Flash Fiction: “The Banshee Behind Beamon’s Bakery” by Khalidaah Muhammad-Ali
(Originally published in Diabolical Plots #21.)
Most nights the alley behind Beamon’s Bakery is just an alley.
The street lamp bleeds piss yellow light, casting jagged shadows around the overflowing dumpster and discarded boxes. The walls are tagged with gang signs, claiming territory that was never theirs, yardage, bodies, souls, rights.
Some nights a transient clears away the broken glass, the random detritus, to squat for the night. Setting up camp here has its own rewards. The warmth that seeps through the bakery walls and through brick facing chases away the chill, but not the ghosts. This is the drawback, you see. The alley is never as vacant as it may seem at first, never as lonely as one may wish. The price of physical warmth is the chilling of your soul.
Khalidaah Muhammad-Ali lives in Houston, Texas, with her family. By day she works as a breast oncology nurse. At all other times, she juggles, none too successfully, the multiple other facets of her very busy life. Khaalidah has been published at or has publications upcoming in Strange Horizons, Fiyah Magazine, Diabolical Plots, and others. You can also hear her narrations at any of the four Escape Artists podcasts, Far Fetched Fables, and Strange Horizons. Khaalidah is also co-editor at PodCastle audio magazine, where she is on a mission to encourage more women and POC to submit fantasy stories. Of her alter ego, K from the planet Vega, it is rumored that she owns a time machine and knows the secret to immortality. She can be found online at khaalidah.com and on Twitter as @khaalidah.
Author’s note: The unjust violent death of Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer was the specific impetus for this story. I tried to imagine what his mother must’ve been feeling upon learning about her son’s death. This wasn’t difficult because I have a son as well. I tried to impart the feeling of rage and horror I, any mother, would feel upon learning that her son was taken away in such a violent horrific way.
Editor’s note: Houston was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, and it will take some time for the city to recover and rebuild. If you’d like to help out, we recommend visiting charitynavigator.org.
Main Story: “Gust of Wind Made by a Swinging Blade” by Molly N. Moss
(Originally published in Weirdbook #32.)
Again, Kinnori strained against the ropes binding him, his muscles already throbbing from exertion. Once again, the cords sliced his flesh and yielded not at all.
It was dark in the hold of the guard-ship Murakumo, and a gathering chill numbed his fingers. Rolling waves conspired with exhaustion to make Kinnori’s eyelids grow heavy. He shook himself and growled, “Escape or die, Shoji Kinnori.”
Molly N. Moss is the pen name of a tuxedo housecat named Marlene who lives in Athens, Georgia. When Marlene got bored with being left alone all day every day, she taught herself to read fiction as a hobby. After a while she decided to try writing fiction of her own. Marlene’s fiction has appeared in numerous publications, including Weird Tales, Bards & Sages Quarterly, and the anthology Dark Magic: Witches, Hackers, & Robots.
About the Narrator:
“The Banshee” is read by the author; see bio above.
Eric Luke is the screenwriter of the Joe Dante film Explorers, which is currently in development as a remake; has written for the comic books Ghost and Wonder Woman; and wrote and directed the Not Quite Human films for Disney TV. His current project, Interference (a meta horror audiobook about an audiobook… that kills), is a bestseller on Audible.com. His website for creative projects is Quillhammer.com.