I've had a new short story go up online recently. You can read the entire story for free online.
It's a short contemporary horror tale about a disturbed young man who works as a bookseller. No, no, no, you've got the wrong idea. It's entirely fiction and has nothing to do with yours truly -- except for the bookseller part of it. Okay, and the disturbed part, too. But I don't think I'd be mistaken for a young man any longer.
The story is called Active Reader and appears in the second edition of the online ezine Dissections: The Journal of Contemporary Horror. Dissections is an international horror and dark fantasy e-journal that provides an opportunity for academics, critics and creative writers and artists to publish alongside each other.
I thought this would be the perfect place to premier Active Reader. The story follows the twisted activities of a bookstore manager who uses the discount loyalty card program for his own disturbing needs. The name of the book club card was inspired by the then called "Avid Reader" loyalty card the company I worked for at the time was promoting. I just couldn't resist playing on that name for my story which is a bit of a cautionary tale about membership cards and customer tracking programs.
Throughout the story I purposely injected references to various different magazines that my stories have appeared in over the years; I also managed to plant a few references to the titles of some of my stories in the tale. (I've always been a fan of hiding stuff in my writing for people to discover) I also featured my good friend Carol Weekes as one of the brilliant horror authors that my main character "collects" -- creating a fictitious story collection of hers for the purposes of my plot, but also managing to build in a plug for "Walter's Crossing" -- her first published novel. (This story was originally written several years before Carol sold that novel to a publisher and I'll gladly hand-sell any one of Carol's pieces of writing at any time -- she is simply that talented a writer)
Click here to read Active Reader. It's less than 2000 words long. But do be warned -- it does contain a tiny bit of graphic violence and a scene that might be disturbing to some readers.
If you do read it, by all means, please leave a comment here or email me [mark (at) markleslie (dot) ca] to let me know what you think.