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.
My short horror story TOOTH AND BONE will appear in Short Sips, the second volume of Coffee House Flash Fiction from Wicked East Press. The story details the unfortunate meeting of an unscrupulous dentist and a patient in dire need of the dental arts.
I’ve spent a lot of time in dentist chairs, and that is where this story was conceived. I was going through a particularly vigorous deep gum cleaning when I thought, “How strange it must be to put your hands into a total stranger’s mouth?” The story came back to me recently as I was having a root canal performed (for a second time). I kept the thinking about it when I lost
the crown on the fresh root canal. By the time I went back for the new crown I owed nearly $2,000.
The dentist had a long list of other things that needed to be done. And things that needed to be redone. This may have colored the tone of the final story a bit. It’s not a happy story, but I hope you’ll think it’s a fun one.
My dentist says that if you ignore your teeth they’ll go away. I say watch where you put your fingers.
If you build a big enough sand box there’s room for everyone to play. That’s the idea behind shared world fiction, and if you like anthologies with multiple points of view it’s as fun to read as it is to write. I currently have two stories due to appear on the multi-author website AVENIR ECLECTIA.
Anyone can become a ‘historian’ of the new multi-author cross genre world of Avenir Eclectia. Submit a piece of flash fiction (150-400 words) about something new or explore the environments and characters already created. The story thus far: Mankind has travelled for countless centuries across the universe in the generation ship Avenir. The ship acts like a space station, perched between the shattered volcanic moon Sheba and the unstable planet Eclectia below. While the rich relax aboard the Avenir, desperate people hunt giant insects for food on the hard scrabble world below. Beneath the surface of the oceans people live in underwater cities, where many hope for a glimpse of the mysterious telepathic creatures that glide by the glassy walls.
My stories EVOLUTION and the forthcoming LEVIATHAN tell the story of Dr. Kwame Singh, a social scientist who is pioneering a new field of inquiry he calls Evolutionary Theology, or ‘EvoTheo’. He is interested in how the long migration from earth and new environments have made religions mutate and evolve. He begins his research as a detached observer but soon finds himself experiencing strange revelations.
The first story takes place mainly on Sheba, an ore rich moon that has been split in half by a cataclysmic event. The rugged miners who pull the Iridium ore up to the surface have created a chapel 30 km below the surface called New St. Kinga’s. The chapel was inspired by real world locations found in salt mines around the world. St. Kinga is the patron saint of salt miners, and there are hand carved chapels dedicated to her in Poland and Columbia. These churches were all lovingly crafted from salt as places of refuge and devotion for miners.
Wieliczka salt mine, Poland
Bochnia Salt Mine, Poland
Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, Columbia
Splashdown Books, the publisher of Avenir Eclectia, will also be releasing a print anthology titled AQUASYNTHESIS. Look for it this summer. When my second story appears, on-line or in print, I will share some more of my research.