Saturday, August 28, 2010

Issue Two, Volume One

From the Editor's Desk,
     Welcome to issue two of Streets Ahead Magazine of Fiction. This issue contains more of very best in amateur writing. We here at SAM Headquarters have been very excited about working on the magazine and would like to thank Legend Fire Writing Forums for all the aid and assistance in making this happen.
     In news, we are opening are very first contest! It is the Fantastical Fantasy Fiction Contest of Extreme Awesomeness! We are accepting pieces for short fiction, flash fiction, poetry, and drama. The full rules for each are in the "Contest" link above the news box.
     The top winner for either the flash or short fiction contests will win a slide-show presentation of Quentin (co-editor) and I acting out the story. The winner of the poetry contest will win random objects from around the office. The winner of the drama contest will be honored by being the first Streets Ahead Radio Drama--in other news we are preparing to do a monthly radio drama podcast (stay tuned).
     Lastly I want to urge every able writer to send us your short fiction. We had a great out pouring of submissions for our first run and would love to see more. Thanks again for reading (and writing) and we hope you enjoy the issue!
Daniel (Kiddy) Pool
Giants and Pixies

Pushing and stomping me into the ground,
the giants don't stop when I cry with no sound.
They laugh and forget
not one inch of regret.
For they never quite knew
I was under their shoes.

Picking and jabbing until I submit,
the pixies keep pulling- no intention to quit.
I try to ignore their sharp little claws,
confused how they find every one of my flaws.
Maybe I should run or hide for a while,
but then they will know I gave in to their guile.

Everywhere something tries to dissuade
or push me away from my ceaseless crusade.
Without even asking to see how I feel
they stomp and they pick with all manner of zeal.
Firmly I stand with skin that is thick
ready to take every one of their kicks.

     Laurel Stark lives in California with her husband and rascal of a dog. She writes primarily short stories of a fantastical nature and is working on two novels of the same genre. This is her first published work.

Thump Thump 

Thump Thump.

     It’s kind of cute. I don’t know if I’d keep it with me forever though. It’s more like the boyfriend who goes stale after the third fuck.

Thump Thump.

     So I met this guy on the bus today. His eyebrows were unbalanced but it made him work, sort of like he is constantly questioning everything around him. If I see him again I just might say Hi.

Thump Thump.

     So I’m following the rule. No sighting thus far.  I’m going to cut my losses and move on to the subway. The veins of the underground pumping bloody people every which way so the cranium don’t crash. Effective.

Thump Thump.

     This morning it got louder. Not interesting louder, not good louder, a strange uncomforting louder, almost painful but not quite. Some guy at work gave me advice but his eyebrows were completely straight so I paid no mind. Maybe if I find the source I can shut it up. It’s gone from quirky to depersonalizing. Unfortunately I’m not a fan.

Thump Thump.

     There was a hole in the wall this time, naturally I’m getting nervous. What’s worse is the sound is now on the other side of the room. What does that even mean? That something is alive? Watching me? What happens when there’s no wall left? Will everything fall to nothing? Will the shit hit the fan? I suppose it couldn’t if it wanted to though, seeing as there’d be not ceiling for the fan to suck up to. God, I could do with some shit right now. 

Thump Thump.

     I was right next to it when a hole appeared this time. A man stood there, peering out and he had no eyebrows at all. I’m not going back. 

     Meredith McLean is in her final year of schooling in Australia. She has had a few stints with writing such as an article being published and winning a poetry slam contest. She hopes this site will send her into the orbit of the top dogs of writing. 

Wishful Thinking and Wondrous Actions.

      She left. He cries.

      About this Author

      Quentin Pongratz is an aspiring writer. He currently is living and attending school in Chickasha, Oklahoma. He is double-majoring in both mathematics and English. He likes to write quirky stories and just hopes that one day someone will take his writing serious and like him as a writer.

      Last Tuesday Quentin went to turn in his story to Daniel Pool, the editor of Streets Ahead Magazine.

      “So,” Quentin approached Daniel nervously the next day, “Do you like it?”

      “I’m going to be honest with you Quentin. I can’t publish this with a clear conscience.” Daniel stared intently at the floor. Daniel felt that if he broke eye contact with the floor their friendship would likewise break.

      “What’s wrong with it? I felt like I wrote a pretty stellar story.” A look of confusion and hurt crosses Quentin’s face. Then, realizing that the look had missed its mark, the look turned around and made for Quentin’s face. Upon reaching Quentin’s face the look stopped instead of crossing.

      None of this, however, was seen by Daniel. Daniel kept his staring contest with the floor. Seeing patterns he never saw before. Daniel found it quite interesting, but knew it was not the time for his thoughts to linger on the floor and broke his floor concentration without breaking his stare. “All of it is wrong,” he finally said.

      “All of it how?”

      “Well, first of all. It’s too short. You don’t convey much with how short it is. It would be super dumb to publish something that short.”

     "I could lengthen it," Quentin offered.

      “Could you?” It was a question to which he knew the answer.

      Quentin joined Daniel in staring at the floor. “No.” They stood and stared in silence for a few moments before Quentin made some noise and looked up at Daniel. “What else?”

      “The subject.”

      “What about the subject?”

      “Well, I’m aiming for the magazine to be about strange and fantastical stories. To stretch the limits of one’s imagination. To be, well, Streets ahead of normal stories.”

     “What’s wrong with mine then?”

     “It doesn’t do that. It’s about that girl you dated back in high school.”

     “It’s not about her. This is a fictional story.”

     “Is it? Are you sure about that?” A moment of silence passes. 

“Listen. I know she fucked up your heart and stuff. And I’m sure you can get some really emotional stuff out of that. But this is not it. Besides, this isn’t the type of story I want in there.”

      “I could make it more fantastical.”

      “Could you?” It was a question to which he knew the answer.


      “That’s what I thought.” A thought crossed Daniel’s mind after he made this statement. Here it is in its entirety: I should write story about this floor.

      “Anything else?” Quentin was hurt. He wasn’t so mad at Daniel, but himself. He knew it was a story he shouldn’t have submitted. He knew that when he was writing it. He knew when he was editing it. He knew when he went to go print it. He knew when he walked the distance to Daniel’s house. He knew when he put it in Daniel’s hand the previous Tuesday.

      “You switched tenses. That is all.” Daniel handed the piece of paper to Quentin.

      “I know,” Quentin said, not extending his hand to accept the paper.

      “What?” Daniel broke eye contact with the floor to look quizzically at Quentin.

      “I meant to do that.”

      “Oh.” Daniel pulled his hand back towards his body to examine the paper with newfound perspective. After a few seconds he repeats his vocalization of the exclamation. “And to think. For three years I just thought you were a crappy writer.”

      “You really thought that?”


      “That stings a bit.”

      “Sorry. I just… That’s the only thing you’ve ever written. Every time you want me to look at something, you give me this.”

      “It’s the only thing I can write. I’m stuck. I have been for years. I don’t know what it is. I just can’t get over this.”


      “Yeah. I don’t know what it is. I think I have some sort of writing disorder. I sit down to write and that is what comes out every time. I’ve tried many different things. I’ve plotted out so many different stories, but all I can actually write when it comes down to it is that story.”

      “I wouldn’t really call it a story. It’s more like two sentences.”

      “I’m serious, man. I can’t stop it.”

      “I think I know what you’re talking about. I have something similar.” Daniel paused before continuing.

      Quentin used this pause to interrupt with the question: “Really? What is it?”

      “If you hadn’t interrupted me I could already be telling you.”

      “Oh. Sorry.”

      “Okay. So, you have to promise to secrecy. I’ve never told anyone this, and I don’t really want this getting out.”

      “I promise not to tell.”

      “I,” it takes him a moment to work up the courage to tell Quentin. “I cannot write a story without including a character named Kent.”

      “As a first or last name?”

      “It can be either. But I have to have a person with the name of Kent in there somewhere, otherwise my stories just fall flat and don’t make any sense.”

      “But I’ve read a lot of your stuff. I don’t remember a Kent in any of them.”

      “I’ve learned to deal with it. I just make him a character that’s name isn’t known. Like the old nameless wizard in “Blind: The Legend of Mount Grant” or the baby that died soon after birth in “All Too Close.” I just work around it.”

      “Oh.” Quentin’s mouth keeps the shape of the letter long after the exclamation.

      “Listen, Quentin. I know she hurt you. I know it is something you’ll carry with you probably forever, but if you want to write, and I mean write seriously, you need to learn how to deal with it. Learn to work those into everything you write, and then maybe you’ll be able to write other things. Keep the emotions, change the characters. It doesn’t really matter in the end how you deal with it, but you need to deal with it.”

      The circular shape faded form Quentin’s face. “I think I get it now. Thanks Daniel.”

      “No problem.” He patted Quentin on the shoulder. “Now, go write me something I can be proud of.”

      “You mean you aren’t going to publish this?”

      “Hell no. No matter what just happened here, this is still a crappy story.”

      “You told me your secret though.”

      “That has nothing to do with the publication of your story.”

      “Actually. Now I can blackmail you into publishing it. If you don’t publish this story, I’ll tell everyone your secret.”

      Daniel sighed. “Thanks for being a crappy friend.”

      “Any time.”

      “Fine. You’ll get to go into the next issue.”

      Quentin smiled. “So, who is this Kent any way?”

      “Just some kid I was friends with in junior high. One time after school at my house we were playing cards and he lost. He claimed I cheated, but I hadn’t. He ran out of the house screaming at me. When he was out in the street he looked back at my house. I remember this next part very clearly. He lifted his hands to the sky. And a giant cloud funnel twisted down towards him. His eyes turned red, and his clothes were flapping in the wind. He yelled a few words in Latin and then said ‘You are cursed now and forever Daniel Pool. You will always remember me, and if you do anything that is not in my name it shall fail.”

      “Oh.” Quentin’s ‘oh’-shaped mouth returned. 


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Issue One; Volume One

From the Editor's Desk
     Welcome to Issue One, Volume One of Streets Ahead Magazine of Fiction. We here at SAM are pledged to bringing you the very best in up-and-coming writers and poets. This past two weeks have taught me much about being an editor and I would like to thank all of those who supported me from the Legend Fire Writing Community. Without their support and submissions this magazine would have never happened. Now on to the important stuff.

Daniel (Kiddy) Pool

     Our featured article this issue comes from Holly who lets her poetry do the talking for itself.

Distant Galaxies
By Holly

Distance galaxies swirl and dance
Worlds of light, dark and gray
Places foreign, yet familiar, wait
With secrets vast, appealing
Hidden beyond this mind’s eye
Memories for the making
Intangible becoming tangible
With soil beneath my feet
All in time, prediction becomes fact
Finally, a chime releases consciousness
The hibernation cycle ends. 

 The Ooze
By Tristan Hodgetts

“A Ghost Bunny”
By Brian Fatah Steele
Just so you know, I hate the bunny. 

      The bunny appeared about a month ago.  At first I thought it was cute.  Who wouldn’t like a little, adorable bunny floating around their living room?  I’m pretty sure it’s a ghost bunny.  Bunnies aren’t usually translucent and gliding about lampshades. 

      It started talking about two, maybe three weeks ago.  At first I didn’t understand it.  I thought perhaps I was being haunted by a lunatic.  But then the bunny informed me that it had realized that I didn’t speak Portuguese, so it switched to English.  Regardless, it still had an odd accent.  Especially for a bunny. 

      It would tell me things that I wasn’t really interested in.  It would recite lines from Bulfinch’s Greek Mythology or tell me about FDR’s childhood.  It would try and explain String Theory or tell me what the ingredients were in ketchup.  I was growing somewhat annoyed with the bunny. 

      At first I simply tried to ignore it, but that didn’t work at all.  I think it just liked to talk.  Maybe it couldn’t talk when it was alive.  I still wonder how it learned all those things.  I would try to drown out the bunny’s voice with music, but it would just talk louder.  Soon I just stopped going home so I wouldn’t have to see the bunny. 

      I went back after three days.  The bunny was very angry with me.  It said it wouldn’t let me pull a stunt like that again.  I tried to fight it off as it attacked me.  It burrowed its little bunny-self into my arm.  I thrashed around and slapped at my arm but it was too late; I had a bunny tattoo there now.  It talks to me all the time now, non-stop.   
      Just so you know, I hate the tattoo. 

ÓBRIAN FATAH STEELE   April 9th, 2010

About the Author
     Brian Fatah Steele lives in Ohio with two cats that are probably plotting his doom.  Surviving primarily on a diet of coffee and cigarettes, he usually writes a mix of Horror and Urban Fantasy, often with a “Post-Mythic” genre element. He has successfully littered the internet with stories and articles.

By Meredith McLean
     In an eerie little house on some anonymous street on another day in another year stood you. In the hallway, on the floor, fighting for the silence you’ll never achieve. You could hear the haggard man in the basement as he routinely turned to each window and spat out a desperate laugh that said he hadn’t been with a woman in years.

     You could hear the pacing of the unidentifiable creature trapped in the closet howling whenever it felt a memory pass by. Next door stood the bathroom enclosed by four walls and a mirror. It was occupied by a naked woman repeatedly banging her head on the singular, round mirror until her head smashed it into hundreds of pieces of refracted reflections, representing what was once her. But you did not dare go upstairs because you were very fearful of the second floor inhabitants. 

     You could swear the dead man in the kitchen with his scorched head rested neatly in the oven moved from time to time to get comfortable. And it was merely heart breaking to hear the wails of the twin children, a girl and a boy, locked in separate rooms. 

     All they could do was hammer their little fists and smear the walls with their tears. Of course, above that commotion was the attic. You couldn’t be certain but it seemed someone was up there singing like a songbird in a cage. Sometimes it sounded like a young man, on other days it felt an opera singing woman and occasionally it was almost as if an entire choir was in the ceiling’s tiny compartment. But at any given hour something was always there. 

     Now you knew you should’ve left. You could see the doorway beckoning you to safety but you asked yourself, “Where’s the fun in that?” Taking a course of fear, death and destruction is always far more entertaining then returning to the safety of nowhere. 

     So you removed any considerations for the preservation of your life and left them oozing and moaning on the hallway carpet. And now that you have no meanings, values, ideals, morals or supreme beliefs you are free to explore the house. Once you are in the dark you are capable to be enlightened and deformed. Most gloriously deformed.  

Chapter One: The Voices 

              all people are delinquents of their own nature
                                             BUT WE CAN LIVE FOR SOUND        
                         YOU KNOW IT
                                                                THE MEN KNOW IT
                THE WOMEN KNOW IT
                                           THE PROSTITUTES KNOW IT
THE                                              ACADEMICS         KNOW IT
                                               KNOW IT
                                                  THE ART OF SOUND IS pain
                                                  THE ART OF SOUND
                                                                           IS SOUND ITSELF

Chapter Two: The Twins
Lamenting for my Mother
To shout at my Father

Your rhymes are so tasteless            
ShE’s my Mother too!

I’m sorry, really
                               At least he loved you…

Like a screwdriver in my ear            
Brother, be kind

I know, the wall is making us mad 

Like an earwig!  

I don’t think we’ll escape                
But worse  

I just did                                        

Please don’t cry!                            
Don’t say that 

Keep shouting                                

There must be someone                 
What else can I do? 

No one will hear  

I love you too



Anyone out there?!

You have the saddest voice

But no one will ever see it again          
And you the saddest face 

…I’m almost certain                             
I’ll remember it

If the wall weren’t in the way we’d        
Of what? 
be staring right at each other

Remember I love you                          
You feel so close 

Why not?                                           
Don’t say that!

I know…                                           
We’re not dead yet

Someone will come                             
Look now were both crying


I love you
Chapter Three: The Unverifiable Creature

     The brutal sounds of claws Fabricate dread in my ears because we all know the little creature did not choose to be evil.  It was merely locked in a closet forced to be suffocated by evil.  

Chapter Four: The Dead Man

John Doe
DOB: 23rd September 1945 Ph: 5538 9471

Education: Completed Highschool Education 

1950-1952 My bed flowed down the YellOw River and I tried to use my pillow as an oar but it always got too soggy. Before long I would wake up and wet the bed.

1953  I would take Stalin’s hand and he would walk me to the school gate, then as I began to walk away he’d slump against the fence and whisper a word to me I can’t quite understand.

1957-1961 Claire was sitting on a balcony in some unknown location smiling at me. We’d hold hands and then jump but we didn’t fall because suddenly our feet would touch sand. She smiled as her toes wriggled in the grains of sand like old friends getting reacquainted. Then we would go to the water and she went for a swim. Her clothes floated to the top and she beckoned me further. In the water I couldn’t quite see her and as I went to hold her I wake.

1969  A complicated spiral of colours as Claire and me sit under a huge tree. Inside the tree an array of birds of all shapes, sizes and colours tend to their nests. We begin to climb the tree and my friend Greg greets me with a smile and hands me the bong. Now the three of us climb higher and higher until we finally reach the top branches.

1970-1981 The same dream, over and over, the car crashes onto the sand and Claire walks into the waves. She doesn’t come back and I cry under the moonlight.

1982  I sit under a withered tree as my family and friends talk to me. They tell me everything will get better but they’re not there to say that when I’m awake.

1983-1985 A montage of methods to kill myself. Drowning myself at Claire’s beach, hanging myself on the withered tree, jumping into a ring of fire and never returning, leaping off a flight of stairs.

1986  The dreams are stunted by the medication but I vaguely remember swimming amongst fish.

1990  I walk through a tunnel listening to the subway overhead and little glowworms hitchhike on my boots. I flick them off and they squeal in the dust. I squish them as I step forward in hopes of finding the end. Instead of an end it morphs into the house. I go through the front door, up the stairs and into the kitchen. Everything is at my disposal as my life can be disposed. I turn around and Claire stands at the sink. 

Chapter Five: The Laughing Man

Scene: A man, abnormally tall with thick but short hair. He is wearing a long, old Gestapo coat over a pair of Bart Simpson boxers. He routinely turns 90 degrees to each window at each wall in the room and laughs then sits at the stairs located at the far left.
Man: In an age where Man must Remain amused man must not be critical. Whether he believes he is or not. Man must laugh at love, suffering and above all things himself. Even if I, err, I mean Man has nobody to laugh with him.

[The man stands up and begins to pace left and right across the edge of the stage]

Man: Man has laughed at war, Man has laughed at cancer.

[The man stops and laughs loudly]

Man: And yet I don’t, Man doesn’t enjoy this… Let me out!

[The man removes the coat and drops it on the stairs. The man then goes to the window at the back right in the middle of the wall]

Man: In the north lies snow and vodka dribbling in drains.

[The man then goes to the window on the left wall]

Man: In the west towers march around yelling at quaint little houses.

[The man goes to the window on the right wall]

Man: On the east I see ancient stories and dreams that came from enchanted smoke.

[He then walks to the invisible wall that looks out onto the audience]

Man: In the south I see faces slowly chewing out their tongues. 

[The man walks back to the centre and turns to face the audience]

Man: And in the compass rose lies the warm centre of me! –pause- Oh, I mean Man! Man, man, man! Man is forgetful you know?

[A noticeable breeze blows through his hair]

Man: It’s cold again

[The man goes back to the stairs and puts on the coat, he then distinctly points at the stairs and laughs at them. He then returns to the centre of the stage and sits down with a blank stare]

Man: Loneliness isn’t funny. 

Chapter Six: The Naked Woman 

     She was once a free, loving, aMbient woman and glided across all the rooms, flaunting her tanned body on all the French beaches and even posing for the lover she captivated each night while they thought they got to knew each other. She had the power to take on whatever personality she wanted: The European model, the light of the party, the innocent first-timer. She could feel like the first time every time and that was her gift. She bought luxurious oils to maintain her glowing golden hair; she poured expensive creams into her expensive hands and made every detail of her body replenished. 

     Often times she didn’t even pay for these items, the lovers supplied everything for her. She thought that was why she called them lovers. Because they brought her what she loved and she gave them a physicality of love in return. But one night while dancing on the beach among a crowd of suitors or pleading they could give her what she needed she spotted a man walking among the dunes. He was not starring at her body like the usual men, he didn’t look even remotely interested. She danced her way through the circle almost as if she were intangible. The man was walking faster then she thought and she had to run after him. The man did not smile with a sexual interest, he did not attempt to say something witty and alluring, he simply stared her in the eyes as if he were watching her past like an old silent film. For the first time the ambient woman felt a new kind of a love. 

     The relationship blossomed and after several months of simply talking and holding hands she did what she thought would never happen, they married. It was no grandeur spectacle, only closest family and friends in the local church. That night they made love for the first time and it was no fiery escapade, nor a dull routine, it was just a soothing feeling of completeness. As time moved on the woman stopped tending to her hair and skin. She began to wear more modest clothing and kept her hair in a simple braid. The couple was married for over a decade when the gentle man that was her husband fell ill to cancer. It caught everyone off guard and the disease destroyed him in less then a fortnight. 

     When he passed the once ambient woman went home. She had a shower and scrubbed away the morbidly clean stench of hospital from her skin with a generic brand bar of soap. She stepped out and toweled off then caught herself in the mirror. The 14 years of faithful marriage had let her pride escape herself. She had slowly become average while being in extraordinary love. But there was a new feature to her and it frightened her completely. The grief, had scathed her with pain and concern. Her face sagged with misery, her arms dangled in apathy and even her blood moved slower in her pathetic body. 

     As the last cloud of steam finally cleared off from the round mirror she saw the bland monster she had finally become. She was lonely, grieving, and completely and utterly dull. An empty shell of love shattered all over the wall. 

About the Author:
     Meredith McLean is in her final year of schooling in Australia. She has had a few stints with writing such as an article being published and winning a poetry slam contest. She hopes this site will send her into the orbit of the top dogs of writing.

     Thank you for reading our very first issue. If you are just a reader then make sure to come back in two weeks for issue two, and if you're more than just a reader and want to submit pieces to us then check out our submissions page. Upcoming issues will have contests and new articles--so we look forward to seeing you, streets ahead of here...