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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 The Wicker Man (2)

Friday
Jul062018

Fury

She is bound on a cold stone floor in a spare cottage by a crag, the wind a tuneless piccolo through cryptic slits.

A flurry of dark birds arc jagged across a slate sky past twilight.

The ink upon her arms and chest echo both flocks and sundown: three tiny boiling hearts on her inner right forearm and a stutter of crows below her clavicle, above her breast.

Outside, some black and odious structure silhouetted on the cliff edge: pitiless, stark, and mannish.

Pricks. If they are going to deem her a witch, then she will damn well rise witchlike.

A beetle meanders by her feet pursuing crumbs, flakes, specks.

These are fragmentary things, these moments, what she sees, hears, smells, feels. Nothing good will happen if she resists, but things far worse are pledged by her compliance.

The beetle is by the wall now, still seeking and vacuuming tiny morsels. She envies its autonomy, its thralldom to its own rudimentary will.

Her will is more wilt than heft. She stares between her legs at the stone and shudders. Imagines something ludicrous. Some unruly erection. Resistance. She must resist. Weakness now is unconscionable.

She is a woman not some failed man.

As if in answer, heart all slashed and ragged, Blossom appears in the murky air, her friend long slain by similar hands, twirling a familiar dance.

Speaks.

"Oh, Blanche, this is it. The inevitable. The moment you decide how to leave this aching world. I urge you to choose well. Its about you now, not them. They are filled with impotence, choked redundant by hate and unwarranted envy. Believing they're the heart, they are the true outcasts of our tribe. The overarch, the arc is in our favour. Even when they kill us, they don't win."

"Yeah, yeah. You always knew how to speak, my poet. I appreciate the pep talk, hon, but I ain't ready to die."

Sudden silence. No sound. The wind itself has swooned. Even the surf has ceased its assault on the rocks. No Blossom, no beetle, no beating heart. For a moment, no battery. A hush. This is the cold edge at the end of things, the blood loss, the muffled aftershocks.

However grim the lookout, love—love—is the thing.

The throng is coming, my brave and blissful amour, with their whetted instruments and their senseless rage, frail and pitiful as the keening of birds.

Friday
Jan102014

32. to 29. Carnies to Barbies

29. Wolf Creek 

The Aussies are coming. And then some. This film takes its sweet yet never boring time building backstory and character so we truly care about these young British and Australian backpackers, before unleashing a "based on a true story" demented Crocodile Dundee character with the innocuous name of Mick Taylor. And yeah, we're plunged into a nocturnal outback world of pure awfulness we hope is over sooner rather than later, for the sake of the innocent and undeserving young folks stalked by this revolting yet gleeful human monster. If you can stomach it, it's a brilliant, sickening, relentless horror film, period.

30. [REC] 

The great thing about the current state of horror in film is the truly global aspect of it. On my short list alone are French, Swedish, British, American, Australian, Finnish, Japanese, Canadian, South Korean, Dutch and, here, Spanish offerings, all bringing something new to the genre. Nerve jangling, claustrophobic, and pretty much plain terrifying, you're off balance throughout, with the film seeming to posit numerous scenarios (zombies, demons?) behind a strange and gruesome outbreak among the residents of a quarantined apartment block. Oh, and yeah, it's frightening.

31. The Wicker Man

Unlike anything else, this British film from 1973 was dated from the moment it was released, which doesn't matter, since it was self-contained and creepy-strange beyond belief from the get go. A unique clash between paganism and Christianity, liberal sexuality and puritanism, prurience and piety, bacchanalia and Presbyterianism, the rampant and the reproachful, the sensual and the censorious, all of its no-doubt predictable struggles play out against the foment of the times in which it was conceived, and yet the final and—oh god(s) help us—lasting impression is one of bleak, stark, inexorable, human-centric horror. Hence its inclusion here.

32. Carnival of Souls

The early '60s was a fertile period for new takes on horror. For one thing, I was born. Okay, kidding. Ha! But yeah, Hitchcock was working his special alchemy alongside a few others whose careers were—sadly and quite frankly, stupidly—not exactly enhanced by their association with the genre (I'm talking about you, Michael Powell!), but the context for this particular gem is difficult to unravel from such a distance. Eerie, creepy, spooky, and haunted are all adjectives that occur, but for me, the feminine sensibility—as depicted by the anxious, blurrily magisterial Candace Hilligoss—is the warm, strange heart of this self-contained and atmospheric wonder. That and a truly disconcerting "something wicked" motif, as painted by the manic, incessant dark carny music. (Pro tip: the full movie is on YouTube.)