Three score and six days ago, Acidic Fiction brought forth on this website, a new story, conceived in a contemporary setting and dedicated to the proposition that all stories should be free to read, and all authors, paid. Since then, the site has published 24 additional stories, drawn from a pool of 316 submissions by 232 different authors. Since its inception on August 24, 2014, the website has received more than 4,600 page views from more than 2,000 unique readers.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the readers and writers who have been willing to read this magazine and submit stories, even though it is brand-new, unproven, and relatively low-budget. I’ve been consistently impressed with the quality of writing in the stories I have received, especially considering the wide variety of other magazines and online venues the authors could have chosen instead. And of course, Acidic Fiction draws in only the most intelligent, friendly, and attractive readers on the entire Internet.
The magazine will continue its twice-weekly schedule until Christmas, when I will take a winter break until after New Year’s Day. I’ll continue accepting submissions during that time, but responses will be a bit slower due to the holidays. In early 2015, I will begin assembling an anthology of the best stories published on the site in 2014. I’ll provide some more information about the book next year.
In the meantime, I’m grateful to everyone involved with making this magazine as terrific as possible, even after just three months online. Thank you very much.
by John A. DeMember
Five and innocent, Johnny’s wiry frame hunkered down, just below the bed rails. His grandmother’s labored breathing pulsed like black-green waves, agitated to a froth and dying against the shore.
The light of the day, in its last gasps, slithered over the horizon. Like a burial shroud, a mute, gray darkness descended on the snow-covered landscape just beyond the foggy bay windows of the playroom. The room, once full of joy and sunlight—yellows and light browns—was now dark, shadowy, and filled with the smell of decay. The hushed conversations in the adjoining kitchen formed an interminable white noise.
A massive bed now dominated the room, and little Johnny played in the tent created by the blankets draped over his elderly grandmother. Entirely ignorant of the vicious cancer eating her alive, he felt certain she was asleep. She always slept.
Continue reading The Toe-Eater
A Song for Alice
by DJ Daniels
Ben was a singing butcher. Not the loud, operatic songs of a fruit seller, just a ditty, a tiny hum, a speck of joy. He sang to distract the girls from his profession, from the blood and the bones and the hanging carcasses. One girl, in particular.
She didn’t notice him, not for a long time. She would shudder when she came to the shop counter, and everyone knew she wasn’t happy to be there.
“She’s not for you, mate,” his fellow butchers would say. Probably a vego, probably anemic, probably forced to eat some meat. They’d seen it all before. “She’ll never look at you.”
Ben would watch her long, red hair swaying as she walked away with her sausages and bacon, and he would sigh. He made special marinades to tempt her, and in his imaginings, his longing, he found could see the flow of life before her, in beautiful curls, curves of pleasure and joy. He thought that if he sang, she would see that his life could coil in with hers, that they would wind together and make something marvelous and alive.
Continue reading A Song for Alice
by Julio Toro San Martin
What was the name? For the life of her, she couldn’t remember. She’d thought highly of the exhibit and the work of art, but now, funnily, couldn’t remember its name.
She knew it had been somewhere on exhibit in London before the war. Then, when the Nazi bombs started falling, it had been moved to a private collection outside the city.
At the end of the war, her husband had found it amid the ruins. Apparently, relocation hadn’t saved it from the bombs. After numerous thorough inquiries, no owner was found, so he had it shipped to the States.
Well, she wasn’t about to drop the conversation just because she couldn’t remember the name. Already, Alice had moved on to another topic, yet Mona wanted so much to show her the thing.
Continue reading Settled
by P. R. O’Leary
On the ground floor, 192 stories down, Stig covered his head and face with the rainsuit hood and walked out into the street. The driving rain and heavy smog obscured his view, so the smell hit him first. He could never get used to it. Take every bad smell that comes out of a person’s body, multiply it by a billion, and sprinkle some landfills and industrial waste on top. That was the smell of the city. It was almost visible.
Even through the rain and smog and smell, Stig could see that the street was crowded with people, packed end-to-end as usual, bodies moving in every direction, pushing and jostling each other for space. Cars had long since become impractical, and the public Tubes were always out of commission, so they had no choice but to walk, especially in this area, characterized by people who had no other means besides their own two legs—and sometimes not even that.
Stig pushed through the crowd as the rain pounded the top of his head. There was no telling what anyone looked like below their rainsuits. People were making every effort to cover their skin, including him.
Most of Stig’s rainsuit had eroded down to the red warning layer, and in some places, the rain had eaten all the way through. His hands, arms, back, and face were covered in white scars where the water had seared his flesh. Stig couldn’t afford to patch the rainsuit anymore; good acid-blocking material was out of his price range. The adequate kind was, too.
Continue reading Stowaway
by Charles Ebert
By the time Edward found his old shackles and chains, the storm was almost over. He hurried to the third floor lavatory, with the hardware gathered up in his arms. Carefully, so they wouldn’t clank before he was ready, he arranged the chains on the tile floor.
Edward could hear the new occupant of the house showering in the second-floor lavatory below. The man was loudly singing an aria from Don Giovanni, and Edward had to admit that the occupant had a pleasant baritone—not professional quality, but any amateur operatic company would have prized him.
The realization gave Edward pause. There is good in everyone, he thought. Maybe I should give the occupant another chance.
No, insisted another part of his mind. Edward knew he must think of himself now. The house belonged to him. His father had designed and built it, Edward had lived in it all his life, and his mother had been an occupant for more than fifty years. Memories chained him to this place.
Continue reading Hauntings
by J. S. Arquin
“More coffee, darling?”
John bit back a snarl. More coffee on an empty stomach and he’d start chewing on the walls.
Bea hummed about the kitchen, nimbly washing and drying the dishes. Her right eye reflected the morning sunlight in a rainbow sheen. Her left eye stared blindly, a multifaceted orb, milky and opaque.
Every morning, she popped out of bed with a smile on her face, bubbly and talkative. When they first met, John thought it was cute. Now, it made him want to disembowel small children.
Continue reading Bone Deep
by Daniel Devine
I followed the signs along the tree-lined driveway to the visitors’ parking lot and pulled into one of the open spots. I beep-beeped my car alarm on, feeling a bit silly as I surveyed the expensive sports cars parked around me.
The cobblestone path leading from my car to the entrance passed through a small rest area featuring wrought iron benches and well-manicured flowerbeds. I paused for a moment to fight off a coughing spasm and made my way along the path. The silvery lobby doors resisted my first tug but swung open smoothly once I overcame their weight.
Just inside was a small sitting area, where black leather couches faced a huge flat-panel screen. A young, blonde receptionist—twenty-something and stunningly beautiful—sat behind a mahogany desk on the other side of the room.
Continue reading Clinical Trial