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WordHunger 2003
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-076-0
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 163 Pages
Published: July 2003
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

Wordhunger was formed in 1999 as an Internet collaborative group for surreal and fantastical fiction and it had (and still has) an unquenchable thirst for the strange world of words, where words live and breathe and sound succulently and even mean something within the context of the stories we forged with the help of such words. It's hard to describe the process unpretentiously. That's because none of the Wordhunger collective have ever been unpretentious. All the writers here present speak with one voice.

Double Dragon Publishing will bringing to the reader an edition of WordHunger each year as it is released.


WordHunger 2003 (Excerpt)


WORDHUNGER
a 30-story collection




EPITAPH


Wordhunger was formed in 1999 as an Internet collaborative group for surreal and fantastical fiction and it had (and still has) an unquenchable thirst for the strange world of words, where words live and breathe and sound succulently and even mean something within the context of the stories we forged with the help of such words. It's hard to describe the process unpretentiously. That's because none of the Wordhunger collective have ever been unpretentious. All the writers here present speak with one voice.


Wordhunger has possessed a moving population over the years. Many great writers have come and gone...


Wordhunger, if nothing else, is an exploding storm of single-minded and indefinable namelessness -- out-of-body, out-of-mind creativity, where everything has a happy ending, except the stories themselves. Happy endings, in the sense that the 'plots' all come together, like when filling in the gaps of a childhood monster scribble to make it look like something real or, at least, dreamable. Only you, dear reader, can establish the truth of that claim. But, mind you, we won't believe you, either way.

But not always a happy ending...


Paradoxically, at this time of Wordhunger crystallisation, the historic gestalt of the group has been struck a learning blow by festive dissent over a particular collaboration ? CHRISTMAS, HUMBUG (presented here as an homage to the founding members). A situation that arose out of simple artistic natural selection (read never unpretentious eruption), but now that it has acned the face of the old Wordhunger, maybe it is something so real and truly felt that it could spawn the new Wordhunger that will blossom from its fires. Having words between us was after all the original goal.


Only time will tell what the future holds.


WORDHUNGER 2003

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AFTER THE SKY RAINED ANGELS


"Did you hear, Mabel?"


"No, what, dear heart?"


"They are putting a big shopping mall in our Necropolis!"


"You don?t say!"

The two albino women sat on a wrought iron apparatus very uncomfortably. The streets were covered with soot and coffin dust. The tombs in the cemetery sprawled for miles, older then anyone knew. The acetylene sky was gunmetal grey with drifts of crematorium soot drifting down. Foetid gardens of bizarre vegetation lay in fallow rotted splendour, emitting odours of funereal dirges and sweet-sour vitriol.

Stone angel heads (and some unseen gargoyles beneath them) were piled in a heap on a mausoleum opposite, vandalised and forlorn, all with enigmatic expressions that pertained to their soiled holiness. Their cold blank eyes gazed down at the two old ruins. My word-greyness settled on the heart just looking at them! A fine powder of mortal despair. Mabel sighed, and an icy tomb-wind seemed to sweep the dead leaves into dervish frenzies.

"Well, I suppose we should be pleased that they still remember us, from time to time!"

They both cackled, but instead of sounding like mirth the noise emitted by those terrifying cracked lips snapped bones in two and ground hope to dust.

"So, darling girl -- do you think they?ll have a burger bar?"

"There’s certainly enough meat lying about to fill them bacon double cheese McMortified baps, dear heart, but so long as there’s a good wool shop, I shan?t mind."

An icy breeze gripped the falling ash, turning it aside like a flock of birds, before allowing it to fall gently upon the graves, burying the buried beneath a blanket of blandness. Mabel picked a foetid pear from a nearby gnarled and thorny branch, overripe and insect full. She pushed her head back and squeezed the fruit between blackened fingers, allowing the juice to dribble drip drop into her voluminous mouth.

"You should be grateful, Mabel."

"Why’s that, dear heart?"

"The last of the fruit."

It was the voice of an old man, coming from behind the mumbling moaning pair of old tarts. It sounded like the voice of a man, but when they shuftied round in their battle torn taffeta, they saw only a child. No more than five or six years old. The child had a small but discernible beard of soft white down that made the hair on the back of the old ladies necks stand rigid. There was a smile in those crystal green eyes. A smile that spoke of acts beyond her few simple years. In her hand was a human heart, still dripping the red sickness the living call blood.

"Where did you get that, little dear heart?" said the skinnier albino whose name was Veronica Beetle (but we never talk about that).

"Everyone has a human heart," barked the little angel like a dog on heat or a suddenly revivified gargoyle. You could hear her panting in the grey crumbling sky all rotting around them like fallow earth dwellers shedding sorrows. Mabel and V (as she liked to be called) looked about, wondering what the sky had in store for them today. Just then, like something possessed, the girl, her face a feral snout of anger and hunger torn into one battered fish head, leapt upon the arm of the wrought iron bench where the two old dear hearts sat. She perched there cooing. I wondered if it had been her voice that had spoken or whether, indeed, it was a voice from among us stagehands who watched or, perhaps, controlled the actions of the protagonists.

"My word-greyness settled on the heart just looking at them! A fine powder of mortal despair."

Or a fine white powder with which only Pierrot’s or harlequins knew how to dust their faces. I hope I articulated these words or if they were silent comments from some other narrator less involved with the props and other business of stage directions. I sat within a sort of prompt box, disguised as a tomb, a stone angel on top (just a few inches from my skull), an angel with stone tears and a stone frown. Not angelic at all, really, but with stone wings and a stone voice and gargoylish gurning?

Yearning for a masked ball, judging by its unprettified visage. Meanwhile, the two old ladies (not tarts, they weren?t dressed as tarts, they couldn?t be tarts, they had fine lives and managed households for their families during the Second World War) ? I couldn?t bear to hear them called tarts, well, these two old pale-faced ladies, fed the girl with stale bread as if she were a pigeon. As for the girl herself, the white beard she sported was straight from the costume ?tomb? next to my prompter’s tumbrel, a whole cornucopia of finery where there were also masks, dresses and frock-coats from the various historical moments of our world. The tombs of Necropolis stretched to the horizon, a mock scenery that gave perspective where there was really none. Very theatrical. Very reverential. Very Venetian blind.

The bleeding heart in the girl’s hand had been prepared with much care in the waxwork museum of Utrecht. She skipped off, stage left. Followed, just on cue, by the entrance, stage right, of several soldiers, daubed in trench mud. Mabel and V simply stared from their bench, their surf-white fleshy backs and behinds starting to sink and seep into the cracks between the iron bars, but their own skeletons of bone, albeit brittle, preventing them their full escape (towards the stage drains) disguised as cuckoo-spit.


Beneath the treading-boards it was like raining angels. An inferred splendour. And I heard the lines repeated, reprompted from the bomb-full sky.


"Did you hear Mabel?"


"What dear heart?"


Drip drip ? silence. Or tick tock like knitting needles, waiting for the tumbrels. You don?t say.


More than a million munching noises -- from a bap chain in Hell.

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ROLL CALL OF HONOUR


GARRY NURRISH

MARK ROBERTS

MFKORN

HERTZAN CHIMERA

DES LEWIS

DAVID-JOHN TYRER

CHRISTOPHER TEAGUE

JEFF VANDERMEER

DANIEL ANTIL

DAWN ANDREWS

TREVOR CONN

DAVID MATHEW

ALEX SEVERIN

ROBIN GILBERT