Norm begins this with a warning concerning graphic violence and gore. We return to one of the Drabblecast’s favorite topics, the Zombie Apocalypse. The theme receives a fresh airing, which is just as well, as it was starting to smell. Sal Lemerond, veteran of the horror webzine “Necrotic Tissue,” posits the connection between drug addicts and zombies, in a 100-word drabble. Norm chimes in with a tasty public service announcement about the nutritional value of your brain on drugs. In the feature story, J. Alan Pierce whose work has appeared in Kaleidotrope, as well as twice on the Drabblecast (#18 “The One that Got Away” and #31 “Beekeepers”) – takes us through a zombie plague via the eyes of an early victim. The condition first manifests as Synthesesia, the scientific name for the ability to taste colors, smell sounds, and other bizarre sensory hallucinations. The story culminates in a family dispute and a choice betrayal.
Tag: apocalypse (Page 1 of 5)
Glum weather in Baltimore inspires Norm to treat us all to a pair of melancholy stories. In Shane Shennen’s Drabble, “Ancient Apple Tree,” the passing of an old, faithful robot is mourned by nary an organic eye. Next, accomplished writer Mike Resnick (who appears in Drabblecast #67, “Malish,” and #102 “The Last Dog”) bases a sad tale of attrition and mourning on the traditional song “Old Blue.” Accompanied by Norm’s gentle rendition of the song, the story describes the mutual loyalty of a hermit and his canine companion in a harsh season. A grateful Norm confesses to his love of dogs after the song and story conclude. This is followed by feedback for Episodes #88 (“The Toys of Peace”) and #89 (“Starry Night”), which is generally positive.
Author Jay Lake knew about the devil and he knew about the clowns. When his story, Clown Eggs, first appeared on the Drabblecast, listeners said things like “This might be, hands-down, the weirdest story I’ve ever heard on [The Drabblecast]. I think I’m going to have nightmares forever. Can I send my therapy bills to you guys?” (Thanks, Talia)
In other words, people loved it.
Since then, the Drabblecast has produced three other outpourings from Jay’s singular vision of the world (or a world – or some worlds, but hopefully not our own). In fact, Jay’s last professional sale was “The Goat Cutter,” Drabblecast 321, the story from last April about the Devil in Texas. You remember that story- you can’t forget it, even though you’ve tried.
Jay lost his battle with cancer on Sunday, June 1, 2014. In tribute to Jay, we’re kicking off Drabbleclassics with several weeks of Jay Lake’s stories.
And now: Episode 115, Clown Eggs, first published May 25th, 2009.
The spring tide rolled across Momus Beach, tossing the flaccid corpses of clowns like so many torn balloons. Weathered to a dispirited pallor, they twisted in the foamy surf with the eternally surprised expressions of the dead..
The Drabble describes either an apocalyptic event, or a simple machine. The feature introduces us to old “bull” clown Uncle Swarmy. It’s not just another day at the beach. Learn more about the clown life cycle than you’re comfortable with!
It is July 31, your birthday, and I can’t reach you. I’ve been trying all day, but the cell networks are down, the internet is down. I even tried a pay phone–there are two left in town that I know of, and I collected all of my change and walked to the 76 in the village. It was on fire. I watched it for a while from a distance as it painted a brown, toxic streak across the sky. It was a long walk back to the house, or what’s left of it. My feet hurt, and it was too quiet.
The water fountains are low. The lockers are empty. The summer air is warm but there are people in the classrooms. People are talking, are moving. A female emerges from the nearest classroom. She is fully grown. She has dyed hair and competing odors and all of her teeth. Showing her teeth, she asks, “Are you the teacher?”
“YES. YES, I AM.”
She wants to believe those words. What she sees isn’t what she expects, but this woman believes in authority. She wants to get along with others. Showing her teeth, she says, “My son is thrilled to get into your class. He loves the outdoors and doing outdoor things . . . fishing and all that. . . .”
“You’ll do the field trip Thursday, right? To the woods?” She waits a moment and then says, “I can take some of the kids, if you need an extra car.”
“I DON’T NEED A CAR.”
“But I’d like to come along. I mean, I’ve heard such good things about you. My friend Rita . . .” She stops talking, trying to find a reason for her nervousness.
“I MUST GO AND TEACH YOUR SON.”
It was just a whiff, a few molecules of something familiar and therefore sweet, wafting on a late afternoon breeze that otherwise carried only the usual: formaldehyde, benzene, dioxin, chromium, and miscellaneous particulate matter both organic and non-. (Once, there had been the smell of roasting chestnuts and crackling logs and simmering spiced cider, but in recent cycles only less pleasant things burned.) There, represented by an air sample just barely statistically significant, was the scent of Sophie.
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