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List of Published Stories  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Well, I'm up to 67 published stories now, hope to hit the 100 mark soon.

Title Publication Response
Matthew O'Reilly A Long Short Story Accepted 11/10/08 for Dec issue
Crash Course in Brain Surgery Static Movement Accepted 29/08/08
Matthew O'Reilly Shine Accepted 10/09/08 for Dec issue
The Congregation Sonar 4 Accepted 06/09/08 for Nov issue
Cliche Antipodean SF Accepted 01/01/09
Black Bullets Static Movement Accepted 16/10/08 for Nov Issue
Dead Letter Office Cynic Mag Accepted 25/10/08 for Nov Issue
Dead Letter Office Dark Fire Fiction Accepted 05/12/08
My Legacy Wordslaw Accepted 04/12/08
The Lift Flashshot Accepted 11/11/08
My Legacy Micro Horror Accepted 13/11/08
Noise Pollution is a Matter of Opinion The Harrow Accepted for June 09 Issue $6 US
Christmas Crackers Spec The Halls Accepted 28/11/08
The Cover of Darkness The Tiny Globule Accepted 30/11/08, Published http://www.thetinyglobule.com/
When Time is Short, Things are Often Overlooked Yellow Mana Accepted 02/12/08 April 09 Issue
A Nice Bunch 52 Stitches Accepted 06/12/08
He Who Has Power, Has Power Six Sentences Accepted 11/12/08
Mr Powers Linguaphobia Asked to polish and edit for resubmission 10/01/09 Published 20/02/09
Billy Bad Boy Well Told Tales Accepted 08/04/09 Site now allows authors to publish directly
A Grave Disorder NVF Accepted for Jan Issue 31/12/08
A Whisker and Tail Static Movement Accepted 04/01/09
A Nice Bunch Anthology Builder Accepted 05/01/09
Grave Disorder Anthology Builder Accepted 05/01/09
Visions Sonar 4 Accepted 05/01/09
After Midnight Bards & Sages Accepted 10/01/09 July issue .01c per word = $4.96
Chimney Sinister Tales Accepted 14/04/09 for issue 4.3
Crypt Tales Flashshot Accepted 07/02/09
One Hell of A Time Flashes In The Dark Accepted 22/01/09
Men at Arms The Short Humour Site Accepted 19/01/09
Pete's Priceless Potions Golden Visions Accepted 17/03/09
Orc Justice Static Movement Accepted 02/02/09
Pete's Priceless Potions The Short Humour Site Accepted 31/01/09
Looks like, um, Magic to Me The Short Humour Site Accepted 31/01/09
Charity Begins at Home Tuesday Shorts Accepted 19/02/09
Passion for Orestes Sinister Tales Accepted 06/03/09
Life in the Great Beyond Static Movement Accepted 02/02/09
Streets of Gold The Short Humour Site Accepted 06/02/09
Cup of Joe Micro Horror Accepted 04/03/09
Fairweathered Friend Well Told Tales Accepted 08/04/09 Site now allows authors to publish directly
Fields of Mars Bewildering Stories Accepted 26/05/09
Murder at Heritage National Forest Twisted Dreams Accepted 25/03/09 for June issue
Shadow Stones Sonar 4 Accepted 27/03/09 for Aug issue
Life in The Great Beyond A Long Short Story Accepted 16/04/09 for July issue
Lunch at Heritage State Forest Well Told Tales Accepted 08/04/09 Site now allows authors to publish directly
Spliced Time Static Movement Accepted 28/03/09 for April issue
Murder at Heritage National Forest Night to Dawn Accepted for Spring 2010
Plague Ship Micro Horror Accepted 17/04/09
Murder at Heritage National Forest Micro Horror Accepted 17/04/09
Z Static Movement Accepted 06/04/09 for May issue
Injustice The Short Humour Site Accepted 06/04/09
A Bucket of Anvils The Short Humour Site Accepted 06/04/09
The Dome Well Told Tales Accepted 09/04/09 Site now allows authors to publish directly
Uncle Tom's Cabin Well Told Tales Accepted 09/04/09 Site now allows authors to publish directly
Fields of Mars Well Told Tales Accepted 09/04/09 Site now allows authors to publish directly
Chimney Well Told Tales Accepted 09/04/09 Site now allows authors to publish directly
Red Spot Special Well Told Tales Accepted 09/04/09 Site now allows authors to publish directly
Bad Harvest Well Told Tales Accepted 17/04/09 Site now allows authors to publish directly
Typing Pool The Monsters Next Door Accepted 29/05/09 for Sept issue
Dealer's Deck of Death Static Movement Accepted 24/04/09
Come Out and Play Micro Horror Accepted 03/05/09
TDH Yellow Mana Accepted 25/04/09
Domestic Bliss The Short Humour Site Accepted 25/04/09
Emotion Eaters Static Movement Accepted 19/05/09
Flesh and Chips Micro Horror Accepted 19/05/09
On the Skyline Micro Horror Accepted 19/05/09
Orcanized The Short Humour Site Accepted 19/05/09
Grandpa's Little Humber Static Movement Accepted 19/05/09

A Day in the Life of a Fairy  

Posted by Scott Wilson

A Day in the Life of a Fairy
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 364

Trixie Bottlescrubs shook the fairy dust from her petite, dragonfly sized wings. This sort of dust accumulated on a pixies wings overnight in the same way that sleep does in your typical human’s eyes. That’s not to say that Trixie was just your typical pixie though, far from it. Trixie was born into royalty at a very early age, which is typical of someone who has a king as a father and a queen as a mother.

“Morning Princess,” a voice squeaked from under her bed.

“Good morning, Tirza.”

The fluffy, white mouse scurried out with Trixie’s slippers, placing them on the ground the very moment that the princess’s feet touched down.

Trixie stood up walked to her duchess on the opposite side of the room, sat down and began to brush her long, dark brown hair.

Tizra quickly climbed the leg of the duchess, tilted the oval mirror slightly and pulled the draw cord to open the pink velvet curtains. The sun shone in, reflecting perfectly off the mirror to make a soft, gold aura around Trixie as she looked her reflection. Tizra slide down the leg opposite the curtain and scampered to the bedroom door, leaping onto a small bookcase, ran up the paperback section, through the hard covers and onto the first editions on the top shelf. The handle was only a small leap from Trixie’s favorite author of the moment, Stephen Queen. He wrote two futuristic magic-fiction novels a year in the genre that made him a best seller and household name, both of which were immediately made into theatrical plays.

“Thank you, Tizra,” Trixie said, walking through the door as it swung open.

Trixie pulled to door closed, jerking it harshly when it wouldn’t fully shut.

“Tizra,” Trixie said. “Can you remind me to get this door looked at.”

Trixie was surprised her little helper did not answer.

“Oh, bugger,” Trixie said noticing a small mound of blood and mouse fur wedged in the door way. “That’s the third one this week.

Download Dilemma  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Download Dilemma
By Scott Wilson
Word Count:233

Professor Hutmacher pressed the commence button on his holographic lecture theatre control panel. This was his first lecture or at least first one where he was running it, at VUOT – Virtual University of Technology.

“Welcome class,” he said to the three hundred holographic images forming in his office. “I hope you had a good semester break and are ready for a new year of university.”

No response came from the student’s.

“Can you hear me okay?”

The control panel lit up, indicating to Hutmacher that the students could hear him. He pressed a sequence of buttons, then the sound of all the students voices thundered in his office. He quickly pressed another sequence of buttons until the sound lowered to an acceptable level.

“Sorry about that,” Hutmacher said. “I am still getting used to this system. I think I have it sorted out now. Can you hear me clearly?”

The control panel lit up again, indicating there was still some major problem.

“Okay, one at a time,” he said.

He selected a hologram at random and touched it gently.

“What seems to be the problem, Mary?”

“That is exactly the problem,” the student replied. “You’ve selected Mary to answer, but somehow you’ve downloaded my psyche into Mary’s body. I’m Charlie Weinberg.”

THE END

Guitar Hero  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Guitar Hero
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 265

Savvy Sandros picked up his Gibson iGuitar and ran onto stage. The spotlights flashed on, showering him in bright white light. The drummer pounded the skins and the crowd roared in response.

“Are you ready to rock?” Savvy screamed.

The crowd howled.

Jimmy Thunderclap slid across the stage on his knees, belting out a might riff to excite the crowd further.

Savvy ripped into his world renowned opening guitar solo that the crowd expected to hail the start of three hours of mayhem.

The crowd shrieked and shouted.

Savvy leapt to the front of the stage, whirling his arm in a windmill action. He was about to start the first song of the set when a gorgeous brunette in the crowd lifted her top, flashing him with a perfect set of silicon assets.

The guitar went flat, loosing its commanding voice and died with a murmur. Savvy tried quickly to regain his composure, but could not concentrate on the song in his head. Without this psychic link, the guitar was useless. He had no idea how to play it old school, with his hands.

Savvy’s thoughts continued to embrace the fan’s perk breast and the guitar did not understand what noise it was supposed to be making. It whirled and whined, then exploded, knocking Savvy to the ground with a gaping hole in his groin.

The crowd screamed in terror.

The guitar continued to make a murmuring, jumble-lee, jumble-lee, sound until it eventually gave up.

Experience Counts  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Experience Counts
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 66

As Petrice whirled around, her sword ready, the huge, red, fire-breathing dragon swoops toward her with a ROAR!

She dived for cover behind the nearby rocky outcrop atop the hill, but too late. The scorching fireball licked at her armour, melting it into her skin.

THE END

Wasted Spell  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Wasted Spell
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 191

Fjordral stands atop a grassy hill, the sun glinting off her golden hair, rippling in the warm breeze. She absent-mindedly rubbed the gem studded hilt of her new broadsword, and glance over at the dwarf and elf, bickering about how to load the horses. The magic-user, Swinzfat, has memorized her spells, all two of them, and says she’s ready to go. That is if they can agree upon how their packs should go and they eventually leave the small village of Hamlet.

Rumours of a dangerous dungeon full of treasure from recently deceased old wizard Genkran, in the mountain nearby lured this motley band of inexperienced adventurers together. None of the group has journeyed far from Hamlet before; this would be their first major adventure.

“Ah, ah-choo” Swinzfat sneezed harshly.

A cloud of wispy, white smoke rose from the spot the elf and dwarf previously stood.

“I thought you’d taken something for that hay fever?” Fjordral said, looking at the tendrils of smoke dissipating from the magic-user’s fingertips.

THE END

Cemetery Dance  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Cemetery Dance
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 252

The walk to the cemetery was refreshing for Julian, after a long and tedious day in the depressing office. Once amongst the tombstones and with the thought of the corpses so close by, Julian brightened up.

If he could just find a way to combine his fascination and obsession with death with his job he would be the happiest employee alive. Old man Clyde at the Hemmant Cemetery kept saying that there was no work for Julian, even when Julian offered to work for free after hours and on weekends.

Julian waved at Clyde, who was sitting in the office in the centre of the cemetery. Clyde gave him a fake smile and a pathetic little waggle of the hand that hardly passed as half a wave. Julian smiled, thinking that the old geezer would have to retire soon; he must have been in his eighties.

At the end of the original burial ground, Julian sat on the headstone of Bertice Flower. He had no idea who she was but her plot sat in front of Arnold Switzergal, the first serial killer in Hemmant, and probably Queensland.

Julian rolled a cigarette, lit it with his Zippo, and blew a smoke ring. He looked at his watch and sighed, two hours until darkness would come like and old and comforting friend. Tonight he would make an opening for a new employee.
THE END

Six Shells of Fury  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Six Shells of Fury
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 1574

Tex loaded his six-shooter with a fresh round of bullets from his weathered gun belt. He spun the chamber and watched it carefully, making sure that it was not out of balance after being knocked from his hand during the preceding battle. A quick scan of his belt told him he had to find a supply of bullets soon, or learn how to fight off the creatures of this world in some other fashion.

Four of the seven-foot tall, long taloned bipeds lay dead around Tex’s camp. Only one managed to get within ten feet of Tex, another four feet and the long talons would have torn at his flesh relentlessly until his was a bloody mass of flesh and bones. Over the last few weeks, he had seen the result of these beasts and knew he did not want to be on the receiving end of their fury. They seemed to come out of nowhere attack their pray, and then disappear just as suddenly. With his laser carbine, they were easy to despatch, but with the local 45 calibre pistols, more than one well-aimed shot was required to bring them down.

His leathery fingers spun the pearl hilted pistol before safely returning it to the low-slung holster. Tex patted the dust from his black Akubra hat and put it back on his thick, sandy head of hair. Since crashing on this planet months ago, he noticed the streaks of gray appearing at each temple. He hoped it was just his age catching up with him naturally and not some affect of the environment of this strange planet. Though only thirty-four, he felt twice that age now, and his body seemed to reflect this feeling by aging to coincide with his feelings.

Tex looked around, shading his eyes as he surveyed the naked horizon under the harsh midday sun. Tex could see the grassy plains stretch out as far as the eye could see with only a sparse spattering of trees every hundred meters of so to break the monotony of an otherwise unremarkable landscape. No birds flew in the cloudless purple sky and this unsettled Tex somewhat.

With the foul stench of the corpses rising, Tex hurried to pack his camp and head on his way. He continued in the direction that the sun would set thinking that it would lead him back to his shuttle and hopefully, and a way off this planet. Luckily, the small band of locals found him a good way from his crashed craft when they captured him and brought him back to their town. They appeared primitive in technology, somewhere around the latter half of the nineteenth century of Earth, the good old Wild West.

“Okay, Clyde,” he said to the horse. “Best be making tracks before anyone, or anything catches up to us.”

He mounted the horse and grimaced from the stinging pain from the saddle sores. Riding a horse was painful for the inexperienced, as where the tight denim jeans he stole along with the horse during his daring escape.

It took the posse a week to escort him back the town and he escaped from the sheriff’s office four days ago. If he were on the right path, then he was over half way back to safety. The first thing Tex planned on doing was get out of the ill-fitting clothes that chaffed his thighs and felt as stiff as a board. The second thing Tex would do was fix his shuttle and head back to Earth, provided he could fix the damage sustained from the electrical storm.

“Where you’ all headed padre’?”

Tex looked behind and saw a small man dressed in bone coloured jeans, a red and white chequered button-up shirt, a white cowboy hat, and a tan bandana wrapped around his neck.

“Where did you come from, mate?” Tex asked.

The stranger took his hat off and wiped his brow.

“Gets kind of lonely out here on the Kennel Plains. People sometime don’t see what’s right in front of their eyes until it’s upon them.”

“I’m pretty sure I would have noticed you, stranger,” Tex replied, slowly resting his hand on his waist above his pistol.

“Ain’t no need for any of that now, mister,” the stranger said. “I’sa peace loving person, from a peace loving folk.”

The stranger turned around slowly.

“See; don’t even pack an iron myself.”

“How do you protect yourself from those creatures,” Tex said, pointing back at his camp.

“Oh, those Endercats don’t seem to take much notice of me and my kin. We’ve lived here for centuries at one with all of nature.”

Tex began to understand why he did not notice this stranger before. If he didn’t carry a weapon and appeared out of nowhere, then there must be some underground network of tunnels or something to travel along. Unseen and protected. He looked around to see if he could see any sign of a manhole or the like.

“Oh you are clever, aren’t you?” the stranger said. “We do travel underground. Yes, I can read your thoughts too.”

Tex thought, If you can read thoughts, where do I come from?

“Earth, I’ve heard of that place before,” the stranger said. “We had visitors from you planet many years ago. Like you, the townsfolk rounded them up. They were hung, all ten of them, even the women.”

That must have been the crew of the Haratica, Tex thought to himself. The scientific exploration mission to find alternate planets for expanding Earth’s population.

“Yes, yes. That sounds like them,” the stranger said. “They had a vehicle like yours and they were taking samples of soil, air, wildlife, anything they found.”

“Do you know where their shuttle landed?” Tex said.

“Ah, parts to fix your ship, or possibly to use to get home to Earth?”

Tex thought, I’ve got to stop thinking.

“Hard to stop thinking when you know someone can hear you,” the stranger said with an ear-to-ear smile.

“Look,” Tex said. “If you’re going to rummage around in my head, you can at least introduce yourself.”

“Where are my manners? My name is Ankleon.”

“Well, Ankleon. I am in a bit of a hurry. Unlike the crew from the other ship that landed here, I managed to escape that lynch mob. I don’t fancy standing out here in the open until they catch up to me and string me up to.”

“Yes, yes. I can understand that. Strung up and left for the Ettercat’s to eat isn’t my idea of a nice afternoon either. Follow me.”

And with that, Ankleon produced a device with a number of bright lights and pressed one. A bright white light flashed in front of Ankleon and an opening or portal of some kind appeared. Through the portal, Tex saw a large square room with furnishings similar to those in an office back on Earth.

“Come now,” Ankleon said. “You will have to leave to horse here though. Their scent attracts the Ettercats.”

Tex dismounted and cautiously followed the short stranger through the doorway, not knowing what to expect but expecting absolutely anything to happen. When inside, Tex saw the bright white flash again, the doorway vanished and in its place was a solid steel wall. The other walls were constructed of the same material, two had large windows, and one had a real door, or at least what looked like a real door. In the centre of the room sat a large stainless steel desk with a computer and desk lamp.

“Where is this place?” Tex asked.

“When is this place, you mean,” said Ankleon.

“When?”

“Yes, when. You mean when is this place. It is not in the same period that landed in. We are on the same planet, but fifty years in the future. Something happened that caused mass devastation on our planet and we need to understand what it was to prevent it.”

“Why did you bring me here?”

“You come from a technologically advanced planet, perhaps you can assist us.”

“And in return, you will help me find the other shuttle so I can get back home.”

“Yes, that sounds amicable.”

“Okay, so where are we then?”

“This building is in the same location as the place where I met you, but in the future. Through an unfortunate series of trials, we found a way to come back in time, but only to the same location. As you can imagine, we lost quite a few scientists through this process. Opening the door into rivers, volcanos, rooms being crushed by the existence of solid formations such as mountains in the past.”

“How many of these doorways have you made?”

“Three, successful ones that is. After losing too many of our diminishing population, we had to stop. Unfortunately, they locations are not spread wide enough to determine what actually occurred to set the chain of events in motion.”

“Do you have any idea what happened? I mean, how do you know it is in this year, or the year I came from, that the disaster occurred? There doesn’t seem to be any technology capable of such a disaster back then.”

“Yes, but I’m sure you will find the cause of the disaster over the years we have assigned you to this task.”

THE END

The Gas Fields of Mars  

Posted by Scott Wilson

The Gas Fields of Mars
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 2127

It was nearly dusk when I drew close to the Gas Fields. Already the scarlet vapors were about, riding across the sunken levels like restless ghosts in a graveyard. Though I had set forth in a mood of wild delight, I had sobered in the lonely ride across the Fields of Mars and was now uneasily edgy and somewhat frightened. As my speeder jerked down the dusty slopes that fell away to the jaws of the Gas Fields I could see thin streams of mist rise slowly, hover like wraiths above the moist red ground, and then, turning gradually more material, go blowing heavily away across the flat. The appearance of the place at this desolate hour, so remote from human society and so darkly suggestive of evil presences, struck me with wonder that she should have chosen this spot for our meeting.
She was a familiar of the Gas Fields, where I had invariably encountered her; but it was like her arrogant caprice to test my devotion by some such dreary assignation. The wide and horrid prospect depressed me beyond reason, but the fact of her proximity drew me on, and my spirits rose at the thought that at last she was to put me in possession of herself. Tethering my speeder at the edge of the Gas Fields, I soon discovered the path that crossed it and struck out boldly for the heart. The track must have been little used, for the natural red mounds of Martian ant hills, which stood high above eyelevel upon either side, stretched everywhere across in low arches through which I dodged. I broke my way with some inconvenience and much impatience. A full half hour I was solitary in that wilderness, and when at last a sound other than my own footsteps broke the silence, dusk had fallen.

I was moving very slowly at the time, with a mind half disposed to turn from the melancholy expedition, which it seemed to me now must surely be a cruel jest she had played upon me. While some such reluctance held me, I was suddenly arrested by a hoarse croaking which broke out upon my left, sounding somewhere from the ant hills in the gas streams. A little further it came again from close at hand, and when I had passed on a few more steps in wonder and perplexity, I heard it for the third time. I stopped and listened, but the Gas Fields were as a grave, and so taking the noise for the signal of some alien froglike creature that inhabited the desolate fields, I resumed my way. But soon the croaking was repeated, and coming quickly to a stand, I pushed the ant hills aside and peered into the darkness. I could see nothing, but at the immediate moment of my pause I thought I detected the sound of somebody trailing through the thick wisps of cloudy red gas. My distaste for the adventure grew with this suspicion, and had it not been for my delirious infatuation, I surely would have turned back and sped home. The ghastly sound pursued me at intervals along the track, until at last, irritated beyond endurance by the sense of this persistent and invisible company, I broke into a run.
This, it seemed, the creature (whatever it was) could not achieve, for I heard no more of it and continued my way in peace. My path at length ran out from among the ant hills upon the smooth flat of which she had spoken. Here my heart quickened, and the gloom of the dreadful place lifted. The flat lay in the very centre of the Gas Fields, and here and there in it a gaunt bush or withered tree rose like a specter against the scarlet mists. At the further end I fancied some kind of building loomed up, but the fog which had been gathering ever since my entrance upon the passage sailed down upon me at that moment and the prospect suddenly disappeared. As I stood waiting for the clouds to pass, a voice cried to me out of its centre, and the next second I saw her with bands of mist swirling about her body, come rushing to me from the darkness. She put her long arms about me, and drawing her close, I looked into her liquid silver-like eyes. Far down in them, it seemed to me, I could discern a mystic laughter dancing in the wells of light, and I had that ecstatic sense of nearness to some spirit of fire which was wont to possess me at her contact.

"At last," she said, "at last, my beloved!" I caressed her.

"Why," I said, tingling at the nerves, "why have you put this dolorous journey between us? And what mad freak is your presence in this Gas Fields?"

She uttered her cold laugh, and nestled to me again.

"I am a creature of this place," she answered. "This is my home. I have sworn you should behold me in my native sin. Here you ravished me away."

"Come, then," I said; "I have seen. Let there be an end of this. I know you, what you are. This alien field chokes up my heart. I don’t want you to spend more of your days here. Come."

"You are in haste," she cried. "There is yet much to learn. Look, my lover," she said, "you who know me, what I am. This is my prison, and I have inherited its properties. Have you no fear?"

For answer I pulled her to me. Her warm lips drove out the horrid humors of the night, but the swift passage of a flickering mockery over her eyes struck me as a flash of lightning, and I grew chill again.

"I have the Martian gas in my blood," she whispered. "The toxins and the fog of it. Think ere you vow to me, for I am the cloud in a starry night."

A lithe and lovely creature, palpable of warm flesh, she lifted her magic face to mine and besought me plaintively with these words. The dews of the nightfall hung on her lashes, and seemed to plead with me for her forlorn and solitary plight.

"Behold!" I cried, "Demon or devil of the Gas Field, you shall come with me! I have known you on the Gas Fields, a roving apparition of beauty. Nothing more I know, nothing more I ask. I care not what this dismal haunt means; not what these strange and mystic eyes have seen. You have powers and senses above me; your sphere and habits are as mysterious and incomprehensible as your beauty. But that," I said, "is mine, and the world that is mine shall be yours also."

She moved her head nearer to me with an antic gesture, and her gleaming eyes glanced up at me with a sudden flash, the semblance of a hooded viper. Starting, I fell away, but at that moment she turned her face and set it fast towards the fog that came rolling in thick volumes over the flat. Noiselessly the great cloud crept down upon us, and all dazed and troubled, I watched her watching it in silence. It was as if she awaited some omen of horror, and I too trembled in the fear of its coming.

Then suddenly out of the night issued the hoarse and hideous croaking I had heard upon my passage. I reached out my arm to take her hand, but in an instant the mists broke over us, and I was groping in the vacancy. Panic took hold of me, and beating through the blind obscurity, I rushed over the flat, calling upon her.
In a little the swirl went by, and I perceived her upon the margin of the Gas Fields, her arm raised as in imperious command. I ran to her, but stopped, amazed and shaken by a fearful sight. Low by the crimson ant hills crouched a small squat thing, in the likeness of a monstrous frog, coughing and choking in its throat. As I stared, the creature rose upon its legs and disclosed a horrid human resemblance. Its face was scarlet and thin, with long black warty tendrils similar to hair; its body gnarled and twisted as with the age of a thousand years. Shaking, it whined in a breathless voice, pointing a skeleton finger at the woman by my side.

"Your eyes were my guide," it quavered. "Do you think that after all these years I have no knowledge of your eyes? Lo, is there aught of evil in you I am not instructed in? This is the Hell you designed for me, and now you would leave me to a greater."

The wretch paused, and panting, leaned upon a scarlet mound, while she stood silent, mocking him with her eyes, and soothing my terror with her soft touch.

"Hear!" he cried, turning to me, "hear the tale of this woman that you may know her as she is. She is the Presence of the Gas Fields of Mars. Woman or Devil I know not, but only that the accursed fields have crept into her soul and she herself has becomes its Evil Spirit; she herself, that lives and grows young and beautiful by it, has its full power to blight and chill and slay. I, who was once as you are, have this knowledge. What bones lie deep in this black Gas Fields, who can say but she? She has drained of health, she has drained of mind and of soul. What is between her and her desire that she should not drain also of life? She has made me a devil in her Hell, and now she would leave me to my solitary pain, and go search for another victim. But she shall not!" he screamed through his chattering teeth. "She shall not! My Hell is also hers! She shall not!"

Her smiling untroubled eyes left his face and turned to me. She put out her arms, swaying towards me, and so fervid and so great a light glowed in her face that, as one bereft of superhuman means, I took her into my embrace. And then the madness seized me.

"Woman or devil," I said, "I will go with you! Of what account this pitiful past? Blight me even as that wretch, so be it, only you are with me."

She laughed, and disengaging herself, leaned, half-clinging to me, towards the coughing creature by the ant hills.

"Come," I cried, catching her by the waist. "Come!" She laughed again a cold-ringing laugh. She moved with me slowly across the flat to where the track started for the portals of the Gas Fields. She laughed and clung to me.

But at the edge of the track I was startled by a shrill, hoarse screaming. And behold, from my very feet, that loathsome creature rose up and wound his long black arms about her, shrieking and crying in his pain. Stooping I pushed him from her skirts, and with one sweep of my arm drew her across the pathway. As her face passed mine, her eyes were wide and smiling. Then of a sudden, the still mist enveloped us once more. But ere it descended, I had a glimpse of that contorted figure trembling on the margin, the scarlet face drawn and full of desolate pain. At the sight, an icy shiver ran through me. And then through the yellow gloom, the her shadow darted past me to the further side. I heard the hoarse cough, the dim noise of a struggle, a swishing sound, a thin cry, and then the sucking of the geysers over something in the mist. I leapt forward. Once again the fog thinned, and I beheld her, woman or devil, standing upon the verge, and peering with smiling eyes into the wispy crimson clouds of gas. With a sharp cry wrung from my nerveless soul, I turned and fled down the narrow way from that accursed spot. As I ran, the thickening fog closed round me, and I heard far off and lessening still the cold sound of her mocking laughter.

Why she had not shown her true nature to me in the preceding months of our courtship, I do not know, nor do I know why now she revealed her alter ego to me at this time. I do know that I have never returned to the Fields of Mars again and never will, lest I encounter this demon again and loose my soul to its evil charms.

Faceblog  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Faceblog

By Scott Wilson

Word Count: 237

“Hey Dirk, check out the new recruits,” Ivan said to his close friend and co-founder of Faceblog.

Dirk swivelled his chair and looked at the dozen monitors on the wall in front of Ivan. There were profiles for twenty or so new members to their online community. Each one appeared to have nothing in common with the other, yet.

“I think those two would make a good couple,” Dirk said, looking at an obese middle aged man and an eighteen year old brunette with a supermodel figure.

“That’s hilarious. I’ll have to hook them up right away.”

Ivan punched in a sequence of commands to the command computer and within minutes, the two unlikely members were organising a date.

“How about setting those three up,” Ivan said, pointing to three buffed football players from opposing clubs.

“Bout time those bloody meat heads got some of their own medicine. You always read about how they pack rape women. Let’s see how they feel when they realise they’ve been photographed having a gay threesome in the dressing room.”

“Hey, pull up the file of that poor lady who was raped in that dressing room last year. We’ll get her to take the photos,” Ivan said. “She might even make a bit of money selling the pictures to the tabloids.”

Just for Show  

Posted by Scott Wilson in ,

Just for Show
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 287

“Yes, I agree that I have made mistakes, misjudgements, too. But I’m on the right track now, and ready to take the heat for it.” Shady Pete said to the copper tightly bound to a solid wood chair.

With that, he levelled his pistol and pulled the trigger. The bullet grazed the officer’s ear, deafening him and starting a slow trickle of blood down the side of his face.

“What the hell are you doing Pete?” The cop yelled, his cry echoing in the deserted warehouse.

“Got to make it look real, Sam,” Pete said.

“Ain’t nothing real about a grazed ear when everyone knows you are the best marksman in the criminal world?”

“But it is a police issue revolver. They ain’t known for their accuracy are they?”

“Okay, let’s get this over with. I don’t like the feeling being tied up, even if it is just for show.”

“You turned the sound off on the video camera didn’t you?”

“I bloody well hope so, don’t fancy getting shot in the ear again.”

Pete walked over to the camera sitting on the tripod and checked the LCD screen.

“Bugger,” Pete said. “Sound’s on. Give us a minute to erase the tape and start it again.”

Sam shook his head.

“Won’t do, I’ve already got blood running down my face.”

Pete stood rubbing his chin, deep in thought. He cocked the pistol and shot the cop between the eyes.

“I’ve changed my mind, Sam,” he said. “It hurts my head all this going straight. Easier to just do the hit and stay a crim.”

THE END

Orcanized  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Orcanized
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 523

“What do you see, Carmalot?” Redgrow the dwarf yelled to his companion.

“Nothing?” Carmalot said. “At least nothing worth shagging.”

“Nothing worth shagging, indeed.” Redgrow grunted. “Is that all you elves think about?”

“Not all the time,” Carmalot said, scurrying down the thick trunk of the tree like a spider. “Sometimes we think about beating silly little dwarves at checkers or drinking or...oh, just about everything else. Is there anything dwarves are good at?”
Redgrow hurled his helmet at his travel companion, missing the elf as he moved far too quickly for the dwarf.

“But seriously, my old friend,” Carmalot said. “We will have company if a few minutes.”

“What and you let me toss my helmet at you. Know I’m going to be behind the count when they come charging into the camp.”

The elf smiled wickedly and said, “That was not the idea, or maybe it did cross my mind.”

Before the dwarf could reply, a dozen orcs crashed through the trees waving rusty and jagged swords and pikes wildly. Carmalot shot three of them with his longbow before Redgrow had even swung his giant war hammer into the skull of his first victim.

“Curse you and your cheating ways, elf,” Redgrow grunted.

“Five,” Carmalot said, letting an arrow loose into the neck of another orc.

Redgrow leapt forward and swung his mighty war hammer into the chest of an oncoming orc. The orc stumbled backwards into two companions, causing the three to topple over. Redgrow stood on the winded orc’s chest and brought his weapon down in three swift blows, crushing the fallen opponent’s skulls beyond recognition, not that orc mothers were in the habit of caring for the whereabouts of their offspring anyway.

“Three!” Redgrow yelled.

“Oh that is impressive,” Carmalot replied. He rapidly shot two more orc’s with his longbow.

“Leave some for me,” Redgrow said.

Redgrow picked up the orc from the pile in front of him and hurled it at the remaining two. They stumbled to the ground over their fallen companion and were quickly disposed of by Carmalot.

“Hey, those two go on my count. They were sitting ducks!” Redgrow yelled at the elf.

“I suppose you can have them. I already added fifteen to my tally this morning.”

“Didn’t we agree that the one that fell on top of me after you shot it was mine? I did twist its neck you know.”

“Fair enough. You really should learn how to use a crossbow or something you know. Half the time there are no orc’s left by the time I’ve spotted them.”

“Well leave them for me. I like a good fight.”

Carmalot pushed a fallen orc over.

“Oh dear,” he said. “It looks like this one has ruined your helmet.”

Redgrow caught the damaged piece of armour as Carmalot tossed it too him.

“That’s it, you, you...elf.” he said. “All the booty is mine.”

“And you said that we elves thought about sex all the time.”

Redgrow’s face turned bright red and he shook uncontrollably.

THE END

Grandpa's Little Humber  

Posted by Scott Wilson in , ,

Grandpa’s Little Humber
By Scott Wilson
Word Count:879

Duncan pulled the base of the back seat of his car out from his locked position. This feature was a bonus in the old car and gave Duncan a great hiding place for his cigarettes, condoms and deck of playing cards that had pictures of nude women on the player’s side.

Duncan grabbed his Marlboros and stuffed them into his shirt pocket. It was his last packet so he made a mental note to pick up another packet before he finished work that afternoon. Still living at home and having no real privacy or place where he could keep these things, he was ecstatic when he discovered this feature of his car.
He loved his 1964 Model Humber Vogue sports car. Two years back his grandfather finished restoring the old car and said Duncan could pay him off a little each month when he started work. Before Duncan had a chance to even pay back half the two thousand dollars to his grandpa, his grandfather died of a heart attack.

He loved his grandfather and missed him dearly, and it just didn’t feel right still owing him any money. Not that his grandfather really cared if Duncan paid him back or not. But it was the principal of owing the old man the money that ate at Duncan’s conscious.

“See you later baby,” Duncan said to the Humber as he walked towards the back door of the Foodstore where he worked.

The light above the door was flickering, making Duncan feel uneasy about opening the store by himself. Only seventeen and already given the responsibility of setting up the fruit and veggie section of the store was a proud achievement for Duncan. He worked twelve hour days and didn’t have much time for anything but his car when he wasn’t at work.

Duncan flicked his keys around to find the one for the store while he walked up the stairs. The sound of a can rolling down the car park startled him and he dropped the keys.

“Who’s there?” he said.

When there was no reply, Duncan quickly bent down and picked up his keys. As he stood up, two dark figures appeared from behind the dumpster.

“Hand those over, buddy,” the bigger of the two said.

“Yeh, hand them over. We don’t want no trouble or nuthin’,” the other one added.
Duncan looked around the car park for help, but at five thirty in the morning, not even the milkman was around.

“Look, take them, just leave me alone,” Duncan said nervously.

“We ain’t interested in you,” the taller man said. “We know you ain’t got access to the safe or nothin’.”

“But you have got that lovely old car that we knows someone wants.”

Duncan’s eyes flared wide. There was no way he was going to let the two bastards steal his car. It had too much sentimental value to it. He turned and ran back towards the Humber.

“Quick, get him,” the tall man yelled to his companion.

Duncan reached the Humber just as the smaller man caught up and tackled him to the ground. Duncan dropped his keys and grazed his face when he hit the bitumen. The keys slide under the car, out of his reach.

Duncan wrestled free and began to get to his knees. The taller man kicked him in the stomach, sending him into the driver’s door of the Humber. Duncan felt a rib crack when he hit the ground the second time.

“Get those keys!” The tall man yelled to his companion.

The smaller man scurried under the car, trying to grab the keys that were just out of reach.


“I can’t get them, need a pole or somethin’”

He crawled back out from under the car, turned and got to his knees just in time to see a glowing white apparition lift his partner in crime off the ground by the throat.

“What the...” he said.

Duncan quickly kneed the stunned car thief in the face, breaking his nose and sending a few teeth flying from his mouth in a bloody explosion.

The ghost hurled the tall man into the dumpster, knocking him out.

“I can’t reach the keys, grandpa,” Duncan said to the ghost.

The ethereal figure quickly floated over to the Humber and disappeared into the driver’s door, then under the car.

“What’s going on?” Mumbled the smaller man through his swollen and cut lips.

“My grandfather still owns half of this car you fool,” Duncan said as the ghost reappeared next to the Humber. “Nobody is going to take his car from me while I still owe him for his share.”

The ghost hovered over to the kneeling man and shoved the car keys into his eyes until both the apparition’s hand were buried deep in the man’s skull. The thief dropped to the ground, dead before he hit the bitumen. Duncan’s grandpa turned slowly and stretched his hand out and dropped the car keys into Duncan’s hand.

“Thanks, grandpa,” Duncan said.

His grandpa smiled then floated through the driver’s door of the Humber and sat contently behind the wheel before slowly disappearing.

THE END

Puddles  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Puddles
By Scott Wilson
Word Count:721

Timmy Henderson walked home from Lyndon State Primary School dressed in his thick yellow raincoat and heavy black gum boots. He was in grade seven now and scared, but excited about being allowed to walk home by himself. His mother said she would wait on the front porch for him to comfort him a little.

It was only a five minute brisk stroll from the front gate of school to his front yard, maybe three minutes if he ran. And at the enlightened age of twelve, Timmy knew enough about stranger danger to look after himself, or so he thought. Don’t talk to strangers, don’t hope in anyone’s car if you don’t know them, walk straight home – no dawdling.

The rain eased up at lunch time to a slow drizzle, but there were still enough puddles to jump in on the walk home. He tried to think about the puddles to forget about his fear of being grabbed by a stranger passing by in a car.

Timmy grabbed his army surplus backpack and ran down the stairs from his classroom.

“See ya later, alligator,” Alice said as he ran past her.

“In awhile, crocodile,” Timmy yelled back.

“Timmy!” Alice said.

Timmy stopped in his tracks, almost sliding over on the wet bitumen. He turned around and saw Alice smiling at him. She was Timmy’s girlfriend, although they’d been going together for two months they had not even kissed or even held hands yet.

“You’re so grown up now. Walking home by yourself,” she said. “Mum is still going to pick me up when we go to High School next year. Can you imagine how embarrassing that is going to be?”

“Do you think we could walk home together?” Timmy said.

“No, she says it’s too dangerous these days. Not like when she went to school.”
The rain began to come down heavy again and Alice stepped back under the cover of the walkway.

“See you tomorrow, Timmy.”

Timmy smiled at Alice and thought that he’d try and build up the courage to give her a kiss tomorrow before school.

“Yeh, see ya.”

Once Timmy was out of the Alice’s view, he jumped in a big puddle on the footpath. He splashed a mother walking with her son beside Timmy.

“Watch what you’re doing young man,” she said gruffly. “You shouldn’t be jumping in puddles, splashing people.”

“Sorry lady,” Timmy said. “I didn’t see you there.”

“Just watch yourself in future,” she said.

Timmy nodded and then ran off, trying to put some distance between the lady and him so he could jump in some more puddles. He was excited now, thinking about kissing Alice tomorrow. Jumping in puddles seemed like as good a way as any to express his new mood.

“Don’t you jump in any more puddles?” Timmy heard the woman yell from the background.

The rain poured down heavily, drowning out the woman’s voice. Timmy ran as quickly as he could to get a huge run up for the massive puddle covering the entire footpath ahead. He ran so fast that he almost felt like he was flying. A couple of meters from the puddle he leapt into the air and curled both knees up tight into his chest like he was dive bombing the puddle.

“Yahoo!” he yelled, landing right in the middle of the giant puddle.

Timmy expected there to be a big splash then slip and slide on the footpath. The big splash happened alright, but he kept sinking down. He did not feel his feet touch the ground at all. In a panic, he waved his arms around, trying to grab hold of something to stop himself from sinking but there was nothing in reach.

“Help!” he yelled.

By the time he was up to his chest the lady and her son had caught up to him. Timmy waved wildly at them as he sank to his neck. Just before he went right under, he thought the mother and her son’s face change in appearance from normal people to lizard like heads.

“I told you not to jump in puddles,” the lizard woman hissed at Timmy, just before they both dived in after him.

Hello Kitty  

Posted by Scott Wilson in ,

Hello Kitty
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 829

“Tell you what, mate,” Matt said to his co-worker Charlie. “I am fed up with Hello Kitty and her stupidity. I mean, how the hell did she get the job over you?”

“It’s all political. I was getting trained for the job but because I have a kid and couldn’t work until all hours at night, I’ve been screwed over. And I thought there’d be less discrimination in the public service than out in private industry.”

“What the hell was the boss thinking employing frigging Hello Kitty anyway? Her English is shocking, she seems to have no idea about anything and she giggles all the time. She’d be better off working in a bloody Hello Kitty store than in a finance department.”

“Yeh, I know. And to think the interview panel reckons she has more skills and experience in the job than I do. I mean, I’ve been doing that job for a year and a half now. Stuffed if I’m going to show her how to do anything else. She’s supposed to be the frigging guru.”

“Did you hear about yesterday?” Matt said.

“Nope.”

“Well you know how she wrote the procedure for petty cash and emailed it to us?”

“Yeh.”

“Well she rings me yesterday and asks me where the petty cash forms are kept. How can you write a procedure on something when you don’t even know how the jobs done or where anything is stored?”

“I don’t even answer the phone if I see her name come up on the caller ID now. I am so sick of her frigging stupid voice. She just sounds like a little Asian schoolgirl, laughing her tits off at the end of every sentence.”

“Speaking of the devil,” Matt said, nodding towards the office door. “Sounds like she’s just arrived.”

Charlie looked at the clock on the wall and said, “That’d be right, nine-thirty and she rocks up to work, but I don’t get the job because I start early and finish early.”

Pattie Lee, or Hello Kitty as she was known to the rest of the office staff, walked into the office, almost skipping like a kid. Matt and Charlie looked at each other and shook their heads in unison.

“Morning Matt, morning Charlie,” she said, ending the sentence in a short giggle.
Matt and Charlie shook their heads, not understanding what was so funny about good morning. With the fun over for the morning they both put their heads down and started working.

“Helen is not in today,” Hello Kitty said to Matt and Charlie after spending only ten minutes in her office.

“Great, bludge day,” Matt said.

“You got that right,” Charlie replied.

Charlie opened the internet again and surfed the net for some mp3’s to download onto his iPod. Matt logged on to the internet to look for WebPages about Ford’s or any other hotted up street cars.

“Charlie, can you come into my office please?” Hello Kitty said from her doorway at around ten o’clock.

Charlie locked his computer, winked at Matt, then casually walked into the office where Hello Kitty was waiting by the door.

“Sit down,” she said to Charlie, motioning to the furtherest chair from the doorway.
Charlie sat down, noticing the large plastic sheet under the desk and both visitor chairs.

“What’s that for?” he said, pointing at the ground.

“Oh, that for later,” she said and giggled.

“What do you m...” Charlie began.

Hello Kitty produced a small sleek black blow gun that looked more like a fancy chopstick, from the bun in her hair and blew a dart into Charlie’s neck. Charlie tried to stand up, but found that he was totally immobilised. He could still see, hear, smell and feel the chill on his back from the air conditioner, but could not move a muscle.

Hello Kitty walked back to the door.

“Matt, I think you should come in here to,” she said, then giggled.

Matt walked to the office, saw Charlie sitting at the desk, then stepped into the room.

“Please, sit down,” Hello Kitty said.

Charlie wanted to warn his friend, but he could not speak. He could not even move his head or blink. Matt sat down beside Charlie and crossed his legs.

“What’s this about?” he said.

Hello Kitty blew a dart into the back of Matt’s neck, paralysing him.

“Oh, we gonna have a chat about how you mock me. Now good time with the boss away. You know, we get things straightened out.

She closed the office door, pulled the blinds shut, then walked over to her desk. From the chairs, Matt and Charlie could see the array of pain inflicting stainless steel instruments in Hello Kitty’s desk draw as she opened it slowly.

“Yeh, we gonna have a nice long chat,” she said and began to giggle incessantly.

THE END

The Cubicle  

Posted by Scott Wilson in ,

The Cubicle
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 517

Jack gripped onto the ceramic toilet bowl in the filthy public toilet and hurled his breakfast and lunch up. The backsplash of brown-brackish water sprayed his face, causing him to vomit violently again. The sound of the guy in the cubicle next to him dropping to kids off at the pool, and the smell of the dangerous load made Jack vomit the remaining contents of his stomach.

“Sounds like you’re dyin’ in there mate,” the guy next door to Jack yelled over the cubicle wall.

Jack wiped his mouth with a wad of toilet paper and tossed it into the bowl. He saw a streak of dark red blood on the paper and vomited again, this time it was a mixture of blood and bile.

“You need a doctor or somthin’ buddy?” The voice called out to Jack.

Jack turned to answer but another wave of vomit hurtled from his mouth, covering the cubicle wall.

“Hey, keep it over your side,” the voice said.

Jack felt something more solid coming up his throat and gagged. He spewed again, this time a large flesh sack hurled out of his mouth, leaving a trail from his mouth to the cistern. It appeared to form two hands out of the bloody, rubbery flesh and gripped onto the sides of the cistern.

Jack gagged, his airway was blocked and he couldn’t breathe through his nose as it was chockers with diced carrots, not that he remembered eating them.

“What the hell’s that smell?” the man in the cubicle grunted at Jack.

Pain flowed inside of Jack as the sack pulled itself out of Jack’s mouth, tearing away some vital organs inside his body. He hurled a steady stream of blood onto the floor.

The thing he vomited moved around on the cistern and faced Jack. It was the size of a football and shaped itself from a formless mass of bloody flesh to what looked like one of those little M&M’s that your saw on TV. Slowly, two eyes forced their way to the surface of the creature and a mouth full of shark like teeth also appeared.

Jack tried to stand up, but slipped on the bloody floor, crashed to the ground, knocking his head on the toilet paper dispenser.

“What the hell you doin’ in there mate?” the guy next door yelled.

Jack tried to yelled but gurgled and choked on another stream of blood that poured from his mouth. He tried to stand up again. The creature leapt at his and began tearing at the flesh on his face and neck.

The man in the next cubicle pulled his pants up and tried to stand up, but slipped on the blood and fell to the floor. He landed with his face looking directly into the eyes of the creature in the cubicle with Jack. He had no chance to scream before it leapt at him and devoured his face in a piranha like frenzy.

THE END

 

Posted by Scott Wilson


AHWA NEWS DIGEST [01.05.09-15.05.09]

The following digest of recent horror news is compiled from pieces published to HorrorScope and the Australian Horror Writers' Association website.

Sydney Writers' Festival

The 12th Sydney Writers' Festival will be held from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 May, at venues throughout Sydney, Australia. Click through for a quick taste of program strands that may appeal to horror writers and connoisseurs.

DUFF voting to close May 17

Voting for the Down Under Fan Fund will close on May 17 at midnight. You can download a PDF voting form at Jean Weber's DUFF site. The 2009 DUFF Fellowship finalists are Emma Hawkes, Chris Nelson-Lee, Alison Barton, David Cake and Grant Watson.

Emerging Writers' Festival
The Emerging Writers' Festival (EWF) exists to promote the interests of emerging writers - to improve their opportunities for professional development and their engagement with the broader public. The 2009 Emerging Writers Festival will be held in various venues around Melbourne, from May 22 to May 31.

Robert McKee’s Story Seminar
Learn why many writers and filmmakers around the world revere Robert McKee as the greatest story and screenwriting teacher of our time. Story Seminar is being held in Melbourne at The Kino Cinema on Collins Street from June 19 to 21 and in Sydney at The Chauvel Cinema, Paddington from June 26 to 28. The seminar runs for three days from 9am – 8.30pm.

Justina Robson at Parrish's Patch in May
Justina Robson is special guest at the Parrish's Patch forum on the 29th, 30th, 31st of May.

NIDA performance writing short courses
NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts) are offering a couple of performance writing short courses as part of their Open Program - Dramatic Writing Short Course and Writing Short Film Scripts Short Course.

Terra Incognita podcast featuring Bill Congreve
TISFPodcast #007 is now available, with Bill Congreve reading his story Souls Along The Meridian, and Keith Stevenson's review of Maria Quinn's The Gene Thieves.

PNAN Youth Arts Festival
The PNAN Youth Arts Festival is dedicated to showcasing the hottest young and emerging talent (aged 16-25 in NSW). PNAN accepts works in three categories: short film, graphic design and creative writing, with the main creative stipulation being that all works feature some reference to drug and alcohol issues.

Continuum Trivia Night

Continuum is proud to present an evening of knowledge both trivial and diverting, on Saturday 30th of May at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow. Prizes will be awarded for correct answers, entering the premises in a lucky fashion, and at the judges' discretion. Please RSVP via the Facebook page, or by email.

Dorchester Publishing opens to email submissions

Dorchester Publishing, publisher of US mass market horror imprint Leisure Books, is now accepting general novel submissions via email. Full submission guidelines are available at the Dorchester Publishing website.

2009 Katharine Susannah Prichard Speculative Fiction Competition final call
Entries close on 29 May 2009, and writers of all ages are invited to apply. Stories must be between 1500 and 3500 words, with all forms of speculative fiction welcomed. Further information can be found on the Katharine Susannah Prichard Foundation website.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth movie deal

Carrie Ryan's YA horror novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth (published by Gollancz UK), is soon to be adapted for the big screen. Alan Nevins of Renaissance Literary & Talent, who brokered the deal on behalf of Jim McCarthy at Dystel Literary, sold the film rights to the book to Seven Star Pictures (K-11, forthcoming).

The Challenge - Name The 'Nameless'
The official announcement of the opening of one of the biggest, most prestigious genre competitions in Australia will soon appear on the AHWA/HorrorScope sites. This story is destined to become a piece of Australian speculative fiction history. If you are game, you will soon have a chance to not only bring this story to a climax, but also to name it.

Midnight Echo seeking graphic art submissions
David Schembri, Art Director for Midnight Echo: The Magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association, is issuing a call for graphic art submissions. For full details on all submission formats for Midnight Echo, visit australianhorror.com.

2009 Ditmar Award finalists
The Ditmar sub-committee has released the Australian SF ("Ditmar") Awards finalists for 2009. This ballot honours the best works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror published by Australians in 2008 as nominated by members of Australian fandom. Click through to view finalists in all categories. Voting is open now to members of the 2008 Australian Natcon (Swancon), and 2009 Natcon (Conjecture). Further information on the Ditmar Award can be found here or at the Conjecture website.

Richard Harland's Writing Tips
Award-winning Australian author Richard Harland, best known for his cult novels The Vicar of Morbing Vyle, The Black Crusade, and his latest release, Worldshaker, has compiled an exhaustive list of writing tips for aspiring authors. Harland's labour of love is a 145-page website of tips for fantasy, speculative fiction and genre writers - and its free. Harland says he took four months off from his own fiction writing—“it started out as a small service to the writing community and just kept growing and growing!” The tips are online at www.writingtips.com.au.

2008 Shirley Jackson Award ballot
The 2008 Shirley Jackson Awards ballot, honouring works of outstanding dark fiction from around the world, was recently announced. Two Australians have been shortlisted this year: Margo Lanagan for her novel Tender Morsels and Julia Leigh for her novella Disquiet. Click through to view finalists in all categories. The Shirley Jackson Awards will be presented on Sunday, July 12th 2009, at Readercon 20 in Burlington, Massachusetts, USA. Elizabeth Hand, Readercon Guest of Honour, and author of Generation Loss, which won the 2007 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, will act as host.


Submitting News

 
If you have news about Australian and New Zealand Horror publishing and film, or news of professional development opportunities in the field, feel free to submit news to Talie Helene, AHWA News Editor. Just visit HorrorScope, and click on the convenient email link. (International news is not unwelcome, although relevance to Antipodean literary arts practitioners is strongly preferred.)

For information on the Australian Horror Writers' Association, visit australianhorror.com.

This AHWA NEWS DIGEST has been compiled, written, and republished in select Australian horror haunts by Talie Helene. Currently archived at the
AHWA MySpace page, Southern Horror, and Darklands, and hosted by AHWA members Felicity Dowker, Brenton Tomlinson, Scott Wilson, and Jeff Ritchie (Scary Minds).

If you would like to support the AHWA News effort by hosting a copy of the AHWA News Digest on your blog or website,
contact Talie to receive a fully formatted HTML edition of the digest by email.

Panic at the Picnic  

Posted by Scott Wilson in , ,

Panic at the Picnic
By Scott Wilson
Word Count:236

“Hey listen, the weather has been really great. Why don’t we pack a picnic basket and get into the deep woods where we can enjoy it?” Ethan said.

“Sure thing, hon,” Rose replied.

Rose bent over to pick up the large cane hamper from the bottom shelf of the kitchen cupboard. Her back creaked and groaned under the strain of this simple task. Ethan slowly walked to his wife and helped her stand upright again by pushing against her stomach with one hand while pulling against her should with the other. Rose’s backbone shot out through her blouse, just below her shoulder blades.

“I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this dear,” Rose said.

Ethan pushed at the brittle yellow discs with his bony hands, forcing it back into Rose’s clothes.

“It’s not that bad dear,” he said. “I mean, if we weren’t zombies, I’m sure that would have hurt you pretty bad.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Rose said.

Rose filled the basket with limbs from the pantry and handed it to Ethan.
“You’ve have to carry this dear.”

Rose opened the door and looked up at the dark sky, filled with thick rain clouds and lightning.

“It is such a beautiful day for a picnic, isn’t it?”

THE END

The Final Push  

Posted by Scott Wilson in ,

The Final Push
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 299

He fought against the immense and relentless forces trying to expel him from his home. While it was dark and uninviting, he became accustomed to his new abode and did not want to leave. It was warm, just the way he liked it.

Another push pressed strongly against his back, attempting to manoeuvre him through the exit. He could not yet see who was doing this too him because of the darkness surrounding him. If he could just see who pushed against his back, head and side then he would feel better or at least know if he had a chance in fighting back. At the moment, he was fighting a losing battle.

Light suddenly appeared at the exit and the pushing came on even stronger, his legs were now outside. He reached up and scratched at the ceiling with his sharp claws, tearing away madly. A screamed began to pierce his ears and he let go, but lumps of the ceiling came away with his hands.

“What the...!” a voice outside the exit said.

He focused his attention back on the light in the doorway and saw the owner of the voice.

“It can’t be human!” cried a female voice.

With a wet pop, the male outside pulled the rest of his body out of the door. The owner of the male voice wore a mask that covered the bottom half of his face, he looked like a doctor. The doctor picked him up and slapped him hard across his back, making him fill with rage and causing him to cry in pain.

“That can’t be my baby,” screamed another female voice behind him.

THE END

Emotion Eaters  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Emotion Eaters
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 522

Jerry clenched his fists tightly, feeling the blood flow through his body like liquid fire. He opened his hands slowly and saw small droplets of blood trickle from the fingernail cuts in his palms.

“I’m so sick of this shit!” he grunted.

He lit another cigarette and poured a tall glass of cheap red wine from the Yalumba cask. The ashtray on his dining room table overflowed with filthy stubs, all from the night before and a few from the morning. While only eight thirty, he began drinking to stop the impending hangover from arriving like a crazy train.

Jerry did not remember why he was full of rage and hatred; it became a companion many years ago, when he moved out of his parent’s place at the tender age of fifteen. Now it was just a way of life and everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong when it involved Jerry. At least, that’s how he thought about life. He’d tried overdosing on anti-depressants at the age of seventeen, but didn’t take enough to do anything other than make him sleep for three days.

The temperature in the one bedroom flatette dropped, making Jerry shiver from the pit of his belly. It happened quite often in this place and he didn’t understand why. One minute it would be a pleasant twenty one degrees, then the next it dropped to about five to ten. He mashed out the cigarette and grabbed a jacket from the floor. It smelt foul, full of sweat and smoke, but Jerry didn’t notice anymore.
After a few minutes, the temperature rose back to a comfortable level.

“For fuck’s sake,” Jerry said, ripping his jacket off as sweat trickled down his back.

Jerry downed the last of the wine and staggered to the bathroom and ran a bath. He nodded off with a cigarette smouldering in his right hand, not that it would matter as it was only a few inches above the bathwater.

We should put that out, you know, just in case. Said an unseen entity in the flat.
The invisible creature’s partner nodded.

Yes, we can’t lose this one. He’s been a great source of food for years.

The first creature glided across the floor and gently extinguished the cigarette before it reached Jerry’s fingers. It then returned to the doorway and floated by its partner.

It needs something to happen to make it happy, just enough so it will descend back into an intense depressive state.

Yes, its sad emotions are becoming a tad stale and tainted with hate. Next thing you know, Hislack will be around feeding of our pets emotions.

I agree, said the second creature. And every time he gets his claws into these things, they end up killing one of their kind, or themself.

Once he gets hold of them, they never exude sadness again, just hate, said the first creature.

Then what are we supposed to feed on? That emotion can’t sustain us at all.

THE END

 

Posted by Scott Wilson




AHWA NEWS DIGEST [#7, 2009]

The following digest of recent horror news is compiled from pieces published to HorrorScope and the Australian Horror Writers' Association website.

Dymocks Southland Bestselling Horror Titles for April ‘09
Dymocks Southland is a general bookshop in Cheltenham, Victoria, boasting an extensive range of genre stock. Click through for the top 10 bestselling horror titles for April 2009. Dymocks Southland also publishes Dymensions, a monthly SF, fantasy and horror newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Voiceworks magazine call for submissions
The new editor of Voiceworks magazine has issued the following call for submissions: "We're looking for fiction, poetry, nonfiction and visual art by the 17th of May." Visit HorrorScope for EdComm's musings on the POSTSCRIPT theme, or go to the How to Submit page on the Express Media website for guidelines.

The Bullsheet #86
The Australian Science Fiction Bullsheet #86, May 2009 edition is now available. This issue details various publishing news, and an overview of upcoming writing, speculative fiction and fan events.

Leigh Blackmore reading at Live Poets

Leigh Blackmore, highly respected Australian author of horror, weird and occult writing, will be appearing as special guest at the Live Poetry night at Don Bank in Sydney on Wednesday, May 27, 2009. Leigh will be reading poems from his recent collection Spores from Sharnoth and Other Madnesses, and will be featured in a panel discussion with publisher Danny Lovecraft (P'rea Press) and convenor Danny Gardner. The night also features an open mic session, which will include fantasy novelist Margi Curtis. Click through for venue and admission details.

Eclecticism #8

Issue 8 of the quarterly e-zine Eclecticism is OUT NOW. With a theme of 'Conspiracy' - plus an open section - the zine may be downloaded for FREE from the website! Snap up five works of short fiction, three works of poetry, and three art works from the following talented creatives: Dianne Dean, Jacqui Dent, Stefan Fergueca, Emma Furness, Alice Godwin, Clyde Grauke, Nicholas Messenger, Melissa Mercado, Keith Nunes, Peter Tonkin - and the Featured Artist, Demitasse-Lover.

Scary Kisses anthology
Do your kisses have bite? What mischief are the vampires, werewolves, and mummies getting up to now? Romance may be dead, but it’s still walking… Western Australian publisher Ticonderoga Publications has announced the reading period is now open for their new paranormal romance anthology, Scary Kisses, edited by Liz Grzyb (with Russell B. Farr). Seeking your best stories in the paranormal romance vein; submissions with romantic and paranormal or speculative elements. Click through for Submission Guidelines.

SpecFic Course at Olvar Wood Writers' Retreat

Olvar Wood Writers' Retreat is running a speculative fiction course starting 6 July 2009. Taught by award-wining author Nike Bourke, the course is designed for those wanting to develop novel-length speculative fiction work. The course runs 6 July – 14 August. For more information, visit the course website.

A Night Of Horror 2009 Festival Award Winners
A Night Of Horror International Film Festival have announced the winners of the 2009 Festival Awards. For Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay... check out the best of the fest!

'Stephen King: The Non-Fiction'
Australian Horror Writers' Association member Rocky Wood is pleased to announce his new book, Stephen King: The Non-Fiction, is now shipping from Cemetery Dance. The book is co-authored with Justin Brooks. Covering all King's published and known unpublished works from 1959 to mid-2006, Stephen King: The Non-Fiction reveals for the first time dozens of pieces of non-fiction and their appearances that were previously unknown to King researchers. If you've ever wanted to know more about King's amazing and often controversial non-fiction, this is the reference work you must have.

Kim Westwood reading on Terra Incognita podcast
Author Kim Westwood is currently featured on the Terra Incognita Australian Speculative Fiction podcast, reading her story ‘Nightship’. The podcast is presented by Keith Stevenson, and brought to you by Coeur de Lion books.

Call for articles for Aussiecon 4 blog
The following call for non-fiction submissions has been issued by the Aussiecon 4 team: We here at Aussiecon 4 want to make the blog an interesting, fun and informative place for people to come to. To that end, we're looking for articles to post on the blog. What we're looking for are articles that speak to Worldcons, Aussiecons in particular, our Guests of Honour (Kim Stanley Robinson, Shaun Tan and Robin Johnson) and Australian science fiction. For possible topics and submission details, read on...

Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror Vol3 on sale
This anthology is the third installment in the annual dark fiction anthology edited by Angela Challis and published by Brimstone Press. Featuring stories by David Conyers, Sean Williams, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Miranda Siemienowicz, Jason Nahrung, Joanne Anderton, Stephanie Campisi, Martin Livings, Gary Kemble, Richard Harland, Marty Young, and Matthew Chrulew - plus a Ditmar Award winning story from Rick Kennett, and Aurealis Award winning writing from Anna Tambour and Deborah Biancotti! ADFH3 also contains a comprehensive summary of dark fiction in Australia and appendices on dark fiction resources and the major genre fiction awards in Australia. Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror Volume 3 can be purchased from (or ordered through) Dymocks stores and most independents, Indie Books Online, or directly from the Brimstone Press website.

Anomalous Appetites anthology

New Zealand publisher Preshrunk Press has released its horror and science fiction poetry anthology Anomalous Appetites. Of the anthology, editor John Irvine says: "For those readers who like their horror and sci-fi sautéed slowly with garlic and served up on fine china, then this anthology is for you. Do not expect axe hacking, explosions, bug eyed monsters or crudeness. Do expect fine and subtle poetry augmented by exquisite art … This is a collector’s anthology, created for those who are a little more discerning in their speculative tastes. We offer two hundred and nine pages of the best speculative poetry and art you will ever see from poets and artists from all corners of this creative planet." Anomalous Appetites can be ordered from Lulu.

Studies in Australian Weird Fiction Issue #3

With the third installment of Studies in Australian Weird Fiction (SiAWF), the critical journal of Australian horror and weird fiction, the journal continues to deliver in-depth essays, articles, and symposium debates, and is an invaluable reference on Australian writers of the dark and weird. Articles in issue #3 range from studies on the works of William Sylvester Walker, L. Furze-Morrish and J. Filmore Sherry to John Brosnan, poet Hugh McCrae, and musician Nick Cave. SiAWF also has interviews with Kim Wilkins, Margo Lanagan, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Cat Sparks, Neil Cladingboel, Lyn Battersby, Graeme Flanagan, and outgoing editor Benjamin Szumskyj, as well as an insightful study of Australian horror films by Robert Hood. Copies can be ordered from Equilibrium Books.

Semaphore Magazine
Semaphore Magazine is a speculative fiction publication from New Zealand founded in December 2007 that is open to submissions of dark fiction from writers Down Under. Editor-in-Chief Marie Hodgkinson says: "We do not publish works with explicit violent or sexual content - instead, we want suspense, atmosphere, brilliant storytelling, and the sort of writing that lets those breakable young minds imagine their own fascinating terrors without having it spelled out for them." Further information on the magazine is available at the Semaphore website.

2009 Katharine Susannah Prichard Speculative Fiction Awards

Entries are now being accepted for the 2009 Katharine Susannah Prichard Speculative Fiction Awards, an annual writing contest hosted by Perth's KSP Writers Centre. Entries close on 29 May 2009 and writers of all ages are invited to submit their work. Stories must be between 1500 and 3500 words, and all forms of speculative fiction are welcome. Further information is available from the KSP website.

Kaaron Warren joins Angry Robot
Fiji-based Australian dark fiction author Kaaron Warren is among the first authors to be published by HarperCollins UK's edgy new SF/F/Horror imprint Angry Robot. Kaaron's award-winning short fiction has appeared in Year’s Best Horror & Fantasy, the Poe and Haunted Legends anthologies, Fantasy magazine, Paper Cities, and many other venues in the US, Europe and Australia. Her short story “A Positive” has been made into a short film called Patience, and her first ever published short story “White Bed” was dramatised for the stage in Australia. Her novel Slights (the first of three novels to be published by Angry Robot) is to be published on June 26 (UK) and September 1 (Australia, USA, Canada, and elsewhere).

2009 Bram Stoker Award finalists
The finalists for the 2009 Bram Stoker Awards, issued by the international Horror Writers Association to celebrate superior achievement in horror fiction, have been announced. Click through for the gory details.

2008 Australian Shadows Award winner

Lee Battersby's novelette "The Claws of Native Ghosts" (The Beast Within, ed. Matt Hults) has won the 2008 Australian Shadows Award. The Australian Shadows Award is the pinnacle award for horror fiction in Australia. The award was established in 2005 by Altair Australia on behalf of the Australian Horror Writers Association. The judges reports are here and an interview with Battersby has been posted on ABC's Articulate.

Submitting News
 
If you have news about Australian and New Zealand Horror publishing and film, or news of professional development opportunities in the field, feel free to submit news to Talie Helene, AHWA News Editor. Just visit HorrorScope, and click on the convenient email link. (International news is not unwelcome, although relevance to Antipodean literary arts practitioners is strongly preferred.)

For information on the Australian Horror Writers' Association, visit australianhorror.com.

This AHWA NEWS DIGEST has been compiled, written, and republished in select Australian horror haunts by Talie Helene. Currently archived at the
AHWA MySpace page, Southern Horror, and Darklands, and hosted by AHWA members Felicity Dowker, Brenton Tomlinson, Scott Wilson, and Jeff Ritchie (Scary Minds).

If you would like to support the AHWA News effort by hosting a copy of the AHWA News Digest on your blog or website,
contact Talie to receive a fully formatted HTML edition of the digest by email.

Wildfire Juice  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Wildfire Juice
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 393

Lime green liquid dripped slowly out of the tube running from a beaker to an intravenous drip bag suspended from the side of the workbench. Professor Wright lowered his bifocals to check the level in the bag, then the level of the fluid remaining in the beaker.

“We might just have enough to do the trick this time,” Wright said to his assistant, Gerard Farnsworth.

“I certainly hope so, Professor. There won’t be enough oxygen left in the suit to go out and collect many more crystals.”

Wright looked over his spectacles at Farnsworth and shook his head.

“You need to have more faith, son.”

Farnsworth took his position on the titanium chair and clicked the ankle braces in place, then one of the wrist braces.

“I do have faith in you, Professor.” Farnsworth said.

The final drops flowed into the bag, Wright unplugged it and inserted the drip into Farnsworth and watched the glowing fluid run into his vein.

“What about the last shackle, Professor. Just in case.”

“Yes, best be prepared now, hadn’t we?”

Wright clicked the last shackle shut, then sat down and waited. Farnsworth’s veins throbbed, slowly rising through his skin in pulsing green stream. His pupils’ dilated and the white’s turned bright green, glowing brightly in the dim light of the ship’s laboratory.

“How are you feeling, Farnsworth?”

“It burns, Professor. But I think its working. The air smells different now.”

“Let’s give it a try then?”

Wright unshackled Farnsworth slowly while closely watching his reaction. Farnsworth stood up, losing his balance and collapsing to the floor. He quickly regained his composure and got to his feet.

“I need to get outside. The air in the ship is getting hard to breathe.”
They walked to the airlock and Farnsworth closed the interior door behind after entering then opened the exterior door and breathed in the alien air. He paused briefly, and then stepped outside onto the hard, rocky green ground.

“How are you going?” Wright asked Farnsworth on his intercom.

“It worked, Professor. The air on this planet is beautiful. I can breathe it now. You’ve done it, Professor.”

Wright looked at the monitor and sighed. Farnsworth stood amidst the corpses of the other dozen crew.

THE END

The Long Walk Home  

Posted by Scott Wilson

The Long Walk Home
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 506

With the thick evening fog covering the city streets, James shivered, feeling the chill penetrate his thick moleskin coat and flow through his body. He lit a Winfield Blue, keeping the flame of the Zippo burning to warm his hands. The fog made it difficult to see more than a few feet ahead as he walked home from the pub.

James felt eyes burning into his back after walking past a dark and gloomy alleyway, filled with overflowing wheelie bins. A rustle amongst the scraps of food on the ground startled James and he missed a step, almost tripping over the gutter and onto the road in front of the garbage truck rolling down the street. When he looked over the alley, he could not see far enough to identify what made the noise.

“Bugger this,” he said to himself and picked up the pace, hoping that a bus or taxi would come along to get him off the street. He felt extremely uneasy, a chill ran down his spine, and the hairs stood on the back of his neck.

James looked over his shoulder, feeling the piercing eyes burning into his back. The fog was like a milky soup; he still couldn’t see anything and felt even more uneasy with this walk home.

A screeching howl shattered the night’s silence, sending another thicker chill down his spine. He started to run. The sound of some kind of animal’s sharp nail scraped the bitumen behind James, slowly first then built up speed as it chased him. James could hear his heart thumping in his chest, pumping blood rapidly as he ran faster, fuelled by panic and a sense of self-preservation. Up ahead, the familiar glowing sign of the city Seven Eleven stood out in the fog light a beacon signalling safety.
The machine gun rat a tatting of the claws behind became louder, closer and more threatening.

“Help!” he yelled, as he got closer to the store, hoping to attract some attention and maybe even scare off the pursuer.

Through the fog, James saw the store’s automatic front doors open as a couple walked in. He pushed himself to run faster now he was so close to safety, spurred on by a renewed hope.

A hot breath beat at his neck. Claws ripped into his back and knocked him to the ground. The smell of rancid meat bled into James’ nostrils, causing him to vomit as he tried to scramble to his knees. He turned around, forcing the hairy claws from his body but unable to gain a firm grip because of the stream of blood dripping from the paws.

“What the...”

Two angry yellow and red eyes, part human, part wolf glared at James with an insatiable hungry and lust. Around the creature’s neck hung the glittering gold necklace of the woman he spoke with in the bar.

“You’re a werew...”

THE END

On The Skyline  

Posted by Scott Wilson

On the Skyline
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 270

“Hey, look outside, it is one nasty day. Rainy, windy, even some snowflakes blowing...and it’s already the start of May...” Veronica said, abruptly cut off by her best friend Sally.

“...and the bitter chill will fill the air very soon. I know, you say it every year around this time.” Sally finished.

“But it’s different now we live in the city. Just look out there,” Veronica, said pointing to the ancient stonemasonry on the roof of parliament house. “It’s so eerie and sinister with a backdrop like that.”

Sally pulled the curtains shut, blocking out the flash of lightning before Veronica saw the gargoyles lit up, spooking her further.

“I don’t know why you wanted to move into the city if it freaks you out so much?” Sally said.

“Don’t get me wrong, Veron. I have always been scared of the dark, ever since I was a little girl. It’s just the last few months I’ve felt like we’re being watched.”

A flash of lighting lit up the sky again and the roof of the building across the road appeared closer, even through the thick curtains.

“You silly goose,” Sally said. “I don’t think there are any peeping Tom’s at parliament house. But then again...”

Sally pulled the curtains open again after the next flash of lightning.

“See,” she said. “There isn’t anyone there at this hour.”

Lightning flashed again.

Veronica gasped.

Sally turned and briefly saw the gargoyle before it crashed through the window.

THE END

The Mary  

Posted by Scott Wilson

The Mary
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 615

The last time they’d fished the river they got nary a nibble. So they were not particularly hopeful when they cast into midstream. Clouds filled the sky and made it appear like dusk even though it was only just after lunch.
“You all got any smokes left, Hal?” Mike said.

“No wonder we never catch anything, all those smokes you suck down. The bait probably smells like smoked grubs more than fresh worms.”

Hal tossed his cigarettes to his friend, not before keeping one for himself and lighting.

“Don’t like getting anything on the line anyway, it disturbs the peacefulness of fishing.” Mike said.

Ripples spread out from around the small boat, rocking it slowly, and then building up until sitting became almost impossible.

“What’s that?” Hal said, dropping his rod over the side of the boat as he grabbed hold.

Mike felt the tension on his line tighten. It reeled out cutting deep into his fingers, almost severing two before Mike could untangle his hand. He dropped the rod into the boat and picked up a rag to stem to blood flow.

“Start up the motor!” Mike yelled.

Hal pulled the cord on the motor furiously, cussing when it wouldn’t start.

“Start, damned you son-of-a-bitch!” he yelled.

Mike let go of the rod and it shot forward like a spear, almost impaling Hal on the way past. The rod snapped in two upon flying under the front bench seat, catching on a life jacket on its way out the other side. Whatever was on the other end of the line was strong enough to pull the boat forward.

“Cut the line,” Hal said.

“Yeh, okay. I’ll cut the line; you get the bloody motor going.”

Mike opened the tackle box, pulled the filleting knife out from under the hooks and sinkers, stood up, and moved to cut the line. He stepped over the seat and reached forward with the knife, when the line snapped. The jerk caused the boat to stop suddenly. Mike fell forwards, landing heavily on the arm holding the knife. At the same time, Hal pulled the starter cord and the engine kicked into life. The boat rocked, Hal lost balance and fell over the motor, narrowly missing the blades as he went under water.

Mike’s head rammed into the side of the boat, knocking him unconscious as the boat sped away from Hal.

Hal surfaced just in time to see the wake of his boat as it disappeared into distance.

“Mike!” Hal yelled, swallowing a mouthful of water.

Coming back through the wake Hal saw a disturbing ripple moving straight at him. He turned and swam towards the closest bank. Hal could not help but turn as he swam, hoping that the thing chasing him was getting further away, but it was rapidly gaining on him.

Mike woke up with a throbbing headache and covered in cold salt water. Slowly standing up, Mike saw that his boat ran aground on a sandbank. A large hole in the front of the boat looked like something bit it with gigantic teeth, one of which appeared to be lodged in the twisted metal.

“What the...” Mike said, noticing the remains of the motor hanging limply from the back of the boat.

Mike could not see land in any direction and had no idea where he was. Not far from the sandbar, he saw the disturbing ripple in the water circling the ruins of his boat. Even more disturbing was the incoming tide eating up the small sanctuary keeping him from the creature.

THE END