Friday, January 31, 2014

The Aliens Without the Unseen Bites by Matt Vest (Random Title #5)

Caroline raked the comb across her forearm, like a saw, over and over, causing folds of flesh to rise up in “V” shapes.  She once told me that as a teenager she had used a knife, but had taught herself to do it this way instead.  I often noticed this behavior when she had something important on her mind.

I had a feeling she was going to tell me they’d been biting her again.

“They’ve been biting me again,” she said.

“Who?” I pretended.

“The aliens in the ship over Portland!  Who do you think? I was there last night. Owl Spirit led me.”

“Owl Spirit? When was this?”

“After you went to bed, I went to my altar and lit the flame and smudged and put on some Korn and was centering myself. I was just about to invite my guides, when I sensed something. I can’t say how, but I knew it was her. I closed my eyes and invited her into my space. She manifested as a beautiful older woman, in silver robes, wearing this plastic owl-beak and glasses, kind of like the Groucho thing, but one side of the glasses wasn’t glasses. It was an eye-patch, and it said ‘fuck’ on it.”

“It said ‘fuck’?”

“Yes.”  Caroline put down the comb and slid her left hand across my chest, squeezing my right nipple.  She pulled herself up and held her lips just above mine, so I could feel her breath. “Fuck,” she whispered, drawing her knee up to my crotch.

“Fuck?” I asked again, trying to kiss her.  But she held me down, just letting my lips brush against hers, then she pushed off and rolled over to her side of the bed.

“So Owl Spirit reaches out, and I reach out to her, and suddenly I’m having an OBE, floating up above myself, and she’s right next to me, holding my hand, and then we’re flying through the roof and shit, and then we’re out in the moonlight, over the city, just zooming towards this giant invisible ship, only it’s not invisible to me because I’m in my aetheric body.”

“Right. Then what?”

“They fired missiles at us or something, but Owl Spirit is fucking bad ass! We just flip right over one, and then the second one is just like, ‘Ka-fizzz!’ right into our energy shield!  Gone!  And I’m like, ‘What the fuck are we doing?’ And she’s like ‘Fuck these pussies.  We’re boarding this bitch!’  So the next thing I know, I’m onboard. Again. Only this time, I’m all ready to kick asses because Owl Spirit has my back. But once we’re on board, they do some shit that lets aetheric bodies through, but keeps spirit bodies out, so I’m like, ‘Fuck! Owl Spirit is locked out!’ You know?”

“So what happened?”

“What do you think happened? They strapped me onto the table and bit me all the fuck over – again – and then licked up the blood, and the whole time, they were watching some stupid alien soap opera.  Like I was a bowl of popcorn to them! The aliens on the screen were making these honking noises and shaking the blobs on top of their mouths around, which I realized was crying to them, and then other aliens were obviously scheming to get even with other aliens. It was so predictable what was going to happen. I was getting bored with it.”

“That’s awful.”

She threw a pillow at me. “Fuck you, Chucker! You don’t even believe me!”

I hated that she called me that.  My name is Charles Linseed, and I am a professor of Anthropology.  Her professor of Anthropology 203: European Folklore and Folklife, to be exact.

I know, I know.

“I am skeptical,” I said, “let’s just leave it at that. Maybe you fell asleep while meditating, or maybe you just got really deep into visualizing things, and–”

“Bullshit, Chucker! I’m a shaman. I know what the fuck happened. Don’t fucking question me!”

“You’re right, of course. So what’s the plan? How do you intend to remedy this situation?”

“Orgone energy.”

“Oregon energy?”

“No, stupid! Orgone!”

She got up, walked over to my dresser, and pulled two bracelets from a yellow plastic bag. She placed one on her nightstand and handed the other to me. It was made of copper wire, hammered and twisted amateurishly and formed into a central spiral wrapped around a quartz crystal and sealed in a rough rectangle of epoxy resin. I was not impressed.

“Put it on,” she said. “You’re coming with me.”

“I’m coming with you.”  It was a question.  I put on the bracelet.

Apparently she did not recognize the question without a tonal change. “These will shield our aetheric bodies, raise our vibrational level, and protect us from electronic fields and shit like that.”

“It’s a piece of wire in epoxy.”

“And you’re a pile of atoms, dumbass. So what?”

She had a point. Maybe. At any rate, it pleased me to watch her talk.

“Once we’re on board, we’ll have to work fast. We have to stop them from doing what they’re doing.”

“I’m sorry, what exactly are they doing?”

“They’re vampires, stupid! They’re sucking aetheric blood, which is the same as life-force, vital energy, fucking spirit! And not just from me. They’re parked up there sucking energy off of the whole city.”

“So what are we going to do?”

“We’re going to hijack their ship.”

“And then what?”

“We’ll crash it. Shit, I don’t know. We’ll figure it out. But we won’t be hurt in our aetheric bodies.”

“Right. And when are we leaving on this mission?”

“Tonight. I’m yanking your ass out of sleep, because you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. It’s the only way to get you up there.”

I was just about to raise an objection when a brilliant bar of white light extended horizontally across the room, about four feet over the foot of the bed. A profound and completely incongruous sense of calm suddenly came over me. I watched as the bar “unrolled” and a kind of doorway opened in the middle of the room into a white, plastic looking room beyond.  I continued to watch as four beings that looked very much like large wingless, featherless turkeys, with angler-fish mouths and great bulbous, caruncled blobs of flesh flopping from the tops of their heads, scampered through the threshold and onto my bed.

I turned to look at Caroline. She too seemed to regard the new developments with impressive detachment. One of the beings let out a long, loud ululation and another one appeared, bringing with it two smaller, ball-shaped creatures which seemed to be mostly mouth, with what may have been an anus situated prominently in a fold just below the lower lip. They had no apparent eyes and seemed to be made to levitate by their handler, directed about as if on energy leashes.

One of these creatures floated toward me, and then stopped abruptly. The Turkoids had what may have been a discussion. Then it turned and floated back into the alien room. Meanwhile, the other ball alien floated toward Caroline. I watched as it tore savagely into her upper right leg, leaving a wide, jagged wound. These were not unseen, aetheric bites. This was very obviously real.

A part of me was sure that this was a horrifying thing to witness, but that part of me was busy being very calm. Similarly, Caroline’s expression seemed to be more of perplexity than of pain. The beast chewed and swallowed and then moved forward and took another bite, this time out of the right side of her abdomen. It excreted some material through what I was now sure was an anus. Judging by the size of the creature and the size of it’s bites, the feces-as-such must have been a part of Caroline’s leg moments before.  Let it suffice to say that it continued in this manner for several minutes until Caroline was clearly dead. All the while, the Turkoids made a horrible honking sound, wildly flailing their globular head wattles.  In my calm state, the only thing I could think was that Caroline must have been wrong in attributing this behavior to a manifestation of grief.

I don’t know why they spared me.  I can only assume it was the Orgone bracelet.   I still wear it to this day.

On nights like tonight, I will begin to drift off to sleep, and will suddenly become aware of how calm I feel, and my heart will instantly stutter and race, and I will reach for my wrist.  On nights like tonight, I fear the Turkoids will return, and bring the other aliens.  The smaller ones, without the unseen bites.  And I lay awake, fingering my epoxy and copper talisman, and holding firmly in my mind an image of Wilhelm Reich, surrounded by a milky, golden light.


Matt Ves
Matt Vest is the author of numerous unpublished and unfinished short stories, novels and a brief bio about himself written in the third person. He is too worried about sounding like he's bragging or something to tell you the other stuff that might impress you. Oh, and he lives in Asheville, NC, in case you want to stalk him.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Year of the Boyfriend by Allen Taylor (Random Title #4)

Down by Chocolate River the pixie fish searched for humans. They dug their fins in the orange mud and wiggled them, hoping to find the meaty ones.

 "How old are you?" Pryznda asked Jivvryi.

"Fourteen Zhcitharii," Jivvryi said as he picked his teeth and wiggled his fin. "How bout you?"

"I'll be thirteen next fourdy," Pryznda said. "I was born in the year of the boyfriend."

Jivvryi hated the year of the boyfriend. It was a very bad year, the year his father died. But that was the last year of the boyfriend. He figured Pryznda was born the previous year of the boyfriend before that. After asking her, he was reassured that his assumption was correct. Logic even works for pixie fish, and that made him feel self-satisfied.

 "Wanna play?" Pryznda asked, winking.

Jivvryi shrugged. "I guess. I thought we were going to fry some humans."

"We will after we play."

Pryznda took Jivvryi by the fin and dove into Chocolate River. She pulled him down deep into the chocolate and swam to a cavern at the bottom. Jivvryi was apprehensive. He'd never dove into the river before and was certain he wouldn't live long down there. When they entered the mouth of the cavern it suddenly grew very dark. It was so dark Jivvryi couldn't see two inches in front of his pixie fish eyes, so he didn't see when Pryznda took off her skin. When she grabbed his hand and rubbed it over her body he grinned. It felt nice, a lot nicer without the scales.

"Go ahead," Pryznda bubbled through the chocolate. "Feel them."

Jivvryi took his time. He moved his fins slowly over Pryznda's smooth body, slowing down for the parts that were different than his own. He could hear her sensations of pleasure echo off the cavern walls and float through the chocolate. He almost fell over when her fin slid from his tailfin upward toward his head, slowing for the male parts. He liked it but was too nervous to say. Before long, she had his skin removed.

Jivvryi forgot all about the humans. Through the chocolate, he managed to bubble a sensual, "Happy Year of the Boyfriend."


Allen Taylor is the publisher/owner of Garden Gnome Publications and editor of the Garden of Eden anthology, a digital-only anthology of speculative fiction set in the legendary garden. His fiction and poetry have appeared online and in print for more than 20 years.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Eye's Snow by Lee Widener (Random Title #3)

The Eye blazed angrily with fire, parching the land below. People knew from experience to stay inside during The Eye's Fire. Anyone who ventured out during the Fire was swiftly eyeburned, and if they stayed out long enough, even covered in nasty blisters. It was difficult to tell when the Fire would come, seemingly a capricious decision by the Eye to turn fiery, though a class of prognosticators had arisen claiming they could predict when the Eye would shift cycle.

The Fire was the most difficult cycle for the inhabitants of Jaloonga. Rivers dried up in a matter of hours, and even wells went dry if they weren't properly covered. Animals and livestock had to be kept inside or they became dehydrated, and finally desiccated. Anyone venturing outdoors without protective gear suffered the same fate. Villages were filled with tragic cases who had found themselves outside during the shift, only partially covered, winding up with withered, skeletal hands or heads that would never grow hair again.

No one knew why the Eye turned angry when it did, though the subject was constantly debated by many. Priests often claimed to have the answers, but nobody really knew. Fortunately for the inhabitants of Sterinoptiko immediately following the Fire was The Eye's Rain. The Eye would weep nonstop during the Rain, drenching the land with blessed sweet life-giving water. Rivers filled to overflowing and people took the opportunity to rejoice, shedding raiment and dancing under the gaze of the ever watchful Eye.

Every possible vessel had to be filled with the liquid nectar and stored, for one could never survive The Fire without hoarding The Rain. Livestock was herded outside to soak up as much of The Rain as they could. Though the Eye was weeping, all those below were overjoyed for the time of plenty. Crops grew quickly and had to be harvested as soon as possible. Even wood was cut during The Rain, even though it was soaked, because after The Eye's Rain came The Eye's Snow.

When The Eye's gaze turned icy it snowed, covering the land in mountains of white powder. Temperatures dropped radically and once again people stayed indoors, because to stay outside during The Snow was to freeze. It didn't take long in the frigid temperatures of The Eye's Snow. Every cycle a few unlucky souls would be found frozen stiff, unable to find shelter in time. The harsh cycle made it dangerous to travel. To be caught on the road during The Snow or The Fire meant certain death, so inter-village fraternization was rare, though necessary for survival.

So it had been on Jaloonga since the beginning of recorded history. Priests and their followers sought to appease The Eye with rituals and offerings, praying for longer Rain cycles and shorter Fire and Snow cycles, though nobody really knew if it did any good.

One particular cycle The Eye's Snow seemed endless. Temperatures had dropped even lower than usual supplies of fire wood became scarce. Priests performed near constant rituals begging the Eye for respite, even though that meant the coming of The Fire. The Eye stayed blue and icy, immune to the priest's entreaties. People gave up hope. Huddled indoors under as many blankets as they could get, shivering as their fires flickered out, the inhabitants of Jaloonga filled with despair.

One by one people watched each other die, either clinging to each other, shivering under cover, or lost in the murderous snow outside, searching for a scrap of wood to kindle the fire.

That cycle was known as The Terrible Blizzard. It was the longest period of The Eye's Snow ever recorded. Nine tenths of the population died, frozen, like mock statuary. Some villages were abandoned, their few survivors risking the trek to the nearest neighbor during The Fire so that resources could be pooled, and solace sought. Many priests found themselves without followers, both from death and from no longer having faith placed in them. After all, they weren't able to end The Eye's Snow before nearly everyone died.

Jaloonga continued, thrived and repopulated. A fear had taken hold of the land though. What if The Eye's Snow lasted so long again? Or even longer? What if The Eye's Fire lasted that long and everyone died from thirst? No one had an answer, not even the priests, and so some people began to hate the Eye. Instead of respecting the Eye as the bringer of Rain, the source of all life, they saw it as a terrible harbinger of hardship and death.  They saw no purpose in a life lived in the shadow of an entity's whims. They saw no reason to live a productive existence when it could be cut short at any moment, so they spent their time frivolously, filled with debauchery. They even spread their discontent to others and society on Jaloonga teetered on the brink of collapse.

The Eye continued on as it always had, casting its fiery gaze on the land below, or weeping in sadness, or turning an icy stare on everything, unaware of the turmoil below. This went on for many generations until the unrest grew so prevalent people were killing each other over whether they loved or hated the Eye. Entire villages did battle with each other, often resulting in total annihilation.

And so one day it ended. The last two villages wiped each other out, even amidst protests from some who reasoned that killing over a concept was insanity. Was it really a life or death matter whether one believed the Eye was benevolent or malignant? Yes, the others answered, it did, so they cleansed the world of the remaining population.

Above it all the Eye remained, unaware of developments below. It looked down on the land and made Fire if it was angry, or Rain if it was sad, or Snow if it was aloof. The Eye itself had no idea why it felt one thing or another, it just existed. And so it does today, still cycling through its seasons, blissfully unaware of anything but itself.


Stories by Lee Widener have been featured in "Detritus" and "Death to the Brothers Grimm," both from Omnium Gatherum Media. His Lovecraftian novella "Under the Shanghai Tunnels" was published by Dunhams Manor Press, an imprint of Dynatox Ministries. He's working on his first novel and living in constant fear of eviction in Portland, Oregon.

Copryright 2014 Lee Widener

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Missing Edge by G. Arthur Brown (Random Title #2)

A girl sat in a park on a bench made from the rinds of fake plastic skeletons, which children had broken open to get at the gelatinous resin within. Recycle or die, the signs all said, but you can’t really do a lot with those rinds. And that’s why there were all these weird benches in the park.

She wasn’t thinking about the construction of the bench. It was comfortable enough that she could sit in peace and think about Eden. James Eden. He was quite a famous kid actor at the time. She had several of his pinups from the Tiger Beat Bopper magazines that she saved her lunch money to buy. Looking a bit like a skeleton herself after skipping lunch all week, she marveled over his image on the front of the new Kiddie Bat Hopscotch that she’d stolen from a local convenience store by stuffing it down her pants, filling out her mostly hollow pelvic bone.

James Eden has a pretty face, all the signs said. But she didn’t bother reading the signs anymore. She had glossy mags galore. Galores and galores of them. And they were all hers. She’d poked out the eyes of her eight sleeping sisters to be sure of it.

Horror took her when she finally turned to the centerfold. She saw his glistening, knobby preteen feet. She saw his hairless, nubile torso and his squiggly, flaccid pee-wee. She saw his pigeon chest… but she did not see his face. That edge of the page was torn away. Without his face, she realized, he was just a long pink worm, waiting to squirm against another body and shoot out his love tendril to impregnate. He was one of those dirty seed-spreaders that her mother had warned her about, before she’d cut out that filthy mother-tongue.  

“James Eden needs all his edges! I might as well eat lunch!” she said to several passersby, before throwing her magazine in the nearest receptacle and leaving the park forever. If you can’t enjoy a teen mag there, what the hell is the point of the park?

Copyright 2014 G. Arthur Brown
Artwork Remedios Varo

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Random Title Generators, and the Havoc they Can Wreak

Okay, so there are these wonderful inventions called RANDOM STORY TITLE GENERATORS.

Here's one.
Here's another.

I decided to save a bunch of the most interesting titles to use to inspire myself to do flash fiction pieces. It's sort of an old surrealist technique to create stories you didn't know you had in your brain.

Then I thought, "Hey, why don't I have a bunch of OTHER people write flash stories based on these randomly generated titles, and then post them on The Strange Edge?" So that's what I'm doing.

How can you get in on this fun? 

Email me at garthurbrown  at hotmail dot com and I will give you a randomly generated title! You must then write a piece of flash fiction (350 - 1500 words NO EXCEPTIONS). Email it back. If it isn't complete horseshit, I'll publish it! Absurd/surreal/irreal/weird/psychedelic/bizarro/pulp/trash/slipstream/transgressive/alt lit/outsider and related genres preferred. Please, no horseshit. And absolutely nothing where the female pudenda is referred to as "her sex."

Also, include a short bio about yourself. And if you are attractive, perhaps a nude photo of yourself also*.


So that's what will be going on here at the Strange Edge. I'll be posting flash pieces by myself and others that were written based on randomly generated titles. Sounds like fun right? Well, behind the scenes, I'm cooking up something EVEN MORE EXCITING. I can't tell you about it yet, because I don't know who you are. You could be anybody, including Edward Snowden. I'm not about to tell my secrets to a guy like that. But suffice it to say that an even bigger project involving randomly generated titles in now underway.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Weeping Consort by G. Arthur Brown (Random Title #1)

This probably happened in a palace, or a manor, or a chateau. It was certainly the olden times, when the royalty had really opulent crowns, with every kind of precious stone encrusted in the solid gold spikes that surrounded a dome of purple or red velvet.

My father was there, I think, and he kept taking pictures of everyone with one of those old fashioned telephones that you have to crank. The pictures were black and white and grainy. It was the olden days.

When we got to the inner chambers, we saw a man in a pink satin suit, cape draped about him, rapier on his hip, powder in his wig. He leaned his face into his hand and wept. It was very moving, so I tried to be discrete as I sidled up next to him for the snapshot. Father cranked the handle furiously. Perhaps the best photo of me and a nobleman yet.

“I am the queen’s consort,” the man confided in us, though we told him we had no interest in protecting his feelings or his privacy. “She has cast me aside now that she has clockwork cats. Give them a winding, and they chase clockwork mice or they hop up on shelves and break dishes all day long. A real cat breaks fewer things, but these are mechanical engines and the art is in its infancy, though the Turkish men who design them are certainly very skilled. They are now working on a clockwork consort and I feel that I must challenge them to a duel, though I fear they will abscond to a secret place where I cannot track them.”

“That’s a sad tale,” my father said. “Whenever I hear a tale like that, I say so.”

“Yes, I am moved by your weeping, sir, and I would like to say that if you do challenge these artisans to a fight, I would watch and cheer for you,” I told him.

“Thanks, sirs, but it would be unseemly to have a cheering section. It is better that I do this alone.” He departed the hall, still weeping, and we could not help but think we would never see him again.

We never saw him again.

Hotdogs were being prepared in the kitchen, so we went there, seeking to dine on these fine meats. The members of the kitchen staff were engaged in scuttlebutt, thus we overheard that the consort had indeed challenged the Turks. As he battled them, he showed superior skill in fencing, but the Turkish men were of course made of metal, and every blow to their body did no real damage to them.

They then sent a clockwork swordsman after him, which finished him by sticking its blade all the way up his nobody’s-business. The clockwork swordsman was given a special award and married to the queen promptly.

“Sometimes, I am sure that life isn’t worth living,” I said to the sous-chef.

“Tell that to the mechanical consort,” he replied, making sauce.

My father took a picture of what it was like to be there in that magical time. The print is still on display, probably in a museum or a gallery or an installment of some sort. He was not given a major award, nor was he married right away to the queen, and my mother was glad of this. When we got home, we had snacks and remembered our encounter with that weeping consort, as if it were an episode of a cartoon show, though I’m fairly sure the man was actually live-action. That was just how we chose to spend our days at that time.

It was the olden days. 

Copyright 2014 G. Arthur Brown
Artwork Remedios Varo

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bizarro Bizarro Anthology and More! A Brief Update...

Yes, that's right. Here's a great anthology full of bizarro fiction by veterans and newcomers alike, from Bizarro Pulp Press. I've got a story in there called "The Pitfalls of Modern Gardening." It has nice neighbors, including pieces by RA Harris, Jeff Burk, Wol-Vriey, MP Johnson, Alan M. Clark, Bruce Taylor, PA Douglas, Andrew Wayne Adams, Edmund Colell, Daniel W. Gonzales, Gabino Iglesias, Tony Rauch, Dustin Reade, Michael Allen Rose and like a dozen more! It's pretty damn cool. Available in paperback and Kindle versions. BUY IT HERE.

Also in the not too distant future, you can expect my story "The Balancing Act" in the Vertigo Schisms anthology from Surreal Grotesque, and my story "Harbinger Master" in the Axes of Evil heavy metal horror anthology from Chupa Cabra House. Expect lots of other great names included in those anthos as well.