Of course, at the time, we didn’t know Demon Dog urine was the most potent acid this world had ever seen. But now that I do know it, I make sure to be attentive when she’s inside or at a dog park, or in the car–or pretty much anywhere.
But that first time in the garage of my parents’ home, the spot where she peed hissed and smoked and ate right through the concrete floor. I was little, so I didn’t really understand. But once they made sure the puppy was safe for me they picked it out of the little cage they’d wrapped around the spot in the garage. I remember how snuggly it was. Sure, Demon Dog might sound like a dog that isn’t really a dog and more of demon, but, to tell you the truth, Demon Dogs, and puppies especially, mostly behave like regular dogs. The only difference is the consequences of them biting people. . . well–I’ll get to that.
We named her Ashley, and for a couple years everything was pretty great. Sure, we’ve have slip-ups. Like when I was carrying her when she was sitting on my lap when I was 4 and she was asleep and just couldn’t hold it in. Only a drop or two came out, but they left my favorite sweatshirt ruined. Then, there was a the time she wandered into dads office. I was probably 10 by then, and Ashley was 7 in human years and 49 in dog years. She closed the door on herself and couldn’t get out. She’s always been smart. You can see it in here eyes and brows when she’s trying to puzzle something out. The way she looks at things from different angles. Regardless, nothing she could do in my dads office could make up for a lack of apposable thumbs. She went crazy. Started chewing on just about everything within reach. When we found her, we didn’t find the cords to the computers mauled through, or my dad’s filing cabinet dented. No. We found ash. She was still chewing on the leg of the table when we opened the door. As we watched, the table slowly turned to ash in her mouth and she let it fall on the ground. The whole office looked as though it had spontaneously combusted, but without spreading to the rest of the house.
Albert E. Cowdrey is known for his ghost stories. The Novelet, Falling Angel (published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2020) adds to Cowdrey’s portfolio.
The premise is somewhat Noir, in the sense that the murder in question took place back in the 1940s. Think The Black Dahlia type of case, but an echo or the ghost of the murdered woman’s scream haunts the hotel in which she perished. That’s what Butch and Roma are here to investigate. What happened to a struggling actress back in the 40s, how she died, and how to finally put her rest.
This piece is filled with the occult and the dark underworld of things that go bump in the night. It’s urban fantasy, well told, and well written. However, I didn’t see the ending coming–and not in a good way. It left me feeling a bit bemused since it hinged on some political/social commentary that was completely absent in the piece up until that moment. If there had been an inkling of politics in this piece beforehand, I think I would have found this ending more fulfilling. Still, up until that last page or so I found this an enjoyable read.
All That The Storm Took:
By Yah Yah Scholfield
It’s a new year, 2020, and the future has come. Everybody makes a resolution that can’t quite keep unless your my best friend who said his resolution was to watch a movie. *Facepalm* Whatever. My resolution this year is to write a flash fiction story once a month. Sounds easy enough, but with my track of going back to school, it is a bit daunting. Furthermore, reading short fiction, such as All That The Storm Took is paramount to my success as well. If I’m not reading short fiction, I won’t write it either. So, here we are.
In All That The Storm Took, Yah Yah Scholfield recounts the traumas of Hurricane Katrina. It’s a tired subject. There have many short stories and novels written about the aftermath of that storm–though, perhaps, never one quite like this.
Scholfield is clever in her telling. Much of the plot is over and done, and readers are only greeted with the consequences of what has happened. But readers still don’t know how, or why. The why, is perhaps less important than the what. So much was lost in Hurricane Katrina for those who tried to ride out the storm–especially since the US government made the storm sound less harmful than it turned out being.
And so the two main characters of the story try to ride out the storm. Like so many people who tried, they lost their home, but also more. This scene is told in “flashback” style, which is sometimes a bit dangerous as, if readers already know the outcome, it can feel anticlimactic. But Scholfield packs enough emotional power into both the flashback scene and the final conclusion, that it doesn’t feel contrived or cheating. It feels like trauma. Like PTSD. To me, that’s what this story is about. That grief. Sure, there’s a speculative aspect to this story, but it is only to illustrate the emotional truth.
Yah Yah Scholfield is 20 years old and lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Check out what else she is doing by clicking: Here