IN THIS ISSUE:
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issue’s Name in Lights goes to a dear friend
and Allegory associate editor, Jackie Kessler. Jackie
is the author of a dozen published novels, including the wonderful Hell's
Belles and amazing Riders
of the Apocalypse series. Her recently published To
Bear an Iron Key is one of the most beautifully constructed
YA fantasy novels I’ve ever come across and I recommend it highly.
by Ty Drago
Allegory (called Peridot Books once upon a time) was founded by Yours Truly in June of 1998. At the time, Bill Clinton was being impeached, “Saving Private Ryan” was on its way to winning the Oscar, the New York Yankees won the World Series (again), the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl for the first time (after losing it four previous times), and the top rated television show was “Friends.” The Internet was only six years old and the iPhone wouldn’t be introduced for another four years.
In other words: a long time ago.
For a while – quite a while – I published four issues per year, six stories per issue. Those were the Peridot Books days. I don’t mind telling you that the schedule was grueling, especially when you consider I had a full-time job and a writing career I was desperately trying to launch.
Well, around 2006, my writing career actually did launch. So around that time, Peridot Books changed its name to Allegory, and went from four issues a year to three. To even things out, I upped the number of stories per issue from six to eight, thus ensuring that I would publish the same number of stories (twenty-four) each year as I always had before.
Now, it’s nine years later.
Folks, I still have a full-time job, as well as a writing career which is doing quite well for itself. Add that to the fact that I am now, well, let’s say I’m a “man of a certain age” and leave it at that. The time has come to make another change.
With this issue, Allegory launches a new bi-annual publications schedule. That’s right: this e-zine will be released only twice a year going forward, on May 1st and November 1st of each year. However, I’m also increasing the number of stories published in each issue from eight to twelve – so, once again, the total annual number of published stories will remain steady at twenty-four.
As before, we will not buy ahead. Each issue will remain a self-contained process. The submission periods each year will be open from May 1st through June 30th and November 1st through December 31st. This will leave us time to stay current with the tremendous influx of stories and articles we receive from all over the world.
And it will allow me to take the occasional breath.
For those of you who might grouse at this news, I should point out that my wife of twenty-four years (almost, as of this writing) thinks it’s high time I give this e-zine up altogether. But I’m just not ready to do that.
Allegory soldiers on.
Though, rather like her founder, she ain’t as young as she used to be!
Blue Blood Lady"
Not until my parents were nestled comfortably in the family crypt did I attempt my first murder. If nothing else, I wanted to spare my mother’s reputation. Ladies who lunch frown on women with homicidal progeny.
The moment I formally inherited the estate, I fired our cache of servants. From the cook who crafted the world’s best crème brûlée to the maid who practically raised me, their tears over the unceremonious dismissal haunted the hallways long after the rooms went vacant. But at least free-range servants had a sporting chance.
The chauffeur examined me over his glasses. “You’ll be sorry you let us go, Miss Beverly.”
“And you’ll be sorry if you stay.”
and Maternal Instincts"
I tried not to stare at her taut maroon skin, her too-long fingers, her high cheek bones. She watched me fiddle with my wedding rings.
"You don't have to stay." Her voice was reluctant as she continued, "If this is making you uncomfortable, I mean."
With threadbare resolve I looked into her eyes, "No,
I'm glad to see you..." I cleared my throat. "Your father
told me that it wouldn't be possible to see you after the birth. I thought
I'd never know what became of you." I added, "I'm glad to
see you well."
She smiled with my teeth again. It wasn't as unnerving this time.
I ventured, "How old are you now?" I corrected myself, "I mean, I know how old you are, but how close are you to being, uhm, an adult? You'd be old enough to vote now, if you were human--" The word choked in my throat. I didn't mean to make it sound like she wasn't my child. Like I thought she was some stranger.
Among the Stars"
She sensed the humans before she could see their vessel. The flow of emotions from their minds was the first familiar thing she had experienced in this place. It guided her like a beacon and she sped to the source.
The ship was nothing like the ships she and Dynamene had aided. But what she felt from the people within it was clear. Hope. Fear. Prayer.
The prayers were not to her. The women and men prayed
to the same gods as the sailors of the new ships which ventured on Earth's
seas. But the words of their prayers were as well-known to her as the
currents of the Aegean. "Please let us get home safely."
Czech is in the Mail"
man finally noticed the tube and looked at it with a curious expression,
“That thing is for hunting the demon?”
The man finally noticed the tube and looked at it with a curious expression, “That thing is for hunting the demon?”
Xanthae nodded and smiled, tapping the barrel of the tube and nearly
sending Nevine into a spin in the process, “This is my own invention,
a rapid-recharge electromagnetic burst machine. Demons hate them.”
Xanthae nodded and smiled, tapping the barrel of the tube and nearly sending Nevine into a spin in the process, “This is my own invention, a rapid-recharge electromagnetic burst machine. Demons hate them.”
The man looked quite impressed, “And works well it does, whatever
The man looked quite impressed, “And works well it does, whatever
I hear the crash of breaking glass and a muffled “Shit.” The bartender clutches his right hand with his left and raises them both to eye level. A single bead of blood trails down his forearm.
I should have done something. Should have said something to the bartender. But there's really nothing I could have done. Nothing I could have said.
“Does it hurt?” asks Odyne.
“I think it's cut pretty deep.” The bartender
holds the wounded hand out for Odyne to see.
Mark on the Soul"
“Ms. Holland, you advertise yourself as being able to capture someone’s essence. And you claim to transfer it onto a canvas so the painting bears the marks of age and sin but the subject doesn’t,” May Fredericks said, scanning the works-in-progress on my pristine, white walls. She was tall and curvy, with dark features and long hair, reminding me of a Greek goddess more than a journalist.
I wiped my clammy hands against my black skirt, reminding myself this interview would surely bring me more clients. I had nothing to fear from this woman.
“You also claim—”
“I don’t claim,” I said, feeling a hint of annoyance. “I deliver.”
Very Dynamic Field"
“What is it now, Mr. Damon?” asked Ms. Khan, English.
“Gene sequencing. They dug out the root causes for three new diseases. My lessons are out of date now,” he rued.
“Well, the march of science...right?” piped in Mr. Dillon, Mathematics.
“I wish it would march on after the school year. Now I’ll have to requisition the school board to see if they want anything on the syllabus changed. What a pain.” He grabbed some coffee from the machine. It was awful, but everyone in the teachers’ lounge had reluctantly agreed that bad coffee was better than no coffee. “Just gets me how much my stuff changes...,”
“And mine doesn’t?” asked Mr. Landon, Physics.
“Or mine?” chimed in Ms. Janos, Chemistry.
Food Fish Fatale"
I didn't notice her until I was fairly close, and when
her image finally broke into my conscious mind I entertained and discarded
multiple theories as to what she was. At first I thought she was a beached
porpoise. Then I thought perhaps she was a dead seal. Then I concluded
that she was a bloated corpse, some poor bastard who had run afoul of
the type of business people who deal with their personnel issues by
partially immersing them in concrete and dumping them off the most convenient
Around the Corner"
“So, Edgar,” I prompted. Always “Edgar,”
never “Ed.” He’d correct anyone who called him “Ed,”
in a flat voice that wasn’t combative, but certainly brooked no
argument. “What’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever
Except for the whisper of the air conditioner, the beeping
of machinery and the soft breathing of the patients, the cancer ward
was silent. My eight-year-old Sarah lay sleeping in her room. She looked
so pale and still, like a little bird. She was a shell of her former
self. I longed to scoop her into my arms and hold her. But she was too
delicate. The IVs and monitors were holding her now, keeping alive my
Noche de Los Muertos"
The Calacas were coming.
this issue we're doing things a little differently. Instead of short
Allegory deals with submissions in the way that, as far as I know, remains fairly unique in the publishing world. Each story is individually reviewed and, if considered publishable, is placed in our "Maybe" pile. At the end of each submission period, these "Maybes" are reviewed, and the best eight chosen to appear in the next issue. This final cut is made on the basis of issue balance, and does NOT reflect the overall quality of these stories.
That said, here - in no particular order - are the "Maybes" who just missed publication in Allegory. Each one is a fine tale that we would have been proud to publish. Remember these names, friends and fellows. You'll be hearing from them in the future. I guarantee it!
Death Watch by Richard Flores IV
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