If reincarnation were fact, would you be guaranteed rebirth on the same planet?
The Department of the Afterlife on Aleya has a lengthy history of reincarnation errors, and for a 23-year-old waitress named Suzan, death didn’t go as expected. In fact, it went downright wrong; she found herself being redirected in a “go towards the light—no wait, actually not that light, go down the hall to the left and go to that one, past the fountain” scenario and ended up on planet Earth. Gilbert Chalk’s new neighbor isn’t exactly your average girl next door; she’s from the universe next door.
Until the auditors of the afterlife correct their mistake, Suzan is left with nothing but time to find out what it means to be alive, to be dead, and to use a West Texas food truck as an interplanetary mobile phone. Gilbert discovers a bizarre connection to Suzan’s home planet, but unfortunately Aleya isn’t the way she left it. How do you ever get back home when everything about “home” has changed? Do you really want to go back?
Corpus Christi Writers 2020: An Anthology features a short story by Mandy Ashcraft entitled "Striptease Podcast, Episode #97". Click the cover to view on Amazon. Copyright 2020 by Mays Publishing.
“'She fed them information by way of that mop closet production carefully, and in a context that had their brains drunk on a cocktail of hormones and fear; it was like being spooned a nice winter squash bisque through a glory hole."
Corpus Christi Writers 2019: An Anthology features a short story by Mandy Ashcraft entitled "Utopia". Click the cover to view on Amazon. Copyright 2019 by Mays Publishing.
"The locals enjoyed a sip of wine on an occasional stroll through the displays, where vintage canvas pieces from the pre-utopian days were neatly arranged, and they always politely commented on the lovely color schemes. They were remarkable to look at, full of emotions the people there had never had a reason to feel, and so their brush-stroke language was foreign. It didn’t translate. The pieces hung on the walls, screaming a history that no one could understand. Something in Marcy could hear them, though; distinctly, in an otherwise deafened room. She’d discovered this at a young age. She returned to the gallery often, without explanation, to quietly share in a sensation otherwise confined to its own timeline. This way of living was better, they’d said, because everything is perfect when nothing is ever unbalanced. When nothing is ever wrong. When no one is ever cruel. There was no paint color that quite resonated with the innocence of having felt nothing. Virgin brains were carried by the people of Marcy’s town, with untouched neurological receptors. They knew how to love, they experienced passion, in the same way a greeting card expresses such things. Flat. Superficial. Well-intended, of course, but lacking a beating heart. The paintings on the walls sobbed alone."
Corpus Christi Writers 2018: An Anthology features a short story by Mandy Ashcraft entitled "Cabbage of Earth". Click the cover to view on Amazon. Copyright 2018 by Mays Publishing.
“'Isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?' Charlie felt a pang of guilt, scrambling for the comfort of a classic phrase generally held in high regard. Was it not always better to be safe than sorry?
'But what if we’re safe and sorry?'"
Miscellaneous: a short piece here on heroin
-Fizz (a play in two acts)