IN THIS ISSUE:
All stories/articles may be viewed
(1) By clicking on the title and displaying the text in a browser window;
(2) Or by clicking the "Download as PDF" button and viewing the text in Adobe Reader (you will need a browser "plug-in" for this);
(3) or by right-clicking on the "Download as PDF" button and saving the PDF file to your local drive. You may then view the file using Adobe Reader.
If you don't have Adobe Reader, you can get it free by clicking below.
issue's Name in Lights goes out to Terek Hopkins, who has joined Allegory's
staff as an associte editor. He has taken on the unenviable job helping
to read and judge the hundreds of stories that pour into our submission
queue each issue. All that and he's a volunteer, too! :)
aboard, Terek! It's a pleasure to have you with us.
a Silly Robot" Ljubuncic
So slow that Mission 14, with a mere 39 years left to run, was about to prematurely end.
"It sure is," Rina said, absentmindedly caressing the grip of a pistol in her hand.
"You may want to reconsider," Ashree said.
"I'm tired, Ashree," Rina said.
"Me, too," he said.
She snorted. "You're such a lousy liar for a machine."
"I have emotions too, you know," the robot complained.
"Yes, all two thousand of them, beautifully designed. Oh, my poor robot, what do you know?"
What did he know?
New Curse of the Monkey Fountain"
The professor grinned. "Now, as you have no doubt observed, the fountain is not currently running. The fact is, this electrically powered fountain is nearly a century old, and we are cautious with it. So, let's turn it on now." He picked up the cord, and plugged it into a nearby outlet.
The fountain's small motor whirred to life. Water gurgled.
Most in the crowd genuinely didn't know what was coming. They looked to the conch, held high over the big monkey's head. They waited for the water to emerge from the top of the fountain. When, instead, the water emerged halfway up, from a small crack in the monkey's crotch, where it joined with the turquoise beehive-thing, the gathering burst into laughter.
Dr. Oxnard nodded. "Brilliant, isn't it?"
Amidst answering nods and giggles, Jonny Rose spoke up. "How can you possibly think this horrible, desperate piece of crap is an intentional piece of art?"
“Son of a bitch,” Doctor David Leisdorf muttered to himself. The fact that the calibrations weren’t right didn’t bother him nearly as much as the pathetic tone in Wesson’s voice. Why did he always have to sound like a spineless squirrel? Doctor Leisdorf made a mental note to put out an ad for a new lab assistant. Of course, if the machine worked, and he was confident it would, such concerns for the future would be irrelevant.
He checked the gold watch Ellie had given him as an anniversary gift over 40 years ago and saw that, while his skin may have wrinkled since then, the watch still kept time just as surely as it always had. 12:02pm on 05/30/2059.
A quick glance around the time pod revealed that nothing appeared to be amiss with the machine. He ran his fingers along the clean steel walls which were bare except for the intercom and a few digital instrument panels.
And the button.
The stench was overpowering by the weathered fence that separated their property from Jacoby's. Laura climbed up on a fence rail to get a better look. “I still don't see where it's coming from.”
“He's got something in that barn, I'll bet. I saw him go in there earlier,” said Eric.
Laura pulled her collar over her nose. “What on earth makes a stink like that?”
“I don't know,” Eric replied. “But I don't like it. A strong smell like that could attract animals.”
“Animals?” Laura looked suddenly concerned. “You mean like...big animals?”
During the train ride to her office job, she sat between two blurred out passengers and opposite an androgynous figure with no face. She lifted her wrist and chose another icon on her watch. A quarter of the passengers lit up with blue auras like a character selection in a video game.
The three syllables caught in her throat, just enough to be picked up by subvocal recognition. All but five auras vanished. She glanced at one and read the profile list that appeared next to him. Name, age, status, interests, and what he’s looking for. He listed football as an interest. She flicked her eyes to the left and the aura disappeared, blurring him out like the rest of the crowd. She glanced at another guy. Not cute. Flick, blurred out. Guy number three had an attractive smile and quoted The Great Gatsby. She winked to attract him. He turned around and looked at her for a few seconds before opening up a private channel between them.
“Hello there, beautiful,” he said with a smile.
Susan was embarrassed to feel herself blushing, pleased at the praise. “I can’t tell you how much I love working with animals. I really don’t know what I’d do without them.”
Meg’s smile grew brighter, something Susan didn’t realize was possible.
“That’s wonderful to hear. You know, I’ve been in animal care for a long time. I know how hard it can be to find and keep good volunteers like you. Many people find it very depressing, you know, and there’s a high level of burnout. I’ve definitely learned to appreciate a committed worker when I find one.”
She reached for a file. “That’s why I was so surprised to learn there was a problem with the previous shelter manager.
You bastard, Ken. Susan dug her nails into her hands. She should have known. That asshole.
One Dies in the End"
I look away from the video and observe the participants in the room. It is not a generation of pen and paper. They will need to take notes with their phones. Class is about to start.
When the video is over we move into the staging room. Before us is a doomsday shelter packed with sensor vests and laser guns. I pick up my tools. I de-knot my tie and wrap it around my head to keep it clear of the gun strap. I move my keys to a back pocket in case I should run a thigh into a wall. I turn the top corner of my vest inside out to hide the shoulder sensor.
Manipulating the vest is my greatest edge in the arena. I have effectively reduced my chances of getting shot by 20%. Self-conscious, I look at those in the room to see if it has been discovered. No one is paying attention. I notice a kid away from the flock staring at the entry door like Narnia is on the other side. He is not moving or talking. I have seen such laser focus in my enemy before. Adderall. The one advantage I don’t have.
The way Walter spoke made Buck suddenly feel very uncomfortable, as if he were treading somewhere he ought not. He waved towards the puppy.
“Well, he’s yours now. Treat him right, and I’m sure he’ll be a loyal friend. I gotta’ get goin’. Good luck settlin’ on a name. I always have a hard time with that.”
Buck left in a bit of a hurry, anxious to escape the presence of his tense and brooding customer. He could see why Sheila had left, if Walter had been this way before her departure. At the same time, Buck felt bad about abandoning a man who admitted to being lonely, but his discomfort outweighed his guilt. Once in his truck, he peeled away.
Walter watched him go with empty steel grey eyes, clutching the puppy more tightly.
“I think,” he murmured coolly, “I’ll call you Bait.”
The group walked into a clearing. They looked up at the moon through the leaves and an owl flew overhead. In warmer weather, it could have been an incredible moment. As it was, everyone was too cold to fully appreciate it.
“This is perfect,” said Hank, “Don’t you think so?”
“Very Blair Witch.”
“Alright, let’s gather in a circle,” he said. His friends shuffled a bit. “I’ll now read the incantation if that’s okay with everyone.” Nobody spoke. He took a gulp of his beer, got into his best “Satanic priest” character, and began reading from the little book titled Advanced Conjuring Techniques.
Secret of the Maygores"
Deepdiver begged his brother Windpuncher not to go.
“I must,” said Windpuncher, packing his scant belongings. He pointed to the dark jungle that cowered beneath the seven foothills, and beyond them, the sunlit hill-mount where the Maygores roamed. “This land is cursed.”
“What makes you think the Maygores will let you pass, when they killed the others?”
“I told you the secret: don’t look the Maygores in the eye. Don’t look them in the eye and they’ll let you pass.”
“I’ll go with you,” said Deepdiver, reaching for his own satchel. “We can Try together. I’d rather die with you than stay here by myself.”
Windpuncher picked up his little brother’s satchel and tossed it away. “If I make it, you can follow me. I’ll wait for you on the other side.”
As was his eternal habit, he took up his rifle and carefully surveyed the maimed landscape about him. He listened to the monotonous wind should there be any threatening noise. Barn sniffed at the wind for any worrisome odor. The only sound was the languorous song of the wind. Its vile stench was unaltered. “Muller done got him some corn from somewheres and sweet beets and such. He’s cooked up a power of whiskey and he wants him a woman.” He spoke slowly, with self-imposed restraint.
“To own, you mean? He ain’t just comin’ for a throw?” The woman had never asked a second question since she accepted her place in their unforgiving world. They did not recall how often Barn had traded her body, except for those occasions the bargain saved one or both of their lives.
“Naw. He says he wants a woman for his own. I ain’t had no whiskey or nothin’ in over a year and I’m hurting. I’m hurtin’ bad, Emily. I’m hurtin’ through and through. I need me somethin’… somethin’ to drink and you’re the only property I got I can trade and he won’t take nothin’ else. He’s always wanted you.”
Barn made another quick inspection of his perimeter. During the War, Sergeant Barn kept his men alive through his persistent vigilance. He kept his woman and himself alive this way. “He’s doin’ real good with his still, now. Looks like Muller’s gonna get everythin’ good in this valley. He’ll feed you better than me anyhow.”
“I wrapped this up and put it under my pillow this morning. Why is it like this?” He sounded a bit accusatory, but I didn’t touch his player. I don’t like death metal like that. And besides, my cord was perfect. My earbuds had already finessed their way into each canal and were ready and willing to fill my ears with the sweet, soothing shuffle of 90’s alternative.
I shrugged. “The faeries are screwing with you.” Too bad Granny wasn’t here. She was good at reasoning with the little stinkers. She was kind of The Faerie Whisperer. And she spelled it that way—with an ae, not an ai. Even when she said it out loud. They get offended if you don’t.
“Eff those fairies.” His granny never said anything about faeries at all. And if she were forced to spell it, like at a geriatric Spelling Bee or some such event, she probably would have gone with f-a-i-r-y.
The people who work to bring Allegory to you do so entirely on a volunteer basis. As a way of saying thank you, we use this space to showcase our own news and accomplishments and writers. We hope you'll take a moment to check out who we are when we're not editors!
We at Allegory are excited to report that our own Jessica Bayliss (Associate Editor extraordinare) has a story appearing in the Zombie Chunks anthology recently published by Dead Silent Studios/Dead Silent Press. The story a "gross, dark horror comedy" to use the author's words. You can find it here on Amazon.
But that's not all Jessica's
been up to...
Allegory deals with submissions in the way that, as far as I know, remains fairly unique in the publishing world. Each story is individually reviewed and, if considered publishable, is placed in our "Maybe" pile. At the end of each submission period, these "Maybes" are reviewed, and the best eight chosen to appear in the next issue. This final cut is made on the basis of issue balance, and does NOT reflect the overall quality of these stories.
That said, here - in no particular order - are the "Maybes" who just missed publication in Allegory. Each one is a fine tale that we would have been proud to publish. Remember these names, friends and fellows. You'll be hearing from them in the future. I guarantee it!
Winder's Wolves by Selena Martens
Editor for Hire!!!
Allegory's own Kelly Ferjutz, who has lent her editorial talents to this ezine since its inception in 1998, is now offering her expertise to writers out there looking for professional editing services.
Kelly is a veteran editor, a published author in her own right, as well as a "blogsman".
Click HERE to discover more about Kelly's offered services.
Or, better yet, consider redeeming the following coupon! Trust us, it's worth it!