Monday, March 25, 2013

Issue Eight, Volume Five

From the Desk of the Editor;

Hello and welcome to the last Larks Fiction Magazine... for now. After a long debate with myself and staff it has become aparent that we haven't been able to give the time the magazine and it's creative contributors need. So for now we will be closing down.
This isn't good bye forever—just for now. We feel that when we can fully give the attention that a magazine needs we will start afresh.
What this means right now is that if you have not recieved any letter or response back from our editors (outside of the automatic response) please consider your story, poem, art, or other creative work open for submitting else where.
We will still strive to create the artist bio page, finish the emagazines, and a few other small projects that we promised to complete. There will still be a Larks Media, but for the time being no magazine.
Thank you for the wonderful time we shared. I will personally never forget the tales I have read and the friends I have made.
Daniel J. Pool
Ex-LFM Editor

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Issue Seven, Volume Five

From the Desk of the Editor;
     Hello and welcome to another issue of Larks Fiction. Sorry about the late post. We have been extra busy here at the office. Please enjoy this fine helping of indie literature!
Daniel J. Pool
LFM Editor

Breaking The Cycle
By Alan Hlad

Trisha adjusted the mirror in the foyer, the one that always seemed to hang cockeyed, and finally decided to walk through the door. She buttoned her coat and took a deep breath. The cold air smelled fresh, despite a thick layer of leaves decaying in the yard. Looking back at the house, she recalled how her day began. And how another weight was added to their out of balance marriage, tipping the scale over for the last time.
It had been like many other mornings. She had been sitting alone at the table, reading a book, and sipping lukewarm tea, when she heard the creak of his footsteps coming down the stairs. He had stayed up late working and hadn’t made the effort to come to bed, instead choosing to sleep on the leather sofa in the study. It had become a habit. And she had gotten used to having the bed to herself.
Obsessed with making money, Damon spent excessive hours at the office. The only time he wanted to be around her, it seemed, was when he wanted sex. He would often come home late from work, the sour smell of malt scotch on his breath, and announce he wanted to go upstairs. There was no how was your day, honey? look pretty, sweetheart… or even I missed you, darling. It was just let’s go upstairs, as nonchalant as ordering a cheeseburger and fries from a drive-through window. Considering there was never any foreplay, going upstairs usually lasted all of five minutes, and that was if he even made the effort to take off his pants. Afterwards, he would roll off her and leave. No words, no cuddling, just the sound of him doing up his zipper and the study door closing behind him. She always relented to his requests, praying to God that someday their love would be rekindled, and that he would return to the man he once was, or had pretended to be, before she had said the words…I do.
She buried her intuition, replacing it with affirmations of lies she repeated to herself…he will change someday…he will change someday…he will change someday. But deep down, she knew the truth.
Damon went straight to the refrigerator. He rummaged inside, popped a can of Red Bull, and gulped it down where he stood.
“My doctor appointment is this week,” she said.
He tossed the empty can into the garbage. Opening the pantry, he stuffed his hand into a box and pulled out a fistful of cereal, not bothering to get a bowl.
“They’re going to run some tests to find out why I’m not getting pregnant.”
“You’re too damn uptight,” he barked around a mouthful of cereal. He overtly ignored the wet piece that flew from his mouth and landed on the floor.
She bit her tongue, trying to avoid another argument. Staring into her tea, she saw the reflection of a woman she no longer recognized. “Will you come with me? I don’t want to go alone.”
“I’m busy. Somebody needs to make the money around here.”
“What if they can’t find what’s wrong?”
“I’m not the problem. There’s no way I’m shooting blanks.” He smirked and went upstairs to shower.
She felt like she was going to vomit. Closing her eyes, she envisioned herself on a runaway train, headed down a track towards certain tragedy. There was no suppressing her reality any longer. She had made a huge mistake.
Trisha glanced one last time at the white house with the picket fence that was to be their fairytale castle. Her dream to live happily ever after had become a nightmare. Her heart pounded. Butterflies swirled in her stomach. Carrying her suitcase filled with childhood photos and a few changes of clothes, she gathered her courage and opened the taxi door. She got in and sat down with her luggage on her lap.
“Where to?” the taxi driver said, his dark eyes peering at her from the rearview mirror.
Trisha fiddled with the handle, her hands shaking. She noticed the familiar smell of pine coming from an air freshener stuck to the dashboard. “Drive.”
The driver nodded and pulled away.
She watched her house disappear, then slumped back in the seat and closed her eyes. A warm tear slid down her cheek. She made no effort to wipe it away.
An hour later, the taxi stopped, its brakes screeching like nails on a chalkboard. She paid the driver and got out. Walking up the steps, she opened the door, and adjusted the mirror hanging cockeyed. She carried her suitcase up the stairs, feeling as if it were filled with lead, and unpacked.
The card to the taxi service was still in her hand, its edges worn, but she held the names of each of her drivers in her head. She slipped the card into her wallet, knowing she would retrieve it again in a few weeks, and again a few weeks after that, like a perpetual lunar cycle, only to drive as far as the city limits and turn around. And each time she would convince herself the pine-scented air inside the taxi caused chronic reconsideration, or limbo. One, or the other.
She felt an invisible ankle bracelet scraping her skin raw, as if she were an inmate on house arrest. But there was nothing there, only a stubborn voice whispering lies in her ear. He’ll change.

About the Author;
Alan Hlad’s work has appeared in The National Underwriter, Claims Magazine, and Property Casualty 360. He is an insurance executive in Akron, Ohio, a frequent conference speaker, and a member of the Akron Writers’ Group. He is currently working on a novel.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Issue Six, Volume Five

From the Desk of the Editor;
Hello and welcome to the sixth issue of volume five. We apologize about this being a week late. I was out of town—then Jess and I miscommunicated. But we are back now!
In this issue returning Larks author Quentin Pongratz is joined by returning poet Charles Bernard in a Larks Hall of Fame Edition.
In news our new headquarters got its old roof removed and new one stuck on! Also we have released a tiny video tour of our officebuilding online. It is pretty rough but you can see what we have been doing for the last year.
Lastly we are hoping to release Quentin's first novel Del City Nights as the first ever Larks publication! We are just waiting on cover art and formatting.
Thank you for reading and enjoy,
Daniel J. Pool

An Africa mother’s Advice
By Charles Bernard

Tonight witches shall gather
Soon the sun will go to bed
Ndubisi my son come home
Come lay in your mother’s arm
Let my love protect you
Under my bosom you will dwell
Till dawn in my warmth

Come my son
The moon is full tonight
Let me tell you stories
The morals you must hold
Close to your heart all your life
Let them guide your thoughts
Leading you through life’s path

My son
You’re a prince
Like an ant be wise
Let your judgment be sound
Let your heart be filled with mercy
Give alms to the poor
Give food to the hungry

Fear the woman
Her love is sweet
Her heart is dark
Keep your strength
For the love you shall find
And you shall be fruitful

My dear son
I have watched you grow
Your temper is quick
I fear it would destroy you
Hold it in check
Say but a few words
Let them be your bonds

My son
Your are my strength
Do not forget me when am old
Remember the breast that fed you
Let my old bones cling unto you
Let my dry skin feel your warmth

My son soon
I will be gone from here
Uphold your father’s name
Let not his legacies die
Do me proud in your deeds
From the spirit land I will smile
For even in death I will watch you

About the Poet;
Charles Bernard is a poet, writer, and engineer from Abuja. His new work, Trapped, is currently undergoing revisions. You can follow him on Twitter @chalzz619 and see his blog at

What Lights Through Rafters Break
By Jessica Rowse

By Quentin Pongratz

Hey Daniel. How’s it going? Haven’t talked to you in awhile. How is everything going with the house? I heard you guys were going to be laying down some tiling soon. That sounds fun. The reason I’m messaging you is I have this story idea, or maybe a book idea. I’m not sure. I’ve been setting up this whole world in my head but I’m not sure where I should start or what the scope of the narrative should be. I was thinking I could lay out some of my ideas for you and you could give me some feedback. If you aren’t too busy, let me know and I’ll lay it on you.
Oh hey, Q. Yeah, the house is going along nicely. All the tiling caused a story idea to pop into my head that I might have to bounce off of you once I spend a little more time thinking it up. But yeah, go ahead and send me some of what you were thinking and I can tell you what I think. That is, of course, if you’ll let me put the story in my magazine. =)
Alright, so the world is post-apocalyptic. Yeah, I know that’s really overdone at the moment, but I’m not even sure it’s something that will actually be in the story, maybe only hinted at.Well, the reason the world is post apocalyptic has to do with the main character and his creation. He’s this amalgamation of life and death. Somewhat like a zombie (also extremely overplayed but I think this one’s okay because he’s not really a zombie.) I think I should mention at this point that my main focus on a lot of this is the names.
This creation, this creature of life and death, is called a chira, or maybe kyra. I’m not sure how much I want to obscure it, but it’s because it’s a chimera but instead of being a combination of two creatures, it’s a combination of two different states of being: life and death. It’s missing a me because it’s missing a me. In order to combine the two states, the personality is removed... or the me. Following me still?
So our main character is one of these Chiras, possibly the only one. Here he is in this far future world. Humanity has banded together in small pockets and resembles a medieval feudal system. You got kings, knights, castles, the whole deal. I’m not sure how fantastical I want to go with it at the moment, but there’s potential for mutated lizards being dragons and other animals becoming typical fantasy creatures. So, I’m thinking a sort of dark ages plus a bit of fantasy, or fantasy lite.
Now you may be thinking, what about magic and wizards? Well, that’s when we look to our main character. So he wakes up in this world with no memories or anything. He has had his me removed, remember? Haven’t thought about where I’m starting, so I’m not sure how he goes about discovering it, but he has these light based powers. Stuff like he can shoot light beams out of his hands and he can ride upon the light to have a flight type ability.
Now this may sound like it’s veering into superhero territory and you’re right. I’m trying for this medieval type world with superheroes. A sort of smash between two genres. Every kingdom has their own superhero. I’ve thought out some besides just this light guy, but not enough to go into too much detail here. So our main character finds a kingdom without a superhero through some circumstances and they take him in and start calling him Light after his powers and it’s not like he can correct them with a different name.
I’m think I’m going to head to bed now. Let me know what you think of just that much and I can get you more tomorrow.

That sound pretty fun actually. I like the whole premise of the fantasy superhero thing you’ve got going. You plan on having a sort of JLA type organization, or are they purely rival type things? As far as where to focus the story, I’d say just start from him waking up (or whatever it is that he did to become conscious of not having any personality or memories) and just go from there. Amnesia is always a good starting place because the character will be in the same spot as the reader. Just send me some more and I’ll send you some more feedback.
I was thinking about having a superhero group type thing. I’m not sure exactly the details but allied kingdoms would definitely have the same sort of alliance between their heroes. I was also going to put all sorts of other nods to different comic book tropes. Like the one where good guys when first meeting each other always have to fight before they’re allowed to team up and fight the true bad guy. In this society that might even be an actual law for them to test each other before being able to ally different kingdoms.
The reason I’m not so sure for starting at the beginning is it seems kinda boring. I feel like it’ll be a lot of origin story for him to figure out the world and his powers, but I’m still torn because it’s a lot of info to have just there and the reader figuring out. That and there’s a long time between him starting out and what I consider to be the more main plot with his rival.
So, sometime in his initial travels and adventures he gets this note from a seer type of person. I’m thinking in a cave because that seems pretty mystical, but it’s not too fleshed out yet. He’s told that this note will tell him who he used to be, but there’s a catch as there always is with people who give you what you want and live in a cave. The catch is that anyone who reads this note will die. That is besides one person. Which one person, he might ask.
But a man that lives in a cave is more often than not, completely cryptic in his conversations. He would say something like, the one who can read this is a princess. Then he reveals nothing more. So, Light with his note of death, is in search of a princess that can read who he used to be. He’ll search some and end up killing a few princesses. This leads the remaining kingdoms to employ a new hero that has popped up. The begin calling him L which is short for Life.
Life because he’s trying to figure out and stop what is causing all these deaths. His name is shortened because of Light. Life and Light are similar sounding names and to keep from any confusion people just start calling Life, L. That and it’s another sort of pun her with L sounding like hell which L ends up being for our main character Light. Speaking of names and their extra meanings, the princess that eventually is able to read the note is Misa. (Misa = Me-sa = Me-saw)
So, I’m thinking I want that to be the main plot, but I’m not sure exactly how far back to start, or how I’m going to fill in the readers of this world. A short story would be hard, but I’m not sure I have enough for a book without having the pacing being very weird and choppy. Let me know what you think when you get a chance.
Lol. Are you serious?
I know I don’t have the ending really thought out the moment yet, but yes I’m serious. I think the story is pretty good for what I have so far.
The story isn’t the problem, it’s the names.
I spent a lot of time of time on the names so I could make most of them be puns. I mean, I can change the spelling on some to obscure them more if you think it’s too obvious.
You going to have Ryuk and Rem show up too?
I don’t know how you knew but they’re in my notes for a couple of the other heroes. Rem is a person that can control your dreams and sleep. Ryuk is a zombie.
Here’s the thing I thought of for him. He was a superhero before the world changed over to this new thing. He was like Captain America, but for the United Kingdom. Re-U.K. eh? It’s weird you knew my characters names though. Did I tell you about this idea already?
No. It’s all from an anime series called Death Note. You’re not messing with me? You really came up with all these names without knowing about it?
Oh my god.
So, what now?
Well, I finished it.
The story?
No. I watched all of Death Note. Every single character I have in my notes is a name from this show. I had a set of twins. Where one of them would become a extra strong and full of rage when he wasn’t near his twin brother.
He was calm when the other was in close proximity. He was Mello(w) when the other was Near. And now I can’t get the anime out of my head. I tried to think up more stuff for my story universe after watching it and then my plot starts becoming the other plot. I don’t think I can work on this story anymore.
Just try writing something else completely different. Get your mind off of this and then maybe you can come back and come up with a solution. I don’t think you should drop this story because at it’s core it’s really fun. You just have to change it up some for it to be different.
Well, I tried writing something else and this is what came out...

Light traces his finger around the edges of L’s lips. “How did I not know?”
When Light’s finer gets to the middle of his top lip, L gives it a small kiss. “I’m not sure. You’re reasoning skills are almost on par with mine. You really should have seen this coming.”
“Maybe all the Kira stuff just clouded my mind. I couldn’t see what was right in front of me this whole time.”
L rolls his body towards Light and places his hand on his bare chest. “You should have seen this coming just from my obsession with sweets.”
Light huffs out a small breath of what might be considered laughter while the edges of his mouth twitch upward for half a second.
“You can smile, you know. Here with me. There’s no need to be so serious all the time.”
“One doesn’t have to smile to be happy. Content.”
“No... They can show it in other ways.” L’s hand moves from Light’s pecs to Light’s abs. His hand moves down his abs then back up again before diving further downward.
“We don’t have anywhere else to be, do we?”
“We could be looking for Kira.”
“I could already have Kira in the palm of my hand.”
“We’re here... Like this... and you still think I could be Kira?”
“There’s still a small possibility. It’s less that I think you are and more that I think you were. Don’t be offended, If we never put on these cuffs, we could have never gotten ourselves into this situation.” L squeezes.
“I just wish you could trust me. I’m here, an open book for you to read.”
“A book with a few missing chapters in the middle. Things that don’t make sense. Until they make sense, I...”
“You can’t trust me?”
L’s hand trails up to Light’s face. L puts his hand on Light’s cheek and looks up into his eyes. “I’m sorry. I hope you can forgive me one day, but surely you can see where I’m coming from.”
“I’m all yours for when you’re ready.”
L’s hand goes from Lights cheek to his left hand. “This hand?”
Light squeezes L’s hand. “This hand.”
L moves his hand up. “This forearm?”
“Is yours.”
L’s hand moves up Lights arm. “This elbow? This bicep? This shoulder? This collar bone? This neck?”
“Yes, yes, yes, yes. It’s all yours.”
L reaches his thumb from the side of Lights neck to cross the front of it. “This adam’s apple?”
Light’s adam apple moves out from under L’s thumb as he swallows. Light blinks. “Yes.”
L takes his hand off of Light. “I’ve asked you before, but I think now is an appropriate to bring it up again. Does the phrase Shinigami love apples have any meaning to you?”
Light averts his eyes from L. He turns his head. “It shouldn’t... but... I can’t shake this feeling.”
“What sort of feeling?”
“There’s this sort of pang of loss when you touch me there and ask me that. There’s nothing that I can recall or connect with anything I know on a reasoning level, but on a primal level, I feel that it means something.”
“What do you think this means?”
“I think it means you were definitely Kira at some point.”
“Does that mean you will never be able to fully trust me?”
L traces Light’s lips again. “I’m not sure. Maybe. Maybe not. But we don’t need to fully trust one another to still have some fun.”
A black hand touches Light’s adam apple unnoticed by both before their bodies move and intermingle and someone or something says a word that neither of them seem to hear. “Juicy.”
I just can’t get them out of my head. Everything I write is just going to be these Death Note characters now. I’m ruined. I’m forever ruined by some anime I hadn’t even heard of until just the other day. I don’t think I can ever write anything untainted by this anime again.
That sounds... rough. I’m sorry to hear all that, man. Not sure what I can suggest. Maybe if you write enough about it you’ll write it all out or something? That’s the only thing I can think of. I’ve never really had that problem, so I don’t really know what to tell you.
Daniel stared at his screen for a bit. The vertical line after his name blinking in and out of existence. He looked down from the screen at the tile floor below his socked feet. “Oh yeah,” he said out loud.
“What’s up?” asked Kate.
“I just remembered a story idea I had about this tile.”
“What’s it about?”
“I haven’t really worked out much of the plot.”
“Well, just tell me what you have?”
“Well, I haven’t really worked out any of the plot.”
“And you’re sure it’s a story idea?”
“I’m not sure. Just something about that tile makes me want to write a story.”
“I guess you’re the writer.” Kate shrugs and goes back to looking at the magazine in her lap.
Daniel looks back at the screen and the blinking line. He moves his mouse over to the send button and clicks. He closes the window and opens uphis word processor and starts typing...

About the Author;
Quentin Pongratz is a writer, vlogger, and mathematician from Oklahoma City. He enjoys writing quirky fiction with an eye for puns. His first book, Del City Nights, will available soon. You canfollow him on Facebook HERE.

Thank you for joining us tonight! Make sure to come back and see more great indie literature! Also check out this blog by Larks writer Sheila Johnson--cause awesome!