Monthly Archives: October 2011

Issue 1: Hundred-Word Halloween

Welcome to this, our first issue of The Were-Traveler, where weird little stories find a home.

So… A little about the format. The Issue posts (like this one) will serve as an anchor for all the contributing posts. You can read what you want by clicking on the story links.

Once you get the idea of what kind of stories I want to publish here (the weirder, the better) please feel free to submit something. The themes coming up are listed on the Calls for Submission page.

Contents:

Editor’s Post: A Love of Very Tiny Tales

Three Jack-O-Lanterns, by Daniel Ritter

Hunted, by Larry Kollar

Transplant, by David Little

The Trick and the Treat, by Helen Howell

Hospitality, by David Little

Grin, by Daniel Ritter

Unfinished Business, by Maria Kelly

Unseen, by Larry Kollar

Fax, by David Little

Tug the Heart Strings, by Daniel Ritter

Drain, by Kirsten Mortensen

Elder’s Journey, by Maria Kelly

Coat, by David Little

A Girl With Brains, by Maria Kelly

Hunger, by David Little

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A Love of Very Tiny Tales

Drabbles.

Why do they matter?

They’re too hard to write, you say.

They’re not, I argue back. And they matter because they’re cool. Just listen to any episode of The Drabblecast and you’ll get addicted to the Drabble of the Day.

What the foamy feck is a drabble?

It’s a short story, boiled down to it’s essence. Dialogue, plot, twist…all in one-hundred happy words. Drabbles were invented in good ol’ England. Here’s a bit of history, if you want to know more about their origins.

Short to write and easy to read. And while they are not easy to write, they’re not that hard once you get the hang of it. I’m telling you all this because there will be other drabble-themed issues in the future.

This Halloween issue has some pretty damn kick-ass drabbles. My favorite one appears first: Daniel Ritter’s “Three Jack-O-Lanterns.” It’s the epitome of a Halloween drabble and was exactly what I was looking for, spot on, for this issue. Great job, Daniel! The rest appear in random order, but Larry Kollar’s “Hunted” also struck a chord with me.

I’ll let you get to reading now. But before I go, I mentioned The Drabblecast and other drabble-themed issues. If you want a clue to what I’m thinking of, give Drabblecase Episode 119 a listen…especially a story by Jake Bible called “The Seven Deadly Drabbles.” I’m thinking about doing something along those lines very soon.

Now…let’s read some scary drabbles.

Happy Halloween!

The Editor,

The Were-Traveler

Three Jack-O-Lanterns, by Daniel Ritter

Every year it’s the same. Harvest comes in, jack-o-lanterns go out.

We all get one each to hollow out and to put a candle in. Janey always saws around the top and then scoops out the junk. Mackenzie always starts shaping the mouth first. I always go for the eyes. It’s messy, sure, but it’s something we get to do every year together.

Same with candy corn. Candy corn is forever.

One thing gets harder each year, though, but there always seems to be free digging space at the far end of the field.

Three jack-o-lanterns, three bodies to bury.

Hunted, by Larry Kollar

He ran through the darkened halls, looking behind him on occasion. No way out, his footsteps told him. Every room was a dead end.

His father’s voice came to him from so long ago: This dabbling in the occult will end badly! Yes. His body feared only death… his mind feared what lay beyond.

Bursting into the great room, he paused, looking around for a hiding place.

Curtains flew open, the sun shone in, and he cried out in pain and terror. The hunter rushed forward with a cry of triumph, and drove his sharpened stake into the vampire’s heart.

Transplant, by David Little

Roger regained consciousness at 2am.

At first he felt nothing, which he thought was due to the anaesthetic. Slowly, feeling returned to his feet and worked its way up.

“And how are you today, Mr Gold?” the doctor asked, his smiling face hoving into view.

Roger tried to speak but couldn’t. He felt his mouth move and larynx vibrate, but no noise escaped.

“Excellent,” the doctor said. “The monitors show that you have feeling which is excellent. Soon you’ll believe that you can move. I’ll tell the clients we’ve successfully put your consciousness into an aspidistra.”

Roger tried to scream.

The Trick and the Treat, by Helen Howell

Lily tapped on the door to the old Mansion. She clutched Bozo, her clown doll. A monster lives there, the other kids said. That didn’t stop her. She had Bozo to protect her.

The door creaked open.

“Trick or Treat.”

No one appeared. Lilly leaned forward and looked in. Soft hands clasped her throat, she tried to scream and as she struggled, she realised it was Bozo who was choking her. She let him go as he dragged her over the door step.

“Good boy Bozo, you always bring them home to mama in the end.”

The door slammed shut.

Hospitality, by David Little

“Help yourself to any of the food. We have sandwiches, sausage rolls and even vol-au-vents. Those are the most popular you know?”

Gillian nodded.

“And of course, there’s a free bar.”

For the first time she noticed how flamboyant Kenneth was. It suited him. Perhaps it was a good thing that she came to help him entertain the clients.

He leaned in close.

“We’re not supposed to, but I won’t tell if you don’t”

He winked and tapped her on the shoulder.

Now she was marked.

The masters would be pleased with the spread he had laid on for later.

Grin, by Daniel Ritter

I had to keep coughing to keep my mouth clear enough to breathe; my nose too stuffy.

She didn’t seem to struggle as much, show any pain, as she shoved each of my teeth into the holes where hers had been. Her smile was hitchy and catchy, to keep the pegs from falling out, smiling at me with my own teeth shoved into her grin. She fiddled with her former teeth on the table, wet and sticky and shiny maroon.

“Shee me?” sputtering little clots through her lips. “I’m pretty with your shmile in me.”

I passed out in pain.

Unfinished Business, by Maria Kelly

“I’m coming back for you,” the man said to the crowded courtroom, eyes locked on Bobby’s eight-year old form. “When you all growed up.”

Bobby shivered. The man had murdered his family while Bobby hid, terrified.

Years later, Bobby watched as guards led the murderer into Sparky’s waiting embrace. He wanted his nightmares to die in the lightning. The lights flickered. The killer wailed, “I’m coming back for you!”

When Bobby grew old, those words still haunted him as he sat in his rocking chair.

The lights flickered, went out.

“Now you all growed up,” the darkness whispered.

Bobby screamed.

The Unseen, by Larry Kollar

“What does it look like?”

“Nobody knows. That’s why it’s called The Unseen.”

Suresh shrugged. “Somebody’s had to see it. If it even exists.”

“Oh sure, people see it. Right before it kills ’em.”

“That makes sense. Or… what if it looks human and walks among us?” He waggled his fingers. “Maybe people see it all the time, not knowing… until it’s too late!”

“You might be right. The perfect disguise. But it takes some of the mystery out of it.”

“Not really. It could be anyone. Even me — or you!”

“Yeah.” Then I jumped on him and ate him.