Craig Scott

I am walking in a hallway. I come to a room with a door blocked by a man in a folding chair. He’s texting on his BlackBerry. I ask him for directions. He asks if I have a camera or recording device. I don’t. He tells me to go through the door behind him, not to stop, to the far side and through another door. The door behind him takes me into a strip club. I leave through the door on the far side, a fire exit (no alarm sounds), as instructed. I am outside, in front of a row of clubs in an open air mall in Baltimore. I find this odd because Baltimore is not San Diego. Every other store is empty and dark with a “For Rent” sign in the window. I walk through the mall, moving around debating Jewish women and a ten-year-old buying a handgun from a man in a suit. I find the parking lot, find my car, drive home. Over dinner I tell you about my day. You want to know how I got from Maryland to New Jersey in less than thirty minutes. I blink.

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Craig Scott is an unimaginative pseudonym. More work will be/has been published under this name in Drunken Absurdity, Horror Sleaze Trash and Rusty Truck. A free e-chapbook is available from Ten Pages Press.


The Story of Us
by Kami Finkel

         I want to tell you a story.  The story? It’s about me.  Well actually, it’s about us.  Yes, it is, so just sit and listen….
Long ago, I lived in the deserts of the southwest.  I loved the wind and the stars most of all, my family, as I had no other.  I never minded life.  This was all before the earth had become scarred from anger. When the sacred knowledges were still alive.  Even in the mundane world, my village was still a people who looked to the sky and earth, knowing a great many of this and the next world’s secrets.  There was always a consciousness of the shadow world in which our souls lay, outlining, shadowing, always overseeing the world of sunshine and water and fire. 
            I cannot say when I first saw him, just that I thought the sun had to be jealous.  But the stars, oh the stars, they knew we were meant to be.  I swear when he looked down at me, I could feel Kiro’s hands running over my shoulders and down my arms.  When he spoke, I could feel his lips on mine. 
His shadow world had crossed with mine.  It was Kiro’s shadow that passed like wisps of smoke over my flesh.  Mine did the same to his.  Our shades began to dance with one another and once that starts, it is difficult to stop.   It is a rare thing to have them recognize each other so clearly and work together so well in the world of sunshine.  It is one thing in their world, dark like the night and there guidance cannot be sought with sight.  Only with other senses, higher ones.  Maybe that is why they love the nightfall so much more.  But when the sun comes up the story can change, and two shadows that can survive in the sun still embracing is a rare, precious thing. They must draw strength from each other equally and without reservation.  Shadows may think with calculation, but they act with feeling.  Thus in the night when his lips brushed my neck and all melted together, I still relished it in the light. 
            For a time, we laughed and lived and loved together taking what pleasures our bodies offered which was never quite enough. We licked our lips in anticipation of again. 
            However, the day came when our men were to embark on a war campaign, and at sunrise Kiro came to me with hallow eyes.  I knew his shadow was trying to pull away; he had to go and the distance was too much.   It is better that we do not try.  There would just be heart break.  He said “you” in that sentence, but I suspected there was more of him in there than me.  So I let him walk away and try to wrench his shadow from mine.  Shadows once they dance do not like to be without a partner, so he took some of mine with him, ripping me apart.  With blood poured forth, I slid to the ground wounded.
That night I had my funeral.  There were tears and wailings, clawing at the ground and an anguish in the mind that all but suffocated.  It did not take any time to decide what to do.  The dead cannot possibly stay amongst the living.  They rot and smell horrid and bring all that has life down by a mere presence.  Nobody wants the deceased.  What is something without life good for, even if it has flesh?
The land of the world waited for me; and with nothing to call my home anymore, I was finally ready to see it.  Ahead there was possibility.  Behind, I left a trail of tears that would follow me for many seasons. 
So, I traveled.  I cannot say where as it had no shape.  I forgot all of my former life to the wilderness, and I was lucky to fall asleep and wake in its arms with every turn of the earth.  Water, food, and good company were not hard to come by as I swept across the plains all the way to the coasts and swam in waters of salt and pristine.  I spun tales as my fare at night around campfires and on beaches, mesmerizing babes and their grandparents.  My sweat seemed to washed any bitterness from my body in those places.  For much of the time I saw the world the way shadows must see it; not through separate eyes but as a part of the outline of every beautiful sight and boundless expansion of life. 
There is only so much land to see, though, before one must start crossing great waters. That was another adventure for another lifetime.  So, I returned to my birthplace, for I still missed my grandfather, the desert, who had born me and shared my blood.  Upon my return, it was no coincidence night had fallen.  Shadows always recognize each other better in the darkness.  For there was Kiro, against the city wall.  Words were beyond him, but his arms promised to never let me go again.  He had tried the life without me, tried to live and gather familial ties and forget what had been between us.  He could not.  His despair had eaten away at his insides turning them as rotten as a corpse.  The corpse I had been years before.  He had died many times over whereas I had died immediately and been reborn to start again.  No.  No more such thoughts I commanded. I never wanted to hear of that again.  It is always harder to let go of love than to be the one let go of. 
            Our shadows danced once more while I whispered into his ear the beauty I had experienced and places I had seen.  Between ecstasies, I murmured more magnificence into his being.  By dawn, he slept soundly dreaming of those places of mine.  And, I was thankful just to have his skin against my cheek for a second time in that life.    
I only left him once after that moment.  For a few hours, I had to speak to the stars alone.
“I understand now.  Shadows have no concept of distance or time, so to worry about such is useless.  Love is their thing, gorgeous and tricky and can disappear in an instance. No matter the number of lifetimes or distance of worlds, they will.  It is not magic; there is no magic.  Just, the way things are.  That is why shadows recognize so easily.  The time they have been apart is harsh, and they treasure coming together again.”
That is why I never agonize.  They will always come together again.  The wind provides the music, calling the shadows to dance and providing a hauntingly familiar tune.  Do not worry about me.  Do not worry about broken hearts.  Revel in what is now and if we have to part do not forget that we will meet again on a gusty night. We always do. 

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Legend states that Kami Finkel’s birth is similar to that of the Buddha’s; however, her parents continue to insist it took place at a hospital in Duluth, Georgia. She now studies at Georgia Institute of Technology where she has developed a serious latte addiction and plans to go on to subtly take over the world.


Mellified Man
By E.S. Wynn

The bees have long since taken you as part of their hive, rarely sting you anymore. To them, you are wax, a sickly sweet fruit fattened with honey, succulent with dripping decay. To them, you are a thing to be winnowed through and hollowed. Each day the bees chew deeper, carve their latticework combs into muscle and tissue and stir winged and vibrating in rolling hordes beneath thinning skin. Tiny larvae stir within the marrow of sickening bone, roll slick and fat through meat as they gorge and grow.

The honey the workers of the hive gather and press against your organs sustains you somehow, prolongs your life into a tired, hazy darkness that haunts the edges of your eyes, teasing you, never taking you. Like a constant companion, the humming buzz of the bees permeates you, follows you as you drift into and out of hazy dreams of melting bodies and rotting, maggot-eaten minds. Like a constant companion, the buzz, the stirring of wings, of tiny bodies moving, slowly separating skin from muscle, crawling along layers of flesh like tiny, ravenous worms is eternal, never ceasing, never slowing.

For you, death may never come. For you, time may only pass as an eternal itching and buzzing, the slow, steady transformation into a living corpse of wax and honey, a mellified man, no longer human, no longer able to do more than draw slow, shallow breaths and stare murky into the darkness. For you, there will only be the loose and endless movements of the bees as they dance within the pale waxiness of a body that is no longer yours. For you, the taste of honey will linger forever at the edge of every sense, sickly sweet, the taste tainted with corruption, the rot of your own lost, mummified flesh.

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E.S. Wynn is the author of over thirty books.

Launching 8/16/11

Set to offer you new brain squeezings and other stories ripe with irreal strangeness every Tuesday, Smashed Cat Magazine is the latest of four in magazines edited and maintained by author E.S. Wynn. His vision was to create a place where writers who pen the weirdest of experimental writing could get the exposure they need to get noticed within the mainstream of society, all while providing a constant dose of something strange, dreamlike and bizarre for readers all over the globe.

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Earl "E.S." Wynn is the author of over fifty books in print. During the last decade, he has worked with hundreds of authors and edited thousands of manuscripts for nearly a dozen different magazines. His stories and articles have been published in dozens of journals, zines and anthologies. He has taught classes in literature, marketing, math, spirituality and guided meditation. Outside of writing, he has worked as a voice-over artist for several different horror and sci-fi podcasts, albums and ebooks.

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