A simple premise; a bold promise
To present one story per day, every day—
providing exceptional authors with exposure
and avid readers with first-rate fiction.

Today's Story by Stuart Hopen

If you don’t reach out to me now, if you don’t save us both, you’ll spend days dying in pain and humiliation.

Serialization Sunday – The Flick: Chapter 16

Every Sunday, Fiction365 presents a new chapter in a previously unpublished novel.  Our first novel, the taut thriller City of Human Remainscan be found in full here

Our second novel, Hoodoo, tells a story of visionaries, heretics and lunatics in Utah, centered on a 12-year-old girl who believes that God wants her to have an affair with her guidance counselor, can be found in full here.

Our current novel, The Flick, is the correspondence between a legendary porn star of the 90′s and the girl who got away – and kept going.  Read previous chapters here.

Letter XVI

October 13, 1990


Dear Die:


I will have my end covered.

Perhaps the next part should end up on the cutting room floor.  I don’t know how you will feel about it, but it seemed so thematically correct, and to my liquor addled memory, it seems to be exactly what Jay said.  It feels true, though perhaps it is a trick of retrospective examination, a distortion caused by looking at Jay in my memory, and retrieving him into the present.

Jay begins to twist a clear length of fishing line around his left index finger.  The tip of his finger bulbs out and turns purple.  He eyes Grace and says, “I warned you.  Somehow or other, it seems I know our futures.  The moment feels weird as a halftime show at a wake.  It probably has something to do with a writer’s trick Die and Phoenix are trying to pull off.  There’s a plot between them.  Don’t ask me to explain.  In a few years, we’ll both be dead.  We’ll both be killed by Love.”  He  continues wrapping the line over the length of his finger, then across his palm.  He proceeds to crisscross the line down his forearm, pulling it tight, like a phylactery of self-affliction.  In the cord’s pale bite, his flesh extrudes outward.  The bulges darken.  “You, Grace, will be abducted by a wacked out weirdo.  This guy, if he were ice cream, he’d be flavored psychoalmond schizocashew manicdepressive pistachio.  You know how he got so messed up?  Pornography deranged him.  He views women as things.  Pornography breeds violence.  The Republicans and the Feminists tell the truth.  You get to find out first hand.”  He holds up his arm, now covered with plums of cyanosis.

Jay takes control of the scene.  He seems to be speaking in the present, Jay himself, direct from Hell.  Radiating charismatic energy, he leaches color from the surrounding sea and sky, until everything is either blue or its complementary orange.  Jay transforms our reality to a flickering projection.  Our very retinas seem reduced to a low grade film.

Jay speaks from a place outside of time, his words, in their utterance, alter what was and what is.

Grace lies bound on a blood soaked rug.

Grace lies splayed on a dissection table, the jelly of her inner secrets offered for viewing.  Someone has stripped off her skin.

I saw her this way.  It was real, absolutely real.

Did Jay alter reality, causing an actual death by telling a story?  Did Jay do that?  Or did I?  For a moment I see myself as the pornography obsessed lunatic who murders Grace according to the prophecy.  I have murdered her with this telling, just as you murdered Jay in a fiction, and then in real life.

Perhaps it did not happen this way originally.  Perhaps these new words that emerge from Jay’s mouth echo across existence.  Things change.  My past turns vile.  It has become true.

If it is true, should we include it?  Would the requisite special effects blow your budget?  Drain your assets?  Or will the actress who plays Grace be sacrificed for the sake of verisimilitude?

Jay implores, “If you don’t reach out to me now, if you don’t save us both, you’ll spend days dying in pain and humiliation.”  He wraps the cord around his neck, purpling the pallor, making his eyes bug out.  “I’m telling you all this to save your life.  Reach out to me… You can do it.”

She starts to touch him, but draws away.  She shivers.

Jay raises his index and pinky fingers, in the sign of the horns.  And Jay begins to plot his other revenges.

Maybe now you will tell me about Jayne Payne.



Stuart Hopen’s writing has been published by various comic book companies, including D.C., Marvel, Eclipse, Amazing, and Fantagraphics. His science fiction novel, Warp Angel, originally published by Tor Books, will soon be reissued by the Misenchanted Press in a newly revised edition.  Cannibals, a series of six interrelated novellas, will be available online in 2014.   


To comment on this story, visit Fiction365’s Facebook page