Shopping Mall Horror and Other Topics

Dear Subscriber,

I write a lot of short fiction. Some of it gets published, and most of it doesn’t, as I don’t keep sending it out to the non-paying markets. Here’s a story I just finished for a new anthology about horror in the shopping malls. The publisher is accepting 15 stories other than the five authors they’ve asked to submit (I’m not one of them). I’ve been published this way most of the time, as I’m an independent author who doesn’t belong to any “associations” such as the American Horror Writers Association. I’ve discovered that these associations often have biases of their own and gradually become cliques that screen out the contents (and authors) of writing they believe don’t warrant publication.

Escalators to Hell

I enjoy allowing my readers to see my work before it gets accepted. If it is accepted, then I enjoy showing them links to purchase an entire anthology with other authors included. In this instance, my story Get Your Money from Hell and Your Chicks for Free is in Google Doc for you now.

I don’t know if the editors will enjoy my horror story, but I enjoyed crafting it. It’s kind of a satire on the modern trends of attempting to commercialize most everything. In this case, it’s Hell as a pastiche on one of the original artists to create a living Hell (The Inferno) Dante Alighieri by a tile setter from Italy who’s also named Dante who lives in San Antonio, Texas.
I rather thought the concept of Satan being “trapped” at the bottom of Hell and frozen up to his waist, was kind of interesting on the part of the author, Dante. I used the imagery in my story, and the guy who plays Satan in the Mall is a typical psycho teen from today’s cultural vacuum. Luckily for the narrator, he doesn’t turn out to be a mass murderer.
I tried to make my narrator an innocent kid who comes upon a horrific situation. Nothing supernatural or using horror tropes in the story at all, really, except for the kid’s nightmares about his mother, and his thoughts about the nearby mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. To me, those are the true horrors that should be part of our literature today in order for folks to purge them. Not fantasies, necessarily. Just my opinion. The mind can create its own horrors, is the way I look at it.
My story, in fact, has quite a positive ending, although the reader doesn’t know if the kid becomes a priest or not. I was an altar boy, and attended Catholic schools, and I also thought about becoming a priest. Other than these details, my story is completely fabricated.
If you want to subscribe to my short story per month or week, then go here.
Thanks, and have an interesting rest of your week.
James Musgrave
San Diego, CA
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