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.
Elsinore Revolution is a science fiction short-short story written by Elaine Vilar Madruga, and translated into English by Toshiya Kamie. It was published in the Jan/Feb issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. It centers on the character of Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet Without some foreknowledge of the Hamlet story, and the character of Ophelia this will be a much different piece of SF.
In the piece, Shakespear is nothing more than a robot, or algorithm writing masterpieces. However, a fatal error spreads throughout the system of Shakespears, corrupting them.
I am not a fan of loop stories. That is, I don’t particularly care for stories in which the beginning of the piece is a sort of–trick of light, or some such, that turns out to be just the ending of the same story readers have just read. Sadly, that is the unfortunate demise of this piece. While it’s a short piece and so doesn’t come with a hefty time commitment to read, the ending feels like a cheat to me, as, in the end, nothing has changed for the reader. Shakespear-robot has changed, but it seems to me that readers are left out of that change. Due to this, the piece falls flat.