Date Published: November 7, 2014
Tantalizingly bloody tales featuring human pitted against beast and gods, with the true majesty and horrors of the afterlife, with love and death and desire...
Eight writers modernize ancient mythologies in DISTORTED, proving that not every story has been told.
From “To Sing Which Tune” by Heidi C Vlach
Thinking that way made the truth weigh heavier: Helen might have picked up soda bottles on the beach last week, and worked on biochemical equations last night until her head screamed for mercy. She had stroked her own ego for attending her university's Sound The Sirens fundraiser gala, one where she wore an actual dress and some mascara. But she wasn't doing enough.
She couldn't think of Odyssia's face without a grey burden of guilt. The face that had beamed all throughout her childhood, crinkled with merriment around her eyes and poured joyous, warbling songs from her lips. Taught Helen songs she hummed offhandedly, even now. But these past few months, Odyssia barely smiled. She stared longer at Helen; like two stars with a void between them.
Sirens attack yacht, 2 dead.
Putting down the newspaper, Helen rose from the kitchen table to go get dressed and do something recklessly expensive. This was a bigger issue than one homicide case. Bigger than the one siren Helen owed a debt of love to. Bigger than her personal credit rating could make a dent in, but she had to try.
From “Bullman” by Anthony S. Buoni
"I'm still not sure it’s a good idea," Cassandra said, adjusting the top of her black corset. Dressed like a cyber goth club kid, multicolored glow sticks dangled from the zippers and belt on her baggy black pants matched her glowing bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. She scratched her short, spiky black hair with hot pink tips from her eyes before crossing her arms.
Theo wasn’t sure why Icky wanted Europe so bad—Cassandra's green gaze and hourglass figure made her the prettier of the two. Other than a hint of social awkwardness and her taste for illegal intoxicants, Cassandra was a catch.
"Chicken," Icky said, clucking.
"Well, what is it?" Ariadne asked. "Going to sit around with your fingers in a bowl of peeled grapes and tell each other stories about vanishing hitchhikers and perverts with hooks for hands attacking Lovers' Lane?"
"No," Icky said. "Something way better. We're driving to Hamilton Heights and looking for the Bullman."
"The Bullman?" Theo asked conscious of his date's aggravation. The tale stemmed from a dark page in her family's history, so he tried downplaying it. "There's no such thing."
Everyone knew the town's most famous urban legend.
Before Ariadne was born, her parents' first child came into the world stillborn. Refusing any public response or funeral, the prominent family ignored the tragedy, and, as will often happen when scandal rubs elbows with the rich, their terse reaction prompted immediate gossip.
Stories claiming that the child survived began circulating the community. The myth grew, taking on an insidious nature.
The most common account had Ariadne's mom falling in love and fornicating with their prize winning snow-white bull, resulting in the birth of a ferocious monster. Fearing disgrace, Judge Hamilton ordered the creature destroyed. Their doctor, taken by the genetic anomaly and unable to terminate the atrocity, gave the creature to hobos living in scattered shacks dotting the dense woods outside of town so he could study it in secret.
According to rumors, the creature matured and now lurked the forest near Cretan Road and Hamilton Heights, a sprawling park on the lake bordering the state's thick wilderness. Campers and hikers would return from the forest with stories of a hairy, malformed creature stealing food and gear from their campsites before scurrying off into the brush. Once in a while, someone would vanish in the woods, and parents told their kids that the Bullman roamed the neighborhood streets after sunset, stealing and devouring misbehaving children.
No one ever managed to photograph the thing.
No footprints emerged in the rich, dark soil or red clay hills surrounding Hamilton Heights.
Despite a lack of hard evidence, the stories lingered on the public tongue, whispers spoken around crackling campfires and in tight alleyways.
The Hamilton family did not appreciate the yarn and ignored the accounts, debunking them whenever the newspaper reported sightings or ran spotlights for their Halloween editions.
Of all the embarrassing things that could go wrong on a first date with Ariadne Hamilton, Theo couldn’t think of anything worse than Icky seeking out her fabled brother.
About the Author:
Alisha Costanzo is from a Syracuse suburb. She earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she currently teaches English. She’s the author of BLOOD PHOENIX: REBIRTH and BLOOD PHOENIX: CLAIMED, and co-editor of DISTORTED. LOVING RED, a Broken World novel, is undergoing serious edits for its 2015 release. In the meantime, she will continue to corrupt young minds, rant about the government, and daydream about her all around nasty creatures.
About the Author:
Having relocated from Northwest Florida's lonesome roads and haunted swamps, Anthony S. Buoni now prowls the gas lamp lit streets of New Orleans, playing moonlight hide and seek in the Crescent City's above ground cemeteries. Anthony is the author of Conversation Party, Bad Apple Bolero, as well as the editor to the Between There anthologies. His stories and articles have been featured in North Florida Noir and Waterfront Living. When not prowling, Anthony keeps it scary, writing dark fiction, editing, and watching horror movies. In his spare time, he DJs, plays music, and conjures other worldly creatures with tarot cards and dreams.