Prize

Derek didn’t mind the cold; falling snow made the moment more romantic. Almost giddy, he declared, “I’m here to win you back, baby.”

Sela remained stiff and aloof on the other side of the threshold. “It’s not a contest,” she replied. “And I’m no one’s prize.”

Derek grinned even wider. “That’s just it though – you are a prize. I was too stupid and selfish to see it before, but I know now. I know how lucky I was, how lucky any man would be to have you.” It was everything he had been wanting to say. The moment was perfect.

“You can’t have me,” she answered.

Snow crunched beneath Derek’s feet as he shifted his stance. “So. Who is it?”

Her eyes flicked away. “What are you talking about?”

“You’re seeing someone, aren’t you? Already?”

“His name’s Jeremy,” she said, shaping the word into a smile.

“I don’t care who he is. He doesn’t deserve you.”

Sela shrugged. “He makes me happy.”

“I don’t care if you’re happy,” Derek spat. “I only care if you’re mine.” The echo of his own words struck Derek like a blow. He turned away from Sela’s shocked expression, and fled into the winter night.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox

Ducks

Today, a duck reminded me of how the world ended.

I never thought it would be possible for me to forget a single detail of the meteor you sent hurtling into my life. The words you spoke were a life-smothering cataclysm. Blindsided, all I could do was stare straight ahead at the pond, where a family of ducks swam in slow, uneven circles.

I still remember the ducks with perfect clarity, but find I can no longer remember your words. Though I endlessly retraced every syllable, every pause, every shift in intonation, turning the crater into a canyon, I now recall only muffled echoes. The chasms I carved were just scribbling in the sand, and the pain that bored so deeply into my heart is now cold, inert, and surprisingly small.

There are still scars, of course. A few of the joys we shared have fossilized within me, brittle monuments of a different life. Occasionally, one of them turns up. Occasionally, a duck reminds me of incomprehensible sorrow. But life has returned, new and varied and beautiful. The world spins on. And it turns out that the moment I thought was the end of everything was only a fleeting shudder.

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Photo by Bence Balla-Schottner on Unsplash

Story by Gregory M. Fox

Hope: an Epilogue

He was quiet, and she was worried. “You don’t have to come today.”

“And waste this sign?” he said, shocked. “Are you kidding?”

She studied him, trying to figure out if he was really as confident as he acted. She could see dry scabs on his hands and his chin and knew that there were deep bruises all over his back. He was still moving a bit slowly, a bit stiffly, and he would wince whenever he took a deep breath. The protest was marching to the statehouse again today. The same place the police had given him those injuries.

“I’m just saying, no one would blame you if you were scared about—”

A gentle smile made her pause. Such a warm, unexpected expression. He stepped close, taking her hands in his. “I’m doing what you said. No more fear. No more hate. If I have hope, they can’t hurt me in any way that matters.”

Together, they walked into bright sunlight, stepping almost immediately into a stream of protesters. There was anger on faces, but also resolve, love, and even joy. He lifted a sign above his head. In large black letters, he’d written, Today is a New Day.

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Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash 

Story by Gregory M. Fox
Dread 
part i
part ii
part iii
part iv
part v

Volume 2 of A Breath of Fiction

This is it! Watch: Volume 2 of A Breath of Fiction is now available for FREE via Smashwords, the service I use to self-publish. And very soon it will be available via other online book retailers as well, but why wait? Get it here now!

Vol2 cover

News

It’s been a while since I posted news here, but now there’s big stuff coming. Later this week, I’ll be publishing Volume 2 of A Breath of Fiction:  the follow-up collection of 200 word stories in ebook format. Volume 1 is still available – check out the info on this site, and stay tuned for more details!

 

Publishing News

This Monday, my short story “Ink” was published in Crab Fat Literary Magazine.  You can check it out here.  This was the capstone to a very productive period of writing for me.

In August, I was enjoying a period of lots of free time for writing.  However, I was also swiftly approaching a new semester of teaching.  Realizing that my available free time for creating was about to come to an end, I changed focus.  Instead of chipping away at larger long-term projects I turned my energy toward completing a number of short stories.  Meanwhile, I also started scouring small press literary journals and literary magazines that were accepting submissions.  I sent out a handful of stories to a variety of publications and several of them were accepted.  Over the last three months I have had three stories published in online journals.  A flash fiction story “Light” was accepted by Haunted Waters Press for their Penny Fiction contest.  Find out more here.  My story “Stray” appeared in Animal: a Beast of a Literary Magazine.  You can check it out here.

An exciting follow up to “Stray” being published is that the good folks at Animal have nominated the story for a Pushcart Prize.  With the enormous volume of terrific work published by small presses every year, I have no illusions about my odds of winning.  However, it is an enormous honor to be nominated.

I still have a couple stories out there under consideration, and who knows when or if they will find the right journal, but nevertheless, I am feeling pretty excited about these recent successes and am eager for my upcoming Christmas break, when I will again have a little free time for writing.

Write Night

This week I participated in Write Night in my hometown.  Some cool local writers read their own compositions with a fun mix of slam poetry, verse, and prose, along with serious, comedic, and experimental.  I read a selection from one of my works in progress: I’m sorry, but it’s over now.  I used to do many such readings back when I was a poet in college, but it’s been a few years.  It was a lot of fun to share my writing this way, and I’m hoping I get another such opportunity soon.

Ultreia Write

Credit to Ultreia Inc. for organizing the event, Lang Lab South Bend for hosting, and Blue Krishna Photography for the photo.

Requests

Hey folks!

A Breath of Fiction is taking requests.  If you have an idea you’d like to see in a 200 word story, let me know on the blog’s ask page, and I’ll try to make it happen.

(Don’t worry, I’m not running out of ideas; but I DO want to connect more with the people who actually read this blog)

Send those ideas my way!

A Beginning

Welcome to gmfx.net, my personal website.  So far, most of my projects have been a bit “underground,” if only because I’ve mostly been publishing them on blogs rather than on mainstream venues.  But when I self-published my ebook this summer, I began a slow process of trying to develop a more public existence as an author.  I’ve established author pages with goodreads and Amazon, and now I have finally taken the plunge into launching my own website.

The site is fairly minimal at this point, but I’m hoping that in the future it will grow.  I have all sorts of ideas about using it as a central hub for all my projects and maybe a home for some of my projects that don’t fit into traditional formats.  For now, however, I am happy just to have a place where I can share a little bit of info and the occasional bit of news about what I’m working on.

So take a look around, see what’s going on, and come back again some time to see if anything is new.