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  • 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
    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 River Tales (2)

Friday
Apr152016

Of Moths and Monsters

Once she got it in her head, she couldn't shake it. Monsters. Sex was an ambush and drugs were lame; hunting for monsters seemed a better prospect than either. 

Of a night, she'd purloin a semiautomatic pistol from the gun safe in the basement—having a cop for a dad had that perk at least—and go hang out behind the Walmart parking lot, down in the scrubland near the river. Or over by the skateboard park, beside the wharf. Anyplace with deep enough shadows. She lived in a town that floated on dirty rainbow water, its reflection swaying like a deranged mother rocking the corpse of an infant.

When the monsters came—and they always came, as they had done so even in the asylum of her home, the sanctuary of her bedroom—she would make it all right again.

Tonight, an older boy kept eyeing her even as she tried to blend into spindly bushes so laden with late-summer soot they were more brown than green. The dark waters of the wide river sent brief warm breezes ashore that tasted in her mouth and nose like lukewarm decay. The boy was a skater and the spill of hair over his face still couldn't hide his gimlet stare.

"What you doin' down here, home girl?"

She ignored him. Spit on the dirty ground. Wondered if—hoped, even—he might turn out to be a monster.

"This no place for a shawty."

"I ain't a kid."

An urban coyote yipped a sudden sharp thought from the other side of the oily waters. Between them, a dark barge slipped soundlessly by, a silent apparition. River spirits passing between scant gutterings of life.

"Wanna see something'?" the boy said.

Her hand went to her waistband and the boy watched and nodded like he knew. He came closer and she tried to send out a warning but she froze. He was standing below a streetlamp from whose dome emanated an orange mist more sodium haze than any true kind of light. He held his skateboard in front of him like an oblation.

"'Sokay," he said. "Lookit. Move into the light."

She did as he said. Stared at the wooden board. Its surface was filled with shifting graffiti, textured and swirling, in which she saw a land made of slate and purple rhododendrons, watched auroras dance over breaching pods of orca, left her body to cavort with forest dryads in a spore-filled sunlit clearing, flew impossible distances across a black howl to taste the ice mountains of Pluto.

She felt too naked so she came back to herself, though she mostly didn't want to.

"What the fuck…?"

"Told you it was okay."

It had to be a trick, but she couldn't fathom it.

"How?" she asked.

"You see what you see, is all. What you need to see. And it's a'ight, shawty. You oughta get on home now. Lock up that nine, yo."

She felt the need to thank him, but he was gone as if he'd never been there at all, and only moths moved in the weak canted light.

Nothing to do but go home. Funny, but she sensed she could handle this. Somehow the monsters had all up and left and, while relief filled many of her hollows, something about that still disappointed her.

Friday
Mar132015

Delta Stories

I am a reasonable man, and I will tell you about where I come from.

We all lived in River City and its environs, and we felt the river move through our bodies, especially when it got awful sluggish and crept like mud along our lower intestines. Some days we almost loved the river. But most times we hated it. As mining townsfolk learn to love and loathe those dark seams, wondering which particular day will step forward and take their loved ones from them. Or when the decades-long underground fire that warrants permanent evacuation will be sparked.

There was always a bruised haze in the air around River City. Like we all lived within the heroic yet submissive persona of a domestic violence survivor.

***

After Mom killed Dad and got locked up, Cody looked after me from the very first.

My big sister, my custodian. Murder growing in her eyes.

***

I was one of them that watched.

Not entirely sure I wanna go over this again, truth be told.

Don't you love the peace tonight? So quiet you can almost hear the world creaking on its tired ol' axis like some dusty classroom globe that ain't seen oil in its time not now and not ever.

Why you keep asking me this over and over? Sure I was there, but I never lifted a finger to hurt that girl, weren't hardly complicit in this thing… this atrocity.

***

My mommy and my daddy were playing with us. It was summertime and evening. The sky was blue and lovely, and we had Katy Perry singing. Spock was playing on his own, chasing a cat toy, even though he's not a cat. LOL. It all seemed like normal stuff, until we heard a sound we never heard before, and—

***

Hear the train. That low moan was the sound that accompanied your dawning in this world. Ain't no trains no more, course, but I remember the sorrowing of that sound in the cold night seemed some worrisome augury best put aside to be mulled over in a less antic time.

***

Right, okay. Before you cross the border, take that right turn. Yeah, the one by that old church with the peeling paint and across from the elementary school; turn and you'll see the storage facility on your right. Pull up to the office, knock, and enter. I'll be there, a grey haired lady with a weary smile. We'll provide a key and padlock and assign you a locker.

Girl, place your things inside, lock her up, and come talk to us at the front desk.

After which you will need a place to rest. Please allow us to suggest the Pacific Vista Motel, west off of I-5 and overlooking the ocean. Try to ignore the ants.

Girl crying voice. "John the Revelator." Ganesh. Seaside Heights. Sunsets.

***

Touch her and I'll slowly dismember you. I'll eat your face.