Online Fiction

Sleepy Joe

The plan must have come to Rog fully formed that first morning, as he stepped off the elevator into the lobby of Szilliken Sharpenwright and saw the old soldier newly stationed there in his omnichair between the potted silk ferns and the coffee tables.

“Oh. My. God. I am in love.”

Read More

The Boy Who Followed Lovecraft

“Unhappy is he to whom the memories of childhood bring only fear and sadness.”

—“The Outsider,” H.P. Lovecraft

Douglas sits alone at the side of the house, waiting for the Aunts to call him in, alert to the slightest creak of the front door or to one of their hard-toed shoes sounding upon the porch. They cannot see him from inside the house, so he always has time to hide the magazine, shoving it into the crawlspace along with the rest of his collection. There is a trace of autumn in the Sunday evening air, and the summer-blanched leaves of the old sycamores send a rustling shade over the crumbling pages he turns so slowly and savoringly. The paper feels soft and rough as a kind of leafy bark, not dissimilar to the earth where he crouches and thumbs through his issues of Weird Tales again and again.

Read More


The One and Only Entry in Shendy’s Journal

Dabney spits his food when he’s had too much to think. Likki spins in circles till her pigtails stick out sideways from her blue face, and she starts choking and coughing and eventually swallows her tongue and passes out, falling over and hitting me and cracking the seals on my GeneKraft kit and letting chimerae out of ZZZ-level quarantine on to the bare linoleum floor! Nexter reads pornography, De Sade, Bataille, and Apollinaire his special favourites, and thumbs antique copies of Hustler which really is rather sweet when you consider that he’s light-years from puberty, and those women he gloats and drools over would be more than likely to coo over him and chuck his chin and maybe volunteer to push his stroller, though I’m exaggerating now (for effect) because all of us can walk quite well; and anyway, Nex is capable of a cute little boner, even if it is good for nothing except making the girls laugh. Well, except for me. I don’t laugh at that because it’s more or less involuntary, and the only really funny things to me are the things people do deliberately, like giving planarian shots to a bunch of babies for instance, as if the raw injection of a litre of old braintree sap can make us model citizens and great world leaders when we finally Come of Age. As you might have guessed by now, when I get a learning overload I have to write. It is my particular pornography, my spinning-around-and-passing-out, my food-spitting response to too much knowledge absorbed too fast; it is in effect a sort of pH-buffering liver in my brain. (I am informed by Dr Nightwake, who unfairly reads over my shoulder from time to time – always when, in my ecstatic haste, I have just made some minor error – that “pH in blood is buffered by kidneys, not liver”; which may be so, but then what was the real purpose behind those sinister and misleading experiments of last March involving the beakers full of minced, blended and boiled calf’s liver into which we introduced quantities of hydrochloric acid, while stirring the thick soup with litmus rods? In any event, I refuse to admit nasty diaper-drench kidneys into my skull; the liver is a nobler organ far more suited to simmering amid the steamy smell of buttery onions in my brain pan; oh well-named seat of my soul!) In short, writing is the only way I have of assimilating all this shit that means nothing to me otherwise, all the garbage that comes not from my shortshort life but from some old blender-brained geek whose experiential and neural myomolecular gnoso-procedural pathways have a wee bit of trouble jibing with my Master Plan.

Read More

The Liquor Cabinet of Dr. Malikudzu

Bad news for the janitor; good luck for Dr. Malikudzu. Sometime in the middle of the night-shift, after a fight with Max the supervisor over who was to empty biohazard bins in the animal experimentation labs, young Mr. Coover let go his already slender grip on discretion and began unadvisedly opening random drawers in the offices of the principal investigators. He had seen too many bad things peeking at him emptily from the plastic shrouded hollows of the laboratory bins; he wanted to know what got into the heads of these doctors to make them go after living meat the way they did. Drawer after drawer yield­ed nothing but paper and paperclips, the occasional stash of change for the vending machines, stale fragments of pastry. But finally, in the of­fice of one Dr. Malikudzu, he came upon a cache of tiny liquor bottles, of the sort distributed by airlines. With a grin he settled back in the squeaky office chair, unscrewed the cap on a vodka bottle, and tipped the contents down his throat, never noticing that the paper seal on the neck of the bottle had already been broken.

Read More

The Vicar of R’lyeh

“Let anything be held as blessed, so that that be well cursed.”
– Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers

Glorious afternoon, warm and breezy among green hills dotted with sheep. Looking down from his sylvan lounging spot upon the village with its twin spires, Geoffrey heard a mournful bell coming from the towers of Barchester Cathedral, and almost immediately thereafter noted a small dark shape making its way across the dewy grass from the open doors of the church. A faint distortion followed the pedestrian, as if air and earth were curdling in its wake. He blinked away the illusion, but the feeling of oppression grew until he clearly saw that yes, ‘twas the vicar coming toward him with some message he suddenly felt he did not wish to hear. Meanwhile, the tolling of the bell had grown appalling. As the little man struggled up the hillside, he seemed to expand until his shadow encompassed the town itself. Abruptly the vicar stood before him, the pale features of the meek country parson tearing into soft and writhing strands like the points of a wormy beard. The vicar scowled, revealing five segmented ridges of bone, teeth akin to the beak of a sea urchin. Geoffrey did not wish to hear the vicar speak, but there was no stopping his ears.

Read More

Evaluation of the Hannemouth Bequest

(A.k.a. Hannemouth Self-Configurable Combinatorial Array)


This report is provided for purposes of oral history only, as much of the evidence contained herein is purely anecdotal, and unverifiable at this point.  Incomplete copies of insurance and expense reports relating to the loss of a company car were found in the files of IBM’s Northrop Account Liaison, dated mid-1970’s, however it is impossible ascertain whether the car might have been lost some ordinary way (either stolen or abandoned under awkward circumstances), or whether it came to harm as alleged in the documents.  These notes were compiled from an informal oral history, namely the oft-recounted tales of Charles Messraunt, a colorful former employee of IBM who was eventually released from employment after increasingly common episodes of erratic behavior, poor mental health, and allegations of substance abuse.  Messraunt’s official notes of the Hannemouth Bequest Self-Configurable Array are no longer to be found in any known record depository, if they were ever filed in the first place; and Messraunt himself faded from the historical record after several sightings as a street-person in the Northern California town of Garberville.

Read More

Shuck Brother

Mama had been good all day, but at suppertime she went mad again and spoiled everything. It was the chicken that did it this time, the good chicken Pop had killed that afternoon by step­ping on its head with his boot heel and yanking up on the talons, everything happening in slow motion under the August sun, as if the whole world wanted Jory to see exactly how it was done: the sound of the spine pulling apart, and the taffy-stretched squawk, the slow drizzle of blood on the green grass where the dead cock flapped and twitched among the hens while their heads gawked and eyes and beaks gaped as wide as they would go in the bottom of the bucket that Pop gave Jory to dump in the crick. They hadn’t gone out to kill the rooster, but it’d given Pop a few good scrat­ches when he went in the coop for a couple-three hens, and Pop had just gone crazy himself right then and swore like hell, grabbed that cock and stepped down . . .

Read More

Wartorn, Lovelorn

It was summer in the wine country, in the cleft of a hilly vale steeped in green heat. I had a noseful of dust, pollen and sex. Our sticky bodies separated slowly as we sat back in the remains of our picnic, the white cloth dirty and disheveled. Carcasses of roast game hens and rinds of soft cheeses were strewn about. The dry, greedy earth had drunk most of the vintage from a toppled bot­tle, and what remained we quickly swallowed.

Read More

The Middleman Trilogy


Upon the wall, the neighborlings were arguing. Jack listened to the piping voices with increasing anger. The problems of the little people sounded all too much like his own, except smaller.

He opened his eyes and searched for the offending home among the array of tiny buildings stacked to the ceiling of his room. In most, the lights were dim or out completely; in a few, tiny shadows moved against the curtains. The smell of almond tobacco smoke drifted from half-open doorways; newspapers rustled. As a rule, the smaller citizens went to sleep early, and those who stayed up kept their voices down once he’d turned off his light.

Read More

The Vulture Maiden

With the development of our socialist system, the social system for the natural extinction of religion was established.

— Ganze Prefecture Policy on Religious Freedom

Chapter 5, Section 1: “Freedom of Religious Beliefs is a Long-Term Policy That Will Prevail Until the Natural Extinction of Religion.”


The Spring Festival began at sunrise with the roar of a giant kangling carried by two monks and blown by a barrel-chested third who stood on the highest wall of the Shining Hill monastery’s central temple. Golden light, like the voice of the horn made visible, lanced into the gray shadows that covered the broad valley as the sun peered through a notch between distant peaks capped with violet snow. Frost evaporated from the tufted brownish grasses, mingling with low, icy vapors that made the sky appear to shimmer like a silken tapestry. In the hall below, the crashing of cymbals rose to overpower the kangling’s dying wail, and then came the low, deep-throated chanting of the monks. The rocky hill behind the monastery began to glow with a warm, honeyed light.

Read More