Bibliography

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Short Stories

These are my published short stories. A complete list, including reprints and translations, can be found on the Short Stories page.

  1. Deep red (short suspense story): first published in Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, Oct/Nov/Dec 2002 Issue (November, 2002)
  2. Conversation with a mechanical horse (fantasy novelette): first published in the Writers of the Future Anthology, Vol.XX (August 20th, 2004)
  3. Meeting the Sculptor (SF novelette): first published in the Writers of the Future Anthology, Vol.XXI (August 19th, 2005)
  4. Beans and marbles (short SF story): first published in Andromeda Spaceways, Issue 20 (August 31st, 2005)
  5. Diamond sharks (short SF story): first published in Leading Edge, Issue 55 (May, 2008)
  6. Dumb Son (short horror story): first published as podcast on Sniplits (November 18th, 2009)
  7. What happened while Don was watching the game (short fantasy story): first published in Big Pulp, Fall 2011 Issue (March 15th, 2011)
  8. Prisoner of war (short horror story): first published in Space & Time Magazine (March 20th, 2012)
  9. Trick or treat (short horror story): first published in Big Pulp, Fall 2012 issue (September, 2012)
  10. Mashup (short SF story): first published on Daily Science Fiction (January 25th, 2013)
  11. A cold welcome (flash horror story): first published in Penumbra, Paranormal Adventures (October, 2014)
  12. A matter of mass (short SF story): first published in Chinese translation in the SF Comet Contest, 1st place winner in November 2014 as 事关弥撒 (December 10th, 2014)
  13. The Frown (flash fantasy story): first published on Daily Science Fiction (June 20th, 2016)
  14. Frog Soup (flash SF story): first published on Daily Science Fiction (August 2nd, 2016)
  15. Queen of diamonds (SF novelette): first published in The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror, Vol.II, Vol.2 (November 6th, 2016)
  16. De Val van de Eremast (short SF story): first published in Wonderwaan (December 17th, 2016)
  17. Friendly fire (short SF story): first published in Machine of Death Anthology (vol 2), Sold but never published (forthcoming)
  18. Midnight on the Space Station Alcatraz (short SF story): first published in Catalysts, Explorers & Secret Keepers (Museum of Science Fiction) (forthcoming)
  19. Sci Futures: Digital Cohesion Treatments (flash SF story): first published in Sci Futures (forthcoming)

Anthologies

My short stories have also appeared in a number of anthologies.

Deep Red

 

In my dream, for the thousandth time, the house looms over me. Like an out-of-body experience, I see myself move reluctantly toward it. I see my hand reaching for the screen door, hesitating when I notice the dented frame, the torn mesh. I see the muddy footmark next to the doorknob, the shattered doorframe, and I see my upper body jerk as my heart misses a beat. Then, with no sense of how I got there, I am in the kitchen.

Two chairs are toppled over. A shattered milk bottle has made a lake of white and glass under the open refrigerator door; steaming hot water in the sink; soap suds blow in the draft from the open back door. Splashes of red. Deep red. Suddenly, the smell of blood assails me.

In reality, I dialed 911. The dream doesn’t allow for outside help.

Something splashes up above. Running up the stairs, impossibly slow, icily cold, as if wading uphill through four feet of snow. The smell growing stronger. Thick, sweet, metallic. But ever so faintly, like a false note heard in the distance, that perfume.

×
Conversation with a mechanical horse

 

As he got up and grabbed his sheathed sword Tomaz was laughing. He seemed off guard and had his back to me. I jumped off the haystack, one hand around my scabbard, the other on my hilt, unsheathing the blade as I landed. This time, at last, I almost beat Tomaz to the draw. But he wasn’t Swordmaster of the Keep for nothing.

With incredible speed and dexterity, he dodged without looking around, correctly predicting the direction of my attack, and drew his own sword in time to parry my second attack. Locking my blade under his for a second, he looked me in the eyes and grinned.

“Not bad, young Master, not bad at all!”

I flicked my wrist, freeing my blade, and our exercise resumed under Father’s approving eye. After another hour, Tomaz’ greater experience and endurance began to tell. I signaled end-of-training and withdrew to one of the embrasures in the curtain wall to watch Tomaz work with the guard, demonstrating some techniques for fending off multiple attackers at once.

Then the breakpoint came, and nothing was ever the same again.

×
Beans and marbles

 

When Flight Control assigned us utility privileges, I don’t think they expected me to brew espresso in the centrifugal head. But the weight of the espresso machine was well within the parameters they’d set, as was my use of a couple of ounces of fresh water and a fraction of the ship’s power supply each day, so there was nothing, really, they could say or do about it. Privileges are privileges, and if the purpose was to give both of us something to keep us happy, it worked for me. My morning espresso ritual kept me sane. I looked forward to it every day.

Richard, however, wasn’t quite as tolerant as Flight Control.

×
Meeting the Sculptor

 

This is how fast it can happen, I thought randomly in that one timeless, frozen instant. I felt every sensation being imprinted on my memory: the smell of exhaust and garbage and hot dogs, the noises of traffic and shopping, Sarah’s stiff, shocked form squeezed against me, the sunlight blurred by my cheap shades. I wanted to hug Sarah and avert her eyes, or reach out to the tramp and pull him back, or run away. But of course, there was no time, so I just looked on.

The tramp recovered his balance halfway into the first lane. He straightened and turned around, looking at me, but made no move to get back to safety. He just stood there, shouting a foreign word – or maybe an unusual name – at the top of his lungs, cursing. He didn’t move.

And just before the Buick snapped his right leg, threw him into the fragmenting windshield and over the roof until he crashed to the asphalt like an empty suit; seconds before the car behind the Buick bumped over his inert body and stopped; minutes before the paramedics rolled his bleeding body into the ambulance and I dragged Sarah to the back doors and got in to ride with him to the Emergency Room; before the waiting room, and the blood-splattered grave-looking surgeon, and the tears and the closeness and all that followed, the tramp stood in the right lane and looked me in the eyes, and I understood, and I saw that he understood as well.

It was a terrible price to pay.

×
Diamond sharks

 

The giant undulating diamond shape of the manta whale drifted slowly into my field of vision. Its body was shaped like a zeppelin, with two equilateral triangular wings extending to either side that it used to propel itself. Its tail end supported two whale-like flukes that served to steer as far as I could tell, and it had two rows of long low fins on its back that I couldn’t begin to guess the purpose of.

There was some kind of shifting grid pattern etched onto its back, and tiny creatures crawled chaotically along this grid as the manta whale made its slow way against the trench current.

It was only when the manta whale swam under the mating couple I had spotted that I realized the sheer size of the creature. The two whale-sized creatures fitted easily onto the manta whale’s back. Then the manta whale came into proper focus and I recognized the grid pattern. It was one of the giant nets I had seen in the central company cave. The nets were attached to the dorsal fins and provided hand- and footholds for the diamond sharks. But that meant that the tiny creatures I’d seen were fellow diamond sharks.

The beautiful, majestic sea monster I saw floating beneath me was larger than the space ship that had brought me to Oceana.

×
Dumb son

 

Toby walked to where he’d pinned his Big Chart against the wall and slid his new Trophy from his overall. He was right: it was an important piece. He laughed aloud when he saw where it went: it was a thigh! He’d carried a thigh in his thigh! It was a bit smaller than his own thigh though; it didn’t come all the way down to his knee.

Holding the flashlight closer, he could just make out the name on the Big Chart. ‘F-E-M-U-R’ he read, but it wasn’t like any other word he knew, so it would be hard to remember.

As carefully as he could, he put the thigh with the other Trophies, right where it belonged. Stepping back, he shone his flashlight over the whole collection. His favorite part, the skull, was right at his feet.

×
What happened while Don was watching the game

 

Little Donny was on the floor near the fast food pile, wrapped in some kind of blanket, between two of the… Goblins, she admitted to herself. They had to be Goblins. They were facing away from her, and seemed to be in a heated discussion with another Goblin, larger than the rest, wearing more and better clothing, as well as a weird kind of crown.

A faint childhood memory surfaced, of a teenage girl in some movie mumbling, “You’re him, aren’t you? The Goblin King.”

Fury rose in her. Ignoring everything else, she strode towards the three Goblins surrounding her baby. She’d crossed half the distance when the creature she’d dubbed the Goblin King noticed her. He silenced the two others with a gesture. They turned around and watched her approach.

A few feet away, she stopped. Ignoring the other two, she faced the King. Half-remembered ritual words bubbled from her lips.

“Give me the child! Through dangers untold, and hardships unnumbered…”

Startling her, the King spoke. His voice rattled and squeaked.

“Oh, rubbish! Don’t come to me with your movie nonsense!”

×
Prisoner of war

 

Four-year-old Mira was coming towards our house like the wrath of God.

As she came closer it seemed that there was something profoundly wrong with her. Her hands, her bare arms, her clothes were black with dirt. I couldn’t see her eyes, but her brows were set in a tight frown of rage, and rage showed in the tense set of her frame, her strides, her balled fists.

Then my wife slapped her hand over her mouth and gasped through her fingers:

“Ohjesusitsblood.”

And I saw that it was.

Mira stopped at our house, raised her head and looked into our kitchen window. Straight into my eyes. I felt her gaze stab my pupils, my heart, my stomach. I wanted to close my eyes but I couldn’t even blink. For an endless moment, I knew nothing, remembered nothing, had no feelings but a deep visceral desire to kill, maim, destroy. The moment stretched and the feeling churned in my guts. Only the fact that neither of us moved could have told me time stood still, but I had no capacity for such observations.

The kid’s gone evil, I thought, but little kids aren’t evil, and I don’t even believe in evil; she’s just mad at your daughter, you’re crazy to think anything else, get a grip, Sam; but the blood, and that look, and her voice, Sam; something is wrong, Sam, something is wrong with Mira, and rationality be damned, I’m not letting her near my kids, not now, not like that.

×
Trick or treat

 

She stepped in front of the mirror, adjusted her hair, checked around her eyes for wrinkles. Downstairs, the door clicked. She could see her eyes widen and face pale in the mirror.

Shit! She’d forgotten to lock the front door. She stood frozen, her face still inches from the mirror surface, breathing shallowly, listening for more sounds. But she heard nothing for what felt like minutes.

Then something screeched. Downstairs. Jane took an involuntary step back. Her calves hit the toilet seat and she sat down heavily, creating a terrible racket in the silent house. The skin on her back crawled and her shoulders were locked, freezing her posture like a statue of terror.

It was a cat, she told herself, repeating it over and over. It was a cat. Only a puss in heat makes a sound like that. Or a peacock, but there weren’t many of those in the neighborhood, were there? It must have been a cat.

Jane forced herself to stand up, get out of the bathroom, go down the stairs. Halfway down the steps, she could see the front door ajar. There was no movement outside or in. Trying to look in every direction at once, she descended the final steps. When she stepped towards the front door to close it, she saw the object on the threshold.

It was a severed cat’s tail.

×
Mashup

 

“Ex… cuse me?”

David whirled towards the female voice. The girl brandished her Gen4 as if fending off an impending attack. She gave him a hesitant smile.

First he was struck by her eyes, the reddish brown of pine bark, and sparkling with life and intelligence even in their current startled mode. Then he took in her hair, windblown and strawberry. His belly lurched with the sudden realization that she was, in fact, absolutely stunning to his eyes. A second later he also realized that his frustration had almost evaporated, giving ground to a giddy feeling he remembered last feeling in his senior year.

He gave her a quick smile that felt all too goofy on his face.

“Can I help you?” he said, and mentally slapped his forehead. Lame!

Still hesitant, she answered:

“I was wondering… I couldn’t help overhearing…” And then, all in a rush, “If you’re going to Orakl, I’d like to come with.”

He blinked, not just at a loss for words, but apparently without language at all. Kicking himself in the ankle, he got his tongue back into gear, but when he opened his mouth he wasn’t sure what would come out.

“Yeah. Er, sure. Why not?” And, after some thought, “How come?”

She brandished her Gen4 again. She was still holding his eyes with hers, and it felt like they were in a bubble together, that not so much excluded as was created by the noises and scurrying around them.

×
Deep red

×
Beans and marbles
×
Dumb son (sample)
×
A Cold Welcome

 

There is a great rent in the plaster where her portrait hung. You hurl denials at the ceiling while I smile at your defiance. Suddenly becalmed, riddled with tears, you take in the ruin of the parlor, where she held pride of place. You sink to your knees and gather the fragments of frame to you. The task is hopeless, but you set to it with desperate abandon.

Next, you harvest the myriad shards, arranging them in a mockery of glass pane within the ruins of the frame. With lacerated fingertips, you puzzle the shreds of the portrait together, but your blood smears across the oil paint.

The irony delights me.

“You shouldn’t have bothered with the glass,” I whisper.

Or would have, if I could.

×
A Matter of Mass

 

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been…” Father Zio sighed. “It’s been thirteen years since my last IRL confession.”

Behind the lattice, Bishop Otis shifted in his seat.

“But—” the Bishop said. He paused before continuing: “And how long has it been since your last online confession?”

“A week, Father. But it’s not the same. It’s not.”

“Go on, my son.”

“I have harbored unkind thoughts at times, about members of my flock. I have had lustful thoughts at times.” Father Zio smiled quietly to himself. Mr. Dooley’s dramatic antics of feigned ecstasy at every Mass were enough to bring unkind thoughts to the holiest of minds, never mind his own flawed, rehabilitated soul. As for Mrs. Ocura’s cleavage… Let’s just say some things were worth a couple of Hail-Mary’s.

“Go on, my son.”

The Bishop’s prompt made him realize he was marking time with these minor sins, postponing the inevitable, while he knew exactly what he should be confessing instead. Father Zio believed in confession, needed the cleansing of his soul. But it was unfortunate, to say the least, that Bishop Otis was the one taking it. No matter. No sense delaying any longer.

“I have been prideful. I have defied the wishes of the Holy Church.” There. That would put an end to any doubt Bishop Otis might still have had. “I have defied… you, Father.”

From behind the lattice came the sound of indrawn breath, followed by a long silence. Then:

“How so, my son?”

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