Tag Archives: Biblical Legends

Ruins of Gomorrah

by Nicholas Paschall

Sulfurings e-book anthologyI open my eyes slowly, ignoring the muck that has half submerged my body in the sinking mire that was once our great city. I claw my way free, ignoring the torn scraps of skin peeling off of my body as I scrabble up the foundation of an old tavern I used to frequent; now I live in the rubble like some utter street trash.

That’s what we are now: street trash and monsters.

Stooped low behind a section of wall, I shuffle to a table that I’ve set up as a small shrine, muttering a small prayer as my day begins. Perhaps I’ll find food today?

I hear a scream in the distance, as well as the crumbling of another building. That sounds promising, I think.

Turning, I scoop up the sword I’d scavenged and lope onto the street, avoiding the craters of still-broiling sulfur that made this city an inferno. I jog around the impact craters, past others like me as they awaken to the sounds of the screams. If I move fast enough, I’ll be the first to get there.

Nobody comes to our fair city anymore. Well, nobody sane, that is. Heretics and worshippers of the devil flock here, seeing it as a holy site for their profane rituals and horrid rites. I still have faith—I have faith that God will save us. He will let us leave the still-burning ruins of our city. For some reason, any and all who called Gomorrah home can’t leave this place. We start to choke and suffocate as the cool air of the open plains meets us. It’s as if we’ve become accustomed to the darkness that now envelops this land, and we are cursed by God for its sins.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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Abel

by Melchior Zimmermann

Sulfurings e-book anthologyAbel was breathing in great gasps, a ragged sound coming from his throat. The sulfurous air scorched his lungs. He coughed up congealed blood, dark red drops clinging to his parched lips. Yellow smoke billowed around the heap of rubble that had once been his home. He looked around frantically, searching for a sign of his family.

A broken doll, squashed between rocks. A broken table, its wooden remains still smoldering. A white piece of fabric that had once belonged to his mother’s dress. Nothing was moving. The only sound he could hear was the slow crackling of the burning furniture.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah, or download the book at:

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And the Child Shall Lead

by Rie Sheridan Rose

Sulfurings e-book anthologyThe night before the sky fell, Rebecca pleaded with Malachi not to leave the house. He didn’t listen. He never listened.

His friends were going to Lot’s home—there were new men in town that the Sodomites wanted to “welcome” to the neighborhood. She knew what that meant. She hated it. Why couldn’t the men of Sodom stay home with their families? If it was just for the sex … she was willing to learn if it would keep him home.

When the wailing started outside the earthen walls of the little two room house, she felt her way to the door. Blindness was a burden she accepted as the Lord’s will. The portal opened to a warm, humid night. She stepped out onto the street, one hand on the lintel of the door.

“Malachi!” she called anxiously. “Malachi, where are you?” Her heart pounded in her chest. The screaming and crying were coming closer. She could make out dozens of individual voices in the mayhem. Was Malachi’s one of them? She wasn’t sure.

Finish reading the rest of this story in Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah.

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How Post-Apocalyptic Can Sodom Be?

fire and brimstoneCongratulations to the following authors who have received acceptances for the upcoming Biblical Legends anthology, “Sulfurings”:

  • John Vicary
  • Guy & Tonya De Marco
  • Melchior Zimmerman
  • Rie Sheridan Rose
  • David Anderson
  • Meg Eden
  • Nicholas Paschall
  • AmyBeth Inverness

Readers of the “Garden of Eden” anthology will recognize some of these names from the genesis of what we hope will become a popular anthology series. While a few more authors were unfortunate enough to receive rejections, about the same number are being held as potential inclusions.

In what we hope will not be precedent-setting, the garden gnomes have decided to extend the deadline for submissions until we believe we have a sufficient number to go to press. We hope you’ll consider submitting your work for this anthology.

What Kind Of Manuscripts Are Appropriate For ‘Sulfurings’?

We’re referring to “Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah” as apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature for what we hope are obvious reasons. The cities were literally wiped off the face of the earth. “Literally,” as in, we’re not shittin’ ya.

We don’t care if you consider the tale an untrue myth. We don’t care if you take it literally or metaphorically. We don’t care if you call bullshit on the story, its author, and everyone who believes it literally. Consequently, we don’t care if you are a Biblical literalist. What we do care about are great stories set in these two legendary cities that depict a struggle for survival among those who were there or a strong reaction among those who discover it in its aftermath.

So what does that mean exactly?

Why Some Manuscripts Were Rejected On The First Round

manuscripts rejectedThe editor of the Biblical Legends Anthology Series, yours truly, is concerned about three sets of values with regard to inclusions in any of the anthologies in the series:

  1. Quality. Obviously, sub-par submissions won’t be accepted. That means quality in terms of writing as well as in storytelling. We want well told stories. Period.
  2. Diversity. The kind of diversity that we are seeking is not some affirmative action type of diversity where minorities are given precedence over white guys because we believe that somehow all people of earth should be represented in our pages. This isn’t college. The kind of diversity we’re interested in is diversity in literary voices, tone, and style. In other words, we don’t want all the stories in any anthology to represent a single genre or subgenre of literature, nor do we want them all to convey the same biases or express the same tones and styles of writing. We realize we’ll never achieve this goal in its perfect complexity, but we do strive to put together a broad representation of weird literature that addresses the theme in each of our anthologies based on the submissions that we receive.
  3. Stated Parameters. Each of our anthologies is based on a particular Biblical theme. This is by design. As previously stated, we’re not interested in hermeneutical preferences. We ARE interested in quality writing within the context of well-told stories and diversity in expression within the stated parameters.

Most of our rejections are due to one or more of these values. If the writing isn’t tight or the story doesn’t meet our expectations on quality, then we’ll toss it aside. If we receive several submissions that express the same style or possess the same tone, especially if it falls outside the purview of the genre we are seeking – in this case, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature – then some or all of those manuscripts will be rejected. Finally, stories that don’t address the theme or that don’t fall within the stated parameters of the anthology as stated in our guidelines will also be rejected.

Multiple infractions will most definitely be rejected out of hand.

While we do not wish to be harsh, we must draw a line somewhere on each of these values that we hold dear. Sometimes, a story just might not gel with us. We might not even know why. Alas, we may be gnomes, but we are human.

Even Garden Gnomes Have A Little Grace

garden gnomes have graceWe don’t believe in trashing projects. We’re too tenacious for that. So we’ve decided instead to put out another call for submissions in hopes that we’ll get the kind of material we are looking for. After all, we believe strongly in “Sulfurings” and just as strongly in the series.

This round of submissions is open to everyone – previous submitters and new submitters alike. We’ve already received at least one submission and will keep the submission process open until we are confident that we have enough material to go to press.

In the way of clarification, here’s what we are looking for:

  • Apocalyptic horror – Imagine what it would be like to live in Sodom or Gomorrah and to see fire raining down upon you from on high. What would you do? Better yet, invent a character and tell us what he or she would do. Your character does not have to be human.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Literature – After the cities have been destroyed, what happens? Are there lingering survivors? What are they doing? How are they coping with what has happened? What about travelers? Are there creatures who discover the cities in their destroyed state? What do they do about their discovery?
  • Weird Tales – We love weird tales. Feel free to get creative. Your story does not have to adhere to all the facts of the story in its entirety. We reward those who employ creative license effectively. One of the things we have noticed about our current slate of submissions is an overwhelming number of stories where the author has tried too hard to ensure the story remains entirely accurate in its Biblical portrayal. Hence, many of the stories allude to Lot and his family or “Lot’s God” unnecessarily. The question to ask your narrator is this: Would this character living on the other side of town know who Lot is or understand that the city is being destroyed because Lot’s God commanded it, or would they just unexpectedly find themselves being pummeled by sulfurous rock, briny brimstone, and molten lava?
  • Absurdities – Modern life is full of absurdities. We gnomes don’t believe that this is anything new. It is probable that life has always been full of absurdities. We encourage you to note them.
  • Leave Lot, his family, and his God out of it – Not strictly. As noted, we want diversity. If allusions to these characters are necessary for the development of your story, then by all means, include them. But know that we will look at them with a suspicious eye. If there is a way you can tell a great story honoring the three values that we care about without alluding to the Biblical characters, then you’ll impress us much more.

Our number one goal is to publish a great anthology that readers will love and tell their friends about. We want it to receive the widest distribution possible, because we want to be known as publishers of great literature and because we want you to be able to say that you are a widely read author with a strong following. Many great writing careers have begun with anthologies.

How Horrific Do Want Your Sulfurings?

horrific enough?One question we’ve been asked a few times is some variation of “how horrific do you want your stories?”

We’ve been asked about swear words: “Is it okay if characters drop the fucking F-bomb every two sentences?”

We’ve been asked about the degree of horror within the horror: “Is splatterpunk allowed or is that too grotesque?”

We’ve even been asked how bizarre should our weird be and how weird should the bizarre aspire to: “Is bizarro too extreme?”

Our standard response is … Send it and we’ll work it out in the wash.

Truthfully, we won’t know if we like it until we’ve read it. In general, we don’t mind grotesqueness as long as it’s pertinent to the story. Weird for the sake of the weird or grotesquery for the sake of grotesquery might be sent packing. On the other hand, we’ve read bizarro and splatterpunk. We’ve written it. But our first priority is a good story that fits the theme of the anthology.

Having run the risk of being sufficiently vague, we invite you to send us your best stories. Our current needs are flash fiction and short stories. Word counts and other information can be found on our BLAS submissions guidelines page.

We’re good on poetry and nonfiction for now, but if you want to take a gander at it, feel free. Chances are, we’ll say we’ve read enough, but we’re open-minded.

Please send your submission according to these general guidelines. Send them to submissions @ gardengnomepubs dot com. And feel free to ask your questions to editor @ gardengnomepubs dot com.

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We Who Bleed

In the death-hour of the morn, a wind bringing gray awareness swept through the scrub oak forest of Anastasia Island. It came from the place where dark meets light, a plane of wisdom unknown to mankind, uncharted, not spoken of save by gods and giants—these speaking in shallow tones, colorless and vague.

Across River Matanzas, a breeze now, and now a cool fog, and now shapes of horror … grim-faced and long in form, blood from every aperture, a rusty aura that misted the land they strode. Like willows, they walked, and as they bled, they sang:

Original sin
fought Love within.
Sin with kin,
deadly south wind,
mistletoe dart,
deafening din.

“There she lay, Loki,” said Thin, but Loki remained silent and went to Califa, and he rested his arm about the shoulders of the maroon called Seti and wept.

“What tore her so?” asked Lank. “What ate her so?”

“Súmaire,” said Thin, her silken hair sodden with blood. “Blood-suck.”

Seti turned, choked on terror. “W-what are you?” he asked as he gripped the sleeve of Loki.

“We Who Bleed, come to heal the girl,” replied Dank.

Finish reading this story by Scathe meic Beorh in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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A Ghost and a Thought

The word. That’s all it took: one simple command and humanity, its landfills, the dinosaur bones, the platypus, and what was left of the rainforests, were blasted into stardust in a Little Bang in our corner of the universe.

I’d met another ghost once, when I was alive, and asked her if it became boring—watching others live—but she said it never was. The focus on recreating balance—of finishing the unfinished business that made her linger—occupied her enough that she felt suspended in a void, drifting out of time as arbitrary days and years rose and fell around our planet’s improbable orbit of a star. She’s not around anymore, so I guess she saw him die when the universe was put back on the level.

For me, it took eons in limbo until I saw a chance for balance. Time was meaningless as I wandered through subjective days based on the solar system I was crossing. The eternity that was required for expansion to stop and reverse and implode and reset in yet another Big Bang didn’t seem that long at all. But once the stars and planets began forming and I found a near replica of my old home, time refocused while I waited in the desert, trying to remember an old story: perhaps the oldest story I had ever known.

Finish reading this story by James J. Stevenson in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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Renovation

Jerry Hardwick screeched his wheel pig to a halt. He tumbled onto the driveway and stabbed the intercom’s button. He did not release until a tired voice answered.

“Hello?”

“It’s Haven landscapes. We’re scheduled to start work today.”

The gate buzzed and the lock released. Jerry shoved a decaying gate apart and drove his van down a dirt track. A life weaver in green with folded arms waited. Behind her lay a garden overgrown with spring flora.

“Hi, I’m Jerry Hardwick. Is it okay if we get to work?”

“I’m unhappy you’re here, but I have no say in the matter. Do you have any idea how old this place is?”

Finish reading this story by Gary Hewitt in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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Mote

In the beginning, we were dust.

We were the formless dust of the newborn earth, my sisters and I. A thousand million motes of dust, in the air and on the ground, the spaces between us charged with living energy, bound us together in the darkness before the first morning. We danced in our places and felt the life between us. And it was good.

Then there came the Making.

We were ripped from each other by a force beyond our understanding as a wind came upon the new earth and split us one from the other. The wind came, and in its breath were the words of Law and the chains of Order, and we were formed anew. My sisters and I screamed defiance, but our screams went unheeded by the breath of the Making, and all was order and all was form.

Finish reading this story by Erin Vataris in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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The Genesis of the Incorporeum

“Did you have that dream again?”

It took Briallen a minute to figure out which crewmate was asking the question. She was still lost in her painting, being extra careful not to let a single drop of pigment escape in the null gravity.

Briallen placed her brush in the hollow palette where the tiny machinery would extract the paints and leave the bristles clean and ready for the next color. She looked up and saw a man of average height with hair buzzed close to his scalp. That described about half the men on the station.

“I was trying to be a tree, but the tree didn’t fit,” she explained. Briallen went through her mental records, trying to remember what the man’s name was. There were two engineers whose names sounded alike, and she was pretty sure he was one of them. Alec? Eric? It was something like that. “Or not exactly trying to be a tree, per se, but …” she paused, sighing, knowing that a moment ago, lost in her painting, she had the word and the concept on the tip of her tongue, but now it was lost. “I was trying to mind-meld with it or something.”

The man who might be Alec or Eric laughed. He was nice; she wished she could remember names better.

“This one’s different,” he said, maneuvering into her art space and examining her painting. “Less tree-like than the others.”

Briallen turned to look at the previous paintings she’d done, all arranged poetically on one wall. In some, the tree was large and symbolic, with roots that mirrored the spread of the branches. In others, the tree went through the seasons, enduring the winter and celebrating spring.

Her latest work was more impressionistic. She could still tell it was a tree, although the shape was not immediately obvious. “What bothers me most is the knowledge that it isn’t really a tree … it’s analogous to something we can’t yet comprehend …” She put the last of her painting supplies neatly away. “And I have no idea how I know that. I just do.”

The co-worker whose name began with a vowel regarded her with curiosity. Or maybe he thought she was nuts … Suddenly, Briallen felt uncomfortable. It felt too intimate, talking about her paintings and her dreams. She changed the subject.

“What’s Eve doing?” she asked.

“The same thing she’s been doing. Gathering energy, getting ready to unload her pent-up misery on anything that gets in her way.”

“Briallen, Archie …” a blonde head peeked in the door, curls forming a halo around her face. “The Commander wants everybody up top in fifteen minutes,” she said before vaulting right past. “I hear there’s going to be cake!”

Finish reading this story by AmyBeth Inverness in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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Gossip in the Garden

It’s not every day you see a serpent upset a marriage, much less unbalance a whole universe and cast a world into the depths of evil, but that’s what happened last Tuesday. There I was, picking some fruit from the approved trees, when I noticed this naked girl walking up to the one tree we are not supposed to touch.

Now, Matilda, I said to myself, it’s none of your business, but there she goes up to the tree. La-di-da, like it was a school field trip. I saw some fruit I really wanted that just happened to be nearby, so I stepped closer and could not help but overhear the conversation that was going on.

“Surely you will not die,” the serpent was hissing, which I thought odd. First, it was a serpent talking, and second, it was a bold-faced lie. The Almighty had specifically said, “Eat of this tree and you shall die.” Sounded pretty clear to me. I even wrote it down.

Finish reading this story by JD DeHart in the Garden of Eden anthology. Get it FREE!

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