by Brandon McNulty
Tim’s dad steered him to the safest part of the living room. He stood surrounded by bulletproof windows, flameproof furniture, rubber lamps, an imitation fireplace, and a flat screen TV bolted onto a plastic stand with cushioned edges. As soon as Tim’s butt hit the hardwood floor, his dad plopped down on their non-allergenic couch and grabbed the remote. Dad pointed it at Tim first, then the TV.
A nonviolent cartoon lit the screen. Pink birds chirped broken English and sang about brushing their teeth. Tim was too old for this. He leaned back and stretched until Dad warned him about lying beneath the ceiling fan—you never knew when all forty steel bolts could pop loose. Better safe than sawed up.
Dad smiled at Tim before burying his crooked nose and bloodshot eyes in a newspaper. Pages flipped, birds sang, the afternoon disappeared.
Continue reading Blur
by M. B. Vujacic
Don’t smoke while walking.
That’s what Irma’s mother had said whenever she saw Irma and her friends strolling around the neighborhood with cigarettes in their hands. Apparently, smoking while walking caused you to inhale more of the cancerous stuff than if you were sitting or lying down. And boy oh boy, did it piss Irma off every time she felt like lighting up while on the move.
Like now. It was nine in the evening and still 90 degrees with no wind. She was on her way home from work, every inch of her body clammy from standing all day in a clothing store—one that didn’t allow its employees to smoke, not even in the bathroom—and she couldn’t enjoy a goddamn cigarette without being haunted by some factoid her mother had read in a magazine 20 years ago.
“Christ,” she said, lighting the cigarette.
The first few drags tasted like heaven, but then she started getting an itch in her throat. Constantly talking to customers had left her throat feeling dry as emery.
Continue reading Faceless
Girl in Amber
by Melody Sage
Sparse houses that once belonged to farms lined the highway like knots on a rope indicating leagues at sea. Forests of thin white pines and silvery poplars engulfed the old fields. Wanderers had to be mindful of rusted barbwire hidden in the grass.
In the ditch, Amber and Billy picked fistfuls of weeds for their mothers: daisies, yarrow, and Queen Anne’s lace. Pale, frilly flowers that smelled medicinal.
They lived a mile apart and rode their bikes every afternoon to meet at the river. In actuality, it was a metal culvert with a trickling stream, but they called it a river. The water cascaded into the depths of a clear, glint-flecked, ale-colored pool. Like a diorama or a slide on a microscope, it was all the more captivating for its miniature scale, a kingdom of dappled light.
They had collected grayed wood and car parts to make a shelter. Inside, they kept supplies—bottles of iced tea and rain-swollen paperbacks. They harbored an elaborate fantasy, one they were almost too old for, that someday they would run away together and live there.
Continue reading Girl in Amber
Now that Acidic Fiction has entered its second calendar year, I have begun the process of preparing the first Acidic Fiction anthology. My plan is to publish two anthologies a year containing the best stories published on the site in the previous six months. The Spring 2015 anthology will contain stories from July to December 2014, the Fall 2015 anthology will contain stories from January to June 2015, and so on. Any of the 32 stories that were published on the site last year will be eligible for inclusion in the first anthology.
The Spring 2015 anthology will be released simultaneously as a paperback and Amazon Kindle e-book. I am looking into other e-book formats and distribution channels, but I haven’t decided which ones I will use. I also haven’t decided which stories to select (or how many), but I imagine the anthology will contain about 13 stories. When I choose the stories, I will notify the authors of those stories via email with more information. After the authors are paid the flat anthology rate for their stories, the remaining proceeds from anthology sales will go toward maintaining the website and payments for future authors.
Since I’ve now said “anthology” nine times, I will address a couple of other things.
First, I have been receiving a consistent stream of good stories and I’ve been responding to each submission with as much feedback as I feel I can reasonably provide. I’m very pleased that the site has been able to draw in so many submissions. Second, I’ve finally caught up with the holiday backlog of magazine work (and my own work), so I can continue making progress on several different projects, including Acidic Fiction.
Finally, there is the matter of finances. When I started the magazine, I set aside a budget for one year of stories, including the additional cost of one anthology. This year, my goal is for the magazine to begin earning money with anthology sales, and if necessary, other sources of income like donations or advertisements. The next six months will essentially determine the short- and long-term future of the magazine. In the meantime, I am slowly but surely drawing in more readers and followers on social media.
I’m always available to answer reader questions, so feel free to contact me if you have any other concerns: Contact the Editor
by Voss Foster
Her house was nothing to be noticed by normal people. At most, someone might glance at it and wonder why someone had built down there, between the two hills. As they whipped along the highway in far too much of a hurry, they might even try to imagine what it looked like before time had worn it down to rough, splintered wood. Those imaginings weren’t grand and weren’t expected to be.
The house was a shack—in the most complimentary of lights—guarded by a pair of gnarled trees. It sat at the edge of a drainage field, or perhaps a bog, to the most optimistic viewers. Neither option was pleasant nor open to grandeur, but the trickle of those imaginings was enough to keep Sazir alive, if not happy. She hadn’t been happy for hundreds of years.
She moved as little as possible, conserving her energy, storing it in boxes and jars around the walls of the shack so she would have it for the occasional drought later on. She’d been around long enough to expect them and too close to dying to not prepare.
Continue reading Wonder
by A.F. Runyon
It looked like Phillip and it talked like Phillip. It made love and did the dishes just like Phillip. When it played with the kids, it laughed, joked, and reprimanded just like Phillip. After a time, I began to forget the funeral and that horrible night when I lost the real Phillip. He had been so young, and there was no way that any loving god would have cursed our family to be without him. That’s why we had enlisted in the program in the first place.
We had gone over our finances and taken out the necessary loan before going into the Yamashita Cybernetics Lab to get the small neural recorders placed in our frontal lobes. The recorder would act as a sponge of perceptions and reactions throughout our daily lives, and if one of us should ever die in some untimely manner, a full-scale replica could be made with the information uploaded into it. It just so happened that it was Phillip who went first.
It was a simple thing that took him. He was leaving the office for some coffee and a muffin, and then a perfectly ordinary young woman in a hurry to reach some appointment or other had smashed into him at 40 miles per hour, and then he was gone.
Continue reading Unlocking Fantasy
Cry to the Sirens
by Mira Domsky
I slam the back door of the club and lean against the brick wall. It’s rough and cold against the exposed skin of my back, and my toes ache inside my high heels. The alley behind the club is dark, with only one orange sodium light fixed to the wall above me.
I’m still furious with Lucas, the cheating bastard, and I need a cigarette. I’m fishing in my purse when I hear the sound, like someone chewing something juicy with their mouth open. I lick my lips and turn toward the sound.
The creature looks up at me with an almost human face. It’s smeared with gore, and its clawed hands scrabble at the bloody mess on the concrete. I catch my breath. It fixes wet black eyes on me, then begins to croon sweetly. Its hair smooths from a matted mane to glossy chestnut locks. Its cadaverous face freshens, plumps into that of a woman with smooth skin, high cheekbones, and large, wet, black eyes. It blinks long lashes at me coquettishly, but there is still blood dripping from its pouting lips.
Continue reading Cry to the Sirens
by Kristi Brooks
The fluorescent lights of the 24-hour post office reflected off Tommy’s bleached mullet as the overweight lady behind the counter continued stamping the packages of drug money. Her skin was pocked from years of acne, and the flab on the underside of her arm jiggled a little every time she moved. Tacked to the wall next to her was a picture of two chubby children who looked just as disgruntled as she did. Tommy looked back to his box of packages and tried not to think about what the conception had been like.
The packages didn’t contain bundles of money, but rather porn DVDs with evocative titles like Double the Pleasure and Blow It. Neither he nor his boss really cared about the movies. In fact, it was likely Tommy would receive these same DVDs back in less than a month. No, it was the 100-dollar bills taped on the back of each one—inside the case, but carefully tucked behind the insert—that interested them. This time however, Darlin’ Joe was only going to receive part of his money. Tommy had decided it was time to go out on his own.
His fingers drummed against the hard, gray Formica as the woman continued at turtle-like speed. Each envelope was addressed to one of 10 different P.O. Boxes that were scattered throughout the northeastern states. Once a week, the packages were gathered and taken directly to Darlin’ Joe. The man was a recluse who barely left his high-rise apartment, especially during the day. His pale, blotchy skin spoke volumes of his fear of all things sun related. It was an unusual fear, but it was nothing compared to the man himself.
Continue reading Fine Print