So here’s a real chestnut. A rarely-seen story that I wrote an early draft of in college, when the title was, I believe, “A Dog’s Life.” It was revised and published as “The Poodle Next Door” in the 1999 anthology Tails from the Pet Shop, edited by Tina Jens for Twilight Tales.
If I was a rock band, this would definitely be a rarity B-side from “the early years.”
It’s the scary season, so enjoy this Free Story, “It Ain’t Much to Brag About, but It’s All Mine.” A pretty much straightforward horror story about a girl and her pet monster, it was (heavily) inspired by watching the Night Gallery episode “Brenda” when I was a little kid (Which, itself, was an adaptation of a Margaret St. Clair short story by the same name). Also, I shamelessly swiped something from my favorite T.E.D. Klein novella, “Petey,” (in Dark Gods) to use for dramatic effect at a break.
At a whopping 9,000 words(!), it’s a longer read, but I think, in this case, the extra details from the highly suspect perspective of the little girl add much of the fun. Originally published in the great anthology Book of Dead Things, this story was reprinted in How to Die Well.
It’s a brand new year, so time for a brand new free story. This is a longer one, written specifically for How to Die Well. I’d like to think of it as a little bit sad, a little bit hopeful–sort of like the way to perhaps approach 2017.
The calendar turns to September and autumn is in the air. This also seems like a good time to update the “Free Story” section of this website. We have decided to reach WAY back in the archives for a story I wrote while an undergrad in college, way back when dinosaurs still ruled the earth. It’s called “The Wishing Rock,” and if anything, it proves that, back then, I was much better at succinct titles that pretty much sum up the entire story.
“The Wishing Rock” plus 20 other fun and exciting stories are available in How to Die Well.
In case you missed it, you can read the story for free by clicking here.
Maybe it was being forced to watch that motherfucking, traumatizing The Red Balloon movie when I was in elementary school, or maybe it was watching the helium-filled balloons my parents got me slowly lose altitude and then shrivel and die until they looked like something out of Lifeforce (and not Mathilda May), but I never really cared for balloons. Sure, I liked filling them up with water and chucking them at friends, enemies, and anonymous cars driving through our neighborhood, but they were never a big source of joy.
So, eventually, I got around to writing a story about balloons. It was originally published in How to Die Well, but now you can read it for free on the site right here.
It has been an eventful last few months, but nothing stops the diligent workers at CuriousStories.com from delivering the occasional “free story.” This one is a perfect fit for summer fun, so we are running it again. Please enjoy, compliments of the management, “Highsmith Beach,” which you can find either by clicking on the “Free Story” tab, or by following this link. The story was first published in the collection How to Die Well.
Doing my part to help folks combat the seemingly endless winter that is sweeping most of the US of A, I made a rare visit to the long-slumbering Curious Stories site, and dropped in a “new” free story that hopefully will help all the humans trapped inside kill a few moments of cabin fever.
“New” is in quotes because this story was written a very long time ago (so long ago, it was composed on an IBM Selectric typewriter). The reason I am giving that information out is that a large part of this story involves mocking (then) current advertising slogans, jingles and other consumer-targeted nonsense. For people who do not recall those, or never experienced them in the first place, the story may seem even more incoherent than usual from me.
Similarly, the painful wincing at the prose of a much younger and self-righteously earnest me strongly suggested that I revise this story to at least minimize personal embarrassment. However, I have elected to let it appear in all the story’s original glory, figuring it is of more interest as a snapshot of a different time. (Oat bran muffins, anyone?) Besides, it is, after all a FREE story, and–as we all know–free stories, like free advice, are typically worth exactly what one paid for them.
Anyway, with that caveat, onward. You can get to the story by clicking the “Free Story” tab above, or by just clicking here to open a new window.
Howdy, hope everyone is enjoying the days up to the best holiday of the year….
I am so excited, I have even added a bonus FREE STORY to the site. It is the outro story from last year’s collection HOW TO DIE WELL. Actually, it is almost a novella, so even better. It is one of the more recent stories I have written, about Ed, Grace, their dog Box and maybe the end of the world…for people, at least. It is called “Hospeace (take this joy wherever you go)” and I hope you enjoy it and have a wonderful Halloween.
What a pleasant surprise to be going through the pages of Cemetery Dance #71 and to come across a review for HOW TO DIE WELL. Cemetery Dance is a favorite magazine, and the real king of horror-dark suspense publications, so to be featured in its pages with some nice stuff being said about the collection is pretty sweet. Many thanks to CD for the very kind review. In lieu to a link of the review, here is a link to an Instagram photo of Sophie wondering why I was whooping just looking at a magazine:Sophie and Cemetery Dance