Walking After midnight by C S Fuqua

Walking After Midnight is a new collection by Chris Fuqua.

“More than 30 years in the making,Walking after Midnight is a literary trove, collecting 61 stories of award winning dark fantasy, horror, southern gothic, science fiction, and mainstream fiction—tales that mine the depths of character—how we fail and triumph, accept and reject others and ourselves, and light the darkest recesses of our souls.”

Check out the title story at Dunesteef Audio Fiction:

Episode 59: Walking After Midnight by C.S. Fuqua

https://www.amazon.com.au/Walking-after-Midnight-Collected-Stories-ebook/dp/B01MEHVEHG

Eerie Coincidence in Kew Cemetery

My day job is as a courier which normally keeps me busy, picking up and delivering throughout the suburbs. But on one particular day about 20 years ago things were quiet, so being nearby I decided to go for a walk in Boroondara General Cemetery which is in the Melbourne suburb of Kew. I had a two-way radio slung over my shoulder in a leather pouch, and had one ear listening in case I was called for a job. But for the moment all I heard were conversations between base and other couriers.
 
Walking along the cemetery’s main path I spotted up ahead an ornate tomb of white marble columns surrounded by a low wall. Obviously someone had had a lot of money in life. I wandered over to see who it’d been.
 
As I leaned over the tomb wall to read the bronze plaque inside I heard a courier say over my two-way, “I’ve just picked up from Symes,” which is a big magazine publisher here in Melbourne and one of our major clients. A second later I read on the plaque, “David Symes” – the founder of the Symes magazine publishing company.
 
Feeling the hair standing up on the back of my neck I left the cemetery in a hurry.

Hunger in a suburban graveyard

One morning many years ago when I was working as a bike courier I hit the road, not a cent in either my pocket or bank account, and with about 70 K worth of fuel in the bike. But it was payday and all would be soon set right. At around 11 am I did a delivery to a north-eastern suburb. It’d been a slow day up until then, and as nothing was forthcoming on the PDA – a hand-held gizmo that gave out work as text on its screen – it looked like continuing that way. I checked my bank account on my phone: nothing yet. OK, so I wheeled off to a cemetery about a kilometre away to indulge my hobby of necrotourism – wandering graveyards – while waiting for the money to arrive, which I hoped would be soon as by then I had about 6 K of fuel left, and I couldn’t do any further work until I refuelled. In this cemetery I found the first centenarian I’d ever come across, a Chinese woman who’d lived from 1899 to 2001. Further along I found a grave with three oranges placed in a bowl, an offering for the dead. I wandered on, finding graves of young people which always upsets me. “Why are you under a stone when life has just begun?” I think. People in their twenties – a photo of a young woman on the tombstone – teenagers, children. Very upsetting.

Equally upsetting is that another check of my account shows my pay still hasn’t come in. And now the dispatcher is telling me to head back into town. As I have no fuel to do this I call in with pretended engine trouble and I’m taken off the roster. I sit by the cemetery gate and check the account and wait and check and wait …

By 1 pm the lack of lunch is starting to make itself felt. With some hesitancy born of superstitious qualms I go back into the cemetery and eventually find the grave with the bowl of oranges. With a whispered “Forgive me” I take one. (Always be polite to the dead. You don’t want them coming back in the middle of the night gibbering at the foot of your bed demanding the return of their oranges.) Back at the bike by the gates I cut the orange in half using a pair of scissors from my tool bag. It’s fresh and sweet and really hits the spot. (The orange, not the tool bag.)

As it gets toward 2pm with still no money in the bank I head off in the direction of home, knowing it’s impossible to reach with what little petrol I have left. About 5 K on I park outside a service station and continue my wait. And as I wait an unreasoning panic starts to creep up on me: What if the money doesn’t come in at all? What if there’s been a glitch with the computers at the bank? What if they’re paying me by cheque this week and haven’t told me? How will I get the bike home? There’s nothing in the cupboards, so how will I eat? (There’s only so many graveyards I can steal oranges from.)  Then at 2.30 I check the account one last time and find a whole heap of money there. Thankfully I wheel the bike up to the pumps and fill the tank to the brim. I then go into the service station and buy a steak and mushroom pie, a carton of iced coffee and a chocolate bar. Food of the Gods!

It’s so late in the afternoon by now there’s no point signing back on for work. I head off down the road and spend a blissful hour at a cybershop.

And that is how grave robbing saved me from certain starvation … or at least possible malnutrition. It was just a shame about the gibbering spectre at the foot of my bed that night demanding the return of the orange.

Rick

 

Parsec Awards Update

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Posted on behalf of Rick, by Rowena:
Over the past few years I’ve been having some success with podcasts, finding them a more receptive market than traditional print or even traditional e-print. Most of my fiction submissions these days go to these audio web productions, particularly as they’re open to reprints. A good way to recycle the back catalogue. Most of them pay token amounts or are freebies, but that’s OK. I’m in this more for the fame than for the fortune. Though I’ve never really considered my work as Young Adult, Cast of Wonders, a podcast which specializes in this sub-genre, has accepted several adventures of my gay space girl Cy De Gerch. (Because they’re YA I only send them the stories where the Sapphic element is non-existent or very low key, though it’s surprising what will pass for YA these days.) A couple of the Cy stories have also been done on the more adult orientated Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine.
Round about the middle of last year I happened upon a list of podcasts nominated for the 2013 Parsec Awards, what I think of as the podcast equivalent of the Hugo. (Are there Hugos for podcasts?) There in the single reader category was my Cast of Wonders story, “Now Cydonia.” Gosh! Further down in the multiple voice-actors category was my Dunesteef story, “The Road to Utopia Plain.” Golly! But as they were listed there among more than a hundred other worthy contenders I entertained no false fancies. A couple of weeks later Cast of Wonders emailed to say “Now Cydonia” had made the finalists. Looking, I was astonished to see “The Road to Utopia Plain” had also made the finalists. Now I was doing nothing but entertaining false fancies.
Anyway … both stories won in their categories. False fancies fulfilled. A week later on YouTube I saw the awards ceremony which had been held at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia. The one for “Now Cydonia” was presented by Sylvester McCoy, the last actor to play Doctor Who in the original series. As a child of the sixties who’d watched Dr Who from the very beginning, all I could think as I watched the presentation and heard my name uttered by the man himself was, “Sylvester McCoy … he’s rather short, isn’t he.”
My novel The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is now available via Amazon in both ebook and old school dead tree versions. Ernie Pine the Reluctant Ghost Hunter gets chased by a Thing … on several occasions. Hair raising! Skin freezing! Heart stopping! Mind boggling! Foot tapping … er, yes, there’s a couple of songs in it including that well known romantic ballad “I Enjoy Being a Ghoul.”
Blurb for The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
“I hate ghosts! I’ve played follow-the-leader with a bunch of dead men, fronted up to a demon with all my runes round the wrong way, been half strangled by a book illustration, nearly killed by a bunyip in a launderette washing machine. So when Raissa invited me to a séance I was sure was a fake but turned out to be real, I knew there could only be trouble for Ernie Pine. And there was – wedging a witch, an apprentice magician, an alcoholic Vietnam veteran and me all too literally between the devil and the deep blue sea …”

Whoohoo!

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Rick’s having problems with his internet server so he asked me to post this:

Ooooooo! Hold the bus!! News just in via the email magic of the portable-type telly-o-phone. My Cast of Wonders story “Now Cydonia” is a finalist in the Parsec Awards. Crikey, Struth, and Corh Blimey! The Parsecs will be awarded at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday 31st August.

Rick, floating up to the ceiling in a rose perfumed cloud

Rick looking Happy.

Rick looking Happy.

PS  Just checked the Parsec finalists’ page. “Now Cydonia” is there under “Best Speculative Fiction: Small Cast” (one or two voice actors). But scrolling down I find under “Best Speculative Fiction: Large Cast” (more than two voice actors) “The Road to Utopia Plain” by Dunesteef. Golly gosh! I have two stories as Parsec finalists. How insufferable is this going to make me!

Carnacki Ebook

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OUT NOW…but print format sold out! Available as eBook…

472 Cheyne Walk, Carnacki: the Untold Stories

by A. F. (Chico) Kidd and Rick Kennett

Although the print version is now sold out, the book is still available in eBook format from Ash Tree Press, a collection of twelve new adventures of William Hope Hodgson’s famous “ghost finder.”  Contents:  “The Darkness,” “Matheson’s Inheritance,” “The Silent Garden”, “The Case of the Grey Dog”, “The Steeple Monster”, “The Witch’s Room”, “The Roaring Paddocks”, “The Psychic Doorway”, “The Sigsand Codex”, “The Keeper of the Minter Light”, “Arkright’s Tale” and “The Gnarly Ship.”

For further inquiries, contact Ash Tree Press at P.O. Box 1360, Ashcroft, British Columbia, Canada, VOK lA0, or visit their website.