by James Essex

Jared’s medication was getting too expensive. When he picked up his next 30-day supply at the pharmacy, he had to spend the rest of his pocket money for the entire month. His wages would all go toward rent and utilities, with a little left over for groceries. He wouldn’t be able to buy anything else, not even a used book or a movie ticket. It would be a rough month.

The side effects were getting worse, too. The occultist had warned him that some patients experienced hand tremors and headaches, but she neglected to mention how severe they would be. Whenever he tried to use a pencil, his handwriting looked worse than a three-year-old’s, and after he dropped two glass tumblers in the past week, he had to start drinking out of shatterproof plastic cups. Sometimes his eye sockets ached so much he thought the pressure would crack his face open.

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Her Father’s Eyes

Her Father’s Eyes
by Simon Kewin

Caitlin had her father’s eyes. She kept them in a jar on the mantelpiece. Most people preferred a clock up there, or maybe a nice vase. Something to wedge bills behind. Caitlin liked the eyes better.

You’re not really going out like that are you? You’re dressed like a whore! What will people think?

The voice was angry and heavy with disappointment. It was a particular skill of her father’s.

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The Haven City Incident

The Haven City Incident
by Wendy Nikel

Tripping through the pitch black, it took the small band of survivors hours to reach their destination. When they arrived, Kora put out her arm to stop Lex from running into her. He grunted as her hand jabbed into his belly. Tyrone punched him and raised an index finger to his lips.

Maybe Kora should have apologized, but she didn’t, not tonight. Tonight they’d search the factory and maybe eat some decent protein, even if it was in the form of coagulated meat which, before The Incident, she would have never touched.

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Lester and The Doctor

Lester and The Doctor
by H. C. Duncan

A disheveled, glassy-eyed man with a nine o’clock shadow enters a dimly lit office above a bank. Unlike the linoleum in the sterile reception area, the carpet is new, and he feels the urge to take his shoes off, to feel the wool, soft and lovely under his toes.

The Doctor, who isn’t wearing a white coat or stethoscope but is still a doctor, asks him with a pleasant smile to sit down. There are plaques behind The Doctor’s desk—not as many as Lester has seen in other offices, but enough to convey a sense of respectability.

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Prepare for Launch

After some effort, the site and social media pages are finally up and running. I think most of the issues have been addressed, but readers should contact me if they find any bugs, errors, or typos.

I’m going to post the first short story tomorrow morning. In general, stories will be posted by 12pm, US Central Time. Whenever I publish a story, I’ll announce it on the magazine’s official twitter and facebook pages. I will also post a link to the story on the subreddit for discussion and commentary.

For other questions or concerns, email me at editor.

A Launch Date and a Word Count Update

I’m finally going to be revamping the site over the next few days to prepare for the magazine’s official launch on September 22, 2014. I’ve been receiving a bunch of good submissions, and I have a few weeks’ worth of stories ready to go after the magazine launches.

Before the launch, I’ve decided to make one change to the submission criteria: All stories must now be shorter than 6,000 words. The submissions page and official form will reflect this change. I have a few key reasons:

First, I’ve found that the best stories I’ve received so far have been relatively short. Second, although I pay $35 per story regardless of length, the type of sale is determined by word count. Whenever I buy a story that’s shorter than 3,500 words, it’s considered a semi-professional sale, which benefits the author more than a token sale (i.e. for a story longer than 3,500 words). I want to encourage more authors who are trying to make semi-pro sales. Finally, Acidic Fiction publishes 3 complete stories each week, and casual readers might not invest their time in reading 30,000 words every week.

There are still plenty of excellent fora on the internet for longer speculative fiction stories, and many of them even prefer stories that are longer than 10,000 words, so I recommend writers keep looking out for those opportunities. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to receiving even more excellent stories.