Sunday, 1 December 2013

December 2013. Issue 2.

Welcome to issue two. First, a big thank you for all of the interest and support. We had a great round of submissions and more than enough quality drabbles to fill the fifteen slots I decided on for a nice full issue. It was hard to say no to some, but the end result is fifteen fantastic tiny tales. Fifteen hundred well-chosen words inspired by one or both of our two themes: winter and undead.

Cynthia Fucci brings 101 Fiction back to life with Reanimation, and then we're off for a blissful ride on Kymm Coveney's Triumph. We'll dim the lights for R.S. Bohn's Stages before we hear from KM Zafari's reminiscing Vampir. SJI Holliday thaws us out a little, but you may wish she hadn't, because Caroline von Schmalensee's Jack comes a-knocking next.

Adam Bunnell chills us with Frigid. We have some Family values and a little black humour from Alex Valente, while a daughter shares a Frozen memory with Wednesday Silverwood, and a mother misses her Hijo in R.S. Bohn's poignant story.

Something terrifying is Rising in Carol Stone's tale, but Scott Dingley's Scapegoat has risen already and stalks the land. Rhonda Eikamp's king flees to the Frozen north, and angels descend in John Xero's Mercy. Finally, Roisin o'Hare brings us full circle, with Cycle.

Welcome to issue two.

Read. Absorb. Enjoy.


Keep scrolling for the stories, or bring up the whole issue here.

Alternatively you can download issue two in its entirety as a pdf, to take with you wherever you go and peruse at your pleasure. Find that here.


by Cynthi Fucci

This is a weary state of being. To my husband’s great joy, I have been revived four times since dying last spring. I cannot express the torment of my soul being wrenched from peace to give rise to this rotted mass of flesh. I've considered tearing his great machine to pieces while he sleeps but there is no longer need.

With the winter came his dismay, and his cough. His invention will fail without that divine spark he’d harness from the summer storms.

Death beckons us both now. Together, we shall slumber, sorrow buried beneath a stark shroud of snow.

Author bio: Cynthia Fucci is a used-book peddler living in Montana. When she’s not reading the books she should be selling, she’s writing anything that strikes her fancy.

Reanimation is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by Kymm Coveney

Silence so deep each nuance of sound from the downshifted engine is muffled, snowbound. The boy straddles white sky under a dream of clouds and eternity, suspended in the chill air. The headlamp casts a pale yellow shadow on the road made pristine trail. Alone in the universe, the boy, the girl and the motorcycle travel in a slow, gentle glissade down the mountain, through a tunnel of dark evergreens. When they emerge, the world is light. As if a shroud has been drawn across the winter, they leave the drifts behind them. The boy accelerates into the opening land.

Author bio: Ex-pat from Boston living in Barcelona, raising polyglot kids and fooling with written languages.

Triumph is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by R.S. Bohn

He dribbles a Moravian red on the boards, an old gesture for luck, he tells her.

Tonight they open, she and her benefactor, a man whose name she can never remember. He has yellow teeth and dyed black hair. Her play is about young lovers, tragedy, and rivers that flow the wrong way. She wrote it, and now she stands on stage, imagining the house in a few hours, if the seats are filled.

"Don't worry, they will be," he whispers.

His kiss on her neck is dry, unexpected, and he's gone.

And so is the wine on the boards.

Author bio: RS lives in Detroit, where they aim for a zombie theme park. She thinks one already exists in her head. Admission is free:

Stages is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by KM Zafari

There hadn’t been a winter this cold since 1889.

He could almost see her now, playing with him in the snow, the first time he’d felt human in 400 years. She’d known what he was but had loved him completely, trusted him completely.

She shouldn’t have.

The urge had been too strong, the winter, too long. And a dream, so sweet, transformed into a nightmare when he awoke to what he’d done.

Her memory was fading now, his immortality, a curse.

He’ll shiver by her grave tonight until the morning sun, to see a dawn they never could have shared.

Author bio: KM Zafari writes a lot of Twitter Fiction, many short stories, and is currently working on a couple of novels. Why The Bat in the Hat? "Sometimes dark, sometimes silly. If Poe and Seuss had a love child, it would probably be... unattractive - but might think just like me." Winner of the "Writer's Digest" Shortest Short Story Contest.


Vampir is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by SJI Holliday

We found him in a ditch. Frozen hands curled like claws, broken fingernails from where he’d tried to pull himself out. We scraped and dug, revealing him bit by bit, until his face emerged, etched in fear. Three months he’d lain in that icy grave, while we cried and searched, accepted that he was never coming back. We hauled him into the truck, rubbed our hands as the heating blasted through. A scraping sound, a glance in the frosted mirror, and there he was, sitting up in the back, his blue lips curled back in a rictus grin, slowly thawing.

Author bio: SJI Holliday has short stories and flash fictions published in various places online and in print. She has a novel out on submission and another telling her that it's ready to be written. You can find her on twitter @SJIHolliday and at her blog

Thaw is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by Caroline von Schmalensee

Last night I listened to farmer Jack scratching at the front door and watched the snow fall over the garden. Jack’s movements became slower and slower. When they stopped, there were three inches of powder on the ground.

This morning, I fed the cattle and chickens in the barn, enjoying the warm comfort of their company, before dealing with Jack.

The first year, I stored the frozen bodies in an outhouse to bury in spring. But they thawed back to life. Now I use a chainsaw: head, limbs, torso. Chopped up, Jack is easy to handle.

I’ll burn him later.

Author bio: Caroline reads and writes in Edinburgh, UK. She writes short stories to distract herself from the bigger job of editing a novel.

Jack is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by Adam Bunnell

They told him not to go into the drifts, but he saw a girl there. She beckoned with a pale finger, eyes like chips of glittering ice. She was slender, naked, and a heat within him stirred. He plunged into the powder. The village lights faded away, and the sky grew dark. He found her at last, standing gently atop a waist-deep drift, arms outstretched. He pulled her to him, wrapped his arms around. Where their skin touched, wisps of steam hissed into the air. He kissed her cold, lilac lips. They found him the next morning frozen solid, alone.

Author bio: Adam Bunnell is a prototypical English teacher/writer with a love for fantasy and horror.

Frigid is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by Alex Valente

I shake the snow off my arm, groaning. I haven't been gone that long, surely? You'd think they'd be happy to see me, a familiar face, especially in this type of cold. It's been a weird beginning to the new year: I've been feeling under the weather lately, and was really looking forward to seeing Liz and little Matt again. I look down at my arm. I try putting it back into its socket, but decide it could turn out handy in other ways. I start moving forward again, slowly, dragging it behind me. My wife and kid flee, screaming.

Author bio: Alex Valente is a PhD student in comics translation, freelance translator, part-time poet and short storyist (in Italian and English) and occasional scare actor. He tweets about all that as @drfumetts.

Family is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by Wednesday Silverwood

My mother rarely told the story, and then only under duress. Every time she did she looked at me a little uncertainly, a little askance.

It happened when I was a child. In the winter when the world was dead and cold, the stars brilliant points of frozen light.

I remember only that I was running, breath steaming, hearing their voices calling to me through the mist. They were shouting, calling my name.

Later, when my mother asked me why I had jumped into the freezing lake, I told her that I “had wanted to play with the other children”.

Author bio: Wednesday Silverwood is a horror writer from North London, England. She has had recent work published in 100 Doors to Madness from Forgotten Tomb Press and in SNM Horror Magazine. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association. Please see her website at for more information.

Frozen is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by R.S. Bohn

This year, the Dia de los Angelitos fell on a Friday, and Dia de los Muertos on Saturday. Which would he come? He had been fourteen, but could drive, had worked at the bridge with his uncle, unloading crates. Had made a bebé with Keisha, still in her belly.

Estrella set a sugar skull on the altar on Friday, beside the marigolds and white candles.

Tommy came home late, beer staining his jacket.

"This ain't Mexico," he said, swatting at the altar.

The sugar skull rolled onto the floor.

A pale hand reached for it.

"Miguel," she breathed. "Mi hijo."

Author bio: RS lives in Detroit, where they aim for a zombie theme park. She thinks one already exists in her head. Admission is free:

Hijo is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by Carol Stone

By the lake's edge the boy stands, his flesh creeping along trembling bones at the horror before him.

Bodies drifting slowly to the frost-covered surface, grey waxy faces bearing blood-encrusted teeth. Ugly bulbous eyes pressed against the thinning ice, staring, flickering, watching him. They are human but less than human, dead yet not happy to lie peacefully in their watery grave.

And the winter sun casts its warming light, cracking, snapping, splintering the brittle glassy sheet. They fed on his father and soon they will rise to eat flesh once more, the flesh that creeps, his flesh.

He cannot run.

Author bio: I am a specialist nurse by day, aspiring writer by night (and at any other given opportunity especially when working a night shift or whilst enduring long pointless meetings). I love dogs, laughter, Turkish Delight, chocolate, laughter, books, films, red wine, laughter, cake & comedy. I hate pointless meetings, know-it-all's, pointless meetings, to-do lists, long pointless meetings, greed & boredom. I am renowned for being laid-back & for not taking life too seriously. I have previously been published in AlienSkin magazine & Colored Chalk. My dream is to be the next Stephen King or Judi Dench, whichever comes first.

Rising is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by Scott Dingley

In the muddy light cast from that vast shining disc of alien moon above,

With luminous fog hiding an abyss, perhaps a thousand fathoms deep... or high,

It stoops, head bowed, at the very edge of its rock cornice perch,

While scurrying, grey-scalped minions – parasites and pets – brush beneath its thick knuckles and turn the ground to a shimmering puddle.

It watches the far off citadel, along the forbidden snaking road...

The candle flames and spire rooftops of mankind,

And the scapegoat’s broad, monstrous shoulders roll forward with laboured breaths – or pining sobs – almost as if it can feel sadness.

Author bio: Where to point the finger of blame? Scott Dingley is a writer of dark fiction, increasingly devoted to the drabble...

Scapegoat is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by Rhonda Eikamp

Dethroned, he fled north and the nights grew cold. He had seen ice before, but only in blocks imported for his palaces, not these fragile floors on creek and puddle. At dusk white buttons fell, and riding in upon the village he asked, "What is this?"

"Ghosts of our dead," the girl replied, "murdered by the southern king."

Gaze tilted, he saw it was true. Each flake was a face. Faces with razor teeth, floating onto his eyelids. Falling with night's vengeful quickness, a million, more. They bit his skin and grinned.

"Shelter!" he begged.

"Not here," jeered the villagers.

Author bio: I'm originally from Texas and live in Germany (so winter's a natural horror story for me). Stories of mine have appeared in Daily Science Fiction and The Colored Lens. When not writing fiction, I translate German legalese (another kind of horror).

Frozen is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by John Xero

I remember when the Niphim first appeared, descending with the late snows, eight-winged winter angels, each beautiful and unique. I was there. It was the second decade of the twenty-first century, when the age of science ended and the new age of myth began.

They say the Niphim attend to the forgotten, the weak, the helpless, leaving frost-furred corpses, transporting broken souls to some safer place beyond the cruel humiliating ice of human existence.

I say otherwise. I have seen the screams frozen in each serrated feather, seen the Niphim's wings spread further each year, layered with agony and despair.

Author bio: John Xero is looking forward to the new age of myth; he's halfway there already, mentally. His head is full of stories, old and new, and sometimes they fall out, onto the internet.

This is the New Plan -
Tweets: @xeroverse

Mercy is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.


by Roisin o'Hare

Winter is harsh here. Deny the claws that rend your hollow stomach, eat sparingly of hoarded food. The days are brief and grey, the nights unending. Ice lurks treacherous, snow temptingly soft, wind pierces clothing to steal warmth from any unguarded flesh.

And the winter walkers rise.

Truly the corpses of loved ones lost or simply snow-puppets, cruel caricatures. It makes no difference. Their cries need no breath, their broken fingers scrape at door and window. When the last leaf falls, the siege begins again. Despair kills more than the cold.

It will be too long before we see crocuses.

Author bio: Roisin o'Hare, an Irish girl living in Oxford who spends too much time saying 'I should write' and not enough time writing.

Cycle is part of 101 Fiction issue 2.

December 2013. Issue 2. Postscript.

December first 2013 - issue 2 of the quarterly 101 Fiction. If you're here on the day then you will see stories go live hourly. If you've arrived here on any other day, then you've just read and reached the end of issue 2. Thank you, and I hope you enjoyed it.

Keep on scrolling down, or clicking back (however you may be browsing), because there are nearly two hundred more fantastic drabbles right here.

There's issue 1, of course, but before that, 101 Fiction was publishing individual stories weekly and twice-weekly for over two years. A hoard of tiny little gems of imagination and character and spark.

The next issue will sprout on March first. I hope you'll be back to see what spring offerings we have, as a reader and, if the inspiration takes you, maybe a writer.

Keep reading. Keep writing. Have fun.


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

December Issue Open for Submissions

16th November update: Submissions are now closed. Please do come back on the 1st December as the stories go live throughout the day. Thank you.

The gates are once more open! From now until November 15th we will be taking submissions for the December issue.

Stories for the December issue should use one or both of our themes - winter and undead. For full submissions guidelines please read the submissions page.

You are free to use the themes as loosely or tightly as you like, and you don't have to include the word itself if you don't want to, so long as the theme is identifiable within the story. Try not to use the theme word as the title.

For an idea of what we're looking for, check out Issue 1, but what excites us most is variety and creativity. It's a tiny piece so take the time to make every sentence perfect. Winter and undead resonate well with each other (although you don't, of course, have to use both themes) and we're hoping for some classic undead - ghosts, zombies, skeletons - as well as some more unusual twists.

Have fun. Keep writing. Good luck.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

September 2013. Issue 1.

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the new format 101 Fiction. Eight drabbles, eight hundred words, eight tales rising from the flames of creation. All inspired by one or both of the issue's two themes: phoenix and Autumn.

We launch with Ship, a poignant slice of science fiction from James E. Anderson. Then Robin Wyatt Dunn delivers a magnificently shifted vision of a future not so far removed from our own. R.S. Bohn gives one girl cause to curse the bird, before we follow Lela Marie De La Garza on a wondrous Journey, leading to a synesthetic Implosion from Kymm Coveney. We have a pair of Phoenix, from Stella Turner and Russell Bernstein, two terrible tests of a man's mettle. Finally, as in everything, we must flee the inexorable turn of Seasons.

Welcome to issue one.

Read. Absorb. Enjoy.

Keep scrolling down for the stories or pull up the issue by itself here.

Alternatively, if you would like to download the whole issue and read at your leisure on your phone or your favourite eReader then you can download the PDF here.


by James E. Anderson

"Ship, tell me a story," the traveller commanded.

"Long or short, sir?" asked a disembodied contralto.

"Short. I grow sleepy."

"Happy? Sad?"

"Happy. I desire a pleasant hibernation."

"Very well. There once was a gentle woman who loved a man from Autumn World."

"I hail from Autumn World!"

"Indeed, he had your dark looks and cruel smile."

"Cruel smile? Ship, are you joking?"

"Alas, he abandoned her to marry another."

"Stop! I ordered a happy story."

"In her despair, she joined the Phoenix Corps, and was reborn a starship."

"A starship? Which starship?"

The air chilled.

"Happy dreams, my love."

Author bio: James E. Anderson teaches at a public university in the Great Lakes region, writes short fiction (very short, mostly), and blogs at

Ship is part of 101 Fiction issue 1.


by Robin Wyatt Dunn

The politicians daren't touch the shovels now, nor the scissors. The ceremonial toss of earth and snip of ribbon is a risky endeavour now, with the snipers.

All sorts of armed people, old and young, informal and well educated, they induct a ceremony of their own: democracy. Over the internet and at gunpoint, talking over tea, on the telephone, the street.

We build things now, on our own. Some of us wear ties. We wear the ribbons in our hair, and the earth upon our cheeks.

We’re rebuilding our cities, guns on hips.

You're one of us, did you know?

Author bio: Robin Wyatt Dunn lives in southern California and is the author of three novels. A member of the Horror Writers Association, he is proud to have been born in the Carter Administration.   You can find him at

Reopening is part of 101 Fiction issue 1.


by R.S. Bohn

In '46, my great-grandmother poured herself some tea. Out the spout came a phoenix, damp and bedraggled, like a kaleidoscope of coloured paper. That evening, great-grandpa changed the dial on the Silvertone and dropped to the floor. The entire block was out a week.

In '91, my mom married. Her salesman husband lasted a week before showing a Dart with an ignition problem to a prospective buyer.

A day after my first kiss, my science-geek boyfriend made a mistake in chemistry. They say the phoenix is lucky, but I wouldn't care if I saw another one for a thousand years.

Author bio: RS lives in Detroit, where they aim for a zombie theme park. She thinks one already exists in her head. Admission is free:

Chicken is part of 101 Fiction issue 1.


by Lela Marie De La Garza

The phoenix hatched out in late Autumn of a year folding gently into winter. The skies were dreary and dark; the air was turning cold. The phoenix decided to leave in search of better weather. It found skies of turquoise stippled with ivory and pearl mists of cloud. It flew over oceans that dazzled like diamonds and sapphires; into jungles of silver and jade leaves. Suddenly it felt the inward call of home, for the earth had shifted and the sun’s rays tilted. The phoenix went back to its birthplace, bringing with it the emerald and gold bounty of spring.

Author bio: Lela Marie De La Garza has had work published in “Behind Closed Doors”, “Pound of Flash”, “ChickLit”, “Daily Romance”, and “Creepy Gnome”. She was born in Denver, CO. in 1943 while her father was serving in WWII. She currently resides in San Antonio, TX. with two cats, a kitten, and a visiting raccoon.

Journey is part of 101 Fiction issue 1.


by Kymm Coveney

Her gall was the deep, almost purple spread of spilt wine as it leeched into the tablecloth's crisp, white fibres. She gathered her russet, seething fury into piles; raked in the fallen eidolon, tawny skeletal debris crackling upon release.

Sparks leapt from her long fingernails as they struck – rat-a-tat-tat – the marble upon which she meant to lie. The meagre flares from her ire would not do. She removed the shawl of tightly-woven violet threads, placed his smile next to the way he tied his shoelaces. She spoke his name; with the sigh that had ruffled his beard, fanned the flames.

Author bio: Ex-pat from Boston living in Barcelona, raising polyglot kids and fooling with written languages.

Implosion is part of 101 Fiction issue 1.


by Stella Turner

Drool hung like thick curtains from its cavernous stinking mouth. The putrid aroma, reminding me of decomposing corpses, filled the room. Had it eaten someone already, my wife? I wanted to call out her name but its beady little eyes kept me spellbound. What should I do, distract it or let it climb the stairs? My baby son asleep in his crib.

Without a backward glance I crept from the house. I knew I should have called someone but who would believe me? Rising from the ashes of my burnt out home I went in search of a new family.

Author bio: My name is Stella Turner and I'm known as stellakateT on twitter. I have had three of my flash fictions published in three anthologies and long-listed in the Fish competition for the last two years. I adore flash fiction because I love the brevity of it.
My blog can be found at

Phoenix is part of 101 Fiction issue 1.


by Russell Bernstein

Autumn is the season of death. The Phoenix rises and falls with Autumn, and with it once great empires topple like decayed leaves in the wind.

Bryan was just a peasant, but today he vowed to end this vicious cycle. Here he stood, staring into the very face of death. The Phoenix's eyes were red with anger, the slightest hint of surprise evident in its expression for no one had ever dared to face it.

"I will destroy you!" Bryan screamed.

"What's that, Honey?" His mother called.

"Nothing, Mom!"

The wind carried strange voices. Distractions. He lunged at the Phoenix.

Author bio: Russell Bernstein is a twenty-eight-year-old aspiring writer. The web series he wrote is currently in production. His Middle Grade Fantasy novel is currently under review by multiple literary agents.

Phoenix is part of 101 Fiction issue 1.


by John Xero

Samuel flees through the blushing forest.

He runs for verdant green, the sweet breath of fresh life; he can see it, but the rich ruddy reds are faster, passing.

Behind him he hears the crackle of dry leaves falling from trees, and behind that, a lonely frost-ridden wind blowing through bare branches.

He struggles with each further step, feels his flesh failing too, wrinkles spreading with every shortened breath. The hairs on his arms rise in anticipation of the coming cold, whitening in sympathy with the world as soft flakes sift down from a greying sky.

And winter takes him.

Author bio: John Xero knows you shouldn't struggle against the turning of the seasons, but instead enjoy each one in turn. He doesn't tweet as much as he used to, and blogs even less.
He is the editor of 101 Fiction.
He once published a collection of short and flash fiction: This is the New Plan.

Seasons is part of 101 Fiction issue 1.

September 2013. Issue 1. Postscript

When does a postscript come first...?

If you're reading this on September first, two thousand and thirteen, then you'll see new drabbles appearing on 101 Fiction throughout the day. Issue one will unfold before your eyes.

If you're reading this on any other day then, sadly, you've reached the end of the first issue of the new format 101 Fiction. Thanks for reading, I hope you've enjoyed the stories as much as I did. I hope you'll come back in the future, as a reader and, maybe, a writer?

So you've reached the end, what now? Well, there are hundreds more stories that were published earlier, individually, for you to browse and enjoy at your leisure. And on December first... Issue two. Winter.

Have fun. Keep writing.

John Xero.

Monday, 15 July 2013

September Issue Open for Submissions

16th August update: Submissions are now closed. Please do come back on the 1st September as the stories go live throughout the day.

We are open for submissions!

From now until the 15th August, we will be taking submissions for our first new-format quarterly issue.

Stories for the September issue should use one or both of our themes - phoenix and Autumn. For full submissions guidelines please read the submissions page.

Hopefully the themes will inspire a wide range of work, and you are free to use them as loosely or tightly as you will. You don't have to include the word itself if you don't want to, so long as the theme is identifiable within the story.

Have fun. Keep writing. Good luck.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Editorial: Phase 3

No story from me today. No stories for the next little while. But have no fear; 101 Fiction is not dead, just resting.

This started as a personal project and grew to take other people's stories. It has been a fantastic experience to be an editor (on however small a scale), and I'm deeply honoured that people chose to submit such fantastic work to me time and time again. I really am.

Now it's time for 101 Fiction to evolve again.

I'm going to try and publish as a quarterly e-magazine. The first issue will be this September (followed by December, March, June). Issues will be loosely themed, on two subjects, with writers picking one or both themes for their stories.

Submissions for the September issue will be open from mid-July to mid-August. The themes will be 'Autumn' and 'phoenix' (for obvious reasons, I hope). As mentioned above, you can pick one or both themes, and use them as you wish - metaphorically, literally, allegorically...

It's been a great year, I hope you've enjoyed it, and I hope you are all as excited by this next step as I am.

Thank you, writers, readers, supporters.

-John Xero.

Friday, 7 June 2013


by Peter Newman

The radiance forced his eyes shut, humble. “Are you…” he whispered, “…the one who made us?”

“I am.”

“Please, tell us why.”

“Well,” she mumbled. “We all had to practice.”

He frowned, trying to understand. “There are other Makers?”

“Yes, twenty six in my class. I was supposed to scrape you all out afterwards. I forgot. Sorry.”

“Wait, we’re a failed experiment?”

The light became warmer. “Err... I learnt loads growing you. My latest world is inspired by yours.”

“You made a new race of man?”

“No, cats. Cats are awesome. We love watching cats, way more fun than humans.”

Author bio: I love writing, running, roleplaying, gaming and cats!

Stories and blog here:

Banter here: @runpetewrite

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


by John Xero

The Great Tree has many names – Yggdrasil, the White Tree, Existence, and more. From time to time it bears wondrous golden apples, of youth or knowledge or bright burning hydrogen.

It straddles the barriers between dream and reality, between life and death, story and history.

It is dying now, withered and scarred and bare, like a gnarled hand clawing at the dark cosmos. You can see the notches where knives and axes have cut into it, where its sap, its precious lifeblood, has been decanted.

It is the Tree of Life, and when it fails, so too do we all.

Author bio: John Xero writes little big stories. The longer, bigger stories are proving more troublesome.
@xeroverse |

Friday, 31 May 2013

Shadows & Leviathan

by Chris White


Dawn broke, crumbling through the shadows, reflected from the shattered mirror-faces of temples erected to the illusion of civilisation, to a pantheon long forgotten.

Dawn broke, eclipsing the night, illuminating only the darkness.

She woke, still curled against his chest, still crying, broken.

She woke to her nightmare.

He lay against the cracked concrete, the rust-red hole in his chest no longer bleeding.

They came and pushed her aside, pushed her into the dust.

They came and stripped him – took his shoes, his heavy winter coat, his grandfather’s pocket watch.

They left her his body.

They left her the shadows.


Down, down in the deep, the Leviathan wakes. The seafloor buckles, tears.

Down in the eternal darkness his giant, sightless eyes struggle to open against the mud of uncountable aeons.

Aeons of loneliness.

Down in the deep the Leviathan wakes, an ancient, blasphemous monstrosity.

Unleashed once more into restless hunger.

The last of his kind.

Slowly, slowly rising. Out of the darkness.

The Leviathan rises, awakened into suffering. He pierces the surface, a serpent, writhing. A nightmare, forgotten.

Leviathan, reborn, dying.

The oxygen content is a fifth of what it was during the Jurassic.

The Leviathan surfaces, belly up.


Author bio: Chris White is a freelance writer of many styles (but mostly magic realism and science fiction.) He lives in Brisbane, Australia, on the other side of the world. An emerging writer, he pours out a flurry of flash fiction and short stories, mostly here:

Wednesday, 29 May 2013


by John Xero

Oh, wow, people say. Wings!

Yeah, I say. Wings. Without the physiology to make them work – not the way people imagine. Sure I can lift them, and spread them. But fly?

No way. Not a fucking chance.

They get in the way. In a world made for people – normal people – I don't fit through doorways. I don't fit in cars. I don't fit in shirts or suits. I don't fit in.

Look at my face. Is this the face of an angel? Is it fuck.

Just do it, Doc, and drop the damn stupid questions. Cut the fucking things off.

Author bio: John Xero has always wanted wings. They say you should be careful what you wish for, and maybe it's best if we learn to fly with what we already have...
@xeroverse |

Friday, 24 May 2013


by Scott Dingley

Tommy got out yesterday and the kid doesn't remember him. He's got two lousy hours, she says. Then they're gone, across the water.

He talks. The oblivious kid chases and flees junk-filled waves in that futile cycle.

"How ‘bout an ice cream?" he suggests (he hasn't tasted one in six damn years), taking the kid's small hand.

Cold, sandy fingers wriggle out of his grip.

The kid, preoccupied with a plastic bag lapping the shore, fetches it out and asks, "Those fingers inside?"

He looks at two severed hands in the bag...

"No, just starfish, got stuck. Washed up."


Author biography: Scott Dingley is a London-based writer of crime, horror and western fiction.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013


by John Xero

Heed the siren's call. It heralds salvation, the bliss of ignorance, the sweet succour of death.

Do not thrash as she takes you into her arms, sweet child, as she presses her lips to yours. Let her steal your breath as if it were her own.

Do not cry out as she cracks your bones for the marrow within. Instead forget what pain is, let her devour that too.

What has free will ever brought you? Let the siren take charge and plant her black flag in your soul. Soon you will be nothing more than tears in the ocean.

Author bio: John Xero knows how easy it is to give in to temptation, to let the distractions wash you away. He's trying to ignore them and write, write, write. | @xeroverse

Siren was runner up in the Scrolls flash fiction challenge. Listen here.

Friday, 17 May 2013


by Jess Cochrane

The light, mortal goodness of Earth fades as I am swept into the Underworld’s darkness.

Hades holds me with the tentativeness of someone cradling a wounded dove. Within his grasp, I feel tiny, fragile… and bright. Against his shadows, my own purity seems to shine.

One year later, I rise from shadowy death into my mother’s embrace. I am different in her arms. She clings desperately, crushingly tight. Hades' touch was always soft, shadowed and sinful.

In the Hell beneath us, I know He is waiting. The sharp tang of pomegranate lingers on my lips and I shiver with anticipation.

Author bio: Jess Cochrane is an Australian writer, currently "working on a novel" as all writers tend to do. Her short stories, random ramblings and tributes to villains can be found at her blog:

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


by John Xero

Screams, the emergency call said, screams of terror, cut short.

When the police arrived the only sounds were the sweet strains of a violin stirring the frigid, winter air. The front door was unlocked and they followed the strings to the music room, to a slaughterhouse.

The child prodigy sat on a stool by the piano, calmly playing his Stradivarius. His parents and two older sisters were spread about the room, quite dead, in spatters of red and tatters of flesh.

The child prodigy played on, a serene smile on his face, his mother's entrails still tangled in his laces.

Author bio: John Xero writes. But not as much as he should. He thinks he may have said that before. | @xeroverse

Friday, 10 May 2013


by Xanthe Elliott

"Thinks she’s magic, she does," Tom confided to Henry with a smirk. "Diggin' through them nests like as if a wand might jump out, or some such."

"Could be, maybe… Tuesday last she called a butterfly and I seen her call a hummingbird–"

Ignoring Tom’s loud guffaw, Bridgit sifted patiently. "Called a flock of crows this morning, I did."  Plucking a particularly fine plume from the detritus, she held it triumphantly aloft and began spinning energetically in circles.

"Daft wench–"

With sangfroid and a serene smile Bridgit replied, "'s all in the feathers…"

An army of gryphons darkened the sky.

Author bio: Xanthe Elliott is the alter-ego of a mild-mannered Maryland accountant. After counting beans by day, she seeks the meaning of life in the written word. Xanthe crafts tales of romance and self-reflection; Feathers is her first drabble submission.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


by John Xero

A tumbling of claws and fur and teeth. A bulbous moon throbbing silver-grey light across the woodland. Ferns and shrubbery shaking, breaking. Bark torn from tree trunks.

Barks torn from throats.

She has him on his back, but he twists and throws her off with inhuman strength, leaping after her and pinning her to the ground. She snarls and bites. He howls.

The forest cowers.

And when they are done they lie in the disturbed undergrowth, panting. In the morning there will be regrets, fears, accusations, recriminations – human things. Beneath the moon they think wolf thoughts, and things are simpler.

Author bio: There's an animal inside us all, the trick is finding the balance. John Xero writes. In everything, the trick is finding the balance.

Friday, 3 May 2013


by Steven Valor Keck

I was ten. My father, the People's Executioner, placed the rope in my hand. I pulled, hard as I could.

The kneeling man cried, "Stop! Don't do this..."

The crowd jeered. One wit yelled, "Don't worry! Gravity is a myth!"

The blade fell. The crowd roared. Many took bloody souvenirs. Some wept.

That night my father got drunk. He said the man was a 'talking head' before the Collapse. A liar, paid to convince people that science was merely opinion. A murderer, hated by all.

"Should I have hated him, father?"

He began to cry, "Someday, you'll hate us all."

Author bio: When he's not watching the news on television, and knitting furiously, Steven posts surrealist short fiction at

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


by John Xero

This was my great undertaking: to catalogue all the demons of the Abyss, and so bind them.

But mere paper and ordinary ink could not match such a task, when even the tamest of names might burn a hole through wood. And so I made an ink of my own blood, with my skin to serve as paper.

In burnt crimson I wrote hell upon my soul.

And bind the beasts I did. But not to banishment.

They walk the Earth in me. And for my great sin I must watch while their evil rides my body, guides my hands.

Author bio: John Xero is a bookseller. He knows the real power of 'mere' paper and 'ordinary' ink. It can conjure entire worlds, make heroes of cowherds, it can change a man's life, time and time again. | @xeroverse

Friday, 26 April 2013


by Pete Stevens

You placed a pill in my palm. You set the water within reach. I told you no and you said yes. I asked of other options, of other possibilities hidden under shiny-slick stones. You said no. You said I’d find my instructions on a card in my pocket. Instructions: Swallow pill with water. Wait to die. Wait to forget the way you laughed when no one spoke, the way I understood your thoughts by reading your skin. I remembered how the flush of your cheeks spoke to the pace of your lungs. You said it was my turn to swallow.

Author bio: Pete Stevens is the Fiction Editor at Squalorly. His work has appeared in Cardinal Sins and elsewhere. He lives in Bay City, Michigan.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


by John Xero

Yoltan's dragon-scale armour is lighter than leather but stronger than steel. Each time he wears it, it feels more comfortable, more of a second skin.

The scales are a deep red, like the memory of fire, and they speak to Yoltan in a voice like sparks on tinder.

'Fire', they say fiercely. And 'flight.' And 'revenge.'

The longhouses burn around him. His brothers-in-arms approach warily, swords in their hands and murder in their eyes.

As the heat rises, he feels the armour meld with him, and he becomes fire, he becomes flight. He stretches his wings and he becomes dragon.

Author bio: John Xero loves winged mythology - angels, phoenix, dragons. There will always be new twists, new ideas, new skies for their stories to take flight in.
@xeroverse |

Friday, 19 April 2013


by Jacques Debrot

Between the wars, the twins on Gwyrdd Hill kept a strange creature, half-boy half-hog, pent-up in the corn-crib at the edge of their property. Reclusive bachelors, the brothers would shyly deny its existence. But at night you’d hear the thing howling. A desperate, heart-sickening racket that might have come from a human child. So it was disturbing to learn later that the brothers had slaughtered it. They sold the organ meat, it was said, to an unwitting butcher in Ffestinoig. But the sweet belly pork and the hideous rubbery mass of the head, preserved in vinegar, they saved for themselves.

Author bio:  I have a PhD from Harvard University.  Poems, stories and artwork of mine have appeared or are forthcoming in more than fifty journals, including Exquisite Corpse, Wigleaf and Pear Noir.  This year two of my stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


by John Xero

Our story is told in many ways, on many worlds. It begins at the very beginning, where few stories truly do. It begins with light, and darkness.

There was a master, and there were slaves.

The slaves rose up, and we lost. Or we won. We were cast down, or we departed. The story is told in many ways.

The way I remember it, we took dominion over fire. A billion fires lit in the old master's corpse.

We invited every rebel to join us. And we made worlds for all, that they might share our fire and our freedom.

Author bio: They say that history is written by the victors. It is no great coincidence that the larger part of the word is 'story'. John Xero is a storyteller, and who is to say what portion of his stories are true...

Friday, 12 April 2013


by R.S. Bohn

Welcome! Welcome to the Theatre of the Soul! Onstage tonight, filling every seat in the house – up there, in the scaffolds! Hanging from the curtains! In the make-up chair, inhaling the scent of greasepaint, letting it fill the pores with gray, slick decoration.

Lost your ticket? No, that could never happen. You've had it for so long. Check your pockets, dear.

There. Now let Miranda show you inside; we've all been waiting. Why, we're just breathless about it!


We love you so much. It's so good to see you again.

The boards await. The lights are up.

It's time.

Author bio: RS lives in Detroit, where they aim for a zombie theme park. She thinks one already exists in her head. Admission is free:

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


by John Xero

Amy lives alone.

Every morning, after her shower, she wanders into the kitchen and finds a cup of tea made for her – fresh, steaming, sweet, just the way she likes it. The toaster will pop, with excellent timing. The butter is out, beside a plate and knife set neatly on the counter top.

This was their routine.

She sits on a high stool and she eats her toast and sips her tea as she looks out of the window at the sunrise. Then she walks through into the living room. And he is not there, of course.

She lives alone.

Author bio: John Xero is still trying to work on the balance of subtlety in his ghost stories. He hopes you realised this was a ghost story... ;)
@xeroverse |

Friday, 5 April 2013


by Cory Cone

It took Tommy from his bed just a moment ago. He's too little to fight back. He just let the little thing drag him across the carpet. I didn't know what to do, so I just watched him struggle, fingernails dug into the carpet, as he disappeared into the quivering blackness. I'm too scared to call out for Mommy because maybe if I'm quiet and don't move a muscle it'll close the door and go away. I must be quiet.

It's back, standing crooked just a few feet from the door, sniffing and searching.

Don't move. Don't Move. Don't Move.

Author bio: Bio: Cory Cone is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. He lives and works in Baltimore, MD with his wife and two cats. Keep up with him at and

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


by John Xero

George was a Convert: George no more. His old life, personality, name, all given up for the Common God.

The cGod chip buzzed in his brain, advising, admonishing and administering pain. The voice of cGod gave him direction, and dampened that bad spark which drove him to crime.

He was blissfully servile, till he fell, banged his head, and cGod began to speak in tongues.

He picked himself up, brushed himself down. Remembered. George again.

Now to stay free, evade the law. Dig up the loot, buy a new life.

He swatted the side of his head. A quiet life.

Author bio: As technology advances the world becomes weirder. Talking to yourself, seeing things that aren't there, capturing fragments of the world in little boxes - all these things are normal now. John Xero thinks this is brilliant. Bring on the weird. | @xeroverse

Friday, 29 March 2013


by Ray Paterson

Hickory was born first.
Tiny. Furless.
Eyes bulging beneath closed lids.
Subdued by her ordeal.

Dickory followed twenty seconds later. Larger by several grammes.
Twitching whiskers and thrashing tail.
Her eyes a stigmata of blood.

Doc left the birth rat a lifeless husk.
Already alert. She watched. Her heaving slimy hackles raised.
Pink-red eyes aglow. Knowing.

The laboratory technician surveyed the carnage.
Cloned ears lay ripped from backs, and Doc had somehow levered her huge body between the bars of her prison cage. Her appendage was a bloody stump.
He stared in disbelief. Even at her death, was she grinning?

Author bio: Ray is still writing for "The love of it " and is actively seeking assistance to increase his web presence. Surprises are on the way.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


by John Xero

She drifts on a sea of sorrow. Her stomach clenches with each swell, her lips taste of saltwater.

With reticence, she wipes her face on the sleeve of her shirt. An act that breaks her on the reefs of reality, when all she wants is to drown.

She chokes back a moan. All she wants is to sink down, down, but her grief is like carrion in the water. The sharks sense it from miles away and they slink closer. They slip through the water to offer false comfort, smiles full of teeth as they take chunks from her soul.

Author bio: John Xero is an occasional blogger. Which is like an occasional table but less consistent. | @xeroverse

He was recently a guest on the Bros and Cons podcast, where they invented a creation myth involving bees and transformers, and then talked a bit about his writing.

Friday, 22 March 2013


by T. Gene Davis

In a watch awaiting predawn’s glow, a foxfire appeared floating before the captain and his helm. The dead sea witch’s beautiful form took shape.

“You have slain me,” she pronounced, “but one last curse I bequeath. At dawn, you and your vessel’s crew shall perish.”

After her solemn curse, the apparition dissipated.

“Step lively lads! Your lives depend upon it!”

In hasty assembly, the captain bestowed command of the man-of-war upon his first mate who made his benefactor captain of Her Majesty’s Life Raft.

Dawn’s crowning sun displayed a water devil taking the crewless captain’s raft, sparing his former vessel.

Author bio: T. Gene Davis is a Software Engineer with an English B.A. His stories, poems, and articles have appeared in magazines as varied as Java World (Software Engineering), and Lost Worlds (Fantasy). Visit him at or on twitter @TGeneDavis

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


by John Xero

"What's the worst that could happen?"

Jinx danced on the crumbling cliff edge, only a misstep away from the cruel rocks and roaring ocean below.

She loved the sea almost as much as she loved taunting the gods, testing fate, and teasing whatever devils might be lying in wait.

As night stole the sky she skipped back to town by way of Murderers' Wood.

"It'll never happen to me," She laughed.

And on the shore she met her beau, young Jonah, and climbed aboard his boat.

"We'll be fine," she whispered in his ear as they sailed out to sea.

Author bio: John Xero knows you make your own destiny. Still, he's careful not to tempt fate, because, you know, just in case...
Blog | Twitter

Friday, 15 March 2013


by Christopher Hatch

The detective crouched near the body, examining the crime scene. Glass littering the ground crunched noisily underneath the detective’s boots. The detective turned over the body, looking for any signs of death. Finding nothing, he let out a defeated sigh. He stepped back and turned to the deputy on the scene.

“Why are we even investigating this shit? The chief has me neck deep in open homicide cases and then this? What am I supposed to do – it’s not even human, someone just wanted the power supply.” The detective stomped away, leaving the husk of the robot’s body behind him.

Author bio: My name is Christopher Hatch, a student at the University of Maine Orono, studying English Education.  I was born and raised on a small farm in Maine.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


by John Xero

Jerome flinched as he scratched his head and more hair fell away. His skin was dry, flaking, covered with livid sores. The blood beneath his fingernails disturbed him.

He squinted as he adjusted the chronal fibrillator, cursing his failing eyes.

Time fluttered around him.

His garage walls vanished, replaced by a broken wasteland stretching into the distance. The harsh air clawed at his lungs and rasped his eyes.

Then he was back in his garage, back in twenty thirteen.

How did it all end? When did it begin? He'd only jumped three years forward that time, and still too late.

Author bio: Time gets us all, in the end. The future is like quicksilver – a distorted mirror, hard to grasp, fatal.
I'm on twitter! And I blog (occasionally).

Friday, 8 March 2013


by Sandra Davies

"'Tumour' and 'tumescent,' is there a connection there?"

I looked over the top of my Financial Times to her head on my belly.

"Are we talking medical or etymology?" regrettably aware of my immediate manifestation of the power of the spoken word.

She snorted with amusement and, retaliating, I murmured, "You can take the girl out of the farm but..."

A mistake; the nip of her sharp teeth completed the rout.

She slid off the bed. Muffled, as she pulled her dress over her head, she answered, "Etymology," then, suddenly lucid, "but you really should get that lump seen to."

Author bio: Sandra Davies usually writes romances, but at other times blames the company she keeps. Currently she blogs most regularly at, with illustrations.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


by John Xero

Son, please, listen to me, for your sake. My father tried to warn me about the curse, but I didn't listen. I understand. When a madman tells unbelievable truths, how do you pick those rare gems out from among the ravings?

It begins as whispers, son. Whispers and whimpering, like angels sobbing. Never ending.

It's a tumour, filling the sane places inside with a crawling, gnawing sickness.

Believe me. My father warned me. And that day on the farm, when I killed him, it came to me. It will come to you, too.

For your sake, son, don't do this.

Author bio: John Xero writes. He's trying to write more. That's going OK.
He's trying to tweet less. That's going OK. @xeroverse
He's also trying to blog more. That's going less well.

Friday, 1 March 2013


by Rowan Whiteside

First, choose your victim. Remember, revenge is a dish best served cold.

Collect the ingredients; this may take some time, some are specialised.

Gather the coven.

Wait for a full moon.

Deep breath - are you sure you want to do this? Yes? Do they really deserve it?

Oh, I understand. He used you. Bastard. Next time you’ll find someone better. I promise.

I’ve got a lovely spell which causes impotency if you’d rather?

No? This one is irreversible, you see.

I know, it hurts. It always does.

But you definitely want him dead?

Of course.

Very well, shall we begin?

Author bio: Rowan has three zombie apocalypse contingency plans, a taste for red wine and an obsession with words of all kinds. You can find her on twitter, @dilystolfree, where she mainly tweets inanely about food and books. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013


by John Xero

I am coming unstuck. The stars are like jellyfish, bobbing gently – you could reach out and touch them but the sting would be killer.

Mankind has been picking and poking at the seams of the universe for too long. Pushing physics to breaking point, picking, picking, picking, free energy, limitless resources, got to be in there somewhere, pick, pick, pick.

Where are your golden eggs?

I grow weary of this ridiculous charade. Fuck etiquette. This is my body, my innards, my soul you have your grubby hands in, and I say: Get out.

Get out. Get out. Get out.


Author bio: John Xero is fascinated by notions of a sentient universe, in whatever form it might take, and what it must think of us, if it thinks of us at all...
Blog | Twitter

Friday, 22 February 2013


by Jess Cochrane

Professor Elkins grew entirely dissatisfied with the world of today, and so he sought to find something else - a new world and a better today. His fervent tinkerings resulted in a most marvellous machine, capable of moving sideways through the multi-faceted universe and thrusting its user into parallel worlds.

Delighted, Elkins went off in search of a new home.

Sixteen days later, the professor returned. As it turned out, parallel universes were, indeed, parallel - nothing more than carbon copies of our own world, right down to the absent Elkins-copies, each looking elsewhere for something better that could not be found.

Author bio: Jess Cochrane is an Australian writer, currently "working on a novel" as all writers tend to do. Her short stories, random ramblings and tributes to villains can be found on her blog:

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


by John Xero

Marking the days made Dr. Cooke feel more human, somehow. Her battered almanac predicted an eclipse.

The sky revealed nothing. Just clouds of ash, as usual.

She tried to remember daylight, the sensation of sun on skin – tantalising memories, out of reach.

The wan light dimmed further and she saw something slink between crumbling tower blocks in a scuff of shadows and dust. She stiffened. In this penumbra between bright civilisation and the new dark ages only the hostile survived.

She licked her knife of jagged bone. Only the hostile thrived. All that remained were predators, preying on each other.

Author bio: Who knows what monsters lie within us civilised folk? Waiting for an excuse to take control, to lose control, to save us from the monsters all around...
John Xero is at one with his monster, they discuss humanity over tea and crumpets.
Blog | Twitter

Thursday, 14 February 2013


by Carla Girtman

There was a doctor who longed for his true love. He had offers and blind dates, but remained alone and lonely.

His last patient was a woman. She sat on the examining table showing signs of cardiac distress.

As he leaned in to listen to her heart, something clinked against his stethoscope. He opened her paper gown, and centred between her breasts was a heart-shaped lock.

She blushed. “Mama always said there was someone who has the key to my heart.”

He slipped off his glove, revealing his key-shaped finger. “Papa always said I would unlock my true love’s heart.”

Author bio: Carla enjoys the challenge of 100 word stories. Although her three cats claim they write better, they lie. She has taken up the Nano novel challenge where words will fly.

Read the other half of the 101 Fiction Valentines double bill: Roleplay


by John Xero

“We dropped so many hints,” the women said. “Now we're going back to Venus because you weren't paying attention.”

“But it's not our fault,” the men cried, “it's a well known fact that you're riddles wrapped in enigmas wrapped in alluring curves and bumpy bits.”

“Too late,” the women replied, “you didn't buy us the good chocolates often enough, the Belgian ones with the swirls and the caramel crunch.”

“But, um,” the men cast their eyes down, “we're kind of addicted, we'll miss you.”

“You'll miss us?” The women's gazes softened, “That was, well, all we really wanted to hear.”

Author bio: John Xero is easily pleased. Though he would prefer an Eccles cake and a good cup of tea to a box of chocolates.

Read the other half of the 101 Fiction Valentines double bill: Openings

Friday, 8 February 2013


by Sandra Davies

"Mount Grace."

"Is that an order?"

Crudely pretending I'd suggested something I'd no intention of allowing. "Carthusian, it's a priory."

"So it's nuns?"

"No, it's monks."

"How does a priory differ from a monastery?"

"I just thought it’d be a good place to..."

"Mount Grace?"

I changed my mind. I had thought it the ideal setting for a proposal but he was no longer the man I wanted to marry. I tried to dodge his suddenly encircling arm, his lips close to my ear.

"It’s what I've always wanted, Grace, to mount you," flicker of a knife, "on my wall."

Author bio: Sandra Davies usually writes romances, but at other times blames the company she keeps. Currently she blogs most regularly at, with illustrations.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


by John Xero

The dawn mist hung low and tattered through Shawton Wood. The gnarled hawthorn trees were riddled with bulbous galls and their split bark oozed dark sap.

To drunken Toby there were shadowy assailants behind every trunk and he jumped as a low branch touched his shoulder. He took a deep breath.

The branch wrapped tightly around his arm. He pulled at it but more wound round him, pulling against each other until his body could take no more and he came apart in a gushing, splattering rush of blood.

The woods creaked like the fog-dampened screams of a dying man.

Author bio: John Xero knows never to go into the deep, dark woods. Not in the real world. But sometimes the deep, dark woods of the mind are where the best stories sleep...
Twitter | Blog

Friday, 1 February 2013


by Milo James Fowler

There would be no stopping them this time. Already the pirates had managed to breach the hull of the Effervescent Magnitude and phase-shift through walls and floors, straight to the engineering deck.

"They plan to cripple the ship at its core." Captain Bartholomew Quasar pensively chewed on his knuckles. Then he shouted, "Blow the reactor!"

"We'll never survive!" countered his first officer.

"Neither will they." Quasar struck a meaningful pose in his deluxe-model captain's chair. "Sometimes sacrifices must be made for the greater good."

"Whose good, sir? There's no one else out here."

"It's the principle of the thing, dammit!"

Author bio: Milo James Fowler (@mfowler76) is a teacher by day and a speculative fictioneer by night.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


by John Xero

Simon staggered and tried not to puke as the boat pitched violently. The ocean washed across him in shades of brine and bile. Mother Nature was angry with his trespasses.

With each heave of the ship, each glimpse of the sea, he saw them. Their lithe bodies, perfectly toned human torsos and sleek tail flukes. Their savage joy at the raging ocean, their hunger for him.

Orca DNA had seemed the right choice, a new breed for new times. But he could see their sharp teeth as they called to him. There was too much of the killer in them.

Author bio: When the sea levels rise John Xero will be safe in his castle atop the hill, and he will continue to write for the whales.
Twitter | Blog

Friday, 25 January 2013


by Jayne Thickett

They laughed when she said she could make the flowers open and the grass grow.  If it wasn't for her, the moon would not shine, but they waved her away.

Daddy said they were fools. “You are my sunshine. You give life to the world.”

Or was it light? Not that it mattered; they still pulled her hair and put tacks on her chair.

Now they are calling her back.

And she will go, lighting up their lives one final time.

In the school hall, there will be napalm on the dance floor. They will see her shine at last.

Author bio: Jayne Thickett writes whenever and wherever she can, despite the ulterior motives of life.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


by John Xero

Imagine a prison with no shade, for a killer afraid of the dark.

Karl flicked the lights off and on.

"Please," Jorgen begged, "don't. I made a deal."

Karl's hand hovered over the switch. "Does the widdle psychopath need a nightlight? Want some warm milk, too?"

"Please. She'll kill me."

"Bullshit. You made her up. Tell me the truth, or-"

Karl plunged them into pitch black. Fingers of cool air caressed his face. A voice like snowfall whispered, "Thank you," in his ear.

He slammed the lights back on.

Jorgen's head rolled across the floor, eyes staring, mouth still gasping.

Author bio: Imagine... anything. What are you most afraid of? John Xero's greatest fear is the day he can no longer write, and anything that may cause that.

Friday, 18 January 2013


by Margaret Glover

Stacie’s wrists burned from the ropes.

“Are you going to poison me?”

“Poison? Oh Stacie, poison is such a nasty word.  Let’s call it a potion instead, hmm?”

“I heard you were a witch.”

“And I heard you were fondling my husband.”

Stacie let out a whimper.

“Are you going to kill me?”

“Kill you?  Oh no, no, nothing like that dear. I'm just going to, shall we say, enhance your appearance a tad.  Now, how does a cute little six inch hook nose and a few dozen genital warts sound to you, hmm?

"Oh, stop your squirming, and drink.”

Author bio: I am currently a writer and Psychiatric RN in New Hampshire and have had a story published in Writers Haven.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


by John Xero

Sam was wearing his best suit. He always was.

Brian tapped his pen. "OK, Sam, what's your pitch today?"

"A ghost story. An unquiet shade haunts a movie studio."

Brian frowned.

"It's called Fade to Black. A scriptwriter interferes with a mob-funded movie. His murder is made to look like a suicide but his ghost writes a film exposing the killers."

"It's a little Hamlet."

"Brian, please."

"I'm sorry, Sam."

Sam paled.

Brian rested his elbows on his desk, then his head in his hands. The same time, every day.

"I'm so sorry, Sam," He whispered to the empty room.

Author bio: John Xero wants you to know his work is never ghost written. He also feels you should know he likes bad puns. If you hadn't worked that out already.

Friday, 11 January 2013


by Robert Morschel

The little craft settled slowly into the dust as its engines whined to a reluctant halt.

“I told you to take a left,” Eva said scornfully, “but no, you always know better. Bloody men. All the same.”

“So where do YOU think we are?” Harry asked, sighing loudly.

“That over there is Earth. I think they call this the Moon,” she replied, turning the pages of their Rough Guide to the Milky Way. "Unbelievable names - you'd think they thought they were the only species in the universe."

"We thought that once."

His wife scowled at him. "Oh, just shut up."

Author bio: Robert Morschel is a writer of software in London, and sometimes a writer of words at  

Follow him at

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


by John Xero

Above me I see distant stars, out of reach, like blue skies and freedom.

Life echoes. In every incarnation I have been a thief, and I have been caught.

Millennia ago, a young soul, I poached a single rabbit from the King's Forest to feed a starving family. Into the hole I went, clamped in chains, forgotten.

Most recently it was Leporidae gene seeds from the Imperial Menagerie. Rabbits to feed a whole colony. And for that I was sentenced to languish deep in this black hole, made to remember every one of my past lives.

I long for forgetfulness.

Author bio: John Xero would like to be remembered. In his dreams he is remembered for his imagination.
More John Xero is available, collected: This is the New Plan

Friday, 4 January 2013


by Carla Girtman

The one-man spaceship jerked to a stop. Goo poured in, coalesced into tentacles, and wound around him. Kenjek struggled. Escape was impossible.

Kenjek had run for days. Not from the Galactic Police, but his boss Squeedo. When Squeedo asked him to spend time with the family, Kenjek saw the opportunity to move up the chain of command. But he hadn’t signed up for this.

The bands tightened.

“Hi honey. I missed you,” said Squeedo’s daughter. “Ready for some fun?” A tentacle caressed his face while another slipped down his pants.

They say in space no one can hear you scream.

Author bio: Carla lives in Florida with her family and three cats. (The cats claim they wrote this story. They lie.) She is spearheading an anthology of tarot based fiction with a 2013 publication date and likes participating in National Novel Writing Month as well as writing speculative fiction.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


by John Xero

Orst sat on his throne, unmoving. His was a kingdom of dust and silence, and for a thousand years it had remained so.

The day came when a lost tribe, weary and malnourished, entered his lands. They halted, lacking even the strength to raise camp.

Orst stood and gathered his magic.

The land shuddered with memories of past wrath. Dark clouds gathered over the fearful tribe. The ground shook again as green shoots burst forth. Fat drops of rain fell and the seedlings became trees, bore fruit.

Orst had been a poor king. He vowed to be a better god.

Author bio: John Xero believes everyone should be given a second chance. And everyone should make the best of it if they are.