Monday, November 26, 2012


by Sean Manseau

People said it was a freak storm, lightning that raked from earth to sky. People said a missile test from White Sands had lost its way and crashed in the pine forest to unleash government-funded hell. People said the mountains gave birth to a daytime star that flared until the old Sol dimmed and shadows were cast to every degree of the compass.

For Shepherd it was a series of disconnected images: June’s eyes erased by a blaze of light, particles of One Man Army’s flesh fleeing his bones like sand driven before a windstorm, a blue van mired in melting tar, Behemoth imploding as gravity increased a thousand-fold in a space defined by his mass.

Shepherd was two atoms become one, he was the sun; he was a god in flight and the apotheosis of power. He was Hyperion.

Six months later, Shepherd and Nicholas sat on the rear deck, watching Sierra Blanca change from white to gold to purple in the setting sunlight.  Summer on the cusp of fall, the pine forest drowsing in afternoon heat, and fireflies that danced through the darkening trees. Shepherd with his left hand sunk in the melting ice of a beer cooler.

In the kitchen, behind the double glass doors, a Joni Mitchell song was playing on the radio. One of June’s friends had played “A Case of You” on the autoharp at the memorial service. After the insurance agent settled on “Act of God-Lightning Strike” the cabin had been rebuilt, even lovelier than before, though the bearskin rug and the player piano and June’s books were all forever lost.

He couldn’t stop seeing her eyes, the way they’d glowed as they’d reflected his transformation, the way they’d burned when he couldn’t control what he’d unleashed. He drank and drank and drank but couldn’t stop seeing. Or forget that he knew the vector of his fate.

After a while, something about the muffled music, the failing light, and the way the moon hung low over the mountain made Shepherd pose the questions that had pressed his heart for so long.

He spoke quietly, without looking away from the view. “What if I just took you back to Rt. 54 and dropped you off where I found you?”

Nicholas sighed. “You could…but you probably shouldn’t. Dr. Cosmos was right; the universe doesn’t play games. You’d live, but it’d probably hurt.”

“Who are you, Nicholas?” Reaching for another beer. Shepherd’s heart was breaking, again. He was Hyperion. He'd been handed the reins to the chariot of the sun. He couldn't deny there was glory in it...but even more horror. He wished that burst of light that had taken June and the house and half the mountain had taken him as well. “And why me?”

Nicholas didn’t answer at first. He sipped lemonade until he was sucking air through the straw. Then he put the glass down, picked up a grocery bag stashed under his chair, and set it in his lap. He said, “Because that’s your fate, Shep. And I’m fate’s tool. Please don’t be angry with me. I’m no more to blame than the hammer that drives the nail.”

After a while Shepherd said, “Did you do what they say you did?” Somehow this hurt the most. “Did you…what did he say? Mentally dominate me?”

“There have been times when I may have...encouraged look the other way. When I was setting things up. But in the future? Never, Shep. Everything you do, you do out of love.”

Shepherd swigged from his can of Schlitz and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Then his eyes. His voice was ragged. “That might be easier if I could forget what hasn’t happened yet.”

Nicholas nodded. “I know. That's why I made this.”

He reached into the bag for his latest creation, the top hat that would someday belong to Dr. Cosmos. When he put it on his head, the hat slid down to his ears, so he had to tilt it back to see. He held out his hand.

“Are you ready?”

Shepherd nodded. He closed his eyes.

…and entered into the dream of the rest of his life.



  1. Have you ever thought of adding your stories (preferably short but you can add novel-type stories too) to If you have never seen the site, please check it out!

  2. NyNy no I haven't, thanks for the tip I'll be sure to check that out. Thanks for commenting.


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Phoenix has enjoyed writing since he
was a little kid. He finds much import-
ance and truth in creative expression.
Phoenix has written over sixty books,
and has published everything from
novels, to poetry and philosophy.
He hopes to inspire people with his
writing and to ask difficult questions
about our world and the universe.
Phoenix lives in Salt Lake City, Utah,
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Adam Bolivar's

Adam Bolivar's

Adam Bolivar's

Adam Bolivar is an expatriate Bostonian
who has lived in New Orleans and Berkeley,
and currently resides in Portland, Oregon
with his beloved wife and fluffy gray cat
Dahlia. Adam wears round, antique glasses
and has a fondness for hats. His greatest
inspirations include H.P. Lovecraft,
Jack tales and coffee. He has been
a Romantic poet for as long as any-
one can remember, specializing in
the composition of spectral balladry,
utilizing to great effect a traditional
poetic form that taps into the haunted
undercurrents of folklore seldom found
in other forms of writing.
His poetry has appeared on the pages
of such publications as SPECTRAL
CTHULHU, and a poem of his,
"The Rime of the Eldritch Mariner,"
won the Rhysling Award for long-form
poetry. His collection of weird balladry
and Jack tales, THE LAY OF OLD HEX,
was published by Hippocampus Press in 2017.

David Agranoff's

David Agranoff's

David Agranoff is the author of the
following books: Ring of Fire (Eraserhead
Press, 2018), Flesh Trade (co-written
w/Edward Morris; published by Create-
Space, 2017), Punk Rock Ghost Story
(Deadite Press, 2016), Amazing Punk
Stories (Eraserhead Press, 2016),
Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich (Eraserhead
Press, 2014), Hunting the Moon Tribe
(Eraserhead Press, 2011), The Vegan
Revolution...with Zombies (Eraserhead
Press, 2010), and Screams from a Dying
World (Afterbirth Books, 2009).
David is a hardcore vegan and tireless
environmentalist. His contributions to
the punk horror scene and the planet in
general have already established him
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David is a busy man, usually at work
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a world teetering over the edge of
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Sanford Meschkow's

Sanford Meschkow is a retired former
NYer who married a Philly suburban
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lished in a 1970s issue of AMAZING.
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Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking currently
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Arizona where he enjoys campy horror
movies within the comfort of an Insane
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stories at The Intestinal Fortitude in
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The Memory Sector is his first
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Owen R. Powell's

Little is known of the mysterious
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Edward Morris's

Edward Morris is a 2011 nominee for
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also been nominated for the 2009
Rhysling Award and the 2005 British
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His short stories have been published
over a hundred and twenty times in
four languages, most recently at
PerhihelionSF, the Red Penny Papers'
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Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. He lives
and works in Portland as a writer,
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the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

Gene Stewart
(writing as Art Wester)

Gene Stewart's

Gene Stewart is a writer and artist.
He currently lives in the Midwest
American Wilderness where he is
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the dark by casting a little light into
the shadows. Follow this link to his
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Daniel José Older's

Daniel José Older's

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a teaching artist & an antiracist/antisexist
organizer to weave fast-moving, emotionally
engaging plots that speak whispers and
shouts about power and privilege in
modern day New York City. His work
has appeared in the Freezine of Fantasy
and Science Fiction, The ShadowCast
Audio Anthology, The Tide Pool, and
the collection Sunshine/Noir, and is
featured in Sheree Renee Thomas'
Black Pot Mojo Reading Series in Harlem.
When he's not writing, teaching or
riding around in an ambulance,
Daniel can be found performing with
his Brooklyn-based soul quartet
Ghost Star. His blog about the
ridiculous and disturbing world
of EMS can be found here.

Paul Stuart's

Paul Stuart is the author of numerous
biographical blurbs written in the third
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appears in The Vault of Punk Horror and
His non-fiction financial pieces can be found
in a shiny, west-coast magazine that features
pictures of expensive homes, as well as images
of women in casual poses and their accessories.
Consider writing him at,
if you'd like some thing from his garage. In fall
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Pre-Calculus -With Zombies.

Rain Grave's

Rain Graves is an award winning
author of horror, science fiction and
poetry. She is best known for the 2002
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(along with Mark McLaughlin and
David Niall Wilson). Her most
recent book, Barfodder: Poetry
Written in Dark Bars and Questionable
Cafes, has been hailed by Publisher's
Weekly as "Bukowski meets Lovecraft..."
in January of 2009. She lives and
writes in San Francisco, performing
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Icy Sedgwick's

Icy Sedgwick is part writer and part
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but dreams of the Old West. Her current
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armed to the teeth

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not enough, and left for art school. He was
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Shae Sveniker's

Shae is a poet/artist/student and former
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Nigel Strange's

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