-” — Its Over.


BaronZM Magazine published the amusing fantasy micro, Goblins Nest.

As I picked up the helmet, I started to hear them move in. “No take” said one of the goblins while shaking his club. “I can punt you into sky, Goblin.” — Goblins Nest.


INDEPENDENT LITERARY MAGAZINES

From Terror House, The Bunnies Are Killing Themselves by Adam Matson.

“We hit a squirrel, honey,” said her father.

“Cool!” said 8 year-old Logan. “Do it again!” — The Bunnies Are Killing Themselves.

You ask me they had it coming, given their crass lack of rapprochement, especially the beavers…

From X-R-A-Y, Noose Tattoo by Nick Farriella.

“”He said something about casting his own judgment, that the rope was a reminder.” — Noose Tattoo.


LITERARY EPHEMERA

Dead End Follies (very aesthetically crisp website) has a Book Review of Laird Barron’s mystery novel, Blood Standard (2018). The site’s overall impression is positive, with particular applause for Barron’s complicated characters.

Blood Standard’s best asset is Isaiah Coleridge himself. Career criminals are dime a dozen in literature and they’re too often derivative of the same kind-hearted outlaw archetype. There is some of that in Coleridge, but he’s much more complicated and, let’s say it better crafted character than most. He has personal stakes outside of the job, feuding with his father, who’s also a dangerous and shadowy type, over the death of his mother. He has a personality, you know? Fears and desires that make us bond with him and give a shit when his life is endangered. Coleridge might’ve not chosen this life if he hadn’t been ushered into it by an abusive father a shady uncle. — Dead End Follies.

However, the reviewer also notes that sometimes the old-school pulp vibes Barron goes for don’t always translate well when…

Full disclosure: I had a love/hate relationship with the aura of romanticism around Isaiah Coleridge. Sometimes it made him really cool and larger than life and others where his misplaced tough guy banter made him sound like a 12 year old who’s never got a whooping in his life. It’s an unfortunate side effect of Laird Barron alternating between old school pulp and more of a high brow literary approach throughout Blood Standard, but it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel. Truth is, I just love the man’s writing. It speaks to me in a powerful, visceral way. He understands how to write inner darkness better than most and while Blood Standard doesn’t nail that concept constantly, it gets transcendent when it does. — Dead End Follies.

Dead End Follies gives Blood Standard a 9/10.

We have not yet read Blood Standard, but it was a text we were certainly looking forward to and we’ll be publishing a thorough review once we acquire a copy.


Fantasy author, Baron Z. M. announces the launch of his official Patreon account — so if you enjoy his work consider skipping on the expensive lattes and giving him some support.


Library of Nell, published the seasonal poem, After Michaelmas by Nell.

“After Michaelmas, when the bramble turns sour; is when our love is put to bed, smothered by gold. Its last breath is warmth – to guard against the Winter, and the cruelest scratch of cold.” — After Michaelmas.


From the surprisingly good Patreon Blog, How To Make Money As A Writer With 43-Time Published Author Seanan McGuire by Olivia Seitz.

Recently, we stumbled across a excellent book promotion, Indie Books Promo, which is geared to raising the visibility of independent authors (much the same as us). Check them out.


And lastly, to celebrate the advance of October, Alina Hansen offers up A Brief History of Halloween (Samhain).


Thanks for reading. If you wish to support our work publishing and promoting independent works of fiction, you can do so here.


End note: Simply using “professional” in PROFESSIONALLY PUBLISHED as short hand to mean that one’s work was vetted by a individual or individuals (typically an editor) other than themselves.


 

Fiction Circular 9/26/18

FLASH

From The Dark Netizen, the supernatural revenge story, Highway To Hell.

“Now, he was bringing hell to the demon…” —Highway To Hell.

From And Miles Before I Go To Sleep… Daughter’s Surprise by Ramya Tantry.

“You sacrificed your wishes so that you can fulfill mine.” —Daughter’s Surprise

From Heart In Print By Jaya, Where’s My Master?

“Has the master been abducted?” — Where’s My Master?

From Iain Kelly, ROXY.

“Glitz and glamour away from the gaudy Strip and the drug-riddled suburb slums.

The waitresses. All young, slim, white. Wearing just enough.” — ROXY.

From X-R-A-Y Magazine, Theme Park Suicide by Teddy Duncan. A grim tale which shows how even those who seem to have given up on life haven’t given up on human connectivity. Duncan’s work was excerpted from a as-yet unpublished chapbook.

“I just really didn’t want to feel alone when I died, no matter how fucked up it is if I was going to do it I needed an audience.” — Theme Park Suicide.

Also from X-R-A-Y Mag, The Broken Teeth Diaries by Joe Bielecki.

“We used to be in a mouth but were evicted by a fist in the winter outside of a bar by a bouncer.” —The Broken Teeth Diaries.

From Gone Lawn (issue 30), Bird Bones by Texan author, Tara Isabel Zambrano.

“One day, at work, he died of electrocution from a faulty device— his limbs twisted like the blades of a fan.” —Bird Bones.

The Story Hive is back in business with Med Bay Snippet #6. An interesting sci-fi, though you may want to catch up on parts 1 through 5 before reading part 6.

“There it is, that dirty humor that keeps us all alive. That and the air, the pressure, the heat, and the food.” —Med Bay Snippet #6.


BOOK-LENGTH WORKS

From hidden gem, Gn0me, Under Forests of Futility by Rasu-Yong Tugen, Baroness de Tristeombre. A collection of poems by the author of A Natural History of Seaweed Dreams and Songs from the Black Moon.

“Vast lattices of black shale engulf us while we sleep. Primordial roots hunch over, as if in prayer. Arching acacia and star pine whisper spectral apprehensions. Black opal rains submerge everything permanent.” — Under Forests of Futility.


LITERARY EPHEMERA

From The Rational Arumentator, Victory Against The Formican Hordes by Gennady Stolyarov II, a poem.

“Deep in the crevices where there is scantly light,
Formican hordes amassed, antitheses of right:
The tyrant queen, attendant sycophantic knaves,
Vast quantities of servants – or compliant slaves –
Not even one savant among them to protest
Antagonistic ploys to rouse their dormant nest.
In wanton disregard of property and tact alike
At my abode they militantly sought to strike,
Past every antechamber to the kitchen went,
Detected every speck pursuant to its scent,
In swarms outrageous antics perpetrated,
Blatantly coveted the food refrigerated!”

—Victory Against The Formican Hordes, first stanza.

Lastly, from Cristian Mihai has a short guide to writing in the form of The Definitive, Increadibly Short, Easy-To-Follow, No-Bullshit Guide To Blogging.

“-stop complaining and punch those damn keys.” — The Definitive etc Guide To Blogging.


Thanks for reading. If you appreciate our work publishing and promoting independent literary works, you can support us here.

Fiction Circular 9/21/18

Editor’s note: A little shorter than usual. Been very busy!


THIS WEEK’S FICTION

The Dark Netizen published, Barbies. And also, Embrace, Cave Trip, Date Night and Television as well as several poems. Something that would be interesting to see is a anthology collection of his short stories – perhaps as a PDF (or some similar file-type) – sorted by theme. Given how many of them he writes every week, there is ample content for it.

My heart stopped for a second when I spotted the skeleton remains – finally a discovery, albeit one which showed clear signs of recent burning.

However, the flesh had been picked clean off the bones, which indicated that the Glock resting in my pocket may see use very soon…

From Gone Lawn, How Would You Call Me If You Forgot My Name by Mileva Anastasiadou.

Back when we were clouds.

At least we’re not deserted islands or soulless rocks.

From Terror House Magazine, Sideburns by poet and short story author, Lou Martin. Short, cruel, compassionate and moving. Easily the best of the week.

We called him “Sideburns.” Somehow, in some long-forgotten childhood reasoning, that seemed a good moniker for the guy who prowled alleys and back porches rummaging through trash cans and piles of cast-away items.

From The Library of Nell, Leporine, a short and sultry tale of fantasy and lust. Written as part of the Friday Flash challenge.

She moans a little when he whispers another “good girl.”

From Burning House Press, Grief Is A Private Island by Julia Morton, which reads like a excerpt of a internal monologue from a larger story that one has just wandered haphazardly into. Also from Burning House, The Farm Will Always Have Us, by Richard Winters. The story was based upon a excerpt from his 2017 novel, Sawhorse.

From New Flash Fiction Review, The Difference Between Alligators and Crocodiles.

Your father was an elm tree compared to you.

LITERARY EPHEMERA

Lastly, from Irevou, 12 Books That Will Surely Make You Cry by Cristian Mihai which offers up some solid recommendations of moving novels (though it stands doubtful how many of them will actually make you shed a tear).