July 10, 2017

“Lost Howling,” A Short Story by Christin Rice

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“Lost Howling,” A Short Story by Christin Rice

They ran, the four of them, hand in hand. It was the only way they could get from this place to the next. Despair rose in the thicker woods as one became wrapped around a tree, whiplashing the group in the onslaught. But on they ran, recovering themselves, never breaking their grasp to dust off their muddy knees. The terrain was an endless, mountainous wood. Neverending. But there is nothing more determined to race home than a Howling. Howlings are almost always children, amorphous in their gender until they make a choice at age 18—if they make it to that rare age—and despite their name they very rarely howl. But when they do, you don’t want to be anywhere near. It is the sound of universes shattering and will consume your eardrums by snaking up…

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July 6, 2017

“The Mahogany Box,” a Short Story by Karen Trappett

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“The Mahogany Box,” a Short Story by Karen Trappett

The Mahogany Box by Karen M Trappett The movement sent waves across her belly, like little fish weaving and darting amongst the piers of a jetty, pushing gently up through the layers of her woollen skirt and reaching her gloved hands resting lightly on her lap. Holding her breath through the crest, she looked down and attempted to catch a glimpse of the creature currently using her body as a gymnasium. A soft smile made the corners of her mouth crinkle, and she felt the contours of her bump. Was that a foot, or a hand? Crimson leaves glistened, moisture dripped onto her knitted hat and the shoulders of her coat. A bedraggled sparrow appeared to keenly observe her, then shivered. Hearing her little ones, she hopped to an inner branch and disappeared; thoughts of…

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June 14, 2017

“Where are the Bones” From a Novel by Harry P. Noble Jr.

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“Where are the Bones”  From a Novel by Harry P. Noble Jr.

Editor’s Note: We hope you enjoy this story of the Wild West – Texas, to be specific – which captures the essence of life back in the earlier days of America. At 89 years of age, Harry is the Elder Scribbler of Fictional Café. Keep writing, Harry! Image credit: “Prospecting the Cattle Range,” (1889) an oil painting by Frederic Remington [public domain]. *** Henry Kinsey smiled inwardly, nothing to do with his fellow stagecoach passengers. They were strangers four hours ago. He was in possession of two secrets: one, today, March 15, 1843, was his twenty-third birthday. The other was Kinsey family lore handed down for four generations. He and his family agreed since the solution to the family conundrum would more likely be found in the Republic of Texas, he should begin his law career there…

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June 6, 2017

“Indictment” – A New Poem by Michael Larrain

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“Indictment” – A New Poem by Michael Larrain

Editor’s note: Michael Larrain is back, gracing the stage here at the funky ole Fictional Café, bringing us the poetry we know we need because that’s where all this came from, the coffee and the poetry and the blues and those long-forgotten smoky bistros filled with beautiful women and cowboy poets and coffee, always the coffee, the jet fuel Jack Kerouac sucked down as fast as his ma could make pot after pot while he wrote On the Road with her Scotch-taping the sheets of paper together and then Michael, our very own Michael Larrain, writing poetry on the Kesey-like boat’s canvas sails, poetry-cum-novels, and reading his stories for darling daughter Catherine The Rage of Paris Larrain, and narrating Jack’s Brady novella with such a voice, and now a new poem. So you see why we’re understandably happy he’s…

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June 2, 2017

“Legend of the Treasure” Novel Excerpt by Mike Squatrito

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“Legend of the Treasure” Novel Excerpt by Mike Squatrito

Legend of the Treasure Excerpt by Mike Squatrito   “Harrison,” said Pondle, “this doorway seems to be controlled by this lever. And we waited for you before moving it.” “Does everyone know the last two clues?” “We have an idea what to look for. Two rooms to go.” Harrison prepared his weapon, as did everyone else. “All right, Pondle. Let’s enter room number six.” The thief pulled the lever. The portal slowly rose into the ceiling above it, revealing a maze-like passageway lit by torches placed above the eight-foot walls. Lance limped over to Harrison and whimpered. “Bad animal.” The dog began to growl. Harrison looked at Lance and knew just what he meant. “Everyone, be ready for battle.” All of a sudden, a loud clanking emanated from another part of the room, followed by…

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May 22, 2017

“Silver Moons” – a Short Story by Katinka Smit

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“Silver Moons” – a Short Story by Katinka Smit

Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to introduce a short story by a new contributor from Australia, Katinka Smit.  Kamaria is leaving. Her eyes are open and the sky is sliding across them. Her spirit shimmies up a tree to catch the sun, the sun that is falling behind the trees. From the sun she will catch the moon. She will leap up into the moon, where she will shine forever. Kamaria will shine forever, smiling like the moon. Pounding feet. I am fast but they have dogs. Pushing the jungle through me, pushing me. I head to where I think I can be free. I leap into the roaring water. My body is sucked down into its crashing weight and I am falling, pounded into the deep below. When I surface, they are waiting for me….

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May 15, 2017

New Poetry from Bonnie Amesquita

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New Poetry from Bonnie Amesquita

Photo Courtesy Grace Chu We’ve featured Bonnie Amesquita’s exquisite poetry here at the Café before, and by all accounts she has become one of our favorite writers. And not just with us: her poems get snapped up by literary magazines elsewhere, too, making us awfully proud that she offers us an opportunity to publish her work. Herewith we feature four of her recent poems, and a video bonus: Bonnie reading “A Memory of My Mother at Christmas” which won on the Mother’s Day poetry contest on WNIJ, Northern Illinois University Public Radio. Here’s the direct link to her reading. Congratulations, Bonnie! We think Bonnie’s diligence in writing and getting her work in front of the public is an inspiration to all of us who work in the creative arts. Hurry Up and Wait Drink coffee. Brush teeth. …

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May 10, 2017

Excerpt: “The Clandestine Consultant” – A Novel by Luke Bencie

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Excerpt: “The Clandestine Consultant” – A Novel by Luke Bencie

Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to introduce you to an exciting, just-published espionage novel, The Clandestine Consultant, by Luke Bencie. If you like novels by Alex Berenson, David Ignatius or Ian Fleming, you’ll like this story of The Tall Man’s adventures in tradecraft. Author’s Note: All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the CIA or any other US government agency. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying US government authentication of information or Agency endorsement of the author’s views. This material has been reviewed by the CIA to prevent the disclosure of classified information. *        To the other passengers sitting around me in first class, as well as the attentive cabin crew refilling my glass of…

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April 25, 2017

“Requiem for a Caged Bird” Part III by Dory Fiamingo

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“Requiem for a Caged Bird” Part III by Dory Fiamingo

OK, Café habitués, this is all you get. Now you have to wait until Dory’s book is published. Just on the off chance you missed Part I and Part II, click <there. In Part III, Bastian is getting his team together – although reluctantly – to go to Aderyn’s rescue. And what a team it is, as you shall shortly see. * I was laughing as the door between us and the customer friendly part of The Falinn opened and we walked out. Neeko looked up from his person arsenal and grinned. “About time!” I ignored him. Having Stian and Jadis with us would change our plans and we needed to discuss those changes. “Look, we’ve got some serious stuff to—” The front door opened and Alawi blocked the doorway for an instant before making way…

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April 24, 2017

“Requiem for a Caged Bird” Part II by Dory Fiamingo

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“Requiem for a Caged Bird” Part II by Dory Fiamingo

Here is the second excerpt from Dory Fiamingo’s absorbing novel, of which I’ve been quoted as saying, “the best fantasy novel I’ve ever read.” The first excerpt appeared yesterday, and the third will be published here at the Café tomorrow. Sebastian (“Bastian”) is an almost-immortal private eye able to leap from one world to another. Maggie, the love of his life, had walked out on him thirty years earlier. She shows up at his cosmic bookstore, The Falinn, and introduces Bastian to Aderyn, her granddaughter (whom she assures him is unrelated). Later that night, the eight-year-old girl, who possesses magical powers, is kidnapped. Bastian must, of course, give pursuit. * There was a time when I would’ve been terrified that legions of Scrits or Murks were waiting in the dark of the stairs that led up to my…

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