Diary entries by Dr. Algernon P. Lewis, as provided by Samantha Lienhard
Art by Katie Nyborg

May 17:

It doesn’t feel right to go on vacation. I mean, a day off here or there is fine, but nothing longer. But if it will make James stop bugging me, it’s worth it. “You’re overworked,” he said. “You’re stressed.”

The only thing stressing me is the thought of going on vacation.

Worse yet, my boss said, “You’ve been under a lot of pressure lately, Mr. Lewis. Some time off would do you good. In fact, I think a week’s vacation is in order. Consider it done.”

A whole week?!

Well, I’ll just have to make the best of it. No one can tell me what to do with my vacation. Maybe I can take care of some research at home.


May 18:

First day of vacation. I woke up at 6 AM and didn’t know what to do with myself after breakfast, but then I remembered I’ve been meaning to clean out the attic. While I was cleaning, I found an old book buried in a pile of junk. I scanned the first few pages and brought it downstairs for further study. It’s about the Anaian civilization!

The title and author’s name have worn off the cover with age, but when I get back to work, I’ll ask around and see if anyone recognizes the text.

I’ll have to make up some story about finding it in a yard sale, or something–I can’t imagine what they’d say if they knew a brand new research source was sitting in my own house for God knows how long, and I never realized it.


The sand is everywhere. Under my skin, on my skin, in my mouth when I cough. No escape, nothing left for me to do but leave my journal behind, even though it’s hard to hold my pen.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2014 collection.

Renowned archaeologist Dr. Algernon P. Lewis earned his reputation as one of the premier researchers of the ancient Anaia with the publication of his doctoral thesis, Piece by Piece: Reconstructing the Lost Anaian Civilization. He joined the Anaian Historical Society and spearheaded the movement to learn more about this mysterious people. In the wake of his mental breakdown and untimely death, the Society has announced its intention to spare no expense in their efforts to uncover the secrets of the Anaia. The Lewis Expedition, named in his honor, is already underway.

Samantha Lienhard decided she wanted to be an author when she was in second grade, and she has been writing ever since. Her prior publications include a zombie serial called Sacreya’s Legacy, a horror/comedy novella called The Accidental Zombie, and a Lovecraftian horror serial called The Book at Dernier. When she isn’t writing, she can probably be found reading a book or playing a video game. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. You can find her at or follow @SamLienhard on Twitter.

Katie Nyborg’s art, plus information regarding hiring her, can be found at

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1 Response to Sand

  1. jublke says:

    Flowers for Algernon haunted me as a child. This piece haunts me as well. Nicely written.

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