Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween Microfiction

To celebrate Halloween, I did a fun little exercise. I invited my Facebook friends to post the last text message they sent, and used that as inspiration for some microfiction stories. I've shared each message and story below.

Give them a read. Are there any themes I used throughout? Any stories that I should expand into full short stories? Let me know in the comments!

I kind of like laundromats.


I dropped another quarter into the slot, quietly savoring the metallic clink it made deep within the machine.

Someone cleared his throat behind me in a rude attempt to quash my brief pleasure. I whipped around with a feral glare, prepared to meet his gaze.

Instead my eyes were level with his chest. In his arms he clutched a bundle of bras and lacy undergarments dripping red fluid onto the brown tiled floor.

My words caught in my throat and only a stifled grunt escaped my mouth. I tried again.

"Those are mine," I told the Goliath, snatching the bundle from his grasp.

"I know," he said. "I had to kill that bitch that was trying to steal them." He jerked his head backwards to indicate a heap of hair and clothes on the floor behind him.

"Well, thanks," I said. I wasn't the best at meeting people. I returned to depositing coins in the dryer as the blood seeped into my shirt from the underwear I clutched with my other arm.

I could feel his breath on my neck as the next coin rolled and clattered.

oolala, risque


Ghosts are echoes of the dead. They don't learn. They don't suffer. They just repeat the last thoughts and actions of the person they were before their jarring demise.

That's why they made the best exotic dancers.

Once you set your mind to it, it's not exactly difficult to find the ghosts of women, killed violently, who had recently performed a pole dance. In fact it's tragically, disturbingly easy.

The hardest part is getting the ghosts to your club. The women are all so different, it can be near impossible to determine what object was so dear to them that it bound the final moments of their psyche to this realm. A Chanel purse. A photo of her son. A gun, never fired. Her mother's urn. There's a whole collection of objects in the back room, what used to be the dressing room when there were people to dress working here.

But now that they're here, it's practically free money. I sit back and serve drinks while horny men throw bills at the scantily clad supernatural scorch marks. When the night's over, I wipe off the ectoplasm and pocket the profits. No drama, no bouncers, no raises.

It's last call. There's one guy left, a regular. He's usually gone before 2am, but we all break our habits.

"Hey Jim, you mind if I light up?" I ask him. "I'm always jonesing by closing time." He doesn't even turn to look, so I light a cigarette and savor the buzz as it flows through me. I breathe out a thin cloud turned purple and red in the stage lights.

Jim's huge face appears in the cloud, madness in his eyes as curls of smoke twist away from us.

"She was mine! She was mine and I want her back!" he howls in my face, the liquor in his breath masking a more terrible smell.

A gun emerges from the cloud of smoke and I choke on the drag I had half-inhaled, coughing into his face, but Jim doesn't seem to notice. I raise my hands as I cough, hoping to placate the drunk.

"Where do you keep her?" he howls. "I didn't kill her for you to take! She was for me!"

Still sputtering coughs, I point to the back room. Jim runs off in that direction, smoke trailing behind him.

I sit down, adrenaline pumping. I pick up the bar phone to dial 911 before Jim returns, but it's not fast enough. He knew what he was looking for.

A gold necklace dangles from his huge fist as he yells, "I gave her this! I did! She thought it was a surprise from her shitty boyfriend but it was me! Now she's mine forever! Not his, not yours, mine!"

"Sure, Jim, take it," I say, lowering the receiver. "She's yours. Take her." The gun still flails wildly in his other hand and he notices me eyeing it.

"Tell me," he says, leaning close to me. He points the gun to my head. "What is your most valued possession?"

I'll preheat the oven at 5


Half-chewed human fingers dropped from my mouth as I said, "They really are better cooked."

"That's why I told you to wait!" Jared snapped. "The party is in a few hours, I don't have time to remake all the themed treats! Now put those down and help me clean!"

"They're amazingly lifelike, for snacks," I said, arranging the uneaten fingers on the baking tray.

"Thanks, I worked really hard on them," he said. Then his face softened and he added, "Sorry I was rude earlier."

"It's fine," I said. I know how much Halloween means to you."

"Still," he said. "It was your baby too. I know you cope differently than I do, and I need to be more sensitive to that."

I kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks," I added.

* * *

The party was a smash. Everyone wore costumes. We stayed up drinking and talking late into the night. It was enough that Jared and I were able to forget, for a night, for the hardest night every year, of the child we had lost.

But the next day, there was work to do.

"Is everything ready? Dammit, can't your friends put their fucking cups in the trash?" Jared said.

"Half of those are from that idiot Mike that you always invite," I shot back.

"Sorry. Again," he sighed.

"It's fine. I understand. Just, get the damn candles lined up. Shit, is the oven ready?"

"Yeah, I put it on a timer."

"I wish we didn't have to do this every year," I said, collapsing into Jared's chest in an atypically authentic display of emotion. Tears were being suppressed at the corners of my eyes.

"Me too, Babe. Me too." He hugged me tight. "But it's almost midnight. If we want to live, we have to be ready."

"I know," I choked. I propelled myself back into get things done mode.

Together, we set the last of the trap. Then we just had to wait.

"I really thought," Jared said, "that when we killed the witch, her little 'blessing' would stop."

"I know," I said. "Me too."

"I just don't get why she would do this to us. We went to her for help! Our baby was dead, she seemed like our only hope!"

"You know how it is," I said. "probably she was disguised as some old lady we cut in front of at the grocery store."

"Yeah," he said. "Probably."

We heard a distant cry, muffled by the barriers between worlds. It was time.

"I'll chase it, you direct it into the oven. And sweetie?" I kissed his cheek. "Good thinking, on the preheating."

Me too.


My ex-boyfriend stroked the writhing pseudopod that bound him to the ancient god Shog-Nygurath as he spoke. It was reminiscent of how he'd twirl his hair around his finger when he'd only pretended to be listening.

"Kyle, I'm just not convinced you're giving Shog-Nygurath a chance. I know that I've wronged you, but they haven't."

"You didn't even want to be friends after you dumped me. By text message!" I shouted, surprising myself with how strongly I still felt about it. I had given myself more credit than that, but then I hadn't been prepared for Alex to come crawling back, begging for me to join him in a cosmic, polyamorous relationship. "So why would I trust you about Shog-Nygurath?"

"Shog-Nygurath has chosen you, specifically, Kyle. Among all the people that all of us ever knew, they saw something in you and asked me to welcome you to our collective. If it's not working out, you can always leave." The tentacle curled itself peacefully as his voice dropped. "See, this is why I left. You were never very adventurous."

It hit a nerve. After being caught in multiple affairs, he begged for its to welcome a third into our bedroom. When I irately declined, 'not adventurous enough' was how he shamed me for holding to my values.

"How dare you!" I hissed. "You deserve whatever that extra-dimensional monster is going to do to you." I whirled around, prepared to storm off.

Then I felt a cool, moist pressure on the back of my neck.

* * *

"I'm glad you decided to join us, Kyle," said Alex.

"Me too," I said, subconsciously touching the light presence on my shoulder. The slime on my fingertips from the show of affection had stopped bothering me, and instead had become like a barrier against the pain of the world.

"The chant is about to start," said Alex.

"I know," I said.

"I can't wait to finally feel Shog-Nygurath's full presence!" he said.

"Me too," I said.

Well have *you* tried playing pandemic with him there?


Two cruel gods laughed at the decaying worlds over which they ruled. The bodies of their wards were pocked with the scars of hideous diseases, the fallen pawns in gods' contests of destruction.

A third god came upon them and the first two became silent. When the new god spoke, their voice was like the sound of dying stars. The other two held no pleasure in the company of the new god.

The new god asked if they were playing The Game, and two were forced to reluctantly admit that they indeed were. The third challenged the others, and they had to choice but to accept. After all, The Game was the only pleasure for the gods of small realms, and the third was a god whose dominion extended beyond their own. Displeased as they were at playing against the third, if they declined they find themselves pawns in a greater game still. It perhaps they were already, unknowing as their own subjects.

The game began. Within cosmic moments, the subjects of the third were heaped in piles of rot and filth. The others bristled, their own realms showing only the beginning stages of a myriad poxes.

They whispered among themselves with voices of solar winds and dark matter. The third god took no pleasure in the drawn out cruelty, but rather cared only how quickly and painfully the wards fell.

In the shadows of galactic cores, they planned new diseases, meant to infect the third god. In the cauldrons of supernovae and the crucibles of black holes they brewed a disease for their new game.

And then their divine blight was ready to unleash. They chattered and cooed, waiting for the plasmic sores to take hold on their superior. But soon they found themselves inflicted with the very dimensional pustules they had prepared.

The third god laughed with a bellow that shook planets from their orbit.

For their game was a game where the gods themselves were the pieces. And they were slowly winning.

I don't have a pumpkin, either


We wore pumpkins to fool the head collectors. Every year they came on their horses and took our heads. But if we had a squash with a toothy grin carved into it, they only took that instead.

Nobody knew where the head collectors came from. Some say they were aliens, operating on unknowable logic. Others claim they were demons come to purge the world for its sins. All we knew is that, against all logic, they would take a big orange gourd in place of our skulls and brains.

So every year we hollowed them out, knifed out silly and scary faces. The artistic types made elaborate, beautiful faces, but even just two triangular eyes and a crooked simper was enough to fool the head collectors.

It became a religion. God may judge us distantly for our sins, condemning us to some future Hell, but the head collectors were there in tattered robes and long talons each year, forcing us to observe the ritual.

It was inevitable, then, with so much land converted to pumpkin growth, that disease would take hold. Slowly, at first, but then ever faster, they blights and the infestations began to grow. For the first few years of the decline, it was no big deal. Prices went up a little, but what price can you put on another year of living?

But then the news reports began.

"For the first year since the head collectors came, experts report that there aren't expected to be enough pumpkins this year."

"Pumpkin prices are skyrocketing as desperate buyers outbid each other for the few remaining gourds adorning farmers' vines. Farm theft is at an all-time high and protecting the remaining vegetables until they can be sold is becoming an industry in itself."

"Some consumers are reporting spending their entire savings on enough for just their immediate family."

Not you and I, though. We had already spent our savings. Land in the hills, willed to our children. And one small envelope, containing all the seeds we could afford. We put it in our dresser drawer for the kids to find when we are gone. And two small pumpkins, already hollowed out for preteen heads.

We don't have our pumpkins this year. We can only hope for the best for our children next year when the head collectors come.

All good. Going down easy anyway!


"Hell, first circle. Unbaptized infants and virtuous pagans," chipped the mechanical yet feminine voice of the elevator. "Going down."

I prayed for nobody to enter the small chamber alongside me, not that I expected answers to prayers anymore.

Nobody did, and the elevator continued its descent. It dinged eight more times before I got out. As the doors separated, Satan himself sat before me. The stench of his excrement quickly filled the small room.

I exited in confidence, prepared for task I had spent my whole life preparing for.

Going down was easy. All I had to do was indulge every base desire my entire life, up until the moment I shot my face in.

It's all good.

I think they have a bad link for the web address because it goes to a white Baptist Church someplace else


All links lead to Westboro. That is how civilization fell.

Some hackers, or perhaps some vengeful deity, made everything lead to the shockingly web-savvy page at www.godhatesfags.com.

The financial industry was the first to go. Then porn. Within weeks all industry had ceased.

Those of us who survived were the paranoid fools, the luddites who stored money in mattresses and still jerked off to crusty magazines.

And you know what? We like it this way. Only now, without our platinum credit cards, and civil servants, are we truly free.

There's not even all that much blood in my daily vomit, yet.

I fell asleep for a while there.


It was all a dream.

That was my first thought upon waking.

Until the stench of blood pierced my nostrils like small needles.

Blood encrusted my face. Blood soaked the pillows. It streamed from my nose. I had another moment where I considered it was a mere hallucination brought on by the coppery scent as I slumbered.

But as i opened my eyes, I saw that reality reflected my recollection exactly. Her body lay heaped at the bottom of the bed, where I had killed her after the kids were taken care of. It was there that her unexpected strength had broken my nose and sent me into my short blackout.

I breathed deeply. For a second I had feared that I'd have to do it all over again. I was relieved.

Until the blue and red lights shone on the wall opposite the window.

Your pizza wants you!


The day I married the pizza was the happiest day of my life. It was all downhill from there.

The pizza quickly grew cold and distant. His crust, once so warm and inviting, eventually became hard. His appetizing toppings glazed over with congealed grease.

He wasn't even good in bed anymore. The heat was just gone.

I started spending longer hours at work. He just sat at the table all day.

Then he started cutting me in places nobody else could see.

I planned my revenge on the toilet at work. I'd cut him into pieces and put each piece in the microwave.

At 4:17 I got a text from him: "Your pizza is waiting for you ;)"

Well this time, I was ready for him.

[a photo of some LEDs]


"This is going to be lit!" shouted Jim as we filled our cart with boxes of LED Christmas lights and gilt ornaments.

"Ugh, cut it with the fucking puns!" I groaned. "You're already making me shop for Christmas decorations before Halloween, you could at least try not to make me regret it."

"But it's the CHRISTmas wonderland! It's putting the CHRIST back in Christmas! Can't you get in the spirit a little?"

"I'd rather put the Mass back in Christmas. This whole holiday has become a secular shitshow, a celebration of wanton materialism. And to make it worse, it's supplanting other holidays too. First Thanksgiving (fucked up in its own right) and now Halloween? You're lucky I love you; I wouldn't tolerate this from anyone I didn't."

"Oh bah humbug!" he scoffed back at me.

"You don't even use that phrase until at least November!"

But he was right. I did hate Christmas. It was time for it to die.

* * *

The moon was full, diffused with wisps of clouds, glaring down from the sky like the judging eye of a bitter god. It was midnight, it was Halloween, and I was at a graveyard. The veil between worlds was so thin I felt I could pierce through it with a fingernail if I tried. It was time for the ritual to begin.

I unrolled the sackcloth with the elaborate pentagram painted onto it. I had been working on the sigils ever since last Halloween, when flipping radio stations looking for the Monster Mash turned up an extremely premature Christmas carol.

I lit the candles and began the chant that would let the souls of the dead break through. If anything could restore Halloween, it was a mass outbreak of the supernatural that the holiday had come to celebrate.

* * *

The ritual took several hours to complete. I could feel the spirits whirling around me as I weakly walked back to my car. Jim wouldn't be happy I had been out so late, but it was Halloween, he would forgive me.

I got home and opened the door to expected silence. I moved silently until I ran into something heavy on the way into the living room, below our balcony.

I stifled a scream as I fumbled for the lights to see what the shape was. When I flipped the switch, the overhead light did not come on. Instead, the room was illuminated with a rainbow glow from a strand of multicolored lights wrapped around the room.

And there in front of me, the form I had encountered: Jim's lifeless body, dangling by a cord of the accursed decorations. The lights tried to make his limp face festive, but the shadows flailed like bats as he swung like a pendulum.

I stumbled to the kitchen and uncorked a bottle of Witches' Brew, the cheesy, oversweetened spiced wine that every Halloween party needed in droves. I slumped against the wall and drank it from the bottle.

Here's to one more ghost to celebrate on All Saint's Day.

I am sorry


"I am sorry," I said, stroking the corpse's cold cheek. "You look nothing like yourself."

It had been a real hack up, that's for sure. But the family insisted on an open casket. Her asshole husband had cut her face to ribbons, letting her bleed out in the tub before cowardly offing himself with a gun.

I was good at my job, but there's only so much to do when your canvas is shredded. Especially when the damn coroners take it for a few extra days and you don't get to start prep when it's fresh.

I held up her photo beside the face and inhaled through my teeth. It was worse than I'd hoped.

"Shit," I said to her. I tossed the photo onto the steel table. I had managed to close the cuts, but the face had lost so much structure in the process. It was her face, but it just didn't look like her anymore. I kicked the table and the metal legs rang like a bell.

That bell was echoed by the chime of the doorbells. I ripped off my gloves and prayed a silent thank you for the reprieve.

The man on the other side of the door was tall and thin and perfectly tailored. He offered me a business card instead of a handshake.

I read the card, which did not bear his name, and looked up at him, but before I could introduce myself he said, "Your latest work is a rather high-profile challenge, no?"

"Yeah," I said, trying to catch up. "It's not easy. I was just working on her, actually."

"No doubt," said the thin man. "I hear it's also a lucrative challenge."

"Sure," I said. "The family is paying well. It's also good advertising. Um, I didn't catch your name."

"Indeed," said the man. "I'm rather an expert myself. I was wondering if you'd need assistance?"

Ultimately, he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Together, he and I got the woman looking perfect. More alive than she had looked in life, in fact.

So alive, she started breathing. And the man leaned over and whispered sharply into my ear:

"I am sorry." Then something hard hit my skull.

They closed at 7


I stood in the early dark, banging my fist against the glass door. The employees saw me, but they made no move to unlock it. My breath curled away in the cold wind.

I pulled out my dead phone again, pushing the power button fruitlessly. I turned the blank screen towards the workers inside, but by that point they were pointedly ignoring me, anxious to wrap up their nightly duties and return home.

I kicked the bottom of the door once for good measure, and recoiled at the pain. It was getting numb from the slush I had stepped in on my way here, and I had kicked too hard, sending jolts of half-pain zig-zagging up my leg like electric talons.

I stormed off, narrowly avoiding another semi-frozen puddle as I limped down the street, unsure how to get home with no phone. I saw the reflection of the Verizon store's lights flipping off behind me on a sheet of thin ice.

I pulled tight the strings on my hoodie, scrunching my face. My nose was what needed it the most but it poked out between the tight threads despite my best efforts. I wasn't at all prepared for being out in the weather.

A dark car slowed beside me. I stuffed my hands deeper into my pockets and slumped my shoulders, trying to disrupt my form as much as possible, lest the inevitable drunkard in the car try to catcall me.

It was to no avail, though. The car matched my speed and the tinted window rolled down. To my surprise, an inebriated man in a flat-rimmed baseball cap did not lean out and tell me to smile. Instead, a made-up older woman sat in the passenger seat. She appeared as though she were returning from the opera. She didn't even turn to look at me, but she spoke.

"You're exactly what I'm looking for. Get in."

"Um," I said. "Really, I just need to make a phone call, get a friend to pick me up."

"Get in." A back door opened, seemingly of its own accord, but there was a boy in a uniform behind it, who quickly scooted to make room for me.

"It's very kind of you," I said. "It's cold. Do you have a Droid charger? It'll only take a minute..." I climbed into the car, and the second my ass hit the seat, the door closed shut. The boy in the uniform looked straight forward, not even checking me out with side-eyes. The driver wore a matching uniform and looked little older.

"You're coming to my house," the woman said.

"No, thank you, but I really just need to get home."

"I'm afraid I cannot accept 'no' as an answer." The car started moving, the driver turning his head as little as possible to maneuver safely.

"So, um, what do you do?" I said, trying to ease the tension. I rubbed my nose with both hands to try and warm it.

"I pick up girls from the side of the street and take them to my house," she quipped. I laughed at her joke, but she didn't and I quickly swallowed my chuckle. After that, I rode in silence. I looked around for a charger, but there was nothing. The car was utterly elegant, sleek and black and minimalist with no buttons, ports or levers except by the driver's hand. I looked to the door beside me to see that that included door handles or locks.

Eventually we stopped at a gate. The driver entered a code and the gate opened. We drove through, and it closed behind us. Slowly, the mansion emerged from between the hedges as we drove. It was massive, Victorian, and dark. That was the last time I saw it from the outside.

Ok. We're going to ride the wagon train thing.


The damn thing was full of kids. I was aching for a cigarette, but the moms would glare and whine for sure. I chewed my bottom lip in a habit I knew I should break, but Hell, it wasn't even close to the top of that list.

When you sign up for this gig, you never think about the fact that it's going to take you to the kids' 'spook-free' haunted hayrides, the mall, the fucking football stadium. You think your jobs are going to pull you into the dregs of society, the outcasts and underbelly of everything. But the losers can't afford an investigator. You know who can afford us? Wives with rich, cheating husbands. Men who want out of their prenup. Very rarely, a middle-class kid who hasn't been missing long enough for the police to start looking into it but their helicopter parents can't picture spending a night with little Jimmy unaccounted for.

Now I really needed that cigarette. The kids were screaming and devouring candy like it was their last meal. The moms all stared at their phones. Well, those who weren't staring at me. The guy in the duster, hanging out on a kid's ride with no kid in sight.

I already hated this job, and I hadn't even spotted the guy yet. Some teeny-bopper girl had hired me to watch him, paid with credit card with a man's name on it. Hopefully her stepdad, but that was none of my business.

My business, in this case, was to keep an eye on her boyfriend, who, she said, had been 'acting all, like, suspicious and whatever'. Sure, the job was shit, but the money was good. Dumb teens who think they're in love will pay handsomely for information they could have gotten freely from anyone on the cheerleading team.

Or so I thought, until I found the bastard raping kids back behind the Barn of Horrors. Now I gotta find a place to hide a body in this god-damned Haunted Farm.

How long does it incubate?


Sigourney's breath fogged against the allegedly fog-proof mask of her helmet. She cursed the Company, but her heart wasn't in it. After all, shortcuts aside they had funded this expedition, and now she was studying the first confirmed organic matter of an extraterrestrial species, in this case a pulsating egg sac of some sort.

Scans struggled to make sens of the insides, with no knowledge of the makeup or structure of the creature inside, but the obloid structure she was investigating bore an uncanny resemblance to the prevalent analogs on Earth, and also, she had a hunch.

It was a curious thing, though. The derelict had been cleaned of any and all organic matter by whatever had boarded it. Not a drop of blood, not a strand of DNA had been left behind. If the hull had been made of traditional steel, or another alloy containing carbon, she doubted there would have been a ship left to investigate at all.

But right there on the bridge of the ship, the aliens (could she call them aliens? It felt wrong, it felt like science-fiction, but what else could she call them? It's what they were!) had left this small pod. It breathed, in a rhythm that managed to feel alien even. There was no symmetry to it. It moved and pulsed with similar chaos.

She had scraped a sample from it and was testing its exposure to various substances. The egg itself was in a chamber that had carefully reproduced the conditions it was found in, though she doubted that would make a difference. They hadn't modified the air exchange on the derelict, so whatever was inside could likely handle their atmosphere.

She was getting impatient. Sure, the egg itself was fascinating, but she needed to know what was inside. And she had no idea how long they might take to hatch. Even on Earth, eggs ranged from a few days to several months, depending on the species.

But eventually, her patience was rewarded. The egg didn't break and hatch like one would expect of most terrestrial species. Instead, it seemed to peel back in some kind of chemical reaction initiated by the neonate.

There, in the incubator, emerged the first alien. Though it was being constantly recorded by cameras and detectors of various other chemicals and wavelengths, Sigourney took a series of photos as it broke forth.

The thing was small, and shiny and black. Its carapace was iridescent like a beetle shell, but it stood on two legs and bore two arms like a human.

She began to feel a maternal instinct toward it, though it displayed none of the neotenous features common to Earth juveniles. She reached toward the case it was in with a gloved hand in gesture of compassion.

The creature returned the favor by retching a dark, sticky fluid onto the plastic case, obstructing her view of it. She made some notes, hypothesizing that it was an escape mechanism similar to the ink of an octopus, until the smell of melting plastic pulled her attention back to the hole in the case where the vomit stuck.

She bent around to look through the hole, to confirm that the creature was still there, but the sudden outburst of lights and claxons soon confirmed the opposite.

"Trojan horse," she started writing in her notes, until she felt a sting on the back of her leg. She turned quickly enough to see the small thing dart away into an air vent, before she needed to sit down, light-headed.

Within moments she was feeling better. Much better. Better than ever. Stronger. Faster. Smarter. Stronger, faster, and smarter than anyone on the ship. In fact, she was the only one on the ship who deserved to live. The rest deserved to die, and she was just the one to do it. She grabbed some instruments from her lab and made her way toward the bridge.

And there's a little flag and a punkin out front now


Gumball sat up, the wound in his stomach aching. He surveyed the carnage around him.

The red leaves littering the ground were spattered with blood. Small bodies lay in heaps around the landscaping. His friends, all seemingly dead. Cupcake was there, missing an arm, surrounded by gore. Daiquiri's face was pale and still from the loss of blood. Even Triscuit, who he'd never really gotten on with, was reduced to a bloody pile of limbs and a pointy hat.

But one thing gave him hope: the Gnomish flag still flapped in the gentle breeze, between the daisies and the mums. One small pumpkin, leaking seeds and pulp onto the mulch was the only thing contesting the victory. All had fought, most had died, but the Gnomes won!

Gumball tried to stand but the pain was too severe. He clutched his stubby hand to his abdomen, sticky with blood. He tried to crawl but it was equally fruitless. They may have won, but it was seeming a Pyrrhic victory at best. He tried to run through the Citizens of the Lawn, to figure out who could be left to rebuild their community, but every name he thought of matched a body slumped over a pile of flowers or crumpled up by a toadstool.

It was just him. Gumball was the sole survivor.

Then something struck him. There were no bodies of the enemies. Every body he had seen was one of his countrymen. Thinking back, he couldn't even recall who they were fighting. He remembered bayonetting vile creatures, aiming his rifling and firing with spite, kicking and clawing. But when he tried to picture who exactly he was shooting at, he couldn't. All he saw was the angry, violent faces of his comrades.

Then a sick feeling fought out the pain for the primary sensation in his stomach. He wasn't having trouble picturing the faces of those he had fought; they were all around him.

He was the enemy of the Citizens of the Lawn. And he had won.

YEAH! I totally told her, and she literally dropped dead after realizing how much she sucks.


"Cause of death: spontaneous existential nihilism," said the coroner.

"You got that in English for me, Doc?" said the investigator.

The coroner rolled his eyes. How was every cop he had to deal with so damn stupid? "She died because she realized her life was a meaningless void and nothing she could do would fill it. She died because she realized how much she sucked." The coroner silently prayed that the same thing would happen to the investigator, but he was too dense to make the connection.

Instead, the dolt merely whistled in exasperation. "What am I s'posed to tell her family, huh? Besides, she was a pretty young thing. She had her whole life ahead of her."

The coroner rolled his eyes again at the idiotic turn of phrase. Ever since God had decided that realizing your own futility was a crime punishable by instantaneous death, there were only two kinds of people left in the world: those who knew they were important, and those who were too dumb to realize they weren't. The coroner, obviously, included himself in the first category, and most people he still had left to deal with in the second.

"I don't know," he said to the boorish oaf. "Tell them she killed herself then. Same difference, these days."

"Jesus," spat the cop. "You shouldn't say things like that!"

"That's the reason I'm here deep in my cold dark cave, prying open body after body to try and figure out if any of these teenagers were killed, and you go out there in the sunshine and talk to the living."

"You really are a prick," said the dolt, finally turning to leave. The coroner rolled his eyes a final time as the hulking buffoon finally left his lab.

The coroner turned back to the naked, split-open teenaged body on his slab.

He reached out, and cupped her cheek. "Don't worry, honey. You'll be getting a lot more friends in here soon. God gave me a real boon with His newfound vendetta against nihilism. It makes revenge so much easier. Now, who was that other girl who was with you when you broke in here? Suzy? Sally? Some stupid, meaningless girl's name. Doesn't matter, she's next. Then the two moronic jocks who fucked you right here on my table." He smiled, and moved his hand to her shoulder. "It's a great relief, knowing that only fools remain to be killed."

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wanna Read?

I'll probably post some of these updates every once in a while, to make it easy for newcomers to find some stuff to read.

First, be sure to check out my latest published work, The Sorrowful Mysteries in Deadman's Tome!

If you're interested in reading my work, here's where to find it!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Kid Medusa

My first paid fiction publication, Kid Medusa, has been picked up by Theme of Absence magazine. You can read it for free here. Kid Medusa is about a girl with living hair trying to find her place at a private school for monsters.

Accompanying the story is an absolutely adorable illustration by the great Betty Rocksteady (also shared below!).

Additionally, I was interviewed by Theme of Absence for their author interview series. Read that here.

I'll have some more exciting publishing news soon, but I can't say too much about it yet. Whet your whistle with some Kid Medusa while you wait.

Don't make eye contact!
Illustration by Betty Rocksteady

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Life and Things

Since my blog is like a year overdue for an update, here's some general updates on the happenings in my life.

Early this year I took a new job where I work three 13 hour days a week, and have 4 day weekends every day. While the three days at work are quite long, the extended weekends have proven great for my writing, and I'm even able to set aside about one day each week that I can more or less dedicate to writing.

Through that I've been doing comics reviews at The Outhouse, co-hosting a podcast, I joined a short fiction workshop online, and I've been submitting a number of stories for publication.

Speaking of my podcast, We Write Weird Shit will be picking back up for the second season in a few weeks! This season will take place in Limbo, and as with the first season, each episode will feature an original story inspired by listener suggestions.

I'm also putting together a mini writing retreat for my local writer compatriots! We're going to nab a cabin somewhere nearby and lock ourselves in for a long weekend of productivity. I'm working on coming up with a novella for it.

Do Gyndroids Dream of Electric Dicks? has gotten pretty much nowhere since I finished the first draft. New goal is to have a manuscript ready when Eraserhead Press opens for submissions in April. Once they reject it, I'll start sending it around to more fitting places like New Kink.

No publication announcements yet, but I have 6 submissions out and another 4 in the works, so I hope to have more news on that front soon! I'll update here and on the Projects page when there's more to say.

That's all today. Maybe I'll pick one of my old features back up. What do you want to see here while we wait to hear back from publishers?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Look and Updates

If you're here, you've probably already noticed that Jon James Writes has a whole new look! Classy! Along with that are a number of updates to the site, including info on my podcast We Write Weird Shit, and some links to my awesome frands. Have a look around. Maybe I'll even start updating it now that I can stand to look at it.