Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

I Fell

by David

Fred had almost forgotten the boy who fell off the world. “So you lived. You lived! How?”

“I fell. I expected to fall forever. Instead, I plunged into a net of roots. Many broke as they slowed my fall, but soon I was caught. It was a simple matter then of climbing up the stouter roots, ever mindful of the void beneath me, until I reached the good brown earth. I found openings in the world’s venter, the termini of smooth-walled tunnels at whose origin I greatly wondered. Some were large enough for me, and one of these I entered. Though from the beginning I misdoubted their character.”

“What dug those tunnels Chuck? What worms are those whose girth exceeds that of a man? What lives down there on the bottom of things?”

At this the visitor grew pale and trembled. “Don’t ask me that,” he whispered. “Some things are not to be spoken. Would that they could be not thought!”

“Those damnable tunnels. The walls are encrusted with phosphorescent fungi, revealing in a jaundiced, fitful light that which were better hid. There are dead ends in those subterranean passages, each a fatted place like a spider’s brood sack. Many are empty, thank all the gods that be, but some are not. What I found in those would send you shrieking, desperately seeking light and clean air and any thing outside those fetid burrows. Those nearer the surface and the Sun’s good light contain the desiccated, partially devoured, but still living remains of creatures well familiar, including man. I spoke with one, a hollow thing that begged me to end his life. I did so, swiftly, and all those I later met. Brood sacks many miles below Earth’s face contained other remains, also still living, discernible in the flickering radiance of the mutant fungi. These I hope never to meet hale and hearty either above or below ground.”

“Ask me not what I dined on during my sojourn beneath the surface. I sucked water from roots that dangled from tunnel ceilings. This water, never present in any great quantity, faintly bitter and with a nauseating aftertaste, suffused with the essences of all through which it had passed, was the most wholesome thing I ingested while I was within the earth.”

“When I finally crawled out of that bewildering subterranean maze, the setting sun’s ruddy light streamed across a hilly landscape of red-tile roofs, the scattered farm houses and fields of complacent cattle concealing a horror of which their inhabitants are blissfully ignorant.”


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