Places to Hide in Your Basement #3

Behind column #1

Pros: this column is wide and sturdy.

Cons: the metal pipes make sounds and heat. Just the pipes.

column4

Take a selfie in the dark. Now both my arms are clear. Can you see them in the bright pictures? It’s like a game of hide and seek.

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Notes on “The Famine King”

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I have a new horror story in Mythic Delirium 3.3, “The Famine King.” You can read it online heeeere: Mythic Delirium 3.3, February Featured Story. It’s about wendigo movies, psychosis, hunger, and the cannibal world we live in. Although the story is among my most personal and complex, this blog post will not comment on its meaning(s) or try to direct reader interpretation. However, I’d like to discuss (briefly) the main character, Irene. During the story, she has a psychotic episode, and guess what! She’s not the bad guy! That’s no spoiler, by the way: it’s something that should go without saying. Unfortunately, the horror genre is not known for realistic or sympathetic portrayals of mental illness. Cough. It’s time for a change!

Final fun fact: alternate universe versions of Irene and Az (protagonists in “The Famine King”) appeared in the first story I sold, “To Sleep.” It’s a creepy flash about troubled dreams and small-town hatred. It’s inspired by the worst place I ever lived, a little town called Castleton, Vermont. Ask me about Castleton sometime. I dare you. The story is still in the Fiction 365 archives, but you can also read a copy on my blog: To Sleep

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The Famine King: art by Lee Wagner. For more of Lee’s work, visit Twitter (@archwags) or Instagram (archwags)

HeliKnow Services Pamphlet

I received this in the mail!

Basic nuclear genome sequencing: 30 credits – you provide the DNA, and we do the rest! HeliKnow will record your complete genome sequence, the unique pattern of A-T-C-G that makes you you. Our high-throughput DNA sequencing technology yields rapid, confident, and confidential results for less than zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-one credits per nucleotide. What a bargain!

Notice: to provide optimal service, HeliKnow only analyzes blood samples. Cheek swabs are unacceptable.

Gold package: 60 credits – our most popular package! Your genome is egregiously confusing. Luckily, we speak DNA-glish! Trained HeliKnow technicians will interpret your genes in a layman-friendly report that includes:

1)  Ancestry

2)  Major phenotypes

3)  Health risks

4)  Terminal genetic disorders

Remember, unlike our competitors, HeliKnow respects client confidentiality.

Notice: technicians are not prophets. Please purchase our fate package to foresee your death.

Fate package: 1000 creditspalm readers are charlatans. Only DNA can speak to fate. Deus Helix has hidden messages in every double helix that writhes inside your body. Using proprietary bioinformatics analyses and rituals, HeliKnow prophets will scry your destiny. Ask, and ye shall receive. Common questions include:

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8)  How horrible. It’s not fair. Why?  

Remember: your fate is confidential! At HeliKnow, data mismanagement is punishable by absolute termination.

Optional fate package “expiration” feature: 500 credits you are going to die, and we can tell you all about it during your session with our prophets. Learn where, when, how, and why you will perish.

Notice: a one liter blood tribute is necessary to scry your death.

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Notice: you cannot outrun death forever. Deus Helix is an author, and we are all imperfect drafts of Its masterpiece. With every generation, inheritance and mutations draw us closer to perfection. But countless speciation events separate Homo sapiens from immortality. No human will survive this universe.

Indeed, no human will survive this millennium.

Volunteer opportunities: stop being human. Our great prophet sings the sacred Deus Helix genome. Once she finishes reciting Its glorious sequence, we need volunteers. From egg donors to biochemists: come one, come all, and help clone Deus Helix. A lucky few will be transformed, their bodies enhanced with demigod genes. Your sacrifices ensure the betterment of humankind. Don’t miss out! The great prophet may complete her recitation this very hour!

Notice: volunteers work pro bono, but HeliKnow will compensate volunteer families for funeral expenses, when necessary.

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Notice: all congregants must sign a confidentiality agreement.

Thank you for choosing HeliKnow for your genome sequencing needs!

Maybe I should apply to HeliKnow after I graduate. Their benefits seem very cool.

(This is a piece of fiction.)

A Ghost Story (in three tweets)

Hello friends! As a scary person, I often share my paranormal experiences online. Here’s the latest, originally posted on twitter:

Once, with Ouija board and planchette, I asked the ghosts, “What is it like?” They said to me, “We’ll show you. Turn off the lights.” So …

I waited in silence. Minutes passed. One, five, ten. Thirty. “Nothing,” I said. “I don’t hear anything. I don’t see anything.”

The planchette slid across the board. “Exactly,” spelled the ghosts. And they never spoke to me again. Goodnight, Twitter.

True story. Aren’t they all? 😉

 

Little Badger Reviews: Horror Anthologies #1

Anthologies

 

Clearly, I enjoy horror/dark fiction anthologies. Behold my partial collection (above), arranged on a freshly swept floor!

During this blog series, I will review ONE personal favorite story from each anthology (without spoilers)!

Why don’t I dish on the bad stuff instead? Good question! Yes, I’ve read my share of less-than-stellar stuff: stories populated by insulting stereotypes, eye-rollable twists, plot holes large enough to swallow a whale. It would be easy to fill my blog with negative critiques. However, I’d much rather help people find great reads! This series will focus on the positive by celebrating phenomenal writers and editors.

That said, today I’m going to discuss one of my favorite recent anthologies, Hauntings (2013, edited by Ellen Datlow). The cover has a bird person on it. Does it get better than that? I thoroughly enjoyed this collection, which contains works from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. As the title suggests, a haunting atmosphere thematically links the 24 dark fantasy/horror stories, yet they’re a refreshingly diverse group, offering different literary structures, voices, and fiends. I highly, highly, highly recommend this anthology to any fan of weird, beautifully written dark fiction. Ellen Datlow yet again shines!

It was difficult to choose a favorite story from Hauntings. Too difficult! So, in review #1, I will break the rules (already X-X) and discuss a piece that made me think more than the others. Continue reading