My new story, Secret Heart, is up at Terror House

kangaroo night vision

My new short story has been posted on Terror House Magazine:

 

“Bastards!” The man’s exclamation rang out through the bush, fading until the only sound was the cicadas droning in the heat. His vegetable patch was completely turned over, the chook-wire fence pushed down and flattened.

The man looked like a retired bikie, but in fact he was a retired biologist who had let his greying beard grow wild. He stood bare from the waist up in the blinding sunlight, a surgery scar livid on the brown skin of his chest. He stared at his ruined tomatoes.

“What did it, Julius?” asked Alina. “You told me there are no bears here. Was it wild pigs?” His much younger wife put an arm around him sympathetically. She spoke with a strong Russian accent.

“Could be. Maybe roos; kangaroos. Or wombats; they can get through anything. Something bloody hungry, whatever it was. We should keep an eye on what happens out here at night.”

Alina shook her elven head. “Never mind. We live in the forest, what do we expect? Just build a stronger fence.”

***

Julius built a stronger fence, but he also did something else. He Read More

How to Heal the World

This is bizarre.  I first published this story back in February 2018.  I totally forgot about it, then re-read it yesterday.  Prescient even down to the countries.  Wooooo!

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Stewart went to a good, private high school in Brisbane so he got into a prestigious university where he studied for a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Philosophy and Sociology.

In Philosophy, he became convinced by the ethical framework of utilitarianism – that is, one ought to act so as to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. Sure, one can always imagine convoluted scenarios where it could lead to barbarous outcomes, but for real life it seemed like the fairest and most logical approach to secular ethics.

Stewart read books and articles by Peter Singer, who points out that the three hundred dollars you spend going to the opera could instead be used to save several lives if donated to a Third World charity. Should we really spend more on ourselves than is necessary for frugal comfort when our discretionary funds could achieve so much good elsewhere?

Stewart, thoroughly persuaded, chose the path of the secret, secular monk. He got a high-paying job in the corporate sector after studying real things after Arts. He ordered inexpensive, tailored suits from Vietnam and hired a fancy car so that he would look the part, but instead of saving for a deposit on a house or blowing his money on drugs and whores, he donated every extra dollar he had to Read More

My new story, The Bunker, is up at Terror House Magazine

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My new short story, The Bunker, has been published at Terror House Magazine.

The Bunker

Bill, Mark, and Elon sat down in the control room, preparing to argue again. Their families and the others sheltered deep below. Only the Steering Committee were allowed to come up here. Only they could be trusted to remain calm when scrutinizing data, and to make the right, critical decisions.

After all, they’d paid more than their fair share for a place in the bunker.

Elon had helped to design it. Mark had led the programming team for the internal information system. And the whole setup had been Bill’s idea.

Each had his own duties. Elon’s current job was to check system reports, and he said they were fine. Bill asked if the air filtration system was fine. Elon said that it was. Mark asked if he was sure, and he replied that he was.

The air filter had gone out three weeks ago when Elon’s patented lithium battery had exploded in an inextinguishable fireball so bright it could not be looked upon, sending a thick plume of black smoke into the clear, South Island air that advertised their exact location to any survivors in the region. When it finally burned itself out, they had managed to repair it. There was a nervous fortnight wait to see whether any of the unfiltered air that seeped in during the disaster would infect anyone, but the entire population of 72 had tested negative to COVID-19.

Mark’s duty, as Chief Information Officer, was to check the news and report back to the others. No one else was allowed, in order to control panic. Once again, he relayed the same thing: Read More

One for the Aussies . . .

. . . of a certain age.  This was my losing entry in an Australian, 500-word story writing contest.  It was burning a hole in my hard drive so here it is.

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Mullet

Five months ago, I was the last one left with a mullet.  The last in my social circle.  The last in Melbourne.  Maybe, the last in the world.

People assume a bloke with a mullet must be a bogan, but nothing else about me matched the image.  I drove a Kia, not a Commodore.  I wore a suit, not a Megadeth t-shirt.  And I’m a web developer.

I first sported a mullet in the eighties, and I was Mr. Cool from Grade Two to Grade Six.  But then things changed. Read More