Friday, February 25, 2011

Winter 2011's Letter from the Editors

I write because I love it. There’s no other reason. Yes, literary fame and glory would be amazing beyond my wildest dreams, but it’s not the end goal. I write for me. For my benefit.

I don’t have an explanation, either. Many people seem to expect one, but to me, it’s like asking someone why they breathe or why they wear a coat outside in a snow storm. It’s just the natural thing to do.

And I can see why some people don’t understand. Writing is hard. It’s hard to form a cohesive idea, it’s hard to get motivated and start writing (like this editoral), and it’s hard to continue and finish to the end. Writing is messy. Ideas don’t often come in chronological order. And most of all, writing is risky. It’s nerve-racking to put so much of yourself in one project that might fail and be the subject of ridicule for all to mock.

But, as Philip Pullman wrote, “What is worth having is worth working for.” Writing is exhilarating. There’s nothing more thrilling than saying, “Fuck it,” tossing all your fears and doubts out the window, and just facing your words and ideas. Nothing is better than just telling yourself, “That’s what revision is for,” and just watching one sentence become a paragraph, a paragraph become a page, and a page become a story. That’s what writing is all about.

Writing is my own private thrill. It’s my passion and my pain.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tainted Tea Winter 2011 is available now on

Support independent publishing: Buy this multimedia on Lulu.

For a complete list of contents and a free preview, visit the Web site.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Cat Nip" by Len Kuntz

I didn’t know how the cat got in. You weren’t allowed to have pets in our building, and I certainly didn’t own one. I hated animals.

When I opened up the shower curtain, the thing bristled and hissed at me. It had pus-colored eyes and smelled like sewage. When I told it to get the hell out of there, it leapt up and ripped its claws across my cheek. Bloody paw prints were all I saw once my eyes stopped burning.

Returning from work that night, I heard chaotic bumping and shuffling noises in 42B. I might have suspected wild romance, but my neighbor was Mrs. Kindling, seventy-seven and sluggish. When I knocked, all the motion inside ceased. I put my ear to the door. I thought I smelled sewage. I thought I heard mewling, then a ripping noise.

There was a work party the next night. I drank too much, flirted with the boss’s wife. Decided to walk it off. Took an alley I shouldn’t have.

Six dozen of the creatures were waiting. They flew at me like bats. I saw a blizzard of fur, felt their swipes like razors.

The cops who came to the hospital didn’t believe my story. They said I was suffering from shock, trauma.

The press dubbed my assailant The Slasher. On the news I saw a reporter describe my attacker. Then she showed a “disturbing and graphic” picture of my face, covered with row upon row of stitches.

Coming home, I noticed cat fur coating the carpet like cottonwood fluff. I stopped at Mrs. Kindling’s door. Knocked. Nothing.

When I wrapped on the Superintendent’s door, he buzzed me in and the hinges sent the door swinging open.

It was dark. I stepped on something meaty and wet. I bumped into a chair. I called, “Mr. Andoni?”

The door slammed shut. The light flicked on.

A huge calico, wearing an eye patch and chomping on a stubby cigar, sat across the desk.

“What the hell?” I said. “Where’s Andoni?”

The cat burped up sandalwood and licorice notes—Andoni’s cologne! “You killed him? Ate him?”

The cat raised his paw, curled a claw. He wanted me to sit.

When I did, he flipped his lap top toward me. On the screen were four separate stories—Cleveland, Seattle, Memphis, Bismarck—about a certain Slasher on the loose.

“You gave us the idea,” the calico said.

“So, you’re, you’re attacking innocent humans?”

“You should try subsisting on rodents and Kibbles your whole life.”

“This is insane.”

I sprang out of the chair, but a posse of black felines had my passage blocked. Seated on their haunches, fangs bared, most foamy-mouthed, they looked a demonic crew.

“You can’t do this.”



“Say the secret password, and we’ll let you go.”

“Secret password? I don’t know.”

“Tough luck then.”

“Wait! How, how about abracadabra?”


“Open sesame?”



The cat chortled, motioned his men forward and said, “I like mine a little on the rare side.”

About Len Kuntz:
Len Kuntz lives on a lake in rural Washington State. His writing appears widely in print and online at such places as The Ramshackle Review, Blue Print Review, Troubadour 21, and also at

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fall TV Lineup: ABC's detective drama, "Poe"

Illustration by Byam Shaw, Source: Wikipedia

Despite his lack of leading-man potential (and the fact that he wasn’t a detective), it still seems fitting that Edgar Allan Poe, whose early mystery stories were the foundation for future detectives in literature, will be getting his own detective drama on ABC this fall.

According to,

Human Target executive producer Brad Kern has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner on ABC’s drama pilot Poe. The crime procedural, from writer-exec producer Chris Hollier, Warner Bros. TV and Dan Lin's Lin Pictures, follows Edgar Allan Poe, the world's very first detective, as he uses unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries in 1840s Boston. Kern previously served as showrunner on the WB’s Charmed.

It’s reported that Alex Graves will direct the pilot.

Known prominently for his Gothic tales of terror and revenge, Poe was the author of several detective stories that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said were “a root from which a whole literature has developed...Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?”

Read “The Murder's in Rue Morgue” here.

Later this year, John Cusak will star as Poe in the James McTeigue-directed film, The Raven. The movie is a fictionalized account of Poe’s mysterious last days—spent, as speculated by some, following a serial killer inspired by his horror stories.

Cusack as "Father of the Macabre," Edgar Allan Poe, in the upcoming psychological thriller The Raven.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Excerpt from "State of Nature" by Eric Victor Neagu

By autumn, when she was well into the third trimester, he had written no more than a hundred pages of his book. His private goal to complete the novel before the baby arrived seemed nearly impossible. He marked the days of her pregnancy to add productive pressure to the writing. Each morning when he began, he notched a strong black stain into a piece of bleached oak he found on the shore. But after a few weeks it just reminded him of how poorly the novel was moving, and he gave this up.

Meredith was uncomfortable with their new arrangement. She thought they had become more like roommates than lovers. It seemed like a good idea to poke her head into the office periodically to ask questions about the book, something Michael hated to discuss. Head poking soon became walking in and sitting down. His best efforts to dissuade her intrusions failed. Offering only monosyllabic responses and a variety of grunts for conversation, still she came.

After her stylistically slight, almost inaudible, knock one afternoon, Michael lost it. “Can you not leave me alone for one day?”

She poked her head in, “I just wanted to know if you were hungry.”

He kept his back to her, squaring his shoulders, “Let’s make a rule. I will come get you when I need something. How about that? Can we make that rule?”

She responded quietly, “I like to see you sometimes, to know you’re there.”

“Where, exactly, the hell else would I be?” His voice was too loud, and he knew it. The door closed. There would be sobbing on the couch that he planned to avoid.

That night he watched the autumn sun fade over the lake, the moon rise, and a bottle of cheap bourbon dwindle to almost nothing. He did not leave the office until morning, when the sun was bright and breakfast ready. Eggs, bacon, and orange juice had been laid on the table alongside a solitary place setting. It was the first night they had not slept together at the cabin. Anticipating an argument, he was surprised when Meredith said nothing and sat quietly in her rocker knitting a child’s blanket.

Michael wanted to thank her for breakfast, but the sound of the rocker built a wall of resentment that he could not climb. Hard wood to soft carpet went the wooden runners of the chair. She sped the back and forth and he ate quicker. The cabin began to feel like a rustic dollhouse. The rocking was faster now and he was nearly done with breakfast. The food helped sobriety to catch up to him. If only, he thought, I can get through the book. Everything will be normal if I can get through the book.

Stuck in thought, he did not notice the rocking stop until he heard a great gasp and thud from across the room.Meredith fell to the floor, writhing like a dying snake. She grabbed at her neck with one hand and her belly with the other.

“Hey,” he said loudly, “You alright?”

When she said nothing, he ran to her and lifted her head to stop it from bouncing against the floor. Her face was gaunt and her limbs were fragile and sinuous. A too small tank top showed off three-dimensional stretch marks and a navel that reminded him of a small fleshy rocket ship leaving the launch pad. He could see movement in her massive belly, and he noticed a black and blue Rorschach bruise around her rocket ship. He stroked her hair with helpless violence waiting for it all to stop. The writhing became periodic twitches, and the twitches became deep heavy breaths.

When she could breathe and her eyes found focus, her voice quivered a weak sentence, “I was thinking, and,” she paused to breathe, “It choked me.”

“What did?” asked Michael.

Her face screwed into a conflicted knot, and she corrected herself, “Nothing, never mind.”

“We should go to a hospital. I’ll get your coat.”

“No, no hospital.” She smiled at the visible motions in her belly and said, “It’s two hours away, by then I’ll be fine.”

Michael tried to protest, “It might be a seizure or something…”

She grabbed him tightly by the wrist, “I said no hospitals.”

To read "State of Nature" in its entirety, download Tainted Tea Winter 2011.

Support independent publishing: Buy this multimedia on Lulu.

About Eric Victor Neagu:

Eric Victor Neagu lives, writes, and works as a sustainability consultant in Chicago. His undergraduate degree is from Purdue University in civil engineering, which he uses to redevelop former industrial areas. Eric also has a graduate degree from The University of Chicago, which he mostly uses to give driving directions to Barack Obama's house when people ask. Other work can be found in Simon Magazine, The National Ledger, Bartleby Snopes, Bewildering Stories, Everyday Fiction, The Write Place at the Write Time, A Long Story Short, The Camroc Press Review, and Hackwriters.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"The Icicle" by Rick McQuiston

Grace stared at the crystal-clear spike of ice. It dangled precariously outside of her bedroom window, hanging down from a loose gutter her dad had meant to fix but never got around to. It was the biggest icicle she’d ever seen; twice the size of the one Jenny and Alyssa had knocked down the previous year on their way home from school. She still remembered how the ice snapped loose from the tree branch with just the slightest nudge. She had watched it crash to the sidewalk and shatter into a thousand jagged pieces.

That icicle was big, at least a foot and a half long, but this one, eroded down to an unusually sharp point at its tip, was bigger, maybe two or even three feet.

Grace crawled out of bed to get a better view of the icy formation outside her window. She studied it through the glass, noting how her reflection in it was slightly distorted: her short black hair was longer, flowing gently around her pale face, and her eyes had a bluish tint to them, unlike the dark hazel that they normally were. There was also a feral beauty in her face, a savage, tangible aspect that she simply had never seen before or thought she could ever possess.

Cringing in fear Grace felt weak and disoriented. She backed away from the window, never taking her eyes off the icicle. It had grown a little from when she had first noticed it earlier, undoubtedly due to the trickles of water streaming down from its base and refreezing. With a troubled mind she fell back into her bed.

The moonlight lit the room amply, casting a looming shadow of the icicle across Grace. She felt violated by it somehow, as if it were leaking into her bedroom, trying to gain access to her private domain. But she wouldn’t let it in. She was a closed door, her strength untested but definite.

Eventually sleep crept into her body, overtaking her in its calm embrace. She drifted into past realms that she cherished: birthday parties; playing in her sandbox; the first crush she had on a boy; her first kiss. The memories all danced around in her head like children vying for the attention of an adult.

And then she slept.

"Icicles," Photo by J. Toogood
Grace rolled over and moved her pink satin pillow out of the way. She focused her groggy eyes on the alarm clock. 7:24 a.m. stared back at her. With lazy effort she slid out of bed and planted her bare feet on the floor. Instantly a chill swept over her body. She glanced over to the window, as if somehow trying to attach the cool draft to the large icicle that had been there since the night before.

And it was still there, only bigger. Its streamlined shape was much more pronounced, the tip hanging a full three and a half feet below its base.

And it was sharp. Very sharp.

Grace watched it, again noting how her reflection was distorted slightly. But although it was she still appeared beautiful. Her face was smooth (a complexion fitting of a professional model), and her hair was full and glossy. She stepped closer to the glass, marveling at her newfound looks. Another draft of cold air blew past her. It caused her to shiver in her pajamas.

And then the thought drifted into her mind as if someone had planted it there, allowing it to take root and spread out, urging to her listen.

Why not go outside and get some fresh air? Just think how pretty you’ll look in the icicle’s reflection up close. You’ll be more beautiful than anyone else.

Yeah, maybe she would go outside. It would be really nice to see how she’d look in the icicle up close.

Slipping on some clothes Grace ventured out of her bedroom. Behind her, hanging above her desk, the pages of her puppy and kitten calendar fluttered when the air-conditioning kicked back on. All of the days for July were crossed off up to the 22nd, the previous day. But Grace didn’t notice as she walked past her desk. The only thing she was concerned with was reaching the icicle. She was helpless to resist it.

And outside the bedroom window the icicle shuttered with excitement. The tiny arteries inside it pulsed with blood, pumping it from its base to its tip. It leaned forward slightly, tapping the glass, causing a thin crack in the pane.

The icicle then bent back to its original position and waited for Grace.

"Mother Sewing" from the Winter 2011 Issue of Tainted Tea

Pencil, Shane R. Toogood, Feb. 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Excerpt from "Barista" by David Massengill

“I think I’m having some kind of an allergic reaction,” Trent said. His eyes were round and panicked. “My neck started itching in my office, while I was drinking my Americano, and then things got worse. The bleeding only stopped a moment ago.”

Paul eyed the bumps on Trent’s neck. Most had a white, pus-like spot in their centers.

Trent returned to dousing himself with water. His hand was shaking.

“I felt like someone was stabbing me all around my neck,” he said. “As if they were trying to take my head right off.”

Paul saw his own eyes widen in the mirror. He thought of Cynthia taking a fork to her figure, and her words: “There are so many bastards.”


Paul avoided looking into Expresso as he headed toward the tower’s exit. He was nervous about making eye contact with Cynthia. He relaxed as he pushed on the revolving door, but the sight outside caused him to tense up again.

Cynthia stood smoking by one of the thin, leafless birch trees that lined the sidewalk. She held a large violet purse covered in stitch lines that made the bag look as if it had been wounded. Paul wondered if the effigy of Trent was in that bag.

Cynthia grinned at Paul. “I was hoping I’d catch you on your way out,” she said.

“I’m sorry,” Paul said, not pausing. “I really can’t talk. I’ve got to get to the dry cleaners before they close.”

Cynthia walked beside him. “I just wanted to thank you for talking to me in the alley today,” she said. “I appreciate your empathy.”

“I don’t know if I’m so empathetic anymore after I saw Trent suffering like that,” Paul said.

Cynthia was quiet as they neared an intersection. Paul interpreted the silence to be evidence of her guilt.

“What are you saying I did?” Cynthia asked in a cautious voice.

Paul stopped on a corner, and he and Cynthia became obstacles for throngs of 5 o’clock commuters.

“I don’t know exactly what you did,” Paul said. “I do know something terrible happened to Trent this morning, and I think it was your sculpture that made it happen.”

Cynthia glanced down at the sidewalk, as if she were considering something, and then her eyes met Paul’s again. Her eyes brightened. “You really think my art has that kind of power?” she asked.

To read "Barista" in its entirety, download Tainted Tea Winter 2011.

Support independent publishing: Buy this multimedia on Lulu.

About David Massengill:

David Massengill’s short stories and works of flash fiction have appeared in various literary journals, including Word Riot, 3 A.M. Magazine, Eclectica Magazine, Flashes in the Dark, and MicroHorror, among others. To read more of his work, visit

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Winter 2011 Now Available

Tainted Tea Winter 2011 explores the horror in ordinary situations: a young couple expecting their first child, a wealthy man jumps the gun, a barista deals with nasty customers, a mother who loves her son too much, a child's party, and a rabbi's unexpected appointment.

This issue features stories by Eric Victor Neagu, James G. Piatt, David Massengill, Richard Godwin, Marshall Moore, and Sharon Goldner. With art and photography by Kristina Gehrmann, Kris Fossett, Tim Yockey, and CAT. Tainted Tea is a quarterly ezine that publishes dark fiction, poetry, and art.

For a free preview and more information, go to the Web site.

Support independent publishing: Buy this multimedia on Lulu.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Excerpt of "The Eleven O'Clock" by Sharon Goldner

The Rabbi looks at the picture and pushes it back in the eleven o’clock’s direction. “You are a bright young lady. With all of this enthusiasm and spark, you should consider finding a cure for a disease along with a nice husband and lots of grandkids for your parents.”

She points to her proof. “This is a photograph of Paul Bunyan’s foreskin, Rabbi. Naturally, the entire thing is colossal so this is only a partial picture of the fossilized foreskin. Carbon dating. Lab analysis. We’re right on target with this.”

Though his Judaic studies were much more intensive than those secular in nature, the Rabbi knows this: “Miss, Paul Bunyan is legend. He was never real.”

The eleven o’clock was hoping the Rabbi wouldn’t be like everyone else. “Okay. Well then. How do you explain the foreskin, Rabbi? I mean, it’s huge. DNA testing proves that it’s from Paul Bunyan, and the only men to routinely get circumcised back then were the Jews. Christian settlers and colonists did not; they kept themselves in one piece. Come on, Rabbi. Just think—when word gets out to the media and the public that Paul Bunyan’s foreskin has been discovered, it’ll shed a whole new light on Judaism. I see an exhibit, Rabbi. A traveling museum all across this country: Paul Bunyan: The Myth, The Man, The Frontier Member.

“People will look at the Jews differently. Everyone loves Paul Bunyan, so everyone will love the Jews. Articles. Hollywood will be scrambling for movie rights. Some of the biggest box office names will want to play Paul Bunyan, Jew with an ax. Oiy vey, right? Who knew? Broadway could turn this into one heck of a musical. And then Hollywood would turn the Broadway musical into a movie version of the musical. Paul Bunyan will do for Judaism what Jesus Christ did for Christianity. Oh gosh, I’m sorry. Am I allowed to say ‘Jesus Christ’ in front of you?” The eleven o’clock is flush with her own fervor.

The Rabbi is gentle. “The Jews do not need a PR campaign. We’ve existed thousands of years without one. We have our heroes: Moses, Judah Macabee, King David...but Paul Bunyan? He’s not mentioned in the Bible.”

The eleven o’clock tells the Rabbi that had the biblical writers continued writing, Paul Bunyan surely would have been mentioned. “One day they’re chronicling events, the next day, nobody’s writing anything anymore. I mean really, what’s up with that?”

The Rabbi shakes his head.

The eleven o’clock looks away from the Rabbi. The foreskin picture looks blurrier as her eyes fill. She has all her years of education, study, and devotion. She probably hasn’t had a home cooked meal in years. No date since forever because what boyfriend wouldn’t feel threatened by a woman immersed in her academic life? And well, the foreskin is just so damn huge.

She grabs her stacks. She grabs her briefcase. “I’ve been to all of the other synagogues in the state. I’ve written letters to synagogues all over the country. They all said they’re not interested. You were the last one. I almost didn’t know you were here. My friend, she’s working on Alice’s Wonderland. They think it was an ancient city…on another planet! I mean if they can find water on Mars...Anyway, she got lost driving and passed by your poor little synagogue. ‘This is the one,’ she said to me. ‘This one will believe.’ You have to believe, Rabbi. And I’m not leaving until you do.”

The Rabbi says, “I walk home for lunch every day, young lady. Shainamaidel leaves to count her children. You’re going to have to go. Her husband is a rabbi and a urologist. I’ll have her mention this to him. Perhaps you can switch your sights to the medical community, and they can use your work in a prostate commercial. Doesn’t that sound nice?”

The eleven o’clock undoes her hair. It falls from the bun on the back of her head like streamers down her shoulders. She shakes it out, feeling it the way it is meant to be felt. “A prostate commercial? Why do you insult me, Rabbi? I need for you to believe. I need you to embrace Paul Bunyan as a Jew.”

The Rabbi apologizes. He cannot.

The eleven o’clock braces herself against his door. “Well, then. I’m not leaving until you do. I put too much into this to get a final rejection. There’s no one left. There’s only you.”

Read "The Eleven O'Clock" in its entirety in the Winter 2011 Issue of Tainted Tea.

About Sharon Goldner:

Sharon Goldner is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Her short stories have been published in literary journals across the country & in England, and her plays have been produced. She resides in Baltimore, MD where she lives out her life's lunacy, sometimes days at a time. No letters were harmed in her manipulations of the alphabet.

Support independent publishing: Buy this multimedia on Lulu.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

From Winter 2011

"Smile" by Kris Fossett and Tim Yockey

Tainted Tea's Winter 2011 issue will be available for download later this week. Winter 2011 also includes three paintings from Kristina Gehrmann.

View the complete list of contents here.

Support independent publishing: Buy this multimedia on Lulu.

Kickass Trailers: "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark"

A young girl sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend discovers creatures in her new home who want to claim her as one of their own.

For more information, visit the official Web site here.

Source of synopsis

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bringing Home Horror by Derek Hayes

It was a dark and stormy night. No, no it wasn’t, but that’s okay. A great horror story doesn’t need to start in the dark, or in the middle of a thunderstorm, and to be honest it doesn’t even have to occur at night. Contrast is what makes the horror genre so interesting, and appealing. Sure, good and evil exist in various states across literary lines, but nowhere else is the line so diverse, polarized, and/or gray. This is not to say other genres cannot share in this eternal struggle, but they may have binds with the antagonist being a young boy who commands the death of those around him, a la The Omen.

But how do we spot these intricacies in real life and get them onto the page? What moments take our hands and close them around the electric fence of terror? They’re easier to spot than you may think. So much of a writer’s life is spent as an active observer, it is of the utmost importance to keep our eyes and ears open, and our damned mouths shut.

You see a man on a train, brown eyes glazed, newspaper propped on one bent knee. He’s there in the morning when you board, and he’s sitting in the same seat when you get out of work nine hours later. Normally, you’d pay no mind. There are hundreds of people on the train everyday, but look a little closer; stretch your memory banks to the day before, the week before, and if you were paying enough attention you’d notice that the newspaper in the man’s wrinkled hands has a headline declaring “Crazy Train: Man Dead for Days Without Notice.” The picture below the heading details the same scene viewed from your eyes. A man on a train, brown eyes glazed, newspaper propped on one bent knee.

The above story is a fictional representation of why it’s important for writers to pay attention and notice details that others would surely overlook. The next fragment is autobiographical, but pertains to what we can do with our imaginations to turn simple coincidence into something strange.

For an entire summer, there was a young girl, probably twelve or thirteen, who would ride her bike around the shop where I worked. Cindy was a gangly creature. All legs, arms, and a head of hair beauticians would deem ‘frazzled’. She was a sweet girl, waving to me every morning that I drove in the parking lot. Nice as she was, after awhile, she became a little too nice. On multiple occasions she had tried to hug me and my co-workers, which we dismissed as politely as possible. This minor inconvenience turned into something worse rather quickly, as she rode her bike into the building and narrowly escaped being swatted like a bug by a thousand pounds of hard steel.

Cindy was barred from the premises; a liability for sure. I’d still see her riding her bike in the middle of the road from time to time, and on a Friday late in July, she cornered me in the parking lot as I walked toward my truck. She said hello and I smiled, opening the silver door of my pick-up, hoping she would understand that I was on my way out. No such luck. She pounced between the opening and put both arms around my neck. I kept my hands planted on the steering wheel in shock. She loosened her grip, backed up just enough to kiss me on the cheek, and said, “Be careful.” She giggled and closed the door to my truck. By the time I finished making sure no one had seen what may have been mistaken for some perverted activity, Cindy was gone.

I made it about a hundred yards before I saw the first car accident. It was only another mile before number two. By the time I reached my house, twenty-five miles and two hours later, I had witnessed six accidents. Ambulances, police cruisers, fire trucks; black bags, white sheets, red and blue flashing lights filled my sight, but all I could think about was Cindy and her cryptic message. How many others had she told? Better yet, how many others did she tell something different? Was her presence akin to the “Kiss of Death” or just the opposite? The answer to these questions is what drives me to write, and the instances that provoke them are what makes writing horror so rewarding.

About Derek Hayes:

Derek Hayes is a graduate from Goddard College’s BFA in Creative Writing program. He can be reached at or at his Web site

Photos courtesy of the World Wide Web

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Dirty One: Part 2 by Jana Gifford

Editors' Note: This is the second part of "The Dirty One." If you missed Part 1 , click here.

Two days later they told me that my husband, Fred, also did not exist. That’s when I rose up out of my bed and lost it. I yanked an IV needle out of my arm, hearing it rip my skin, and sank the long silver thing into Dr. Madison’s left temple. He had white hair and grey whiskers from an incomplete aging process.
 But I let him know, standing there, screaming on my bed, how I thought a child must have felt after being left outside in the yard too long, then pouring himself down a forgotten, bottomless well. I was powerless to save him, to save myself, or to save Dr. Madison. Blood trickled around his black-rimmed eyeglasses. I stepped on these glasses and he did not stare at me anymore.
At trial, in the Judge’s oak-built courtroom, attorneys drank water from two little silver pitchers in paper cups and wanted to know why I lived in an abandoned old house, anyway. I told them the truth: my mother raised me in that house, until she and the angry man she slept with left. I couldn’t go with them, so I stayed at the house, eating tomatoes and some peppers out of the garden and playing with sticks until Fred came into my life, into my forest, and we had a child.
 “Faida,” the lawyer said, in sharp black suit, “you are ill.”
Then he went off on a long speech I didn’t understand, so I shut him up by wailing one word: Jason. He looked around. But I didn’t say anything more until they shackled me in a pure white asylum. No dirty leaves were there, no cleaning up after Jason’s bath, no holding Fred’s hand any more. Why was it so clean there?
A gnarled old woman listened to this tale with pity in her watery blue eyes. She reached out a gentle hand to stroke mine during socialization time. “You are the dirty one,” she said. I cried on her shoulder.
Someday I will wash my hands and go find Jason’s body. His presence haunts my dreams, and I know he existed.  The only way to heal the way things truly are is to prove that I have changed myself. When I am released, I will look in the well for him. But for now, Jason does not exist.
About Jana Gifford:
I am on the Dean’s List at Ashford University. During quiet times, I enjoy reading about psychology and mysterious happenings.
Currently, I am crafting a graphic novel called The Involuntary Vow of Silence, which is coming in June from iUniverse. Also, I am collaborating with a film director from The Art Institute in Portland on a certain script. Slake your thirst for perspective at

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tainted Tea Winter 2011

Short Stories
"Barista" by David Massengill
"Foolish Anger" by James G. Piatt
"Mother" by Richard Godwin
"A Balloon Party" by Marshall Moore
"The Eleven O'Clock" by Sharon Goldner
"State of Nature" by Eric Victor Neagu

"Last Man Remaining"
'Taking Home the Bride"
"The Tormented"
All pieces by Kristina Gehrmann

Support independent publishing: Buy this multimedia on Lulu.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Write with passion! Write with love!" ~Ray Bradbury
Related Posts with Thumbnails