Plugs

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Archive for the ‘The Gnome Series’ Category

Changeling

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

The changeling girl held a bazooka out of the window of the house and waited for the leprechaun to try to steal her stash. Leprechauns were the only beings in magical creation too dense to understand that fairy gold wasn’t real, just glamorized bits of leaves and dust, and they spent half their time trying to steal it and then wondering why it disappeared the next day.

Last night the leprechaun had made a dash for her gold Barbie doll. Sharon bit her lip. She’d had it. It might not be a real gold gold Barbie, but it was her gold Barbie and nobody was going to take it away from her. Just let them try.

Her arms hurt from pulling back the string of the sling that she’d glamorized to look like a bazooka. She wondered if the stones would hurt more if she changed it into a missile, but realized that they probably wouldn’t. Her only hope was that the sight would scare the leprechaun off and that he wouldn’t dare come back. Keeping this farce up was too stressful and Sharon had nobody to help her.

Nobody understood her. Life was hard on a changeling fairy trying to fit in among humans. She wondered how her human mother would react if she ever found out, and the bazooka trembled in her hand.

“Mom, Dad, you guys don’t know it, but I’m adopted. Your real child is in fairyland being forced to work for their bread or something.” Didn’t sound right.

Frustration welled inside and she wanted to cry. Why me? She thought. Why my Barbie doll?

“Sharon? Come down to dinner, darling. Now.” The girl hesitated. Nobody cared about her. Why should she even bother going down to dinner? Why should she bother eating? Why not just waste away and leave a pretty corpse? She bit back her tears.

“Honey?” her mother was climbing the stairs. “Honey, I want you downstairs right now. Don’t make me come up and get you.”

The changeling dropped the bazooka, grabbed the Barbie and hid it under her clothes. Then she put on her best slouch, opened the door and went downstairs to join Humanity

Gnomenapping

Monday, March 26th, 2007

The old garden gnome didn’t know where his captors were taking him. Albert sniffed, hoping to get a telltale whiff that would tell him his relative position to the concrete factory in Bellview, but the cloth sack he was in buffered smells.

Clever.

He guessed it was 00.45. Albert was sure they’d nabbed him around midnight as he slept under Aunt Martha’s shrubs. The memory made him shudder. He was getting old; nobody ever crept up on him when he was younger.

The door opened, and something heavy was dumped to his right. He heard a chink.

“Be careful Rob!,” a female voice whispered. “Nobody’s gonna pay ransom if they’re broken.”

The man grunted and closed the door. Should he try to escape? The girl’s tone had convinced him that he was dealing with lunatics, but the mention of ransom suggested that he might be better off sitting tight. No, who was he kidding? Aunt Martha didn’t have money.

The garden gnome was on his own.

Albert gnawed on the cloth and managed a hole, which he picked apart with his fingers. Then he took the tip of his stiff red cap and used it to enlarge the opening. Soon, he wriggled out.

The van was full of sacks. He touched one and felt the shape of garden gnome inside.

“Don’t worry buddy, I’ll get you out,” he whispered. The other gnome didn’t answer.

“Don’t worry, we’ll find a way to escape. Do you hear me?” Silence. Albert worked fast, worried that his comrade was in shock. He almost lost a molar but he got the knot loose and dragged out the unconscious gnome.

No pulse! He started CPR, took a second to remember that he needed to tilt the guy’s head and did so. He heard a chink.

“Shit!” He started tapping the gnome’s body. The guy sounded hollow.

“He’s dead,” the gnome whimpered, “I’ve administered CPR to a dead gnome.”

He worked frantically on the other sacks and pulled out one lifeless body after another. What kind of sick person stole dead gnomes? And why had they taken him?

Confused and trembling, Albert lined up his companions on the far side of the van. The lock was way too high for him to reach. There was no way out. The bodies standing to attention stared at him silently and chilled him to the bone.

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