Tag Archives: flash fiction

Writing Slump and This Well So Deep

In case you were wondering, I have not fallen off the face of the planet or gone tumbling down the trenches of a deep well. You could say I have fallen into a bit of a writing slump, and that does feel something like falling into a well, I suppose. This ‘slump’ has not only affected my blog and social networking activity, but also my personal writing projects. And this comes less than a month after I declared a daily writing goal for myself. Which by the way, was going really good for the first two weeks–I exceeded the goal on 9 out of 14 days–but then I ‘fell’ and haven’t written any new words for over a week and a half. Well, aside from some journal scribbles and a poem or two. But fear not, the goal is not dead, just a bit wounded. And if indeed I am trapped at the bottom of some deep lonesome well, I’m pretty sure Lassie isn’t coming, so I’m gonna have to find a way to climb out on my own.

I’ll attribute this slump to distractions in life which have made it exceedingly difficult to get my head into writing. It’s easy to find excuses, and it’s not difficult at all to find distractions and let them detour you from the writing path. But such things are necessary for me to move forward in life and provide for my family. Right now I’m charging to the end of a four year journey which will culminate in becoming a Radiologic Technologist. This means scrambling to meet the last of the program qualifications, studying for test after test in preparing for the national registry, and I now have the added stresses of trying to find a job, because sadly, there will be no more money handed to me for education (and most of that money will have to be paid back). In actuality, it feels like these tracks I’m speeding along are sending me straight into a brick wall–or to the bottom of a brick well, as it were.

Yesterday brought a bit of disappointing news to pile on to all this. Twisted Library Press announced they must cancel the majority of their upcoming anthologies due to the economic crisis. This includes the zombie-themed, Through the Eyes of the Undead II, which was slated to include my story Fleshward Bound. It always hurts to hear about any small press closing or making significant cutbacks, and it stings even more when it affects you personally. Oh well, I found a potential home for the story once,  so I know I can do it again.

To end on a more positive note: my entry into MicroHorror’s annual story contest was accepted for publication yesterday and is now available to read here: This Well So Deep. It’s a chilling little story about a boy who falls into a well (see there was a point to all this well stuff!). The theme for the contest this year is water, and this is my first time entering. I must say it was fun writing for it, and I produced a story that otherwise would not have come into existence. There are loads of great entries so far, so stop by, have a read, and get immersed in some terrific watery horror!

Oh, and I hope you are all doing quite well.

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The Swarm

Things here have slowed a bit over the last couple weeks as I work toward putting together a more regular posting schedule. I should have all that figured out soon. In the meantime, I’d like to leave you with a short short story in the spirit of the harvest season.

(Originally published in Daily Bites of Flesh 2011: 365 Days of Horrifying Flash Fiction by Pill Hill Press, and also appears on MicroHorror.com.)

Enjoy!

The Swarm

By Wesley Dylan Gray

The swarm came with cruel ferocity. Countless bands of nymphs had merged to create the mighty force of locusts. This vicious militia from the wilds held an insatiable hunger. They tore into my crop like a buzz saw, reaping, stripping it clean as they moved throughout the field. The haunting chatter of their monotonous chewing resonated through the air, a constant reminder of my inability to end their wake of devastation.

But my crops are my livelihood. So I found a way: an experimental brew of pesticide which I ordered from overseas. The purpose of the concoction was not to kill directly, but to alter their desires. It soaks deep into their core to change their appetites. Once the bug juice took effect, the object of their cravings was no longer my vegetations.

Soon after I dusted the crop, the swarm departed the field, rising up like a wisp of fog. It hovered in the sky momentarily, seemingly confused. The black haze swirled for hours and I watched it dance, listened to it sing. It twisted about as if to leave, then swayed listlessly, letting the autumn breeze churn it left and right across the gray skyline.

At last the mass of insects tightened up and I knew it had forged a purpose. It formed into a point, like a grim arrow plunging toward the horizon, forking the air, cutting it to form a ragged scar. It bypassed the field of corn, overshooting the crops to settle with complete violence upon my pasture of cattle. The sorrowing sounds of agony rose into the air, joined by the red mist as black and white flesh was flayed from bone. The swarm cut deep into the bovine herd, devouring every organ, bringing every last ounce of tissue to harvest. It left nothing but the bones, perfectly clean bones, gleaming, and polished to absolute whiteness.

Again the swarm ascended the ashen sky, a black shroud that blotted the sun like a thick stain of ink.

I stand now within its shadow. The wind has shifted to my direction. The ravenous army looks hungry, and I know it aims to feed.


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