Monday, November 17, 2008

Caution: Dark Turn Ahead

Introducing Mutt Ploughman’s second serialized short story, coming soon

For only the second time, Mutt Ploughman will be presenting a serialized short story exclusively to Secret Thread readers in the coming weeks. This is a return to an experiment I tried once over three years ago, in September 2005, right on this blog, with the serialization of my short story “Start Something”. That tale’s conclusion was a little on the dark side, but overall the story was not intended to be bleak: it was about a man trying to locate his creative voice, and the false limitations we sometimes put on ourselves in attempting to discover our true calling. The problem for the protagonist was that he made his discoveries too late, and became victim of a random act of meaningless violence.

Dark as that seems, that’s nothing compared to the new story, which I can honestly say is my first-ever Gothic tale in nearly 19 years of writing creatively. I have never written a flat-out horror story in my life, and while I’m not sure this one qualifies, it is intended to be a dark tale, as its subtitle will suggest. The story is called “Suicide Station”, and will consist (hopefully, subject to change) of four sections, the first of which, “The Dead Ravine”, will hopefully be posted here in about three or four weeks, give or take. Before the end of the year, anyway.

(Is something going on here with the letter ‘s’?? After all, my second serialized short story, a series that started, appropriately, with “Start Something”, is followed by “Suicide Station”. What in blazes is going on here????)

Anyway, here is a brief teaser:

In “Suicide Station”, a man lays down to sleep next to his wife in his suburban home, but wakes up alone, wrapped in a cardboard box, lying on cracked, brittle ground in a world of unimaginable desolation. Surely he has dreamed up this terrifying place. But what if the place itself has dreamed him – and everything and everyone he has known? What if the ‘real’ world is cataclysmically different from our own, where the destruction we all fear has been in progress for centuries, where synthetic “gods”roam the empty landscape hunting for any remaining human survivors, and where only four “waystations”exist to transport the ones still alive from the reality back into the dream? The man locates one of these survivors – a woman who tried to save her son many years agofrom what was coming – and who needs his help to find him again. Together, they move towards a huge black obelisk across an arid landscape, where their fate awates.

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