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Posts tagged “New Bizarro Author Series

New Release: Eviscerator


Vex Valis—doctor. Vex Valis—rocker. Vex Valis—iconoclast. You would think Vex Valis has it all but what Vex has is a secret that rots away at her from her very core. Vex is infected with Gut Ghouls and will do anything to be rid of them, even if it means consorting with subterranean worms or blending science and the occult in dangerous and unsavory ways. You may envy Vex’s jet-setting Dark Wave scientist lifestyle but you won’t when you see the trials incurred when she catches the attention of a being that rends people and worlds alike, the scrutiny of…The Eviscerator

Get it here

New Release: Polymer


“Purple Rain meets Castlevania. That’s the gothic-wrought-iron-elevator-to-the-next-level-of-the-haunted-castle pitch for Polymer, and while it’s dead-on it still only scratches the blood-patinaed surface of Caleb Wilson’s dazzling debut. It’s a postmodern examination of the turbulent confluence of celebrity and spectatorship and fandom. It’s a carnivalesque romp, teeming with bizarre monsters, stranger heroes, otherwordly action, and mutagenic music. It’s lovely, funny, and as unique as a rock opera collaboration between Calvino and the Purple One. This is what it sounds like when bats cry.” — Jesse Bullington, author of The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart

You’ve seen monster hunts before. You’ve watched as a guy with throwing axes and ninja stars ascends stairs to fight a big furry werewolf with tentacles or a floating head of indeterminate origin. You’ve seen hunters. But you’ve never seen Polymer. Polymer’s got style, Polymer’s got sex appeal, Polymer’s got panache. And you, lucky reader, get to join us right behind the glass in Sickleburg Castle where the battle of the century is about to commence. Who is the man behind the music, the monsters, the guts, the gore and the glory? Get ready for an event like no other.

Get it here

New Release: F4


A cruise ship on the back of a sleeping kaiju. A transgender bartender trying to come terms with who she is. A rift in dimensions known as The Sway. A cruel captain. A storm of turmoil, insanity and magic is coming together and taking the ship deep into the unknown. What will Carol the bartender learn in this maddening non-place that changes bodies and minds alike into bizarre terrors? What is the sleeping monster who holds up the ship trying to tell her? What do Carol’s fractured sense of self and a community of internet trolls have to do with the sudden pull of The Sway?

Get it here

Eraserhead Press & Lazy Fascist Releases: Fall 2016

Take a look at all the weird books available this fall! There are three releases from Lazy Fascist Press…


“[Takes] you on a slow descent into madness.” –SF Signal

“Begins strange and gets quite a bit stranger.” –Innsmouth Free Press

Rumbullion has moments of hilarity, ridiculousness, and mystery aplenty.” –The Arkham Digest

A dinner turned awkward. A card game gone amiss. An old friendship destroyed. An engagement dissolved. A man murdered–maybe even two.

In the wake of a fateful and fatal party, young, sickly aristocrat Julian Bretwynde decides to interrogate all who were in attendance, including the infamous alchemist, immortal, and liar, the Count of Saint Germain. What Julian will uncover about that night, no one could ever have expected, least of all himself. And even worse, he’ll be forced to decide what’s true among the radically disparate accounts of men and women who stood side by side, watching the same events unfold. As he gets deeper and deeper into his investigation, the killer’s identity grows ever more obscure… as does that of the victim. GET IT HERE


“STARR CREEK is a phenomenal weird fiction debut. Laird Barron meets Jack Ketchum in David Lynch’s TWIN PEAKS. I loved it!” – Brian Keene, best-selling author of THE COMPLEX and THE RISING

“Carson is a fresh new voice in Lovecraft country, and his prose dazzles.” – Wendy Wagner, author of STARSPAWN and SKINWALKERS

Starr Creek is the debut novella by Portland writer and musician Nathan Carson. Set in 1986 rural Oregon, Starr Creek features Heavy Metal teens, Christian biker gangs, and hopped up kids on 3-wheeled ATVs. They all collide when strange occurrences unveil an alien world inhabiting the Oregon woods. GET IT HERE


Glue is a meditation on grief and addiction, the loss of loved ones, and our incredible power to rebuild ourselves after everything falls apart. Heartbreaking, honest, and all-too-human, Glue is one of the most powerful books of the year. GET IT HERE

…Two more releases from Eraserhead Press…


“One of the most exciting new voices to emerge in years. A deft, masterful mix of both bizarro and horror.”–Brian Keene, author of The Rising and Ghoul

“Dark and grim and surreal.” –Electric Literature

Mondays suck. You get mugged, your car won’t start, you miss the bus, and your stylist burns a bald spot into your head. Suddenly you’re single and unemployed, and the only friend you have left is a cat. By Tuesday, you’ve been murdered. But death isn’t the end. You find yourself on an odyssey between weird worlds, reborn each time you die, stalked obsessively by the man who killed you.

Even in death, you just can’t seem to catch a break. Call it Mercury in retrograde, call it Murphy’s law, call it . . . Shit Luck. GET IT HERE


He was just another man with a drinking problem. Only, alcohol transformed this man into a beastly hulk named Piggly Swiggly. And since he’s always drunk, big and brutal Piggly has drowned his human half in a sea of booze.

After yet another rampaging bender, Piggly Swiggly awakes in a sprawling metropolis full of crocodile zeppelins, greasy bacon addicts, and worse: prohibition. Trapped in this strange tee-totaled town, he must keep his buzz going or else revert to his weak and vulnerable human form. But even then, Piggly Swiggly’s depraved existence may prove his undoing, especially when gangsters are plotting to cut off his snout, a pig-loving princess is looking to steal his heart, and he must face the worst torture of all…sobriety.

Like a shit-faced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Bacon Fried Bastard is a brutal bizarro thriller of gangland violence, junkie romance, and alcoholic pork. GET IT HERE

…And, as always, this year’s New Bizarro Author Series…


Being a teenager is awkward. Being a teenager when you’re attracted to your aunt is even more awkward. Being a teenager when you’re attracted to your aunt who happens to be a seventies pin-up poster hanging in your uncle’s bathroom is almost unbearable. Aunt Poster is a coming of age story like you’ve never seen before, a tale of guilt, lust and obsession with no easy answers. Can love conquer all this awkwardness? Probably not. GET IT HERE


The Sky hates Kyle. He’s not sure exactly what he did to anger The Sky, but now, Kyle’s life is a nightmare. He loses his job, his girlfriend leaves him, not to mention he’s assaulted by hail, rain, flying condoms and anything the sky can possibly throw at him. Trees fall on his house, and hurricanes are sent after him. And that’s just the beginning. Enigmatic emissaries of The Sky come and lend their brand of aid, which only succeeds in sending Kyle on a journey into madness, crime, redemption, sexual indiscretions and despair. Can Kyle make peace with The Sky, or will the entire world always conspire against him? GET IT HERE


A wolf with guitar strings. A turtle turned into drum. An alligator girl transformed into a synthesizer. A golden retriever converted into a theremin. These animals are the lifeblood of prog/noise group 2666. The beasts live in slavery until a sentient golden ax teaches them that they can be free. Their human masters are ruthless, cruel and desperate for fame but for these creatures, life and freedom is at stake. The instruments of 2666 will fight and die for it. GET IT HERE


How much longer can I live like this, if one can call this living?

The question haunts Bill Vine, an adipose junkie with a mean McRecycling habit, as he goes about the business of resupplying his dwindling stores of body fat. But then one day he has an intimate encounter with the deadly but alluring black goo and crosses over into the neo-reality of Tetraminion. In this new world, a degenerate species of enslaved mutants serve as the primary source for gringe, an unspeakable substance distributed by a faceless cabal known as The System. Intent on more than controlling the supply of gringe, The System will exploit Bill’s innermost secrets and fears. GET IT HERE

Flash Fiction Friday: 2015 New Bizarro Authors, Pt. 3

Here are some great excerpts of the last three NBAS books of 2015.

King Space Void by Anthony Trevino(Buy It Now!)

“What do you think, Dane?”

The crew member’s face was a charcoal sketch, but Dane recognized the voice. It was Fattahipour from the morning crew. Odd, Dane thought to himself. Fattahipour usually kept away from the Aphrodite, choosing to stay inside and learn more about the history of King Space Void rather than interacting with his fellow citizens.

Fattahipour went on talking before Dane had a chance to respond.

“Something happened to me the other night, Dane.” Fattahipour kept massaging the spirit box. “I had a dream. A dream about us; where we’re going.”

“You saw the edge?”

“No. No, nothing like that.”

“What’d you see?”

“Oblivion, Dane. I saw oblivion. We’re heading for something awful,” Fattahipour said. “That’s why I figured, why not see what these boxes are all about. We already live on layers of death, but maybe the other side holds more promise.”

The severed arm tried to creep back into Dane’s head, pollute his good time. He pushed it out, focused on Fattahipour who was pulling the box slowly open. A small light emanated from it, further intoxicated everyone close by. Lit up by the box’s glow, Fattahipour’s silver hair turned almost bone white. His eyes, and those around them, were honed in on the spirit manifesting before them. Dane felt the pull on his mind; he didn’t just want to see inside of it, he needed to.

Dane fell into the moment.

A blue face began to take shape in the box. It seemed friendly, grateful for being let out.
Work. Play. Work. Play. He really didn’t have anything to fear or worry about.

Twin orbs of gold light formed in the eye sockets of the face. The higher Fattahipour lifted the lid the more the face stretched and moaned. Dane couldn’t take his eyes off it. Even though it didn’t speak, he felt all the pleasures the spirit offered, all of the ecstasy available to him if he would just relax and submit.

This was life aboard King Space Void, and everything was great.

Until the alarms went off.

Pixiegate Madoka by Michael Sean LeSueur (Buy It Now!)

-9:00 AM, UROBOCHI HIGH Courtyard

Can’t wait to meet the other squads. This is going to be awesome. Now, if only Akagawa-san would hurry up with her tune-up and man-bike discussion with Molly.

Man these girls are awesome. Now, which one should I date first? Marjorie is feisty, fries up food like a motherfucker, and would probably be fun in the sack…but she is a bitch with a capital C. Then, there is Setsuko. She’s the calm, level-headed intellectual type…and could prove to be quite the mental sparring partner. I could see myself having several discussions with her on ethics in journalism and the benefits of socialism. However, she doesn’t seem like the type that knows how to have fun. That leaves Naomi Akagawa. She’s klutzy, adorable, and knowledgeable. She’s also surprisingly mature for her age. She makes delicious strudel, too. If only she were a bit more of a nerd like I am. It sucks, but it’s the truth. Girls just don’t read manga or play video games. Maybe I should ask the Redditors for help? She’s the closest I’ll come to my dream girl.

I pull out my cell phone, sign into my Reddit account(my handle is dandy_dapper24), and post a topic in r/dating_advice.

“How to Win The Affection of my “Almost Perfect” Dream Girl?”

I describe her qualities, my own qualities, and my inexperience with dating.

This’ll be great. I’ll check it again after class.

The courtyard is quiet and the sky around the school burns red.

This is weird. Shouldn’t there be more people here?

The doors to the school bend, shift, and fly off. An army of large, muscle man rabbits and frogs fill out the space. The rabbits clench their fists and kiss their muscles. The frogs lash their electrified tongues out and clear away the trees and bushes nearby.

“Julie Argento~” says a voice from on high. I look up to the voice and see a woman in a red pin stripe suit descending to the ground. Her suit flutters, and she wears half of a red mask over her face. She lands in front of the rabbits and frogs. They remove their mask to reveal a pencil moustache and a mole under their left eye. A scar in the shape of an X covers the left cheek.

A drag-king? Okay, I can dig it. Non-conformist gender practices, yeah!

“My name is Scardick Montana. Your sister sends her regards.” He snaps his fingers and two rabbits charge forward.

The other rabbits blush and moan don’tlookatmethatwaybaka and noticemesenpai. A rush of wind hits my crotch. The skirt flutters and the rabbits scream about how bad they want my PANTIEJUNK. I fire a few soap shots at the rabbits, and they shrink in size.

Scardick claps his hand, and a frog fires a mucous bomb at me. I unhinge my wrist and fire a bleach ball bomb at the mucous. They collide mid-air and explode. Scardick claps his hands again, and all of the frogs fire mucous bombs at me. I send out several bleach ball bombs to match the level of mucous being shot out at me. My vision blurs with each colliding explosion until I pass out.

Benjamin by Pedro Proença (Buy It Now!)

“Look on my works, ye Patty, and despair!”

The man sits besides the Boy and Benjamin. He’s about fifty, wearing a faded green zoot suit, and a red fedora. He’s something out of a cartoon, thinks Benjamin. He reaches out towards the Boy, and if Benjamin could flinch, he would.

The man just strokes Fred, whose hair stands up with the contact of that strange hand. Benjamin notices that the hand, although normal shaped, is scaly and grey.

“I like that name for you, Patty. Are you a girl? You look like one.”

The man just pets the cat absently, his eyes fixated on the now almost empty bookstore.

“I had a cat named Patty once, she was my special friend. Where I’d go, she went. We went through the good times and the bad times together. I miss her very much.”

Benjamin can see the man is not paying attention to him or the Boy. He mentally signals his friend to drop Fred down and go.

The Boy does not move.

“Listen, let go of the cat. He’ll be safe in the mall. Let’s just get away from this creature.”

Fred has calmed down now, and accepts more of the man’s petting. Sometimes, the man’s weird hand brushes against the Boy’s, but he doesn’t seem to notice. He can only see his “Patty.”

“I’ve miss you so much, girl,” the man says. There are tears streaming down his eyes now. He stops petting Fred and buries his face in his hands, sobbing.

“Now!” Benjamin says.

With a new display of his odd agility, the Boy gets up in one swift motion, Fred in one hand and Benjamin’s string in the other, and starts to scurry away from the stranger, crying man.

“I’m so glad I ate that whore you were with,” the man says, still holding his face, the crying now gone.

Flash Fiction Friday: 2015 New Bizarro Authors, Pt. 2

The next three books to be featured from the 2015 NBAS are:

Arachnophile by Betty Rocksteady (Buy It Now!)

My neighbor dangled in front of me, her limbs working restlessly against a strand of web. Her legs arched and trembled as her eyes acknowledged me. I could see recognition in them, and she wavered in greeting. I nodded, my forehead breaking out in a sweat.

A drop of venom shone on her fang, glinting in the light. She swung into the elevator, her large body arcing gracefully through the air. The limited space crowded us together, and she brushed against me, sending a shiver down my spine. There was a moment where I thought I would run, but the door closed.

We were alone. Her head inclined slightly toward me, the silence heavy in the air.

“Erm.. I hope… I do hope you’re settling in okay.” I croaked. Her eyes shone. She remained silent, but my words seemed to lull her and she turned away from me, allowing my eyes to take her all in.

I had never been so close to one before. The soft curves of her body were beautiful and grotesque, the smooth gleaming shell of her abdomen. The patterns of shapes and colors she displayed were fascinating. She glanced over her shoulder at me, as if she knew I was watching, and something about the way her eyes shone set off a reaction in me, heat filling my cheeks.

The elevator sank down dozens of floors and we stood there together for a silent eternity. I could feel how conscious she was of my presence. I couldn’t stop thinking of the effect she had on me the other night. A faint tinge of that same sweet musky smell permeated the elevator, bringing the memory into sharp focus, how hard I had been. How hard I was becoming now.

Without looking at me, one of her back legs extended towards me. Slowly. Casually. A gentle caress against my calf, rubbing it along the side of my ankle. She paused for a moment at my sharp intake of breath, but pushed just a little further and I felt the brush of her flesh- sharp, angular, inhuman, against the sensitive inside of my ankle. I longed to stroke her smooth exoskeleton, but my hands felt clumsy, sweaty, numb.

The elevator stopped suddenly. We had arrived. She walked gracefully out, her eyes glinting back at me. I stood in the empty elevator, face red, and watched her abdomen sway as she walked away.

What was I becoming?

Rock ‘n’ Roll Head Case by Lee Widener (Buy It Now!)

At the Nuclear Burger Chaino draped the towel over the head and strode through the front door. That felt good. He hated going around back to the employee’s entrance. The manager spotted him immediately.

“Durante, what the hell’s the matter with you? You’re late,” he said.

“I ain’t late, I’m right on time,” Chaino replied.

“Look at the clock, moron. You’re ten minutes late.”

“No I ain’t. I don’t work here no more.”

“What the? Are you quitting, Durante? You need to give two weeks notice.”

“I’m quitting right now and I’m robbing this place.”

The manager laughed.

“Robbing us? You and what army, loser?”

“This army,” Chaino said, pulling the towel from Alice Cooper’s head.

“What the hell is that, a Halloween mask?”

The young lady behind the cash register gasped. “Ew, gross!” she said.

“Durante, put that thing down, get into your uniform and get in back. Now.” the manager said.

“I tell you, I’m robbing this place!” Chaino shouted.

“Pull the trigger, kid,” Alice Cooper said.

Chaino pointed Alice Cooper at the manager and pulled the trigger. Cooper opened his mouth and a giant spider web shot out, wrapping itself around the manager.

“What the hell?” the manager squeaked, trying to pull the web off.

“Empty the registers and give me all the money,” Chaino said, pointing the head at the cashier.

“Sure, Chaino. Whatever you say,” she said, dumping the money into the largest take-out bag they had and handing it over.

“I never liked you either,” Chaino said, pulling the trigger again, wrapping a web around the cashier.

The girl screamed and fell on the floor.

“I’m sorry Chaino! I never meant anything! Just joking, you know. Geez!”

“Point me at that asshole manager again and pull the trigger one more time,” Alice Cooper said.

Chaino pulled the trigger and this time dozens of black spiders came pouring from the head’s mouth, each with a tiny red hourglass on its abdomen.

“What the fuck, Chaino!” the manager screamed as the spiders bit into his flesh, each one injecting its poison.

The manager twitched a few times and then lay motionless.

“Holy cripes, Alice, I didn’t want to kill anybody. I just wanted to rob the place.”

“He was a jerk,” Alice Cooper said. “We’d better get out of here.”

“Yeah, good idea,” Chaino said, glancing back at the manager’s body.

As he hurried through the door he heard the cashier scream so loud he could hear her clear through the glass door. Shit, he just killed a guy. With Alice Cooper’s head.

Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks by Christoph Paul (Buy It Now!)

He opened his eyes and took one last look at the Finals Orgy. They were now in full-coitus unaware of what Jason saw—a group of nude women and men walking slowly toward them. They were covered in dirt and scars. They kept their eyes on the teenagers like they were prey and their only purpose was to devour them.

Jason was not scared seeing the creepy sight. He let out a big breath and smiled feeling relief at seeing the Fuck Followers.

These nude people who attacked those having sex were scattered all over the nation. They were given the crude nickname because they were neither Final nor Slasher, but they attacked and killed anyone engaging in coitus or anyone who wasn’t a virgin.

When Slasher and Final citizenship went federal, there was an option for people to be in an experimental program to be in neither group but to still help with population control. If you refused to choose you were put to death. 97.8% accepted their new roles of Final or Slasher, 1.2% chose to be put to death, and 1% of old-America chose the experimental population program.

Doctors worked on neurotransmitters, stem cells, linguistic and senses programing believing they could program the group of useless people to attack those engaged in intercourse to stop more pregnancies. Through the experimental retraining program, the 1% of men and women lost their sense of identity and became like dogs able to sniff the act of sex and go and stop it.

The experiment worked a little too well as the “Fuck Followers” as laymen labeled them, went after not just current sex acts but also anyone who was no longer a virgin. The scientists didn’t realize the scent of sex stayed on all human beings. While the Slasher and Final society emerged and stayed strong, the Fuck Followers became the boogeymen that both sides feared.

The only people who didn’t fear them were virgins and Jason sat down against the tree for the first time since he got there, feeling like he could relax.
He couldn’t believe the Finalers didn’t notice how close the Followers were. He felt a little bad for them and maybe even a little jealous. He never cared that much about sex but the thought of Rachel The Slazer made him realize like everyone else he wanted to get laid and also that the Finalers were people and didn’t deserve a Fuck Follower Fatality.

Jason stepped out from behind the tree and called out, “Hey, Finals,” they looked up from bliss, looking embarrassed and angry. “Though I hate you guys, none of us should get killed by Fuck Followers. They are coming for you and you should run.”

The naked Finalers went from anger to concern when they looked away from Jason and saw six Fuck Followers coming from different angels.
“Ooooblow bluckkk,” said a Final girl with an erect penis still in her mouth.

Flash Fiction Friday: 2015 New Bizarro Authors, Pt. 1

For this week and the next two Flash Fiction Friday will exhibit excerpts of The New Bizarro Author Series for 2015.

Rainbows Suck by Madeleine Swann (Buy It Now!)

The doors exploded open, neon pinks, purples and blues bursting onto the streets and the skin of those waiting. The others cheered, but Tilli remained quietly determined. A rainbow glided into the doorway.

“Friends, neighbours, welcome to Sensus Invictus. Step in and feel your boundaries shatter…” he stepped aside and everyone scurried in, taking seats on either side of a clean, white runway. Tilli elbowed her way to the front of the left side, if she could just remain in view of the rainbows swirling about the ceiling and walls, occasionally disappearing backstage…

A vortex appeared at the end of the runway, swirling furiously. The audience gasped in shocked delight. “Ladies and gentlemen,” boomed a voice neither male nor female, “welcome to the first ever Live Art Extravaganza!” The people cheered and so did Tilli, the excitement spreading like an infectious disease. The first Art, a man with a golden quiff stretching almost to the ceiling, stepped out from behind the screens. The onlookers oohed as he strode to the end of the runway, narrowly missing the vortex which waited hungrily for him. His hair shot out and grabbed a woman’s handbag and she squealed in mock protest. His mane rolled it about for a few seconds before spitting it back into her arms, now covered in attractive sequins. He stomped back to a loud applause.

A girl now appeared, her dark skin almost like velour. In fact, when Tilli squinted, she saw it was velour. It seemed at first as if her coat jiggled as she walked, but Tilli it was writhing independently. A few faces peered out and stretched the fabric before sinking away into dark blue nothingness, whereupon more faces took their place. “Oh darling,” said a woman to a man sitting next to her, “that’s the coat of souls I read about in Tittles. Isn’t it divine?”

“Simply divine,” was the response. Tilli glanced about, sweat prickling her temples. Time was moving on, why hadn’t they noticed her? Maybe she could approach them at the end…

Another Art stepped onto the runway, making his way to the vortex and summoning The Dark One before turning to head back. The next Art appeared from behind the screen. The first, on shoes taller than a young man, wobbled and the crowd uniformly breathed in. The second Art began stomping towards him so as not to lose time, but the first was falling slowly, gracefully, into maw of the whirlpool. All eyes were on him, nobody saw the second Art desperately twirling and cartwheeling to get their attention. The first was sucked down into oblivion and, before anybody had a chance to scream, the second exploded in a shower of glitter and rainbows which stained the white runway. Both men and women screamed as loudly as they could and several fur covered watchers fell dramatically to the floor, though of course one eye flickered to their companions to make sure they were watching.

Towers by Karl Fischer (Buy It Now!)

We were Towers and we shattered the sky.

We were three hundred meters tall, anchored to the bedrock on mammoth monopile roots. We were carbide skeletons on which steel and lead and graphene plastic matrices were layered to form oblique, unbreakable skin. But most of all, we were the Gods of Fire and War and Thermonuclear Destruction. When we unleashed Atomic Hounds upon the night’s void, every kingdom shuddered and every mortal knew why we were built.

We were Towers.

But we had one weakness: those that lived inside us.

They thought I couldn’t feel them walking in the corridors of my marrow and the ventricles of my heart. The human germs crawling and feeding and fucking—sometimes fixing and reloading—but always, always scratching. They caused me to look inward. They did nothing but distract me from the fight.

I was human once, and I remember that it was miserable. Prejudice, anxiety, want—the hallmarks of my short existence. I lived without certainty. But there was certainty in steel. There was certainty in the exhaust of a newly launched missile and the white, celestial explosion that its terminus brought. There was certainty in Quatra.

The time I spent being human was good for only one purpose—to meet Quatra, the singular cog that would mesh with my own.

Alone, we were overwhelmed by the lizard gestalt of our brains. Brought together, we made of ourselves a functional mechanism. We had a use for all our meltwater emotions. Death, however, reminded us that love did not exist in its stygian paradise. Death could walk, and it arose from the ocean to make war upon the last human cities. In those dying days of civilization, the Towers were built to defend what remained.

So long ago.

Requisition called for people to operate the Towers and we volunteered. Shed the flesh, fight for a thousand years, and in return, be admitted unto the Afterlife. What was a millennium compared to an eternity with Quatra? To be without separation, without sorrow or fear, I would pay any price.

I counted down the days.

A thousand years gone.

But these humans. These viral dwellers. I could feel them inside me, as they were in every Tower, and the sensation repelled certainty. What were they doing to me? I fought with everything I had. What more could they want?

It was my rest period of Day 365,241, my last day of service. I dreamt that Quatra and I were parasites in our own skin, and we were ravenous. We cannibalized muscles of polymer and concrete and went deep into the organ meat of our power plants. We were vermin crawling in cavernous spaces that were wet with blood, yet smelled of dust. Our real bodies, the spires, were dead. The planet was a necropolis and our enemies loomed overhead, breathing hellfire and pulsing clouds of devastation. We could do nothing but weep at the basework of our titanic hearts. We couldn’t even hold each other because we didn’t know how.

Then I woke up screaming.

Elephant Vice by Chris Meekings

The captain’s office was small. A desk fan buzzed in one corner, with ticker-tape streaming in its breeze. The morning sun crashed through the window in an orange torrent and struck the poster of the kitten hanging from a branch. “Hang In There, Baby”. The captain slammed the door closed behind Detective Vincent Van Gogh.

“Sit down,” he commanded.

Captain Horrald Smalling was a short, squat man, covered in thick brown hair and the labels of beer bottles he’d drunk in the past week. His jacket was off the peg, off his shoulders and slung unheroically over the back of his walrus leather chair. The sleeves of his shirt, which depicted nudes from around the world, were rolled up. Two dark sweat patches had formed under his arms, even though it was only nine in the morning.

“Captain,” questioned Van Gogh, “didn’t you used to have two ears?”

The Captain, self consciously lifted a hand to the side of his face. Where his left ear should have been was a bare patch of skin, no scar, no blood, no hole, just barren skin.

“You’re right, Van Gogh. I woke this morning to find that gone. And worse, there were signs of a break in. Some bastard forced his way into my apartment and stole my ear.”

“That’s….that’s weird,” said Van Gogh, lamely.

“Enough about that, I got a case for you, Van Gogh,” he spat from around the blunt stogie in the corner of his mouth, “a big one. Mayor’s son was found turned into a sofa this morning.”

Van Gogh ran his fingers through his hair and down to his beard. His ear had been right, it was trouble.

“Another **** head?” he questioned.

“Yeah, some new drug cartel has moved in, ****’s been hitting the streets. So, you’re up, Van Gogh. Investigate. Find the bastards that are dealing it, and bring ’em in,” snarled the captain.

Van Gogh scoffed. “Captain, no one has a greater opinion of my abilities than I do, but even I don’t think I can take on a whole cartel.”

The captain’s eyes sparkled with mischief.

“Well, that’s lucky. ‘Cause you won’t be doing it alone. You’ll be doing it with a partner. Ganesha! Get in here!” he bellowed.

The door opened and Detective Ganesha came in, in a cloud of musk and flies. Dressed in an Armani cream suit, Ganesha stood seven feet tall from his dapper white brogues to the top of his massive elephant head. His trunk curled around the door handle and swung it shut behind him. He held, in one of his four hands, a pen knife, which he flicked open and closed as if it were a nervous habit.

“Namaste, detective,” said Ganesha, putting two of his hands together and giving a slight incline of his huge head. “I am most looking forward to working with you.”

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” said Vincent Van Gogh, eyeing the Hindu deity up and down. Deep and dark, like an abyssal trench, Van Gogh felt the ground beneath him slip away. “Captain, no. You know me. I work alone. I do not work with people, let alone elephants.”

A frown crept across Ganesha’s face.