Sunday, 5 March 2017

March 2017. Issue 14.

Welcome to issue 14, and twelve tiny tales of gods. Mighty gods and mortal gods; bright gods and awful gods; creators, destroyers and tricksters; wanderers and wonderers.

Gods have always been a part of human life, treading a balance of fear, awe and wonder. Of the beyond and the familiar. They have been saddled with responsibility and blame, granted power, worship and gifts. For every humble worshipper there are two more spitting curses at the uncaring forces above. Gods are powerful dichotomies, paradoxes even, and therein do stories thrive.

Our stories begin in creation and end with, well, an ending. We set foot in ancient ages and modern times (and venture a little further forward, to the future). There are gods grounded in the very world around us; gods walking among us; myths that a hundred words can barely contain; gods both re-imagined and metaphorical.

This is the first issue in our fourth year as a more compact quarterly zine. Each year contains a cycle of themes... so gods are only the beginning.

Read.

Absorb.

Enjoy.



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Keep scrolling down for the stories or you can bring up the whole issue here.

Alternatively the whole issue is available as a handy downloadable .pdf for you to take with you anywhere you go. A handy little book of god stories in your pocket. What an idea. That's here.


Creator

by John Xero

The stars were grit between his fingers, grainy, slipping through like sand in a cosmic hourglass. He pressed his hands together, creation and destruction flaring hot and heavy in his palms, and sent another galaxy spinning into the vastness.

If he concentrated, really concentrated, he could focus on details. The nuclear fury of suns; the icy hearts of comets; planets, moons, and sometimes, sometimes, a flickering glimpse of something more.

Some miraculous alchemy of chance and matter.

Something like him, in miniature, but nothing like him at all. Chaotic creations of an ordered system.

Life.

Strange company, out of reach.



Author bio: John Xero knows that creation is the most powerful force in the universe, whether that be physical, imaginary, or biological. He knows that he needs to do more creating too, there’s stories inside him that want out.
@xeroverse
xeroverse.com

Creator is part of 101 Fiction issue 14.

Loihi

by Voima Oy

Once there were gods on the mountains, living above the tree line in the cold air where nothing else survives. I have seen their palaces in the ice. The light so bright it blinded me.

In the sky is set a frozen palace, the moon, where they say a goddess lives. Each night, we watch her changing face.

I know a goddess who lives in volcanoes. Her heart beats beneath the waves. She is Loihi!

I will find her in the new land, where the lava meets the sea. Hear my prayer! Loihi, my love, I sing only to you.



Author bio: Voima Oy lives on the western rim of Chicago, near the expressway and the Blue Line trains. Her writing can be found online at Paragraph Planet, Visual Verse, 101 Fiction, Sick Lit  and Unbroken Journal.  Follow her on Twitter, too— @voimaoy

Loihi is a part of 101 Fiction issue 14.

Vacation

by Suzanne Verrall

A seaside vacation: dreaming, drifting, bronzing. Late mornings, later nights.

Day one: blue water.

Day two: bluer skies.

On day three you tell me about the diving pontoon you have seen in the bay. Sounds fun, I say, come on then.

The sandbar stretches on forever, makes swimming impossible, makes the water thigh-deep and difficult. I tire quickly. You forge ahead.

When you are far enough I step up and walk upon the waves, following you. So much easier than wading. And as you glance back, I drop down into the water before you see me as I truly am.



Author bio: Suzanne Verrall lives in Adelaide, South Australia. Her flash fiction, essays and poetry appear in Flash Frontier, Flash Fiction Magazine, Archer Magazine, Lip Magazine, Poetry NZ Yearbook and The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts.

Vacation is part of 101 Fiction issue 14.

Visitation

by Neil James

He'd traversed vast nebulae to reach the planet of blue and green – the final outpost of his faith. His flock needed him; they were destroying themselves through hate and fear. He landed in a flashing cloud of gold, naked as a lamb but for his flowing white beard.

Walking from the desert into the city, he touched every person he met, till two Adams in blue bundled him into a wheeled chariot, his wrists tightly clamped. He repeatedly told them his name, but it only made things worse. Now an Eve in white stood before him, quoting Mental Health legislation.



Author bio: Neil James is a football writer who occasionally pens short stories. He keeps starting novels but lacks the attention span to ever finish one. Twitter: @neil_james1

Visitation is part of 101 Fiction issue 14.

Muse

by Kent V. Anderson

I'm a robot.
I often wonder if there might be a robot god, as well as a robot heaven.
And if so, what does robot god do during his off hours?

Does he attend movies in robot heaven?
And when he's at the movies, if a tall robot sits in front of him,
will robot god tell him to move?

And what about, if robot god has to leave his seat to do something during the movie?
When he comes back to his seat,
will they play back the part of the movie that he missed when he was out?



Author bio: Kent V. Anderson writes a variety of short stories, many of them rather whimsical. Kent lives west of Chicago with no cats or dogs, although several have expressed interest.

Muse is part of 101 Fiction issue 14.

Crossover

by Jack Holt

The doctor is shifting in his seat. “Continue.”

“I’m something else when I’m there,” Claire is saying. “I’m becoming more powerful every day.”

“How often do you visit this… shadow realm?”

Claire is studying him. “Whenever I close my eyes.”

The doctor is making notes. “Of course.”

Clare closes her eyes. Darkness swells in the corners of the room.

“I should close them more often.”

The floor is shaking.

The doctor looks up. He cannot see Claire. He drops his notes. He is standing now. The black is closing in.

A voice is booming. “Soon everyone will close their eyes.”



Author bio: Sometimes Jack writes things. You can read some of them at https://jackkholt.wordpress.com/

Crossover is part of 101 Fiction issue 14.

Potion

by Tom O’Brien

‘I would have your finest potion, m’lady. Black as Stygian depths, hot as Hades flame, strong as the Minotaur. Mark ye well though; let not the flame lick to the burn. Rather caress the liquid to ripe aroma, such to convince this God his divinity has returned, however fleetingly, on the first sip. Only you, sorceresses, safe in your enchantments, know I will be drawn back to your siren call. To throw myself, Sisyphean, on your merciless allure.’

‘Tall, Grande or Venti?’

‘Oh, umm; I’ll have a Grande, please.’

‘Two Ninety Nine, sir. Sugar behind you. Have a nice day.’



Author bio: Tom O'Brien is an Irishman living in London. He's been longlisted, shortlisted and placed in numerous competitions and publications around the web. He has a short story appearing in a forthcoming anthology published by Blood & Bourbon.

Potion is part of 101 Fiction issue 14.

Misled

by Kecia Sparlin

Sensual bottles filled with liquid gold stood in rows against a mirrored wall. Alone at the bar, Oscar watched himself sipping Scotch on the rocks. Blues crackled from a tin speaker. Conversation murmured at the tables. Illicit smoke stung his eyes, excusing the tear.

Goddess of Love, she had claimed. Oscar snorted. “Got that part right,” he muttered into his drink, then sucked dregs of whiskey from the ice. With a tremor, he tilted the glass toward the bartender. “Hit me again.”

The elixir she sold him had done the trick, made Wanda fall in love. Just not with him.



Author bio: Kecia Sparlin writes and writes. Many of her stories can be found free at her website, Muninn's Memories, https://muninnsmemory.com/

Misled is part of 101 Fiction issue 14.

Seeds

by Vidisha Phalke

Be careful of the quiet, the demure, the seemingly naïve; the girl with pretty smiles and empty laughter, with rebellion reflecting in her hidden frowns, with true intentions locked away in gentle angles. The immortals may be thought dead, but she hides behind the ribcage.

Pomegranate perfume steals the air from the room. Cloying. A hungry queen squeezes the heart, nurtures the greed. The girl dips ink like eating forbidden fruit, signs her name like a curse, hides behind the façade of innocence and lets the others label her new husband a blackmailer.

The Queen of the Dead still lives.



Author bio: Vidisha Phalke is a full-time writer and part-time high school student. She hopes to help create a more magical world.

Seeds is part of 101 Fiction issue 14.

Anvil

by LindaAnn Lo Schiavo

The first time he saw Venus, Vulcan loved. Without her as his wife, the god of fire knew his smithy’s flames could never be this intense. Even so, her busy womb is the tomb of marital harmony. Each time he catches Venus nude, another lover riding anvilled hips, lame Vulcan feels fenced in by fate.

The goddess who is love, loved him perhaps no better than all else.

Their partnership seems doomed until she comes bearing news, bearing their son – winged Cupid.

He’ll create lead-tipped arrows, equipping hands too young to have a conscience. Undetected, forger Vulcan tools his revenge.



Author bio: Native New Yorker LindaAnn Lo Schiavo is completing her 2nd documentary film on Texas Guinan [1884-1933] and dodging gun-molls in Shubert Alley and in decommissioned speakeasies.  To revive her spirits, she puts pen to paper.  

Recent credits are Peacock Journal, Measure, Nous, and Metamorphose Magazine, who published her short story on the Greek deity of wisdom – "Adventures with the Goddess Pallas Athena."

Anvil is part of 101 Fiction issue 14.

Retribution

by Lausdeus Otito Chiegboka

The spirits held a trial, the spirits of our fathers which the priest invokes in consecration, which Anakwudo, chief priest, invokes during incantation. They cursed you to die an ominous death. I do not know why those gods spared me. These things never happen without the knowledge of Chukwu Ukpabi, God of our ancestors, that gave life to our deities, and gave life to Adam to bring forth all of us, descendants.

I mourn that night we explored our fantasies under the Ukwa – Breadfruit – tree, hidden from the moonlight. That night a ripe Ukwa fruit fell, and split your head.



Author bio: Lausdeus Otito Chiegboka is a medical doctor from Nigeria with keen interest in literature. He was born in Nsukka, Nigeria and practises in Warri, Nigeria. He writes poems and prose, and also enjoys dancing and singing. He made the 2016 shortlist of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for the short story, "Exorcism".

My twitter handle is @chieslaus.

Retribution is part of 101 Fiction issue 14.

Deicide

by John Xero

“What’s it called when you kill a god?”

“Deicide.” Carter frowned. “Unless you mean, like, tearing the god and associated belief structure slash doctrine apart in the minds of his followers, in which case you want iconoclasm. I think.”

“First one.”

“Why?” Carter looked over at his partner, looking down at the man they had just killed. Nothing unusual in that. It was kind of their thing.

Blood pooled across the cracked paving. Blood that was dark and deep. Deeper than it ought to be. Blood with bright specks glittering in the deep dark, like stars.

“Deicide, you say?”

“Yeah.”



Author bio: Killing gods is a dangerous undertaking. This is not the first god John Xero has killed and he worries who may take notice if he starts making a habit of it...
@xeroverse
xeroverse.com

Deicide is part of 101 Fiction issue 14.

March 2017. Issue 14. Postscript.

Welcome to the end. Or possibly the beginning. Apocalypse... or genesis. And who's to say the two are so far separated?

If today is Sunday 5th March 2017 then you are witness to creation! Issue 14 will be going live throughout the day, with new stories appearing hour by hour.

If today is any day, year, age or aeon beyond that date then you have reached the end of the issue. It's not the end of the world, however (unless it is, in which case, thank you for choosing to end it here, with us), there are more tiny fiction treats beyond these to consume like literary candy. Keep going!

This being issue 14 there were 13 more before it. And there were more drabbles before that, before everything was packaged into a neat little quarterly 'zine.

We hope you've enjoyed everything you've read here, and continue to do so. Thank you for reading.

And thank you to everyone involved, everyone who posts, tweets and retweets.

And the biggest thank you of all to our contributors. To everyone who submits anything, whether they make it into the issue or not.

If you want to have a go, keep an eye here or on our twitter for details of our next theme and submissions period.

Keep reading.

Keep writing.

Keep creating.

-John Xero

Sunday, 8 January 2017

March Issue Open For Submissions.

Now closed for submissions.

Our new theme cycle starts now. We're looking for hundred word stories to fill the first of this year's four quarterly issues, and what better way to start the year than by going big. Real big. Your theme is: gods.

You have until Sunday 5th February to craft, polish and send your tiny tale.

Set your imagination free, run wild, steal creative fire from the gods themselves. It could be a god lost on the mortal plane, trapped by nefarious forces. A desperate goddess, using her dwindling power to protect her last true believer. Maybe a god returns to his abandoned people, only to find they have grown in power themselves and blame him for their terrible ordeals. Or the last god of a scientifically advanced species whose wards no longer have any use for him. A goddess finding the power she granted her priestesses turned back against her. A god's creations, made of its own flesh and being, whose desires and strange passions are affecting their creator's thoughts. A mortal once, become indistinguishable from a god through dark science and biblical retribution. A god who awakes to find in his sleep, in his dreams, he has created life.

It could be a mortal's encounter with an almighty being, a god, or god-like entity.

The story must be exactly one hundred words long, with a one word title. The title cannot be 'god(s)' or 'goddess(es)'. Bear in mind that we are a genre publication, sci-fi, fantasy, horror and surreal (with a little crime now and then), but ultimately, if the story is a great story, we'll publish it.

Semantics perhaps, but for the purposes of this issue - the theme is gods, be they good, evil or mad, but not devils or demons.

For full submissions info check out our submissions page.

Imagine. Create. Enjoy!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Hallowe'en 2016. Issue 13.

Welcome one and all – goblin, faerie and ghoul – to our Hallowe’en special. You have the house’s permission to enter. Cross the threshold but beware, there are scarier things than you in this lair.

We have thirteen stories to chill and thrill you, inspired in some way by that unlucky-for-some number, or that particular night of year, All Hallows’ Eve, when the veil between realms is stretched thin, when humans become other, hide inside themselves, and demons step free, cavorting amongst us unknown for a night. Do you dare remove the mask of the man dancing in front of you? What if it were not a mask at all?

We’ve got spirits, devils, demons and witches, murderers and... yoga? Yes, yoga. Dare you dally at the pumpkin parade, four twisted tales to ensure you never look at that plump orange gourd the same way again? Be warned, your winding path back to reality takes you through twisted nightmare landscapes and throws you out the other side of Allhallowtide, dishevelled and shaken, with a tribute to that great icon of horror, HP.

Check behind the sofa. Check under the bed. Check the mirror, is that you or your mask?

Get comfortable. Settle in for our Horrorful Hallowe’en special.

Read. Absorb. Be afraid.


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Keep scrolling down for the stories, or the whole issue is available in one easy bookmarkable place for later perusal under the issue 13 tag.

Alternatively, we live in a mobile world, and sometimes it's nice to know you have the stories in a safe place for when you want to read them, even where there's no signal, like the subway, atop a mountain, or some nightmarish alternate dimension without 3G. We've got you covered. Download the FREE .pdf version right here, right now.


Unsuspected

by Angela J. Maher

One night a year, the door cracks open and I can walk among you, unsuspected. I receive the admiring looks I deserve, with squeals of delight instead of fear. I can show my face without the threat of attack. I can unleash my voice and hide my truth in your lies.

One night a year, I belong. My path upon the Earth is accepted, expected. Striding free, stretching my muscles, I am a nightmare hiding in the middle of your fantasy. My treat is to trick you into thinking I am a hollow Halloween effigy. You have given me life.



Author bio: Angela is a SAHM, science graduate, bibliophile and writer. Based in Hobart (Australia), she is a member of the Tasmanian Writers Centre and the Australian Horror Writers Association, as well as Fiction Writers Group on Facebook. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter, and her website is angelajmaher.com

Unsuspected is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.