From the Desk of the Editor;
Hello and welcome to another issue of Larks Fiction Magazine! In this issue we are offering two works of experimental literature that will twist, spin, and move you.
We apologize again if you have not heard from us. Please send us an inquiry if you haven’t had contact with us for more than a month. We hope to get to everyone soon.
Remember to follow us on Twitter @LarksMedia and @Filozophy for the latest news (and trolling) from the Larks Media Team.
Daniel J. Pool
By Nanda Olney
The Formica was sea-foam green. There was a vase on the cracked and peeling surface. She stared at it, suddenly struck by the obscene gesture of it posing on that shameless counter, empty and begging to be filled with something more lasting than the lifecycle of flowers. The artist walked in off of the torpid avenue and asked her to show him an apartment. That was how they met.
The windows were thrown open in the vacant room. “It’s perfect for a studio,” he said, “Say you’ll visit me sometime.” He grabbed a corner of the old wallpaper and pulled until it came clean away in his hands. She was taken by that. By the unexpected ease with which he revised the scene. It whispered to her of salvation.
When she returned to the studio, the paper had all been removed from the walls and he watched her, smiling. The room was painted a reckless, sea-foam green, “You were sitting at that counter when I met you. It was a god-awful color but I could not get it out of my mind.” His hair fell into his eyes. There were paint stains on his fingers, his clothes; boots and ripped jeans.
For months she resided in his touch alone. Knew that the pads of his fingers were calloused from the brushes and watched as the contours of the canvas came alive under his patient stroke. Kissed him desperately as if he were kissing daylight into her. But the paint began to fade and chip from the wall and she felt the pull of its tide. She remembered more and more often a man who called her ‘wife.’ Who said as she was leaving, I put a message for you in a bottle. I put it on the sea. She too began to drift away.
Often the sounds of traffic blended with the crashing waves of memory and she was in another room, another house that belonged to another man, and to a woman she barely remembered being. A room where the smell of saltwater could not rival the perfume clinging to the flowers on the wall. Even those had withered like dried effigies to another time. In that other life she had a garden, a patio, a little house beyond it. Her small claim to who she had once been on her own. He stood at the window over the sink, waving to her. He was behind her as she dug in the dirt, lifting her and pulling her up and out of herself.
One day when her artist was out, she shuffled through abandoned canvases that spoke of his genius; the act of creation that was the rebirth of its subject. She stopped before a seascape, trapped among its shores. Did you find it there? Did you find my message? And then his hand was the bridge that drew her to him and she was back there, standing up in the little garden she had made and tended. Where he came up behind her and lifted her out of the dirt and shook the petals from her hair. Where his kiss was salty as the sea that she was drowning in. And then she was locking the door, locking herself outside in her garden. Locking him so permanently away that he soon became nothing more than a face framed in the kitchen window like a man at the helm of a ship, watching his horizon grow perpetually farther away.
He’d been away at sea so long she was sure he was gone for good. Disappeared over the horizon, never to return to this flat canvas world, waiting to be painted. Or lost on a distant exotic isle where beautiful mermaids swam to him and beached themselves upon the shore. He would nurse them, wreath hibiscus in their hair and have a harem by now. She hoped it was so.
The artist said, “Why don’t you talk to me anymore?” She just wanted to be left alone; to remember who she once was. His bed had sheets of cream: another empty canvas. She dreamed she was lying plastered to it and he was painting her into a sea of pale green. She dreamed the message in the bottle was nowhere to be found, and a dead-eyed fish washed up instead on the shore at her feet. When she woke, the blankets were a pile on the floor, the sheets were the net she was tangled in.
She was getting up to lock the door.
She trailed her fingers along the wall, trying to remember what it had been, about the flowers. “Just like that,” he said. She had thought she was alone. She turned and there were flowers all around him. Like he had left the door open in his infinite carelessness and the garden had dared to crawl inside. How could he be so blind? The peonies crept along the floor and touched her bare skin. He moved toward her and pulled the sheet up over her chest and she held it there as the flowers burst into sickening bloom.
She was transparent as glass. While he painted her, she dug furiously, churning up the garden until the petals littered the earth all around like spilled paint. And then her hand touched upon it, hard and cool in the earth and she withdrew it and brushed off the caked dirt. The bottle was empty.
When he was done, he turned the painting to her. He left without a word. Left her there clutching a sheet and staring at the image of herself, spread as thin as paint and looking for all the world like she had just risen from that garden. This was the message then: there was no escape.
There was too, the fact of that empty room. Naked as the day she was born. She stood there picking petals from her hair.
About the Author;
Nanda Olney lives in the Pacific Northwest where she ghostwrites books for extraordinary people. By the light of the moon she indulges her own fantasies of authorship by writing short stories and working tirelessly on her first novel. Work under her own byline has appeared in Foliate Oak Literary Journal.
by Jessica Morrow
Dec 15 –Justin Riemers’ Journal
Just turnd 18. What a fucking joyuss occasien. Your supposd to be in this happy whoop de doo stage were you just love evrithing and evrione but i couldent evan muster up the energy to say YEEAAHH. Only after coxy gaive me one to many drinkz that i was finaly able to fake it and enjoy the nite.
Now theyere all dead.
Of corse im gonna rite it all down in this jernal only my famely would no its my writing but theyd probably find a way to use me to get them sum reward mony. Who cares anyway my dads got 2 other suns, twins who can maik him proud. I may be th oldest but hes got the 2 othrs plus my toddler sista kaylee. so he wouldent miss me itd just bring shame upon the famely.
So what do i do?
Becase this wasent just sum tipical murder as much as id lyk it 2 be. it woz shit that prety much startd the end of the world – so my perants proabbly wont have to wory about kaylee and the twins to keep them goin becase theyll proabbly all not be there animore.
Dec 10 – Birthday Checklist (typed out)
Vodka – Preferably Russian Standard
VB, energy drinks
Ask Coxy to bring Call of Duty/Xbox
Download playlist to iPod
Friends – Facebook immediately
Dec 13 – Herald Sun
FOUND - Horror as Man’s remains unearthed in Yarra!
AN alarming development has occurred in the ‘Man in Yarra’ case, with Roxburgh Park man Edwin Dunleavy (28) identified as the man whose body was found submerged in the Yarra River.
The state police are still at much of a loss as to why Dunleavy, a well-known figure all over Victoria, would be the victim of such a heinous act.
It was just yesterday that the Herald Sun reported the body found in the Yarra River by venturing boaters, suggesting gangland involvement.
His family was reportedly in shock as his DNA was confirmed; however the Dunleavy family have not been available for comment.
So far, the only clue to locating the murderer in this horrendous crime is an indention on what remains of one of his arms, with a dollar sign etched in.
Police are urging anyone with details to contact Crime Stoppers immediately.
Dec 13 – Facebook Chat Conversation between Alex Cox and Justin Riemers
11.20pm – Alex Cox – Shit man did u just reed the paper????
Justin Riemers – Nah man whyr u askin lyk id reed that shit the herald sun is for old wankers and shit ya kno
Alex – man dis is importent!!! u gotta look at the shit on da *man in yarra case* & youll c
11.26pm- Justin – were in deep shit mann
11.28pm- Alex – yer unless we do sumthin fast were all gonna die
11.29pm- Justin – u gona tell the others???
11.31pm- Alex – why dont u bro? its ur fault 4 takin the money
Justin Riemers is now offline.
Dec 14 – Justin Riemers’ journal
There aint much tym left now. I sit hear evriday, at home sinse skool’s now finiched. I cant get miself to talk to coxy and theres no way I can bring it up with da famely theyd just fink im bein stupid & shit. All I can do is wait and rite in this jernal n shit n hope four da best coz wat else can I do?? Were all doumed aniway. Theres nuthin stoppin us ending up lyk the rich dude. Im fucken scard but who else can I tell part from coxy and hes not talkin to me.
Sumtimes I wish that the rich dude never caim up too us and were all still been happy partyin in prep for my 18th. He just wantd to get rid of the mony and it woz a lot too.
Im scard and i cant tell anione.
What the fuck do i do??
Dec 17 – Herald Sun
Teenage Massacre in Northern Suburbs: ‘Man in Yarra’ case link
WHAT was supposed to be an exciting night for an eighteenth birthday has turned bloody in the north-western Melbourne suburb of Jacana, with six bodies being found at the home of dyslexic teenager Justin Riemers.
All of the gruesome fatalities bear the same horrifying markings as the ‘Man in Yarra’ case, in which 28 year old Edwin Dunleavy was found in the Yarra River with a dollar sign engraved into his flesh.
It is not known how the six teenagers, all identified as friends of Justin Riemers, are connected with the case.
Said deputy Chief Commissioner Alan Phillips: “There is nothing to suggest that the cases are connected at all. This is just a ploy for attention seekers.”
However, a relative connected to Alex Cox, 18, one of the six teenagers, believes that this is not the case, with Cox behaving strangely just prior to the events.
“It wasn’t drugs or anything,” he said, “But he was sure scared of something – I don’t know what – and I think that’s got at least something to do with it.”
What makes the plot more intriguing is that the main reveller, 18 year old Justin Riemers, was nowhere to be found, and police are urging anyone with information relating to Riemers’ whereabouts to contact Crime Stoppers immediately.
With his family unable to be contacted, a former teacher at his high school spoke about the missing teenager:
“I can’t believe Justin Riemers is caught up in something as horrible as this,” said English teacher Sarah Catford. “He had learning difficulties and all, but they never stopped him from being such a wonderful pupil and an engaging human being.”
On a final note, says Phillips, “If there’s any chance that Justin Riemers is not responsible for what has happened, we will start leaning towards the Dunleavy case for clues.”
Families of the six deceased teenagers were believed to be beyond shock at hearing the news and are still coming to grips that their sons will never return home.
Dec 19 – Justin Riemers’ journal (pages highlighted)
I still cant get ova why sumone wood wont all this shit too happen too me and my frends. Its not our folt no mater wat anione says. Coxy just wanted too help out the dude wif the mony and so did i and who turns doun free mony?
It feels so hevy. Theres a berden im carryin, 1 ill cary too my graive.
The Yarra looks so desgustin in the brite flair of daitime. I can imagene the dude who gaive us the mony bein killd here, its fresh in ma mind.
I wonder how coxy n the othrs will feel wen they no wat ive done with the mony. How many people wood be harmd jus so shit lyk this woodent happen to me n my famely agen.
The bag is a berden.
i lent doun, rite up close to the waives.
They dont no I have the mony.
Wed be alrite.
About the Author;
Jessica Morrow is a second year Bachelor of Arts (Professional and Creative Writing) student from Melbourne, Australia. She has previously been published in Imagine Journal and Linguistic Erosion. Jessica likes to mix literary and genre fiction in order to engage more readers. Hopefully, this mix doesn't lead to an apocalypse.
Thank you for reading this edition of Larks Fiction Magazine. We hope you will join us next week with science fiction and alternate realities!