S. D. Evo.

An essay by Harry Campbell, as provided by Domenic diCiacca
Art by Ariel Alian Wilson


I knocked and walked in. “Jamie!?”

“That you, Harry?” she called from the front room. “In here! Grab a beer, bring me one.”

She was drying her hands when I joined her. She’d been fussing with her aquarium, the big one, cleaning the filters or adjusting the flow. I handed her a beer. “Aw, not the mutant guppies again! I didn’t understand the first time you explained them!”

“No, this time I’ve got something even better.”

Jamie likes to bring her work home. I shooed a kitten from a chair and slouched down on it–the chair, not the kitten. The kitten climbed my leg and claimed my lap, giving me a surly look with eyes so young they were still blue. The tiny thing settled down and began to purr. Cutest thing you can imagine, with white paws and black tipped ears and dust bunny grey hair. Its neck looked damp, so I scritched its back. “This another of your projects? Been cutting into poor defenseless kittens?”

Jamie did not rise to the bait. “I splice genes. I sculpt DNA. My work is sub-cellular,” she said in an even tone. “I haven’t used a scalpel on living tissue since I was an intern. But I have a scalpel, so keep talking.”

I grinned. I love visiting Jamie. She’s like a mental smorgasbord, I always leave stuffed full of ideas. One of her grad students once described her as an “approaching storm.” I think he meant it as a compliment.

Jamie sat in a chair across from me and leaned forward to stare intently into my face. “We’re rats in a cage. There’s too many of us. We’ve got to get out of the nest and fly before we destroy ourselves. We need a Diaspora, colonies, seeds on the wind. Trapped in the nest like this, we’re not in danger of extinction in a thousand years–” She tapped my knee to emphasize the point. “–we’re in danger now.”

“You’re mixing your metaphors. Or you’re designing flying rats.”

“Don’t laugh. Someday we’ll be designing people to live in space.”

“Akk! That is disgusting!”

“What?”

“Just picturing what a human adapted for space might look like. Eeww!”

She laughed, a rich and lovely sound. “Yes, by the time we’re able to live safely in deep space, selfolution will have changed us considerably.”

“Wait. Evolution?”

“Selfolution. Or S. D. Evo. Self-directed evolution. If we can’t change the environment, then we will have to adapt to the environment. Fill an ecological niche, or a planet’s worth of niches, by choice. It’s evolution’s next step. The inevitable next step.  Someday women will have babies tailor-made for Mars. Which reminds me. I want to show you something.” She took the kitten over to the aquarium and dropped it in.

“Hey!” I jumped up, headed to the rescue. But the kitten sank calmly to the bottom, pushed lightly off and began chasing guppies. My chin must have bounced off my boots. “It’s breathing under water!”

S D Evo

She took the kitten over to the aquarium and dropped it in.
“Hey!” I jumped up, headed to the rescue. But the kitten sank calmly to the bottom, pushed lightly off and began chasing guppies. My chin must have bounced off my boots. “It’s breathing under water!”


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2015 collection.


Harry Campbell was born somewhere just south of James Bay in Ontario, Canada. He is a construction engineer who considers a bridge (any bridge) to be the epitome of functional design. He collects guitars and teapots as exemplary examples of form following function. He pumps iron for sanity’s sake and never expected to get married.


Domenic diCiacca was born in Edinburg, Scotland, once lived in a mining town in Ontario, Canada, and now lives on forty acres in Missouri with a dozen horses, a red head, and too many damn cats. His hobby is making his wife laugh.


Ariel Alian Wilson is a few things: artist, writer, gamer, and role-player. Having dabbled in a few different art mediums, Ariel has been drawing since she was small, having always held a passion for it. She’s always juggling numerous projects. Currently lives in Seattle with her two cats, Zippy and Persephone. You can find doodles, sketches, and more at her blog www.winndycakesart.tumblr.com.

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Containment of the Last Queen

Selective Notes of Hooper Jon’th’n Lee, Ph.D., as collected and retold by Alby Darling
Art by Leigh Legler


I remember the first night like it was my last, the rain drenching us so thoroughly as you’d think you were made of the water. The moon was full and it was doomed to be the worst storm in years, if not a quarter of a century. It was, by all accounts, perfection. The crew was full of fear, I can still see it in their eyes, the way they saw death on the horizon, oh silly ones, if only you had realized then that death comes from the deep.

I was coated in what I called armor, though it was nothing more than the regular sort of diving suit dressed with moonstone and blue lace agate. Something to shimmer in the water. To draw attention. I could already hear them singing. Oh, most of the others couldn’t–I’d been well enough to hire the deaf and the rest to stuff their ears with beeswax–but it’s a sound I shall never forget. Even if I could coax it out of the lab now, to hear it full and powered on the open ocean? Like a dream. Like poison. Like the willingness to drop to one’s presumed fate with nothing to save your soul but a length of industrialized carbon rope tied to a ship’s mast.

Some might have called me ill for what I searched for, oh, they could say a great many things on and about it. But I was only ill for a moment, just that moment, and it was the kind of madness I shall savor until the end of days.

Then there was the cold, the dripping soul-binding shock of cold that only salt and storm water could fill you with, the kind of cold that somehow made the air you’d just come from seem warm, even if you could not tell up from down or ship from sideways. I waved and then I went under. It was impossible to see, always so dark, as to be expected, and with my body tugged here and there in the current, I was as helpless as I could possibly be. Good. That screamed bait. It screamed eat me. What didn’t like a free meal after all? And I sank. Sank. Sank. I remember the water too, getting darker, or should I say thicker? I was reminded of the squid ink I kept in jars, the kind I played with ever so much to torment the cuttlefish in preparation for what might come.

If only that had actually been of some use.

Containment of the Last Queen

My goal then, was to get eaten. And hope too, then, that the rope did not break. Or at least, that’s what my mind told me. My body? Stiff as a board, and I was helpless to watch, to watch them turn to watch her turn, lazy and like a judgment of days, tail glowing now, even brighter than before, and then I could see her face.


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2015 collection.


Originally a mildly inept anthropologist, it is said that one winter, Hooper Jon’th’n Lee got lost in the world of folklore archives and never came out back the right way around after. This, of course, would require a viewer to have a sense of “right” or “wrong” way around, a moral code which Hooper seems to have completely dissolved off in his quest for proving that if one looks hard enough, they can still trace what he calls “The Echos of Apeiron.”


Alby Darling is a former frequent-traveler and current resident of New Jersey, where they spend their time predominantly involved with the organizing of shelves. Besides being addicted to short-form writing and drafting novel outlines, Alby is fond of pepperjack cheese, songs that don’t make any sense, and mythologies related to aquatic beings.


Leigh’s professional title is “illustrator,” but that’s just a nice word for “monster-maker,” in this case. More information about them can be found at http://leighlegler.carbonmade.com/.

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Apocalypse Babe

An essay by Eloise Dustmote, as provided by Marlee Jane Ward
Art by Scarlett O’Hairdye


When you live just a few clicks off the contamination zone, it ain’t a simple thing to meet babes. I mean, I’m not fussy or nothing, but I do have my standards. I like a higher teeth-to-bare-gum ratio and that don’t leave me many options, yeah? And sneaking off for a quick one just isn’t easy as all that. It’s hard to slip in the tongue when you’re both wearing particle filters.

~

I’m leaning over a booth, wiping the same spot on the table and staring at the void again. Late at night I’ll get to staring and it’s like the formica tabletop drops down and I can see past it to infinity. I know I should be filling the syrup bottles, but I’m gazing right at forever and it’s vast like … like …

I drag myself outta the void and look up through the window. All day I’d been thinking that a storm might be brewin’ and I’m right. Sure won’t be any customers tonight, not when the sand is like to grate your skin right off. I sigh.

The floodlights outside illuminate nothing but dust swirling. It twirls and grates against the window and it’s like I can see shapes in it, sand turbines spinning, a mouse tail curling, the outline of a man. The man-shape moves and I blink. Am I hallucinating again? Shit, I hate it when that happens.

Thump. A hand, right against the window.

I rush to the decon room, step quick-smart into the haz-suit we’ve got set up for emergencies, and in no time I’m out the door, feeling my way along the wall until I right trip on the lumpen body collapsed-like by the window. I’m but a scrap of a thing, even so, I get him by the leg and drag him towards the door. He comes to about halfway there after a few good clunks over rocks and such and makes his own way into the decon room. I go through first and let him catch his breath, clean up while I go inside.

“Evenin’,” I say, handing the stranger a menu as he slides, clean and free of dust, into a seat at the counter. He’s got five day stubble and a big leather jacket that he shrugs off, revealing a fine set of arms that bulge out in the all the appropriate places.

“What were you doing out in that storm?” I ask, and he looks up at me with hazel eyes and I kinda drift off into them. I picture him humming through the border zone on a hack-slashed solar-powered Harley, air and dust streaming over his particle filter and through the fuzz of his buzzed hair, the sky behind him blazing brilliant red with the nuclear sunset …

“Miss?” he says.

Shit. I been staring at him for who knows how long. He looks at me like he’s wonderin’ if I’m not a bit touched in the head. Well, maybe he’s right. Maybe the lonely has scrambled my brain like a double serve of eggs.

Apocalypse Babe

The floodlights outside illuminate nothing but dust swirling. It twirls and grates against the window and it’s like I can see shapes in it, sand turbines spinning, a mouse tail curling, the outline of a man. The man-shape moves and I blink. Am I hallucinating again? Shit, I hate it when that happens.


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2015 collection.


Eloise Dustmote is an orphan and waitress who works at a diner on the edge of the contamination zone. A whiz with a spatula and a deft hand on the grill, she’s happy to brew you up a fresh pot of coffee as long as you clear decon in a timely fashion. She digs daydreamin’, babes, and SPAM, in that precise order.


Marlee Jane Ward is a writer, reader, and weirdo from Melbourne, Australia. She’s a Clarion West Writers Workshop alum, took second place in the Katherine Susannah Prichard Speculative Fiction awards for 2014, and her debut novella is shortlisted for Seizure Online’s Viva La Novella. She has a lot of thoughts and feelings that she overshares at http://marleejaneward.com. She digs cats, babes, and food, in that precise order.


Scarlett O’Hairdye is a burlesque performer, producer and artist. To learn more, visit her site at www.scarlettohairdye.com.

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That Man Behind the Curtain: October 2015

Hipster Beauty and the Beast

Your editors, as Hipster Beauty and the Beast.

Welcome to our latest installment of behind the scenes!

The Money Aspect

Amounts in parentheses are losses/expenses.

Hosting: ($17.06)
Stories: ($70.00)
Art: ($196.16)
Advertising: ($30.00)
Processing Fees: ($16.45)
Printing: ($44.13)
Donations: $114.00
Ad Revenue: $0.84
Book Sales: $85.62
Total: ($547.14)
QTD: ($547.14)
YTD: ($10,689.77)
All Time: ($37,558.92)

As per usual, I try to list costs for art and stories under the month that the stories run on the site rather than when I pay them. (This does not apply to special content which does not have a specific month associated with it.) Sales are for sales when they take place, not when it’s actually paid out to me. I also cover Paypal expenses when paying authors and artists as best I can. Paypal has made it more difficult, so I’m not as capable of covering international fees.

Submissions

October saw 13 submissions, all classified ads. We also accepted 12 of the classifieds, which makes the month’s acceptance rate 92.3%. All time acceptance rate is 48.84%.

Followers

Number of followers in social media as of the end of last month.

Facebook: 1,029 (+13)
Twitter: 408 (+0)
Google+: 59 (+0)
Tumblr: 116 (+4)
Mailing List: 45 (+1)
Patreon: 10 (+0)

Traffic

Our traffic was down further in October. We had a total of 781 visits. Our traffic consisted of 502 users and 1,461 page views. Our highest day of traffic was 57.

This month’s search engine term is “chicken wire ghost glow.” And quilt patterns are back.

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After Fear Becomes My Friend

An essay by Dracula, as provided by Richard Zwicker
Art by Luke Spooner


I was lying in my coffin in that blissful dead-to-the-world state allotted to me during daylight hours, when literal screams from my cell phone shattered my nothingness. After clocking my head on the closed top of my coffin, I pushed it open and groped for my phone. It was Frankenstein.

“Where have you been?” he asked.

A word about Frankenstein, who years ago gave up informing people that his proper name was “Monster of …” He may have inherited from his creator a healthy, robust body, but little can be done about his diseased brain.

“Where do you think I’ve been? Where does Dracula spend every daylight hour of his eternal existence?”

I meant this as a rhetorical question, but there was no such thing for Frankenstein. He paused, then sputtered, “How come you didn’t throw your annual Halloween party?”

“How come I didn’t … I’m supposed to throw a Halloween party before Halloween?”

“It’s November 19th.”

“What?” I staggered out of my coffin, banging my shin against the lower half. Coffins and movement don’t mix. When my DVD player confirmed Frankenstein’s words, I let out a girlish scream. “Frankenstein, you’re right! I’ve been in my coffin for over a month. It must be the padded interior I installed.” Silence settled over us as we realized the import of what had happened. This was the first Halloween we had not gotten together to discuss what was right with the world and how to make it wrong. That I had slept through it was bad enough, but even more unnerving was the fact no one else had stepped up and made the event happen.

“Why don’t we have a Thanksgiving party?” Frankenstein asked.

“Thanksgiving? What kind of monster celebrates Thanksgiving?”

“I don’t know. What kind of monsters are we?”

Every so often, Frankenstein puts me in my place with such questions. “Frankenstein,” I said finally, “you have given us a theme for our get-together. We’re going to have the mother of Thanksgiving dinners. Can you bring the mashed potatoes or stuffing?”

“I’ll dig up something.”

“No, don’t dig it up. Just cook it.”

After Fear Becomes My Friend

The weather was perfect for our Thanksgiving get-together. The sky was overcast, the grass was dead, and the wind chill hovered barely above freezing. Due to Wolfman’s limited availability, we were forced to celebrate three days after the official Thanksgiving Day. That was always a concern on Halloween as well, but with the added vibes of that holiday, we could always get by if he didn’t shave for a month. With a cheerful holiday such as Thanksgiving, we weren’t prepared to wing it, however.


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2015 collection.


Dracula is a “name” vampire that disputes any relation to Klaus Kinski.


Richard Zwicker is an English teacher living in Vermont with his wife and beagle. His short stories have appeared recently in Stupefying Stories, Tales of Old, and LocoThology.


Luke Spooner a.k.a. ‘Carrion House’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.

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The House Wins

An account by an unnamed traveler, as provided by Rich Young
Art by Errow Collins


Riding through rolling hills, hearing the sound of distant thunder, and breaking away from the yesterdays that have created a mountain of ragged, old clothes in my sad hole of a life, I am passing through the land that composed my earliest memories. When the road curves by the edge of a field where I played ball, a break in the trees exposes the horizon, and I see the outline of the farmhouse that raised me. A tall, ruined monster that now sits empty and lonely–its history lost by the passing of all former inhabitants save one.

A rise in the road causes me to look forward, start paying closer attention, and cease the daydreaming that pulls me in on this long drive. The car is rolling over the dip at the bottom of the private dirt path that leads to my childhood home. Grasshoppers hurry to avoid the car tires rolling over the overgrown center line of grass in the path. I lower the front windows to hear the familiar evening buzz of insects and frogs. There is no buzz. The wind whispers across the grass and gently brushes leaves in willow trees that line the road.

I realize it is late in the summer, and several nights have passed when frost has replaced the dew in the morning grass. There is a point in summer where the hot sun changes to a cooler, amber glow and the freezing temperatures stop the night insects from their cacophony that exists in the thick of summer’s abundant life. I hadn’t considered it would be this late in the season here. I have not been outside in a very long time.

I feel angry. To look at this place, one would not suspect what pain has been endured within. It is in the secrets of this house that I have lived and died a thousand times. I have never been strong enough to remember everything. If I started talking, I would surely recall details that are better left forgotten.

“Not another death from you!” I yell at the house. It answers with a cold, wooden creak. This house mocks me. I could no more capture the moon with my bare hands than tear this building down. I think that I don’t know why I came here on this very day, but I presently, and suddenly, remember. This is the day the house took my father from me.

I see us through the living room window. Dim light illuminates my face as I look up to my father with respect. He is strong. I can see the muscles tighten in his jaw and the way he closed one eye when concentrating. I feel his words more than I can hear them; each word a nail hammered into my soul.

“Creature, you are not my son. My son was good, and he is gone now. You are the wrong, and you must leave.”

I could never hurt him. I plead with him to let me stay, but the house has him. My father points to the front door, and through the window I can see tears stream down my teenage cheeks. I see a light turn on in an upstairs window. The woman that gave birth to my body was awakened by the noises downstairs. She would never be my mother. Without knowing, I imagine what must have run through her head. She wanted me dead that night. I knew that she asked my father to kill me. He could not. She would never forgive him for his weakness.

The House Wins

“Creature, you are not my son. My son was good, and he is gone now. You are the wrong, and you must leave.”


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2015 collection.


He comes from everywhere. I don’t know his name, but I have received his tale only to desire that some things would remain unheard. He is rugged, damaged, and his soul has been tainted from a dark past. Joy and love are foreign. His eyes are a dry riverbed, but they mostly see the raging river of his past. His large hands cannot answer for the pain that they have inflicted–they know not what power they hold. You may know him as well as you know yourself.


Rich Young is a writer, guitar player, business analyst, father, and husband from Michigan. He has completed one novel, Letters From Tomorrow, and several short stories ranging from horror to science fiction. He is currently working on a series of Tales of The Scraping, and a novel that sums up all the experiences of his life in some odd fashion or another.


Errow is a comic artist and illustrator currently near Seattle. She focuses on narrative work themed around worlds not quite like our own. She spends her time working with her partner on The Kinsey House webcomic and developing her solo webcomic when she’s not playing tag with her bear of a cat. More of her work can be found at errow.carbonmade.com.

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Try to Dismember Doctor September

An essay by Minister Sinister, as provided by Daniel Coble
Art by Justine McGreevy


Helen thinks that the schoolbus thing was the first sign that Doctor September was turning “good,” but I disagree. I mean, it was a bus full of little children, for Christ’s sake. If it had been me, I probably would have saved them, too. That would have been better, actually. If I had been there, I could have telekinetically lifted the bus out of the water without anyone spotting me and ruining my reputation. But September, with his obscenely bulgy muscles and that ridiculous, horned helmet, was not exactly inconspicuous as he hauled the thing onto the river bank. But whatever. Do I wish it hadn’t happened? Yes. I’m just saying that saving a bunch of helpless moppets from drowning doesn’t mean you’re turning non-villainous.

I hate the term “altruism,” and I even hate what social scientists call it: “pro-social behavior.” But the notion is applicable here, in a negative sense. You see, if he had been at some risk, you might call it “altruism,” although “stupidity” is the more accurate term. But when he’s all hyped-up on his Formula S, September can’t be harmed by anything short of a multi-kiloton explosive, although I’ve sort of wanted to try a plasma beam at super-solar temperatures, say 10,000 Kelvin. I think that could give him a nasty burn. But a cold river and a 14 ton type-C Thomas Built schoolbus loaded with soggy third graders? No hazard at all, and so hardly an instance of self-sacrificing daring.

I’m not disputing that Doctor September did eventually lose his shit. But it happened more recently, and more gradually.

The signs were there during the Lincoln Memorial project. Doctor September was as enthusiastic as any of us about blowing up that hideous temple to the gods of hypocrisy, and in fact his Hadron Imploders were the method we eventually chose for the task. And everyone has seen how beautifully it worked. They may turn the huge crater we left there into some kind of sappy museum, but the government fools and their various childish, masked stooges know as well as we do what it really is: a monument to our genius and villainy. Mostly mine, of course, but it was a team effort. And September was a key part of the team back then. But one conversation we had worried me a bit, and perhaps should have worried me a lot:

“So, Doctor,” I said to him, “have you calculated the damage this will do, in economic terms? Have you factored in the possibility of a stock market crash triggered by the panic and psychosexual angst we will cause?” I had explained to the whole League how the lounging, hypertrophied Lincoln was an anthropomorphized phallic symbol central to the delusions of the sheep-citizens. And Doctor September understood this, but he was distracted by trivialities.

“What if there are guards or maintenance personnel still in the building?” he asked, his voice low and almost timid.

Try to Dismember Doctor September

Helen witnessed the next clear warning-event herself. September had just finished a classic solo gig–robbing the diamond exchange–with his usual panache. But then, as he strode down 47th Street, carrying his haul in two of those damned, huge, dollar-sign emblazoned sacks he always brought, several paparazzi scurried out from the alley next to Club Monaco and started snapping pictures of him.


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2015 collection.


Minister Sinister is a costumed professional criminal rumored to possess dangerous mental abilities. He has been characterized in the press as “pretentious,” as well as “homicidal” and “confused.” Speculation that he lives in an almost continuous dissociative state characterized by self-reinforcing delusions and free-floating, narcissistic rage must remain conjecture until he can be captured and assessed by psychiatric experts. No clear photos of Minister Sinister are known, but images that have been captured by traffic and ATM cameras show a receding hairline, an aquiline nose, and a narrow, slope-shouldered frame. He is rumored to enjoy half-caf soy lattes.


Daniel Coble lives with his wife, daughters, and sister in southern California, where he develops Web applications in the light of day and commits his literary crimes under cover of darkness. Those abetting these offenses include River Lit, Spank the Carp, Third Flatiron anthologies, Halfway Down The Stairs, Fabula Argentea, Frostfire Worlds, and the Zombies in Japan anthology from Dreamscape Press. He enjoys 1,354 other hobbies, but like some kind of sad, bespectacled prose shark, he cannot stop writing, lest he perish.


Justine McGreevy is a slowly recovering perfectionist, writer, and artist. She creates realities to make our own seem slightly less terrifying. Her work can be viewed at http://www.behance.net/Fickle_Muse and you can follow her on Twitter @Fickle_Muse.

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KN12604

A letter by Peter Kopec, as provided by Alan Murdock
Art by Luke Spooner


From: Peter Kopec
To: Robert Shaw
Subject: KN12604 Testing

Hey Bobby! How’s everything on your end of paradise? Things are more of the same over here. Dinkins left. Pfizer snatched him up. Paula, as you may have heard, was let go. Too much head bashing with corporate is the word on the street. Hinman is still running the show down here, or at least trying to. We need to get out for another round at Western Hills. I worked on my short game all winter, and it seems to be paying off. How about a quick nine holes this afternoon? It’ll give us a chance to catch up and an excuse to fill you in on all the other gossip that I shouldn’t mention in an email. I know they’re keeping you busy up there, but I’m sure you can manage to slip away for a few hours.

Unfortunately, there’s a reason for me to be bothering you, although I’m sorry to do it. I know your inbox has probably been packed ever since you took that god-forsaken quality assurance position. Bet you never realized how many things go wrong with these tests, huh?

But since you are now the “problem guy,” you know why I’m writing, so I’ll get to it. We have been testing KN12604 for two months now and have had some strange results to say the least. Hinman, not to mention all of his bosses and their bosses, and, well you get the point, were extremely optimistic before starting the test trial that this drug would overtake all other antipsychotics and would easily fly through FDA approval. Shockingly enough, they were wrong, LMFAO! (Are your kids teaching you this new shorthand stuff like mine are?)

Anyway, at this rate, the drug may never even see FDA eyes. I fear the drug is having a paradoxical effect on our subjects, and its happened to such a degree that this email was prompted. In a double blind study, it’s blatantly obvious who is on the real deal and who has been getting paid to down sugar pills. At this point, let me tell you there are fifty subjects tested, with half getting the drug, the other half the placebo. As per protocol, all were interviewed individually. Within the first few days, half of the participants began stating that they could actually catch glimpses of the future. I know you worked in our department long before I ever arrived and you know this, but it needs to be reiterated: none of the subjects at any time had contact with each other nor even know of the other participants’ existence. When asked to elaborate, they all used the same term to describe the feeling. They said it felt very similar to that of déjà vu.

So what could we do? We humored them, and ourselves for that matter. Each was quizzed in various ways that would showcase any precognitive abilities. They were seated in our testing rooms and asked various questions. What card would be the next one drawn, what number was written on a face down paper in front of them, what would be the outcome of the Sox-Yanks game that night. Our statisticians compiled the results and informed us our subjects scored 58.17% collectively. According to the number guys, the tests showed nothing peculiar except that the subjects are slightly better at guessing than the rest of the population.

These results, of course, were far from anything that would halt or even slow this multi-million dollar study. So we continued, and even though I received no credit for keeping things on schedule, you were here long enough to know that it would have been my ass on the line had there been even the smallest delay. The tests for psychic ability not only flattened any notions of possibility on the part of the staff, but also seemed to quiet the twenty-five subjects and quell any fear they had felt. However (and would there be an email without that word?), approximately a week after the tests, some of the subjects came forward reporting the feeling had not only not disappeared, but intensified. Over the next several days, some of the subjects living in denial longer than others apparently, the remaining subjects eventually stated the same. Hinman ordered the psychic tests be re-administered, hoping to again repress any questions the subjects were having. This time after testing, the statisticians placed the percentage of correct answers at an astounding 85.73%, putting them in an indefinable category outside of all potential guessing. The subjects were all individually questioned to describe the feeling they had. We were all still under the impression that there must be some logical reason for the results. Again, they used the term déjà vu. They stated they were able to guess the correct card because they felt as though they had already seen the card. They were able to know the number written on the paper because they had already seen it. I know what you’re thinking. They are having those feelings because they have in fact taken the tests before. But different proctors were used, the cards had long since been shuffled, and this time the Red Sox were playing Tampa Bay.

KN12604

Their psyche has deteriorated quickly, and all twenty-five subjects are now having nearly constant feelings of déjà vu. This might not be a big deal. We’ve allowed crazier subjects to wander the street, opting not to quarantine. In this city, twenty-five random people rambling about twenty-five different things is far from exceptional. But they are all raving about the same thing!


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2015 collection.


Peter Kopec was a single father of two teenaged girls. Born and raised in Haven Falls, Connecticut, he graduated from Uconn with a degree in microbiology and a 2.2 GPA. From there he continued his lackluster tenacity, working his way up to a middle management position where he was happily lost in the shuffle of a giant corporation. He never did get a chance to squeeze in that round of golf.


Alan Murdock is a writer of horror, sci-fi, and other weird fiction. He lives with his wife and daughter in New England, but is a frequent visitor to the fictional town of Haven Falls, Connecticut. When not reading or writing, he enjoys spending time with his family, watching the Red Sox, and drinking beer—usually all at once. For information on his upcoming projects, follow him on Twitter at Alan Murdock @AlanMurdock13.


Luke Spooner a.k.a. ‘Carrion House’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.

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That Man Behind the Curtain: September 2015

This is what we live with at our apartment.

This is what we live with at our apartment complex.

Sorry for the delay in posting this. We wanted to finish the slush for classifieds before posting this, since some of the submission period was in September. Here are some numbers.

The Money Aspect

Amounts in parentheses are losses/expenses.

Hosting: ($17.06)
Stories: ($105.00)
Art: ($395.98)
Advertising: ($20.00)
Processing Fees: ($28.88)
Printing: ($1,236.43)
Shipping: ($358.54)
Donations: $94.20
Ad Revenue: $0.48
Book Sales: $115.78
Total: ($4,113.32)
QTD: ($4,949.89)
YTD: ($10,142.63)
All Time: ($37,011.46)

As per usual, I try to list costs for art and stories under the month that the stories run on the site rather than when I pay them. (This does not apply to special content which does not have a specific month associated with it.) Sales are for sales when they take place, not when it’s actually paid out to me. I also cover Paypal expenses when paying authors and artists as best I can. Paypal has made it more difficult, so I’m not as capable of covering international fees.

With the launch of Selfies, sales have increased. On the other hand, printing and shipping out all of the books to backers meant a spike in expenses for the month. The cost is mostly covered by Kickstarter income, but international shipping costs were higher than we budgeted for. Lesson learned for next time.

Submissions

September saw 34 submissions, of which 4 were classified ads. Of the regular submissions, we accepted 16 (53%). We also accepted all of the classifieds, which makes the overall acceptance percentage 58.8%. All time acceptance rate is 48.20%.

Followers

Number of followers in social media as of the end of last month. I’m still planning on doing a giveaway to celebrate crossing a thousand Facebook followers, but haven’t had time to set it up.

Facebook: 1,016 (+15)
Twitter: 408 (+12)
Google+: 59 (+0)
Tumblr: 112 (+2)
Mailing List: 44 (+3)
Patreon: 10 (+1)

Traffic

Our traffic was back down in September. We had a total of 1,057 visits. Our traffic consisted of 744 users and 2,506 page views. Our highest day of traffic was 89. I should start calling this trafficmancy, because I don’t know what to make of our traffic sometimes.

This month’s search engine term is “mississippi crossroads at midnight.” And quilt patterns are back. Yay!

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Ask a Mad Scientist for Advice

We are once again looking for people to provide questions for our “Ask a Mad Scientist” column that appears in our quarterly. If your question is used in a column, you receive a free copy of that quarterly, and will be credited as the author of your question.

If you have questions you’d like to submit, please email them to madscientistjournal@gmail.com by Monday, November 9th.

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