Roxane Gay continues the Zombie Summer dance of undeath, her hand a bass drum on your carotid artery: There Is No "E" in Zombi
If this is not one of the most gorgeous zombie stories you have ever read, you can eat my brains.
I wish Dawn West hadn't included her birthdate in her bio. I am depressed at how young and how fucking good she is: My Mojo Rises While Watching National Geographic.
Very, very short. Very, very good.
The dog eats a slice of an apple, then another, gently taking each one. Out in the yard, a man is slinging a scythe with awkwardness, a giant praying mantis decapitating the rows of young sumac and golden brush. Any moment, the rusted scythe is going to slice his leg, and the red blood of men so far removed from their ancestors as to be a new species altogether will soak into the ground. The sumac will win, and the brush will grow ever closer to the house.
I turn to the refrigerator door, where I’d been carefully arranging magnets of the states to make a new country. Oklahoma falls. The dog sniffs and decides to wait for more apple, but it’s gone. Ever hopeful, the dog thinks that maybe a new apple will appear, or a handful of kibble, or an ice cube from the dispenser. But the dispenser is disabled, and though I can fix a running toilet or a squeak in the floor, I’m not good with electrical things. That dog can stare at the dispenser all it likes, and not a single cube will fall.
The screen door slams shut behind me, but he doesn’t hear. Swish, swish, the scythe should say, but instead, its phonetics are corrupted, the man behind the tongue unused to speaking with it. He is concentrating, sweating, and he doesn’t notice, knee-deep in tick-infested weeds, the dog come running at him, bounding with dog love, glad to see you, glad to see you!
At the last moment, the blighted Cain over his shoulder, poised to strike, he sees the blur of brown, and the entire afternoon is saved. Slowly, he wades out of the overgrowth, dog at his side, scythe at his side, and maybe it’s the late-August heat, but he looks just as rusted as his blade.
When he kisses me, it tastes like sun and a hundred years ago. We’re already losing the battle; the corrosion happening isn’t beneath our feet, it’s us, we’re corroding. Up the stairs to the house – There’s iced tea in the fridge – the flakes fall into dust, and the frame of our existence bends beneath the weight of millennia of natural law. Tomorrow, we’ll be gone. Tonight, we celebrate. And now, I stand on the concrete steps and lift my face to the sun, hoping an ice cube will fall, a sliver of apple into my hungry mouth.
The refrigerator door shuts; glasses clink on the counter.
Let the threshing begin, he’d said early this morning. I kick the scythe over and send a curse towards the sumac. Notched leaves sway on brown branches, Let the threshing begin.
You might think I posted the above to illuminate exactly how bad I am in comparison to the above two writers. That's possible. ;) But really, it's posting here because it is now a thrice-rejected piece: one contest loss, two rejections. While I can see just why it's rejected, and I understand that, it was the second piece of original fiction I wrote last fall, when I started this crazy endeavor. So I feel somewhat emotional about it. But it's time to release it from the cycle of submission-rejection-submit again, and so here it is. Its final resting place.
JS, who usually looks my stuff over for me before I send it out, told me she liked it even though she didn't know what I was trying to say. I'm still not answering that question, but feel free to draw your own conclusions.
Just received a copy of Bruce Harris's chapbook, The Man and the Mark. I love it. Get thee to Deadly Chaps and get your hands on your own copy. Bruce is a fantastic writer.