Review of Joanna Maciejewska’s Short Story “Black Eyes, Luminous Monsters”

springSince I’ve received my copy of The Cloaked Press science fiction anthology Spring Into SciFi 2019, which features my short story “The Recall,” I started reading some of the other stories. The first one was “Black Eyes, Luminous Monsters” by Joanna Maciejewska.

Okay, I hated the title but loved the story. We are taken into a world at war, but it is between the human colonists on the planet and a strange and highly lethal alien biomass called “The Anomaly.” Trapped in a bunker, a medic named Kyara is tending to a wounded and likely dying soldier when the Anomaly attacks. The only way to escape is to retreat to the evac zone, but the biomass grabs Kyara and she knows she has only seconds to live.

The humans have a single defense, beings called Stabilizers or “Stabs” which have the ability to combat the Anomaly. The problem is that the Stabs are just as dangerous, and spending any time in the presence of one could also be deadly. During the fight between the Anomaly and the Stab, Kyara passes out, sure that she’s about to die.

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Film Review: “The Mummy” (2017)

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Promotional image for the 2017 film “The Mummy.”

I hadn’t meant to watch the 2017 film, The Mummy starring Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis, but I recently read a brief blurb that the “flagship” of Universal Studio’s Dark Universe line of films, which were meant to reprise and update the original Universal Classic Monsters series of movies, wasn’t all that bad.

Okay, I’ve also recently written a short story I plan to submit for possible publication about an ancient, evil woman in Egypt, so the topic was on my mind.

In short, it really wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t that great, either. I’ve seen the original 1932 film The Mummy starring the incomparable Boris Karloff on numerous occasions, and the 1999 remake with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz (and I do like Weisz as an actress) and was somewhat “underwealmed.”

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Where the Ghosts Come From

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Pedro Fogueras pexels-photo-626164 shadow

“Let me out, do you hear? Let me out!”

Olsen Hoyt pressed his intangible form against a non-existent boundary between the neither-world and the real one.

“Why did you do this to me? I didn’t do anything wrong!”

Pressing his non-face against the nothing holding him, he wept nullified tears.

Their plan was to leave Hoyt, and everyone like him, alone in the dark for all eternity, but inventor Dennis Tyson couldn’t resist adding more payback. He walked into the Qualdonitron control systems matrix and selected his former supervisor’s virtual cell, one of over a billion. Then he whispered across the void, “You deserve it.”

“Who’s there? Why do I deserve this?”

“Your kind has been in control long enough. It’s time for the rest of us to take charge. Monsters don’t deserve existence, but death isn’t punishment enough. Now thanks to the invention of the Qualdonitron, the privilege of dominance is ours.”

“Privilege?”

“Your people have caused millennium of suffering. Now it’s our turn to create the pain.”

It took all those like Hoyt countless years, but eventually, they learned how to come back to the world as ghosts. Now their presence would be forever haunting.

I wrote this for the Week #26 Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is ~200.

I very loosely based my story on some of the lyrics from Gordon Lightfoot’s 1971 classic song If You Could Read My Mind and specifically:

If you could read my mind, love,
What a tale my thoughts could tell.
Just like an old time movie,
‘Bout a ghost from a wishing well.
In a castle dark or a fortress strong,
With chains upon my feet.
You know that ghost is me.
And I will never be set free
As long as I’m a ghost that you can’t see.

Of course, there are other themes involved, but I’ll leave it to the reader to discover who Hoyt and Tyson could possibly represent.

To read other tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com. As I’ve said in previous weeks, this link up still needs a lot of love, so please consider contributing a story. Thanks.

The Monster Under Carrie’s Bed

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Poster from the film “Under the Bed” (2012)

Carrie heard the strange scratching sounds in the walls of her bedroom again.

“Mommy! Daddy!” She screamed out to her parents for the third time that night.

Daddy trudged into her bedroom. It had been an exhausting week. For the past five nights, Carrie kept swearing something was making scary noises in her walls. For the past five nights, her parents Bill and Sandy came in, but they could never hear anything.

Sandy thought there might be a mouse in the walls. Bill thought that moving to the new house a month ago was harder on their seven-year-old daughter than they thought it would be.

“Daddy, I’m so scared.” Carrie leapt out of her bed and jumped into his arms. He held and comforted his little girl.

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In Sunlight

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Image: Fox News

From the Unlife and Curse of Sean Becker

I can’t sleep.

I know that most people occasionally have to deal with insomnia, but I’m not most people. My name is Sean Becker and I’m a vampire.

As near as I can tell, vampires are severely allergic to natural sunlight. One of the effects of this is that I become lethargic as the night wanes and dawn approaches. By full day, I’m out, you should pardon the expression, like a light.

Except I fell asleep in my little shelter fashioned in a crawl way of an abandoned warehouse four hours ago, and now I’m wide awake.

Stranger than that, I’m hungry.

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