Welcome to the Grotto!
Well, that was fast!
It seems as though summer barely started and now it is nearly over. And what a summer it was! My husband, my son, and I went to the 2017 Writer's Digest Conference in New York City. We learned a lot and maybe made a few new friends along the way. We were also well received by the agents at the Pitch Slam. All three of us were asked to submit queries and/or chapters.
So now we come to the Fall Issue of the Grotto. I am proud to present to you, not one, not two, but three authors making their debut publication right here at Nimue's Grotto. Hannah Smith, with her story "Revelations of Recovery," Matthew D. Smith, with his story, "The Grand Illusion," and Warren T. Smith, with his story, "It's Him," are all appearing here for the first time anywhere. Despite her last name, Hannah is not a relative. She is the youngest author appearing here, and she surely has a long career ahead of her. Warren and Matt, however, are related. Warren is my husband, and Matthew is my son.
I've broken my own rule about not publishing my own stories and have included my story, "Things that go Bump in the Night," a reprint from my collection, Dreams in Transit. I thought it would be fun to have all three of us in the same issue. Some day, we will look back on this fondly.
What do you think of when you think of Fall? I think of crisp, cool weather, fresh apples, and… ghost stories. Halloween is my second favorite holiday (after Christmas of course!) and that’s because we sit around and tell spooky stories, dress up in costume, and generally have fun scaring each other.
Enjoy the stories for this Fall, and remember: If you're a writer, we'd love to see your Fantasy, Science Fiction, or Horror flash fiction. The deadline for the Winter Issue is November 24, 2017. The issue will spear on Monday, December 4th. See the Guidelines for details about what we're looking for.
I didn’t set out to be a ghoul. If you had asked me, I’m not sure I could have told you what a ghoul is. And I’ve never been ghoulish. Not into horror films or Goth kind of stuff.
Revelations of Recovery
The curled, burnt orange leaves crunched underneath Luna’s boots with every step. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest, and speeding up gradually with each breath she took. Her pace began to match her heartbeat, steadily growing faster and faster until she had broken into a run. She could hear her pulse in her ears, as well as her sporadic breaths and her staggering footsteps. And, of course, the leaves - a sound which always used to bring Luna comfort, especially in the days of her early childhood. She vividly remembered walking to school on her first day of kindergarten, the early leaves of autumn crackling beneath her pink light-up sneakers, her father’s strong, warm hand firmly grasped in hers...
Sometimes, I am so stupid. The weather reports told everyone on the Florida coast to evacuate but my New York independent streak said "No, I paid for this and nothing was going to make me abandon this Victorian treasure or my vacation for a little rain."
* Plink * Plink * Plink*
Kevin's gaze pierced the thick darkness in his second story bedroom. The ceiling offered no relief to the persistent leak in the adjoining bath or to his racing mind. Non-mechanically inclined, Kevin silently plotted the offending sinks demise. Little did he know, the sink was plotting his demise as well.
If Walls Could Talk
She ran her hands across the peeling wallpaper. It was vibrant in its day, she was sure. Now it resembled a tattered cloth. As she came to one of the large windows on the enclosed porch, a piece of the wallpaper fell into her hand. She held it there, for just a moment, waiting. She felt it. That shimmer of excitement. She saw the vision of the wallpaper in the room, all fresh and new.
The Grand Illusion
It was Halloween in Oakdale, and things were great. The year was 1978, and there was a huge festival in the city park. There was a small stage set up for all the performers that would be performing that night. Some of the performers there were groups like a new band named Van Halen, the more established Styx, and the coolest man alive, Nick Adams. Everyone was encouraged to come in costume, so I did just that. My costume was my favorite TV character, Mork from “Mork & Mindy.” My girlfriend Angie came with me as Mindy. As we walked around the park, we noticed other types of entertainment all over the place. The strangest one of all was a magician, calling himself Jackson the Great, standing on a little stage.
Margery eyed the half bag of chips and tapped her nails on the table.
The chips ignored her, pretending to read the label on a nearby box of cookies. It spent a little too long at this.
"In a few months, I'll be gone. The cancer is tearing apart the marrow in my bones, soon I'll be hospitalized, then a few weeks later, placed into a coma for my final few weeks..."
Motar the Magnificent
Motar the Magnificent's stubby fingers wrapped deftly around the tool and with calm precision the wheel was removed and then inspected. It was immediately cast aside, thrown roughly over his shoulder. He turned and looked down at it, saw something that only he in his wisdom knew, and then gently picked it back up and reinstalled it. Sitting back he looked approvingly at the cart. As the only Tinker Gnome in the Realm, he was of course the Master Mechanic everyone depended on to keep the Realm running. He was also the Chief Security Officer, shutting down and inspecting the main castle entrances, exits and interior pathways for any vulnerability every night before he retired to his chamber.
Things that go Bump in the Night
“It’s all in my ‘mag’nation,” whispered Wayne.
He pulled the blankets up under his chin. Then he held his breath and listened. Birds twittered their good nights to one another outside his window. Occasionally he heard a car pass by in the street below. Then as he continued to listen, breathing only when absolutely necessary, he heard the quiet sound of breathing. Somebody or something was standing in the corner of the room.