Cutting edge fiction for cutting edge minds. Thirty-seven voices from around the world come together to bring you forty-six stories that defy easy categorization: grit-lit, urban, surrealist, raw, outsider, bizarro, fringe, experimental. Subtle, yet in your face. This anthology is not for the faint of heart - it takes chances, and so should you. Featuring new fiction from authors hailing from the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Includes stories by: Brad Listi (Attention. Deficit. Disorder.: A Novel), Kate Holden (In My Skin: A Memoir), Tony O'Neill (Digging the Vein), Kristopher Young (Click), Jeremy Robert Johnson (Angel Dust Apocalypse), Carlton Mellick III (Satan Burger), Daniel Scott Buck (The Greatest Show on Earth), Henry Baum (Oscar Calibur Gun), Kevin Donihe (Shall We Gather at the Garden), Kenji Siratori (Blood Electric), Gina Ranalli (Chemical Gardens), and many more.
FROM WHAT I CAN SEE of the level meter, I am being recorded. That’s the best I can hope for at this point, so I won’t worry about it. It’s not like I’m going to say anything profound which needs to be entered into the historical record for the twenty-ﬁrst century. I probably won’t even say anything worth repeating.
I ﬁgure I’ve got about twenty minutes before things get so bad I won’t be able to continue. Not to worry, I’ve already taken care of the important things. Now I’m just waiting.
To my family and friends, I love you. I know it’s probably too little, too late, but it is what it is. I could spend the next few minutes talking about the past and how much fun I had with each of you, but I’m not going to. I’d rather spend the time trying to explain how I got to this point and why I did what I did. Maybe something good can come out of this mess.
I wasn’t in the dorm when Michael Scoggins ﬁrst concocted morphete. I wasn’t even in the state. By the time I got back from the Thanksgiving holiday, word of the new drug had spread to the entire campus: staff, faculty, and all. That was, what, two months ago? Yeah, that’s right. Seems longer. Anyway, I wasn’t here that night. But my roommate had scored. Not a stash of the stuff, but the recipe itself. It was easy to make and Todd was on his second batch when I showed up.
I didn’t know what he was doing. There were boxes of medicines, vitamins, cleaning products, and pool chemicals spread all around the room. The table was clear, except for two glass bowls, and a box of coffee ﬁlters. Todd was stirring some disgusting-looking stuff in one of the bowls. I remember the way he smiled at me when I walked into the room. Perfectly content. Just a hint of amusement. All of my frustration with the mess melted in his smile.
“What is it?” I asked. “What’s going on?”
“Expansion of the mind,” Todd said. “Better living through chemistry.”
Todd ﬁnished the batch and poured it through the coffee ﬁlters. He began hanging the ﬁlters up to dry. I helped him with this, seizing the opportunity to probe for more information about the nature of his experiment. He said he couldn’t explain it, but that I had to try it.
Todd held a small bowl of purple powder out to me. “Take just a pinch and sprinkle it on your tongue. Just a touch.”
Now, I’d tried a couple of mind-altering substances before this. Ecstasy, pot, and everybody’s friend, Mr. Beer. So, I wasn’t exactly reluctant, but something in that smile made me think of an old Twilight Zone episode. I should have known. I put my ﬁngers into the powder and pinched a little. The grains were large, like sand or sugar. Crystalline. I tilted my head back and let it fall onto my tongue.