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 Authors
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.
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.
Twitter: @TransmundnePres @AlishaCostanzo
Things to Know About the Authors
-Heidi was born and raised in northern Ontario, Canada — but despite lifelong experience with snow, she hates cold weather.
-Heidi's parents are furniture salespeople: Heidi grew up with lots of big cardboard boxes to play in and transform with her imagination.
-She graduated chef training at age 18. There was tense discussion among the chefs before Heidi was allowed to attend the wine-tasting class, since legal drinking age in Ontario, Canada is 19.
-Heidi waited tables at a sushi restaurant for 3 years. Her favourite part of the job was encouraging nervous first-timers to try the raw fish.
-Heidi typically writes at her kitchen table, while drinking coffee, listening to electronic trance music, and snuggling one of her cats.
-I'm a professional viola player. My string quartet was once kicked out of a shopping mall where we were performing by security because someone had complained our music was ‘too noisy’.
-My great-uncle worked with Albert Einstein.
-I took up ballet on my doctor’s suggestion at the age of three to cure my flat feet, and kept dancing until I was fourteen. Absolutely loved it. Still have flat feet.
-I appeared on national TV in 2013, painting in the Glasgow heats of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year. My model was actress Sophie Turner—Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones.
-I was once bitten by a tadpole.
-I like to teach, even when no body asked for a lesson. Sometimes, this can make me feel like a snob, but when people make mistakes and no one corrects them, they are doomed to be repeat offenders.
-One of my favorite jobs so far was working at a funeral home. Most often, I had the building to myself, the nights were quiet, and I got to read or write. Other times, I felt emotional, but ensuring a funeral goes smoothly is rewarding.
-When I role-play write, I often prefer to be the male. I don’t tend to hear objections.
-I love teaching barefoot in my classroom, even when it’s freezing out.
-I’m an environmentalist and anti-consumerist...until I walk into a bookstore.
Patricia J. Esposito:
-Some of my hardest laughing comes when roughhousing with my constant companion, an eighty-five-pound Golden Retriever who thinks nothing of pouncing full-body on me.
-The crystal bowls I received as wedding gifts contain polished stones from the shores of Lake Superior.
-At home I prefer to drink only water, at the coffee shop, only chai tea, and at parties, only Courvoisier.
-I often have to work at home till late at night due to lost time making snow forts or playing ninjas with the neighbor kids (and my dog, of course). Fun is a distraction I encourage.
-Despite the convenience of iPhone music, at all times, my purse is weighted with the music CDs I can’t live without; after all, if I were to get stranded on a desert island, at least I could hold the CDs against me and imagine their sound.
-I loathe cooked tomatoes.
-I can boast a library of 1000 books.
-I never graduated high school.
-My original major was nursing.
-I met my husband at an outdoor barracks party during a tornado.
-I made more as a pizza delivery driver than I have as a professional.
-I hate Twinkies because of the marshmallow filling. However, I like marshmallows. Go figure.
-I’m that snob that judges your grammar on Facebook and Twitter.
-My husband and I have watched hundreds upon hundreds of horror movies, and only one has made me stop eating—Cradle of Fear by Cradle of Filth.
-When I feel completely lost, I consult my Magic 8-Ball.
-I currently reside on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom, a small place cut off from the rest of the country. It is somewhat like the Village from The Prisoner but without the sinister brainwashing (I hope).
-I possess an unhealthy obsession for all things Sherlock Holmes. So much so that I own three copies of the same book, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. We all do silly things when we're in love.
-I have a fond memory of once meeting Neil Gaiman, a very nice man who greeted me as a 'fellow writer.' I'm still thinking of a way to put that event on a T-shirt.
-I've always had a great interest in writing, but for a brief time when I was younger, much to grown-up me's disbelief, I wanted to go into football/soccer. It is a period of my life that I cannot explain.
-The first story I remember writing was about some kid detectives who stopped a pair of ghosts from stealing buried treasure. Clearly, I've never been one for genre boundaries.
Anthony S. Buoni:
-I'm a DJ, specializing in goth, punk, trance, new wave, and house. I also play guitar, sing, and write my own music and electronic loops.
-I believe in all the spooky things I write about.
-I bought my laptop based on how easy it was for me to type on it.
-I'm pagan. I love growing plants and studying the moon, planets, and stars.
-I've sat through entire college classes without getting credit because I was interested, not because I was grade or degree driven.
One $10.00 Amazon gift card
One ARC of Distorted
One 8x10 poster signed by both editors