Archive | Fiction

15 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #44B: “Still Life With Grave Juice” by Jim Moss

“This is the real thing? None of that synth-sludge?”

“Yes, sir. Direct from Earth.”

“And it’s the best you’ve got?” Quincy eyed the glass on the robowaiter’s tray. He should have ordered a bottle. He would need more to help unravel the stress of his turbulent negotiations with the Wattlars, who had rejected yet another contract. At least this outpost had an overpriced restaurant where he could run up his company’s expense account.

“Highest quality and price, I assure you. You may access my Integriport–”

“Yeah, yeah…” Quincy waved his hand, the gesture cue enough for the robowaiter to spit out a coaster which landed on the table with a soft plop. In a ballet of hydraulics, the robowaiter plucked the glass off the tray and set it before Quincy with the exaggerated grace of a suitor presenting a rose.

“Will that be all, sir?”

“You know, on Earth, they pop the cork in front of the patron, so it can be inspected for dryness, and they show the bottle so that–”

“You requested a glass, not an entire bottle,” the robowaiter spun its upper torso away from Quincy and sped off. Quincy held up the glass by the stem, examining its deep burgundy contents by the overhead light. He brought it down below his nose and inhaled.

“Cannibal.”

That word, that accent, the derisive tone — Quincy knew it referred to him.

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05 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

34466922Sleeping Beauties is a drama/fantasy/action novel written by Stephen King and Owen King published in September 2017 by Scribner.

A mysterious condition hits the whole planet in an instant–if a woman falls asleep, threads of what appear to be fungus quickly envelop her, forming a sort of cocoon.  She continues to live inside the cocoon if left undisturbed.  If the cocoon is broken, she will wake up and react violently like a rabid animal.  Meanwhile, in the Appalachian town of Dooling, a mysterious stranger who calls herself Eve who is arrested after violently killing a man with apparently superhuman strength.  There’s no end in sight for the condition that affects only women–the women who are still awake try desperately to stay that way, some of the men left behind are ready to take desperate measures of one kind or another, and all hell is going to break loose.  People find out that Eve can sleep without going into a cocoon, and they become violently desperate to find out why.  Clint Norcross, the prison psychologist, husband of the sheriff, has a violent past from his juvenile days that he keeps to himself, even from his wife, and he takes it upon himself to protect as many women as he can, including Evie.

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01 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #44A: “Pumpkin and Glass” by Sean R. Robinson

I sit on the park bench and try to forget the cold. This was easier in springtime, when there was more day light and it wasn’t as cold. I forgot my jacket this morning and as the city lights turn on one by one, the temperature drops. I miss my coat, with its thick-padded elbows.

But I cannot go home.

I do not know where home is.

I am dancing a dance that begins each morning, and ends when the clock strikes midnight. By then, he will be asleep and whatever is broken will be broken and I will not watch my Prince Charming shatter anything else that I loved. 

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17 September 2018 ~ 4 Comments

DP FICTION #43B: “The Fisher in the Yellow Afternoon” by Michael Anthony Ashley

You feel an explosion and wake up face down on a rocky patch of dirt. A spurt of blood fills your mouth with iron and salt, and you push to your knees, gagging, but all that drools off of your lips is soil and leaves and a few bitter-tasting pine needles. You breathe and spit, but the blood taste is gone. It never was. You exhale relief as the panic fades with the dream.

You raise your face to a clear yellow sky and chilly air, the white sound of water rushing over you with a comfortable, misty breeze. It’s the smell of the park when the elk are bugling and camping means nights in flannel over canned spaghetti, and no problem with the cold because it makes the heat of the fire so incredibly perfect.

And you hear an enormous voice. “Is that a memory?”

You end your moment with the sky and lurch to your feet, backing away from the rocks and slick bracken along the river bank, which you realize is very close. And straddling the river with its hind-claws—its left fore-claw gripping the soil on the far bank and its right fore-claw stirring down in the white rush—is the bear.

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03 September 2018 ~ 3 Comments

DP FICTION #43A: “Glass in Frozen Time” by M.K. Hutchins

I freeze time. The frothing soap suds in the sink become glaciers. Dust motes hang in the air like stars. And I move.

I catch Sadie’s plate of mac n’ cheese before it splatters to the floor. While I’m there, I wipe down the table, fix Sadie’s pigtails, then — what the heck — I run downstairs and start a load of laundry.

Then I’m at the kitchen sink, water streaming, motes spinning, and Sadie’s three-year-old voice bubbling merrily on. “— I so happy to go to my Nana’s house!”

“Me too, sweet pea.” 

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15 August 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #42B: “The Vegan Apocalypse: 50 Years Later” by Benjamin A. Friedman

Dear valued McFleshy’s patrons, 

On this, the solemn 50th anniversary of the Vegan Apocalypse, we’d like to thank you — our loyal Consumers-of-the-McFlesh™ — for relying on McFleshy’s (and only on McFleshy’s) for all your dietary needs. As you know, without your loyal patronage our tremendous planet would have surely long since fallen prey (yet again) to the Vegans. Instead, thanks to your fortitude — we’re still here. And thanks to us (and the delicious McFlesh™) — you are too!

For it is only together by consuming at least three juicy Fleshies™ a day, that we can be certain to avoid the fate of our Beloved Billion™ — keeping the Earth safe for all our children…and all our children’s children – etc. 

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01 August 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #42A: “Medium Matters” by R.K. Duncan

Medium Matters is an occasional series exclusively on TheQuill.com. You can support Marissa and all our creators by donating on our Patron page.

Dear Medium Matters, 

I think something supernatural, like a curse, or a hex, or an evil eye, is wrong with my house, or with me, or with my Scotty, Baxter. He’s been acting strange lately. He’s always been quiet, especially for a little dog, but these last few weeks he’s been barking all the time. He wakes me up two or three times every night, barking and growling. He snaps, not at guests or the mailman or anything, just at blank walls and empty rooms. He’s a good dog. Yesterday, he was staring at the wall and growling and then he jumped into it and tried to bite it so hard he left a dent in the drywall.

It’s not just Baxter though. I’ve been feeling anxious lately, and I swear it’s not just in my head. Little things are getting moved around, like my makeup. I always keep it very organized, but I’ve found everything thrown around like a teenager’s room three times in the last two weeks. Other little things in my bedroom get moved around too. 

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16 July 2018 ~ 4 Comments

DP FICTION #41B: “Jesus and Dave” by Jennifer Lee Rossman

It had been just over a year since the second coming of Jesus and, like most atheists, I couldn’t say it had been a particularly good year for me.

Sure, the Lord’s first bit of business had included clearing up some of the more vague parts of the Bible, including some mistranslations and things his father had, in his words, “gotten wrong.” That put an end to a lot of bigotry.  The lack of world hunger and the new commandments about littering were incredible, of course, more positive change than I’d hoped to see in my lifetime.

But it’s just… having proof that my entire belief system (or lack thereof) was absolutely backwards, and having every holier-than-thou relative constantly sending passive-aggressive emails filled with selfies of them and His Holiness…

My fellow non-believers converted, and one even became a priest. I think I’m one of the few who refused to do so.

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06 July 2018 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Dead Reckoning is a romance/mystery/horror novel from 2011, the eleventh in the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels by Charlaine Harris (which is the basis of the HBO show True Blood).  The previous books are all reviewed here earlier on the Diabolical Plots feed.

Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s (the bar where she works).  Before Sookie gets to the bottom of that, she finds out that her vampire boyfriend Eric is plotting to kill the king of his vampire district, and she is drawn into the plot.  She has also been chafing at the blood-bond between her and Eric that makes a telepathic feedback loop between the two of them.

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02 July 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #41A: “Crimson Hour” by Jesse Sprague

on’t think. Don’t feel. Concentrate on the work. Berend sliced under the unicorn’s scarlet hide. He worked swiftly to skin the beast while the pelt remained a vivid red. For a short time at dawn and dusk, a unicorn glowed red, and only during those few minutes could a blade pierce the animal’s hide. Normally, animals came to his butcher shop gutted, but with a unicorn that wasn’t impossible. 

As he pulled the pelt back, he pondered the cuts that would come next. He’d have to remove the heart first—for the Hero.

Lined up on the stone table beside the unicorn, an array of tools waited. For now, the bone knife was all the job required. Berend’s hand paused under the unicorn’s jaw. The village shaman had already removed the horn, leaving a jagged circle of white bone. Around this circle and coating the muzzle was a thick splatter of human blood.

The blood of my only son.

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