My short story The One That Got Away will appear in CALLIOPE’s summer 2012 issue. It’s a horror/comedy story with a nod to H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horrors from beyond.
I got the idea for this story as a lad when my uncle hauled a crab trap from the muddy waters behind his house and imparted its terrible secret. It was a chicken wire cage with a turkey neck in the center. Hungry crabs can always find a way in to get the bait but they can never find the way out, despite the fact that it’s right in front of them. As my uncle explained it, the crab’s wonky depth perception made the circular tunnel it had climbed through disappear against the weave of chicken wire walls.
I found this manipulation of the crab’s inferior senses existentially dreadful! I chose to explore a fish’s point of view and include some humor. I ultimately thought that the crab trap scenario is almost too horrifying to tell!
Imagine smelling an irresistible feast from outside a room. You find an open door and help yourself inside. The door vanishes behind you! More and more people are entering all the time, seemingly passing through the walls into the room. You try to warn them but they blunder in any way, thinking you are just being greedy with your food. Besides, the door is wide open! Now you are all trapped inside, crawling around the room, crawling on top of each other, desperate to find the open exit that’s right in front of your face.
After days the room is so crowded you can’t move. All the food is all gone. Savage riots erupt constantly and you and the other prisoners are dismembering and killing each other. Eventually your captors will come to claim you, to boil you alive, crack you open, and scoop out your flesh. But they are in no hurry, because they know that you will never find the way out.