Cardiac Zack’s Healthy Human Shack (an animatronic horror tale)

Holden Geats makes his scratch snapping pictures of abandoned places, and he’s heard of a new one: a kid-centric educational play place about the human body.  A quick bribe and he’s in, only the singing and dancing animatronics populating the place didn’t exactly get the ‘abandoned’ memo…

Cardiac Zack’s Healthy Human Shack

by

Blaine Arcade

Sometimes it was difficult to get all the animals out of the way. Bugs were the worst of course, too small to shoo and too fast in flight to keep their trails out of the shafts of light coming through any fissures in the ceiling. They weren’t the only ones though: birds, rats, cats, and occasionally frogs tried to ruin it too.

An indoor miniature golf course where the artificial turf now had mountain ranges of artfully-fallen ceiling plaster. A former public park where vines with sunhat leaves had eaten a listing seesaw. The outdoor section of a dilapidated lawn goods store, a flock of plastic herons standing vigilant even though their feathers and eyes had peeled white.

Every shot was devoid of live animals, but there was a big one just behind the lens, and his name was Holden Geats. Snapping pictures was his livelihood, and what renown he had came from his very narrow purview, as he only sold pictures of a world abandoned, of a speculative future Earth where mankind had vanished months or years prior achieved by finding the quiet little places that found themselves for a time unprofitable, suitable for investment only to Mother Nature herself. Continue reading

Mysterious Americana Catalog: ‘RPM Tire Swing’

M-A-C (11): ‘RPM Tire Swing’

Category: whatsit

Collection Date: (REDACTED), 1983

Collection Location: (REDACTED), Arkansas

Collection Report: The Catalog followed up on an emergency room report. The notes of one of the attending nurses: ‘Kid says he was on tire swing when it started spinning like it was still on a car and someone gunned it. Looking at his broken collarbone, legs, and neck bruising I almost believe him.

The item, apparently having burned through its rope support with friction alone, seemed to depart the property on its own, traveling over 300 miles before it was picked up on the shoulder of Highway (REDACTED) after striking a hitchhiker and landing on its side. The item goes inactive when placed horizontally. It is completely bald, but its performance as a wheel does not seem to suffer, its top speed calculated at over ninety mph.

Current Collector: Garth Millman (they/them), senior rank

Notes from Collector: “It hung as a swing for a while, and we’ve had a few reports of other wheels we haven’t nailed down. My theory is that there’s an entire car broken down and split up, but still working. Some joker holds a wheel and turns it, all four of our swings turn. Somebody steps on a gas pedal buried in the muck and little (REDACTED) is thrown screaming across his yard.”

Current Status: active

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Snakewaist Series Update

Snakewaist is a series of urban fantasy novellas about fairies in the modern world, who have impressive magic-integrating technologies of their own including an internet that cannot lie and the centerpieces of the stories: ferriers.

A ferrier is a mechanimagical animal-shaped vehicle piloted by fairies, for righteous derring-do.  Each has its own identity and they can even join forces with others, transforming into limbs and connecting to become powerful mech suits… about the size of a short man.

They follow the stories of Chaxium and Ladyspiller, young lovers who tackle the intersections of the fairy world and new technologies like a cryptocurrency demon and the Wild Hunt driving a fleet of autonomous cars.

These novellas have just received a light re-edit, so this post acts as a re-publishing for anyone who might be interested.  They’re all freely available here on the blog, starting with Snakewaist.

I hope you’ll give them a try!

Spilled Milk and Curbside Cookies (Horror Short)

(estimated reading time: 7 minutes)

Spilled Milk and Curbside Cookies

by

Blaine Arcade

Something died in the Klaxton house. The response to it was rather slow, partly because the symptoms of its demise did not present for over two weeks. January thirteenth, around there, was the likeliest date for when the first needle changed color. The evergreen dropped the ever, and then the green, and then some of the needles themselves. Continue reading

Mysterious Americana Catalog: ‘Used Water’

M-A-C (10): ‘Used Water’

Category: whatsit

Collection Date: (REDACTED), 1985

Collection Location: (REDACTED), Delaware

Collection Report: Here will be made a note regarding MAC discoveries at yard sales: In no other circumstance are you more likely to discover a MAC or an associated item than at a yard sale. Statistically, over 17% of items that move through the Catalog have previously passed through at least one recorded garage or yard sale. There is also an effect, unrelated to each individual piece, where MACs that have been purchased in cash show reduced anomalous effects, but that being offered for sale at one of the events increases them again. This effect cannot be replicated artificially. Continue reading

Franklin’s Monster

Many know the tale of Frankenstein, but few remember its alternate title ‘The Modern Prometheus’.  Long before its penning someone else was called the ‘Prometheus of modern times’, and it was none other than the American founding father Benjamin Franklin.  This tale supposes that he was the one to engage in the doctor’s dread experiments, and success came through his most famous effort with the key and the kite…

Franklin’s Monster

by

Blaine Arcade

1749

It was said that the birds ate uncommonly tender, but only by the man who had prepared them. In truth most of the preparation was performed by cooks, and they treated the turkeys the same as they would animals killed and handed to them any other way. Roasted. Salted. Anointed with thin golden gravy.

All the while they warily eyed the Leyden jars set out behind their cooking utensils as if they might explode. They looked like bottles from which the infants of molten giants might be fed, the glass lined with metal foil inside and out. There was no lightning hopping between them, but it had to be in there, invisible, for it had been brought forth to instantly end the lives of the seven birds that were to be served to the crowd of thirty that evening.

By this time Mr. Benjamin Franklin was already well-respected as a printing and publishing magnate, and currently served as the postmaster of Philadelphia alongside his joint appointee. Perhaps the job could’ve been handled by one man, but two helped avoid political squabbles, also having the effect of giving Benjamin the spare time needed to indulge his scientific fantasies, which, as the guests of his dinner party were now learning, were frighteningly close to reality. Continue reading

Mysterious Americana Catalog: ‘Shoelace Ramps’

M-A-C (9): ‘Shoelace Ramps’

Category: doohickey

Collection Date: (REDACTED), 1966

Collection Location: (REDACTED), South Carolina

Collection Report: Stumbled upon by one of the founding members of the Catalog in the year of its first issue, this MAC had several instances over several years, all of which occurred in the area surrounding a mountainous trail with no signposts. Continue reading

Mysterious Americana Catalog: ‘Loopy’

M-A-C (8): ‘Loopy’

Category: varmint

Collection Date: (REDACTED), 2007

Collection Location: (REDACTED), New Mexico

Collection Report: This item is the rare exception among MACs, as in appearance and behavior it is nothing more than an ordinary animal. The (REDACTED) family were on an RV trip in 1992 to see the world’s largest pile of (REDACTED) when they stopped to have a picnic. Continue reading

Mysterious Americana Catalog: ‘All-Popper’

M-A-C (7): ‘All-Popper’

Category: whatsit

Collection Date: (REDACTED), 1978

Collection Location: (REDACTED), California

Collection Report: The item was discovered after an unknown amount of active time thanks to an employee of (REDACTED) cinemas. While preparing a batch of popcorn, the artificial butter caused their wedding ring to slip from their finger and strike the active heating implement at the bottom of the hopper.

In their testimony they reported the ring instantly ‘popping’ as if it were any other kernel and becoming lost amongst its fellows. Continue reading

Mysterious Americana Catalog: ‘Bund Button’

M-A-C (6): ‘Bund Button’

Category: whatsit

Collection Date: Jan. 7th, 2021

Collection location: Washington D.C.

Collection Report: The item was claimed by a coroner in the aftermath of the right-wing insurrection on the U.S. capital. It was worn by a known conspiracy theorist with a small but dedicated online following that was difficult for the Catalog to neutralize.

The item is a shield-shaped American flag pin with the letters ‘GAB’, for German American Bund, what might today be called the American Nazi Party. The coroner, being intimately familiar with our organization, swears that upon removing the pin a length of metal retracted out of a wound on the cadaver’s chest, just over the heart. Continue reading