Tag Archives: short story

Nucleosaur of the Frigid Lace

by Adam Mac

A long way away—1.185185 quadrillion light years, give or take a billion or two—on an asteroid belt nicknamed the Frigid Lace, the world was populated by nucleosaurs and electrosaurs. [NB: Protosaurs are a strictly human construct as proved by Poodlesky. Ed.]

One such nucleosaur was Stanley Nucleosaurus, Esq. As a nucleosaur, Stanley had a following, so to speak–in his orbit, so to speak again. They were called electrosaurs, or electrosaurus cum minimus negativus, and basically they were servants, but for Stanley they were primarily snacks.

Stanley constantly snacked on his electrosaurs. This had the predictable consequence of Stanley often turning himself into something else. After a couple of electrosaurs, he’d take on the properties of, say, “Strontium saurus” or “Plutonium saurus” or something more exotic. A dozen once transformed him into a flatugenic facsimile of himself and a double double turned him inside out into Defecatorium saurus.

You’d think this would all come to a quick end what with Stanley’s infinite appetite and his finite number of electrosaurs, but it didn’t. So far, we’ve only mentioned his internal consumption, but for every electrosaur he gobbled he consumed two nucleosaurs. This raised Stanley’s electrosaur count to dangerously high levels and challenged scientists to scramble for names, like “Ican’tbelieveIatethewholethingium” or “YikesIthinkIgotabadoneonium.

All this took its toll on the Frigid Lace. Stanley munched his way from one end of the asteroid belt to the other, devouring everything in sight and leaving behind great clumps of antimatter and clouds of noxious quasar gas. So much had Stanley grown—Giganticus Infinitus Pacmanicus—that astronomers could track his movements as he galumphed acrossed the asteriods as if they were stones in a stream.

Eventually, as the external supply of consumables was depleted, Stanley had to turn exclusively to consuming his own electrosaurs. Long predicted by dark-cloud scientists, Stanley then achieved the first documented interstellar case of absolute subjective annihilation. Id est, he ate himself up.

Adam Mac is a featured author in the Garden of Eden Anthology.

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Green

by Cat Jenkins

Li’l sister saw it same time as me.

But her eyes kenned it differ’nt.

What I saw were green and noisome, like one of Granny’s potions. Like bile milked from a sea slug. But Sara got all gaspy and whispery; her face goin’ beatific. “Lookee, Rena,” she says to me. “Lookee.”

“Don’ touch it.” I pulled at her arm to make her leave. “Come away. Don’ touch it.”

“Why, it’s like a ghost or angel leaned down from Heaven, breathin’ pearly-green all over the mucky holes, all pretty and shimmery like dragonfly wings.”

I minded me to tell Granny to stop fillin’ Sara’s head with them fairytales. Don’ do no good to have nonsense flittin’ through yer head in the bayou. They’s enough cautions to be had ‘round ev’ry corner ‘thout bringin’ fancies into it.

The green stuff was oozin’ on closer like it were drawn by heat or heartbeat, and li’l Sara couldn’ take her eyes off’n it. So’s I pulled her back and herded her all the way home, tellin’ her never to go back there.

“But it’s booootiful, Rena! Like…like the moon and the sea got t’gether an’ conjured up elf-fire…”

I pushed li’l Sara up onto the porch, and acrost it, and into our room, and that shoulda been the end to it.

But li’l girls is a han’ful. That night Sara sneaked out.
We tracked ‘er next day, but lost ‘er back where that bile-green glow bubbled up from the mucky holes. We called and called and Mama wept somethin’ fierce…Granny, too.

But no Sara.

Couple nights later I thought I heard li’l sis callin’. Her voice had gone all chimey and tinkly, but it were callin’ my name, and who else’d do that? I went lookin’, but no Sara. Jes’ her callin’ from all differ’nt sides at once, seemed like. Next mornin’ afore the sun come up, I saw bitty footprints glowin’ green in the glimmer-light. They come out from the bayou to my window and then gone back.

Bile-green they was.

When I told, Granny and Mama shook me hard and said to pay them no nevermind. And they stopped lookin’ for my li’l sister. Stopped talkin’ ‘bout her, too. Stopped usin’ her name.

But I think I’ll see Sara again. Prob’ly soon. ‘Cause I keep hearin’ her chimey voice at night. And this mornin’, afore the sun washed it away, I saw the greeny glow’d come up again.

Only this time, I didn’ think it were bile-y, but pearly-soft and glowy.

And it were pretty like Sara said.

And it come all the way ‘cross the yard again.

Only this time, it come up the siding.

Only this time, there were some on my windowsill.

Inside.

Cat Jenkins lives in the Pacific Northwest where the weather is often conducive to long hours before a keyboard. Her stories in humor, fantasy, speculative fiction, and horror have been published both online and in print. She is working on her first novel, a psychological thriller with touches of magical realism. Read Cat’s blog. Follow her on Twitter: @CatJenkins11

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Idbash

by Melchior Zimmermann

idbash my melchior zimmermann from Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & GomorrahIt had been a moon ago that Idbash had last set eyes upon the great city-state of Sodom. Every month, he would come to the market to sell his wares and buy what he might need from the other merchants. If life on the plains was hard, the soil was fertile and trade with the city-states allowed even a humble farmer like himself to make a living.

Idbash had never found much joy in the rites of Sodom. But he knew that wherever he went to sell his crops, he would need to bow to the customs of his customers. And even if the people of Sodom might have stranger customs than the shepherds of the mountains, they also paid a better price for his wares.

He was setting up his stand once more, in the same spot as the other times, exchanging idle barter with the neighboring merchants, when he heard a loud rumble coming from above. The sky had been a clear blue when he had set out that morning, but during the day, dark clouds had gathered. Afraid a storm was brewing, he glanced up.

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

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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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Sugar Rush

by Trevor K. McNeil

sugar rushThe tick from my watch seemed somehow louder in the silence. The clock/radio on the desk suddenly sprang to life in the odd event I should have fallen asleep in my office, which had been intentionally designed to be as unpleasant and not conducive to sleep as possible.

I pounded down on the snooze button with all the wrath of Thor silencing the drated yet indispensably useful thing and set about putting my thoughts together in some sort of intelligible order, rubbing my temples to facilitate the process.

Not helping matters terribly was the knock that came at the green, steel slate of an office door, each knock booming like a muffled gong through the similarly green steel room.

Hoisting myself from the armless wooden chair, like a statue of a fallen dictator being removed from the town square, I made my way toward the door.

With a sound like a scream from the bowels of Hell the door opened, revealing my research assistant Alanna Crump – ‘thing one’ – in something of a state.

“It’s time!” She blurted suddenly, apropos of nothing apparent.

“Sorry?” I said, not having the strength for a more rigorous inquiry.

“It’s time!” Alanna repeated.

“Yes, we covered that.”

“Ms. Greene!”

“Ah, right.” I said, tension crawling up by back like an ice spider.

“Get the car?” Alanna asked.

“Yes, quickly.” I said.

“Okay!” She replied, literally running off to fulfill the stated task.

I went back into the office to retrieve my coat – the tweed suit jacket, not the lab one – Alanna’s footsteps down the hall still audible.

To call the office block of Greene Industries ‘antiseptic’, would be as to calling Antarctica ‘a bit big and rather cold’. This extended from the building itself to the office supplies, the furniture, even the employees, all of whom resembled recently dressed and posted clothing store mannequins.

“Hello?” I said to the paragon of human perfection seated behind the reception desk.

“Doctor Albin Bok, appointment for one – fifteen, take a seat please.” The assistant said without looking up form her typing. Once the shock wore off, I did as ordered and eased myself into one of the diabolically comfortable leather chairs.

“You can go in now.” The shiny thing behind the desk said, the machine gun-like typing came to a jarring and abrupt halt.

The shining perfection motif continued in Greene’s executive office, extending to Erin Ellen Greene herself.

“Take a seat.” Greene said, sharing the seeming telepathy of her assistant and making me want to investigate the company’s allegedly
enforced vegan diet.

I did as I was told, too scared to do much else.

“Now.” Greene began, with the aplomb of a royal commencing court.

“Then?” I blurted, my nerves getting the better of me.

“What?” She inquired, raising an eyebrow.

“Nothing.”

“What is your progress on The Project?” She asked, somehow managing to imply capitals by her tone.

“We are progressing rapidly through the four food groups.”

“I see.” Greene said, lacing her fingers together, the fires of Hades burning in her eyes.

“Yes, we started with the fact that ethanol is processed from corn and expanded from there, looking for another, similarly combustible food
stuffs.”

“And?”

“We are making great progress with cucumbers.”

“Cucumbers?” Greene asked, suspiciously.

“Doesn’t sound any stranger than corn.”

“No, no, I suppose it doesn’t.” Greene said, her expression relaxing to one vaguely human.

“Shall I continue with the research?” I asked, putting her on the defensive.

“Yes, of course. You have one week. Then I am pulling the funding and suing you for fraud.”

The deadline was set. As I drove back to the lab, it was not with dread but a renewed sense of purpose. One that fled, at least partly, when I actually arrived back at the lab to find Alanna and my other assistant Alan – ‘thing two’ – playing a version of horseshoes involving a beaker and a dozen oddly large donuts.

“Hey!” I said in a loud way, causing them to react like deer in the headlights of a Hummer.

“Get back to work!” I ordered.

“Yes sir!” They replied in shouted unison, like the proper little peons they were cloned to be. Slightly less sterling but fortuitous just the same was when Alan, in his scramble to do as told, hurled the box of donuts in the general direction of away, causing a collision with an active bunsen burner.

According to the subsequent news reports, people three houses away heard the explosion.

It was an exaggeration of course, but they are going to do what they do. After a day or so in the hospital, it was straight back to work on our most excellent alternative fuel innovation, now popularly known as “Sugar Rush.”

A story-teller from a young age, Trevor K. McNeil makes little distinction between genres. An original child of the Yukon, he moved south to the sunny West Coast, earning Bachelor’s degrees in Social Science and Art History from the University of Victoria. He enjoys small-stage theatre and existential comedy. He runs on caffeine and fear.

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The Beast

by Jennifer Ann Margaret Patino

“Are you ready?”

The breath she takes in proves so.

Weapon drawn, he kicks open the door to their bedroom to face the beast.

The beast had been with them since before they got together. They didn’t know this, of course. They went along, as couples usually do, having no inkling of a clue of the dark force watching them. Waiting for them. The beast had patience. The beast could wait to devour.

The new house had been perfect. Just what both wanted. Just what both needed. Just enough seclusion to block the world out so they could just be. Be together. Be happy. Be in love.

The beast showed its face for the first time on a beach for the couple’s six month anniversary. It bared its teeth and terrified them. They ran. They fought it. They thought they’d won.

They were wrong.

Here they are fighting with all they have again. The beast is lashing out this time. Foaming at the mouth, snarling, biting, tormenting the woman over and over again, and the man can only watch as she is shred apart.

In the past, when the beast was especially angry, the man could only sit outside the door and cry and pound on it until his knuckles bled and he screamed and cried in agony for feeling so helpless. So powerless. So out of control.

Everything they tried to do to rid themselves of the monster forever was to no avail. First, no one believed them anyway.

“You guys are crazy…just chill,” was the consensus of their friends.

The church said they weren’t praying enough. Their families didn’t even want to answer their phone calls anymore. They had had enough.

The young couple decided they had had enough too. Both of them. This beast would be slain tonight. They came up with a plan quickly. A better idea. A better way. It would be easy. It had to be easy.

The woman was the bait.

He points his gun at her. He has no choice for he can’t see the beast. The beast is and always has been invisible.

He watches, shaking as she cries out to him. “Just do it!”

Her tear stained face is not enough for him. The bedroom that was once an artsy love nest has been destroyed. The man’s eyes dart around the room, taking it all in and trying to find something to let him know where the vicious force is so he can just shoot it. Wound it maybe? Hopefully kill it. Could the beast even be killed?

All these thoughts and so much more race in his muddled brain. The whiskey he drank before even entering the room isn’t enough to give him courage. The piercing screams from his wife aren’t enough either. Something has to be done. And fast.

The woman suddenly throws an ashtray near him. This isn’t part of the plan, but he trusts her intuition. Before either can blink he is facing the beast and fires off a shot. Three shots.

Glass shatters, she screams louder and the beast suddenly takes hold of her, lifts her off the bed, and slams her on the ground. She kicks, she punches, she does her best to roll away. She’s dying.

The gun is on the ground now. The man scrambles for it. The woman can barely see it as blood fills her eyes.

Her hand reaches out to him to help her, but the beast is not giving up. It’s not stopping. Its blows keep raining upon her. She is incapable.

The man realizes it’s now or never for the gun is so close and all fears he had of just firing blindly are now gone. He didn’t want to have to kill his own wife. He didn’t want it to come to this. She is going to die anyway, he thinks. I can’t save her from this.

He pulls himself away, gun in hand, and points it at her again.

This time she isn’t crying. This time she is not afraid. She nods.

The man places the gun to his head, pulls the trigger, and falls to the ground.

The woman stares wildly at the space where the beast once stood.

The breath she takes in this time means freedom.

Jennifer Patino loves to write. She started at age six and many have tried to stop her since. She often feels forced writing is crap and hates rules and regulations. If you feel like it, drop her a line on Facebook. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband.

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The Scraping

by Rich Young

evil the scrapingThe stairs were the problem. That Thomas could hear the Scraping within the walls and see the Face in the glass were of no consequence compared to the fear that the steps invoked. The steps led up and out — away — out into the light where bad things were decided, fates were cast, and the people bowed and prayed to a god of light. Thomas knew that light would first blind him, then burn his skin, and finally, after a lifetime of painful torture, he would die.

One fearful night, Thomas awoke from sleeping to find himself standing on the steps. He was three steps up and it was as if all the good in the world was focused on him. Thomas was born of the darkness, lived in the pain of others, and hid in the shadows, horrifying the living that entered his world. He would stay there forever if he could. But, in his weakest moments the Good tried to pull him out, up the steps, and into the world that would slowly destroy him. The weak moments were coming more often. He would wake and find that he was on the first or second step and quickly jump back inside through the window.
Thomas decided to ask the Face why she thought this was happening to him.

“Face, I am becoming drawn to the outside world. Why would this happen?” Thomas asked.

“Thomas, you have lived here alone for many years. Have you ever wanted to be with another like you?”

The Face never answered questions without posing new questions.

“No. I don’t wish to leave. I am just not in control of my own body at times,” Thomas answered.

“Thomas, you are not the only creature of your kind in the world. Maybe you need a friend.”

“But you are my friend, and the Scraping is also my friend,” Thomas said.

“We are not your friends, Thomas. We are not real. You created us to play with you. Look deep and you will see.”

With that, the Face disappeared from the glass and left Thomas alone.

* * *

Thomas thought about this for a long time and became furious. He tried to take his frustration out by rolling around on the broken glass and miscellaneous debris that covered the floor of his world. Sometimes the pain would help when he felt angry. He rolled and cut, punched and dragged, bled and oozed, but the pain of the words that the Face said were stronger than anything Thomas could do to himself. He needed something more. He yelled out for the Scraping.

The walls vibrated with the energy that the Scraping evoked when called. Then, the sound began. First, from the floor, then up towards the ceiling.

The Scraping was so named by Thomas for its ability to scrape and tear from the inside of the walls. Thomas found the sound to be soothing. Once, when Thomas had lured an outsider into his home, he let the Scraping play with him until he went mad from the music within the walls. Thomas enjoyed watching as the outsider used his own hands to rip at the sides of his head to stop the noise from entering his mind through his ears. The outsider bled out from where his ears were and collapsed, screaming, in a heap on the littered floor of his house. The Face asked Thomas to feed her the man while he was still alive, and Thomas obliged.

Today, the Scraping was in a foul mood and Thomas did not want to play the same old games that it wanted to.

“Never mind, I am not in the mood to play your dumb games,” Thomas spoke aloud.

“Fine, Thomas. I was perfectly happy sleeping.”

The Scraping slept a lot. It took a lot of rest to be so horrific. In fact, Thomas decided to nap as well.

* * *

Thomas was jolted awake by the presence of a man walking by his house. He rose and looked out of the closest window to see the man staring back at him. The man smiled.

Outsiders generally avoided this place where Thomas lived. The man turned from the window and started up the walkway to the front door. Thomas called for the Scraping to scare him away, but the Scraping was asleep. Thomas called for the Face to frighten the man, but the Face was not in her glass. The man grasped the handle on the front door and pushed. The door creaked open on old, rusty hinges.

The man called out, “Thomas.”

Thomas flinched at the sound of his name. He stood tall and proud and pulled out all the fear that he could find from deep inside his dark soul. The man said his name again, but Thomas did not hear it. All he could hear was the rage building inside himself. It roared like an old steam train.

The man flinched. Thomas did not know if he could hear the sound or just feel the darkness that Thomas created in his evil, tainted soul. Thomas reviled in the timing of the arrival of his new toy. He would put this man through the worst of everything that ever incited fear in any outsider.

Thomas reached his powerful, mangled hands towards the man. He would start by choking him. As his hands drew closer to the man’s neck, he felt a resistance that he had never felt before. The man smiled again.

“Thomas, time to go,” the man said. Then he raised his hands over his head and the house around Thomas disappeared. The Scraping was no longer, as the walls were gone. The glass where the Face lived was also gone. The world that Thomas knew was dead. The sun beamed down upon Thomas and he felt the evil within, the darkness in his soul, dissolve. He walked slowly up the stairs.

Rich Young is a writer, guitar-player, business analyst, father, and husband from Michigan. He has completed one novel, Letters From Tomorrow, and several short stories ranging from horror to science fiction. He is currently working on a new novel that sums up all the experiences of his life in some odd fashion or another.

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The Hubris of Dr. Milo

by JD DeHart

professor miloDr. Milo was not a real doctor, of course, but he wore a set of small round spectacles. He also carried many books around with him, never bothering to read the words, and sometimes dressed in a professor’s jacket, which kids liked to call a “horsey jacket.” Really, he reasoned, there was little difference between his mode of life and the comings and goings of real PhDs.

“Do you know the answer to this problem?” he would ask occasionally, holding up scratched numbers for someone to answer.

“No,” the subject would invariably mumble; it was not a surprise they never knew the answers because the equations were not real. Then, with conviction, Dr. Milo would offer his own irrefutable response.

Dr. Milo was now engaged in just such an encounter on a flight to Las Vegas. A kind old woman was smiling at him, thinking What a strange stick figure man and What a strange black bowl haircut as he explained the equation. All the people seated around the conversation wished that the “doctor” would close his mouth and stop making racket.

It was at this precise moment that time froze and the universe expanded. That is to say, an otherworldly creature materialized with a vibrant sizzle inside the plane. His fingers were lightning, his eyes small round dots, and his voice was a practiced rhythm of all human languages.

If the people on board this flight still possessed the option, they would have scattered away in fear. As it was, the creature had temporarily restrained their free will. He rather liked to do this to lesser animals when he was not amusing himself on other planets or watching game shows.

“People of this Doomed Flight,” he began, “I have come for one purpose: To collect the smartest person on earth.”

Without hesitation, the kind old woman and all of her neighbors pointed their fingers at Dr. Milo. The creature approached.

“Show me that equation,” he commanded.

Dr. Milo held it up and the strange head tilted.

“He can solve that,” the kind old woman offered, and Dr. Milo was instantly seized.

As he flew into the air, bound for uncomfortable experiments, the creature called out, “By the way, I was kidding about your flight being doomed!”

The people on board the plane settled into their seats for a quiet trip to Vegas where they would attempt to win twice in one day.

JD DeHart has appeared in Eye On Life and Steel Toe Review, among other journals. His work is forthcoming in the Garden of Eden anthology by Garden Gnome Publications. He teaches English.

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