• Endless Joke
    Endless Joke
    by David Antrobus

    Here's that writers' manual you were reaching and scrambling for. You know the one: filled with juicy writing tidbits and dripping with pop cultural snark and smartassery. Ew. Not an attractive look. But effective. And by the end, you'll either want to kiss me or kill me. With extreme prejudice. Go on. You know you want to.

  • Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip
    Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip
    by David Antrobus

    Please click on the above thumbnail to buy my short, intense nonfiction book featuring 9/11 and trauma. It's less than the price of a cup of coffee... and contains fewer calories. Although, unlike most caffeine boosts, it might make you cry.

  • Music Speaks
    Music Speaks
    by LB Clark

    My story "Solo" appears in this excellent music charity anthology, Music Speaks. It is an odd hybrid of the darkly comic and the eerily apocalyptic... with a musical theme. Aw, rather than me explain it, just read it. Okay, uh, please?

  • First Time Dead 3 (Volume 3)
    First Time Dead 3 (Volume 3)
    by Sybil Wilen, P. J. Ruce, Jeffrey McDonald, John Page, Susan Burdorf, Christina Gavi, David Alexander, Joanna Parypinski, Jack Flynn, Graeme Edwardson, David Antrobus, Jason Bailey, Xavier Axelson

    My story "Unquiet Slumbers" appears in the zombie anthology First Time Dead, Volume 3. It spills blood, gore and genuine tears of sorrow. Anyway, buy this stellar anthology and judge for yourself.

  • Seasons
    by David Antrobus, Edward Lorn, JD Mader, Jo-Anne Teal

    Four stories, four writers, four seasons. Characters broken by life, although not necessarily beaten. Are the seasons reminders of our growth or a glimpse of our slow decay?

  • Indies Unlimited: 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology
    Indies Unlimited: 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology
    Indies Unlimited

    I have two stories in this delightful compendium of every 2012 winner of their Flash Fiction Challenge—one a nasty little horror short, the other an amusing misadventure of Og the caveman, his first appearance.

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Entries in Execution (2)


Breaking News

They were going to make this public, live on cable news and all the networks. Facebook and YouTube. 

All pretense had been abandoned, and men in dark religious garb thronged the periphery.

A small black-haired woman with olive skin, barely covered by a white cotton slip and thin as a wishbone, was led in shackles to the stage.

Since there was no one else left to tell this story, she took them up on their token offer of final words. Two minutes were all she had left in the world. She leaned like a nightclub singer into the mic, her manacled hands behind the swanlike curve of her back, a doomed ballerina. 

“If I hadn’t stood with my placard at the last protest, you wouldn’t have been able to tell I was any different from you. And in many ways I’m not.” Her voice shook like the tiny aftershocks of some long-abated cataclysm, but she continued. “I eat and breathe and love my family and my friends. Loved, that is…” Again, she hesitated, a look of abject sorrow passing across her delicate face, so forlorn it silenced the auditorium more than her words.

“Fuck your feelings!” yelled someone in the crowd, after the brief hush.

She breathed in deeply and straightened her posture, a frail young woman wishing she was a warrior, and she continued through the shouted insults: snowflake, cunt, wetback, dyke, libtard

“But they are gone now, as you no doubt know. Everyone I loved. And I know you don’t love me, and even revel in my pain. And that, my tormentors, is where the true difference lies. You were playing to win, as if there were scorecards and touchdowns, baskets, runs, and goals. You grew to hate us when we defended successfully or attacked with passion and skill. Even when we played fair. Especially when we played fair. That seemed to enrage you all the more; perhaps you mistook our joy for piety. But here’s something: we weren’t playing a game. We were doing it to improve the world, to make it better for our friends, for our children, for our neighbors, and for those who had been given fewer chances than others. And also for you, had you but noticed. They’ve played you. This heartless sociopathic coward who was born on third base and even then had to constantly cheat”—among the officials, the elderly white senators and representatives gathered by the stage, there was a brief flurry of activity at this, but she refused to be distracted—“has somehow turned your heads, and you’re now all that’s left. It will be a joyless, determinate world you’re left with, the last of its love leaching away to mingle and be tainted with the toxins now allowed—encouraged, even—by the last futile industries. We wanted to stop all that, make things better. Share the astonishing beauty with our children and theirs, forward into a dream of a future we might have fashioned from our sisterhood, our brotherhood, our commonality, our better angels. You saw it as a game, and you won. But what did you win? Really, what did you win?”

“Enough!” came a voice. A youngish man, prematurely bald, eyes baleful and hooded as something best left in a reeking cave, stepped forward and smirked at her without humor. “Your time is up, in every sense. Your kind is gone from the world now. It is done.” 

At some subtle signal, the clergymen advanced, faces hidden, gleaming swords and deadly knives raised.

The trembling woman closed her eyes, thought of wheeling star fields over summer-night beaches, of a single moment with her little sister—something about a dispute, an offer of cream cake, and a sudden forgiving smile.

“Glory be to power. Power is great!” rang from vast speakers on all sides, and the bloody execution began. 


A Man's Truth

Today's when y'all get to kill me. Some of y'all will see this as a good day, and most days I'd go along with that.

Yup, forget they candy-ass public defenders and bleeding-heart ink slingers—even Jesus couldn't save me, though I cain't hardly blame him if he never put his full weight behind the cause.

Why am I in this here predicament? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, what I done was a massacre, like what happened to they Injuns somewheres in the Dakotas back when this peacelovin' country was young. I don't know about wounded knee but I do know you can bury my heart right where you damn well aim to kill it, far as I care; goddamn shriveled thing never did me a lick of good while it still pumped, ain't that the truth?

And here's another truth: I was doomed from the git-go, pretty much. Least since I was a whelp no higher'n a tractor tire from a 1940s John Deere, anyways. If I hadna been hiding in the hayloft that day my daddy came out to the barn to slaughter sweet ol' Gus, maybe none of this woulda happened. But I was and he did, and in spite of the gloom inside I saw the glint reflected from his knife and the way Gus looked at Pa as if he knew what was comin', the fear in that soft, dark eye as bleak and knowing as any soldier's when the enemy's upon him and his weapon is empty, and how Gus thrashed and squealed louder'n I'd ever heard him squeal when that blade sawed at his pink and throbbing throat, and how it still took a while for him to quiet and be still as his steaming blood splashed in a ole tin bathtub my daddy had cleaned out and stoppered up for the occasion. Here's a thing: while all this was happening, I swear I saw a shadow bigger'n a man and blacker than a moonless prairie night step into the light at one end of the barn and stay right there 'til it was all done. Coulda been a cloud passing over the pale yellow sun, I guess, but I'm pretty sure it weren't. Meanwhile, Pa never knowed I was there, wide-eyed and shaking, reliving that scene in my head like I would for months after—not jus' the sight of it, but the sounds and the smells and how it felt inside. What I'm tryin' to say is, maybe none of this woulda happened if I hadna liked it.

So what did happen? What did I do to bring me to this place? Don't really matter now. It's done, ain't it? And you can read it in the dailies or go on that internet doohickey and find out the details to your heart's content. Not all of them were innocent their ownselves, case you were wondering; I knows that must be hard to hear for you kinfolk, but it's the truth. I never did it for the fame nor … what's that word they used in the trial to make me sound worse than I already am? The notoriety? Hell no, I did it for the pure enjoyment of hearing so many folks die slowly and in pain, to hear again the long and lonesome whistle through Gus's ruined throat, to watch hope dim in so many eyes, and to smell their lifeblood as it drained. That there's the long and the short of it.

Sounds crazy, but I ain't scared; not for me, anyways. They'll strap me with my arms spread like one o' they murderers they strung up next to Jesus Christ hisself—his brothers in arms, ha ha—then they'll fill my gnarly old veins with some chemical moonshine and barring some terrible calamity (oh, they happen, you better believe it) I'll go straight to the land of sleep like a warm little lamb, where guilt or innocence won't matter, 'cause whatever stories we tell ourselves to make the night seem less dark, there ain't no such place as any place once we up and leave this stingy, hardpan life.

But there's always killin'. And that's what does scare me some. You think this thing'll be gone when I'm gone? No sir and no ma'am, sure as the devil made little sour apples it won't. It steals in silent as a barn owl and more deadly. All it takes is one a y'all. To like it, I mean. To watch them push that poison into my veins and feel what I felt that cold April mornin' when my daddy done slit that hog's throat and I only wanted more, only yearned to hear that godawful shriek forever. Thing won't never end. Mayhap without even knowing it at first, one a y'all will greet the shadow, welcome it into the poisoned well of your filthy abysmal heart, and all of this will happen again. And again. World without end, as the good book says.

Now bring me that last fucking meal, won't ya? Telling the god's honest truth can make a man awful hungry, after all.