Online Fiction

Nutrimancer

The sky above the spork was the color of a TV dinner, burnt to a crisp. Silver foil peeled back by the laser heat of a toaster oven. Charred clots of chicken stew, succotash, nameless dessert, further blurred by a microforest of recombinant mold like a diseased painter’s nightmare of verdigris. Read More

Dollchurch

Kirkendale stands at the back of a church, the grey aisles before him draped in dust and shadow. Tonight he is to speak. Tall side windows frame slats of pallid light. The pews are ancient and smeared, populated raggedly. He sees only the backs of worshipers’ heads; they nod sluggishly, tilting, as if on snapped necks. Their faces are not visible. Read More

Good ‘n’ Evil, or, The Once and Future Thing

This is my confession.

On this 13th day of the Third Moontide of the Smoldering Beagle Year, at the urging of both Professor Tadmonicker and my own troubled conscience, I, Maven Minkwhistle, set pen to paper. Never again will I type a single character; the mere sight of the clumsy old Underwood fills me with self-loathing for the misdeeds I have done, the falsities I have perpetuated in this already too-false world. I pray that this manuscript will not meet with incredulity in a public that has learned to doubt my word—indeed, my very name. It is not an apology, for I know that society finds such fawning to be more offensive than any crime. Nor is it an eleventh-minute attempt to polish my reputation with further pleas of innocence. I am more concerned for my father—dear Father! I never wanted it to end like this. Read More

The Death of Christopher Marlowe

They had been walking London all day and Marlowe’s feet were killing him. The other three men were used to gravity but Kit had been away a great deal recently, and the long stints in space had begun to tell on his joints and muscles. Each return was harder than the last. He recalled what it had been like to see the globe of Earth “above” and then to rise into that pit of gravity, ascent becoming descent, as what had looked like heaven turned into hell. He swore to himself that he had taken that plunge for the last time. One more journey outward, at the completion of his current mission, and then no earthly power could draw him back again. Read More

The Horror of the Hamptons

East of Patchogue, the shopping malls and tract homes give way to the last remaining forest on Long Island. This is not wilderness, nor has it been for many years. From the highway, you may glimpse ruined radio towers and abandoned cars crumpled like old tin cans; you will note the gradual ruination of houses as manicured lawns turn unruly, porches slump, colonial homes begin to seem^antigue but merely decrepit. Snatches of weedy ponds flicker past. Old men shamble through hedges, clutching paper sacks. A jailhouse sits in the county seat. Sand replaces fertile mulch; skeletal firs impinge on stands of hardy oak. Grass grows longer, sharper here, like quills jabbed into the sand. And then the road narrows, clotting traffic in its constricted artery, forcing you to crawl along with fellow motorists, inhaling their bluish exhaust. You have seen the familiar world falling away for miles now, green shade giving way to inhospitable hummocks: surely the culmination of all this will be something truly alien, a scene of lunar desolation if not the ripe festering of Bosch’s Hell. Over the roofs of cars made soft-seeming by the heat, over the tipped-back heads of beer-swigging teens in convertibles, you crane to catch sight of the end of the world, the abyss into which all these cars are streaming….

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Loaves From Hell

It was in a sweltering dusk that Charlie stumbled on a tombstone and lay panting in the grass. He longed to stay where he had fallen, to sleep for days in the peace of the old graveyard, but where the dead were buried, the living must be near. He needed a more secluded bed or else he would surely be discovered. Read More

To Lie Between the Loins of Perky Pat

(An Excerpt from Mock-Up,

An Abandoned Novel)

When Morris was seventeen, he didn’t see much of his parents. His stepfather was a hot tub salesman who spent most of his time either installing tubs or partying with his customers in those same tubs. Morris’s mother had accompanied her husband to some of these parties at first, but clearly her husband’s behavior–though she tried to endorse it in the spirit of the times–had uncovered some rigid puritanical scaffolding inside her, and she had taken to spending her own evenings at home, alone with her bottles of wine and a variety of value-neutral pharmaceutical companions. Read More

The Frigid Ilk of Sarn Kathool

The wizened and sagacious wizard Sarn Kathool had put behind him all the whims and errant passions of youth, and in his estimation it was time the Earth did likewise. He had seen an end to the warm spring days of Hyperborea’s juvenescence, and knew the coming age of glaciation would unavoidably end this early flowering of man’s innate capacity to fling forth what all agreed were the highest achievements of civilization (never counting those ruins of prehuman megaliths occasionally excavated from the ancient lava fields of Voormithadreth as anything more than the uncouth, accidental conglomerations of mindless ophidians). Humankind’s autumn was inarguably upon it; winter would be harsh for the species; and Sarn Kathool squandered no opportunity to instruct his captive acolytes and inform his squirming visitors that none but he were prepared for the grinding doom that at this and every moment bore down upon them from the northern reaches of Polarion: a demonic glacier. Read More

Bonfires

The shore was dark when we showed up, but it would soon be blazing, and that thought was all I needed to warm me while we built the bonfires. The waves slopped in and sucked out again like black tar, and I went along the waterline with the others, pulling broken boards and snags of swollen wood out of the bubbling froth and foam, hauling it across the sand and up to the gravel where the road edge ran.

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