Tell the story that needs to be told, in the way it needs to be told, to the length it needs to be told.

Don’t poison a story by insisting it must be an apple when it’s really an orange.

Don’t stunt a story by forcing it beyond its natural growth nor by forcing it to grow in a box too small.

“Genres” and “standard story lenghs” are publisher’s artefacts, not part of storytelling.

Breakthroughs don’t come through abiding by conventions and working in boxes.

10:30 AM, October 19, at the Kapolei Public Library, I and three other Hawaii Fiction Writers members will each be reading a story for the annual HFW Scary Stories Halloween reading. Followed by lunch at the Kapolei Assagio’s, server of extremely tasty Italian cuisine.

My story is about a man, a mouse, and the association of small things: Just A Little Scary.

For more information, see the event on the Hawaii State Library site.

So come and be scared, if you dare!

When you die and go to Heaven, you get a shiny new body.

Unfortunately, the angels planned on having a lot more people in Heaven than chose to go.

So when you die and go to Heaven, you get shiny new bodies (plural). Three thousand four hundred thirty two, to be precise.

And St Peter at the pearly gates says, “Welcome to Heaven, James Thomas Frederickson-1. Welcome to Heaven, James Thomas Frederickson-2. Welcome to Heaven, James Thomas Frederickson-3.” And so on.

When he’s done, you step through the gates and spend eternity meeting each of the 3432 bodies of everyone else in Heaven.

The End

©2019 David W. Jones

by David W. Jones

© 2007 David W. Jones

The door slammed behind us, its motion stirring the fog that filled the cavernous space we’d stepped into. Empty echoes came back, distorted by time and odd shaped spaces hidden somewhere in the fog. The fog smelled of stale garbage and diesel fumes.

A step ago, on the other side of the door, the air had been clean and airconditioned, the mall filled with the reassuring sounds of people talking, its floor smooth and shiny new.

Now the floor under my sandals was rough, rocky with lumpy stones that clattered away as I shifted my left foot off a sharp rock.

The fog slowly started swirling around about twenty feet in front of me and my girlfriend, like something was coming toward us. A jerky sort of scraping sound came from the direction of the swirl – a dragging, halting step.

My girlfriend turned toward me and said, “Umm, Lauree, I told you -”

“I don’t want to hear it,” I snapped.

“You don’t have to be rude just cuz you’re hungry. Going this way was your idea.”

Before I could respond, a shopping mall janitor stepped out of the fog where the scraping steps had been. He didn’t look special – just another one of those old, slightly-creepy looking guys that I’m sure are bred somewhere like dogs to be janitors. He even had nicotine stains on his teeth when he opened his mouth, licked his lips, and smiled.

“You girls lost?”

I looked at my girlfriend, but she just glared back at me. She’s my best friend, but she can be really brain-dead sometimes, you know? So I looked back at him and said, “Yeah, somebody said this was a shortcut to the Gulp’n’Go Burgers on the other side of the mall. You know how we get there?”

The janitor slowly licked his lips, like he was tasting his lunch again. A really tasty, recent lunch. Then he lifted up a clipboard I hadn’t noticed before in his hand and marked something on it. I glanced around and saw that the fog had crept around us, right up to our backs. Then the janitor looked over our heads into the fog and spoke.

“Hey! Gotta shipment for Gulp’n’Go Burgers.” He looked us up and down. “Looks a little raw, it’ll need some processing.”

“WHAT?!!” my girlfriend screamed. I turned and stared at her. Then a thick, hairy – uh, no, furry! – hand reached from the fog behind her and clamped around the side of her head. The thick wrist turned a little, and her head was suddenly lying sideways on her shoulder. I saw her eyes swinging wildly around in panic as she started to fall. Another thick hand came from the fog and held her upright.

Then a hand clamped onto the side of my head. A hard twist, a sharp snapping sound, pain – then all I COULD feel was the rough scaly skin on the palm of the hand grinding the backs of my earrings into the skin behind my ears.

My girlfriend’s wild eyes suddenly fixed on mine. Then she said something. Even though she had no breath anymore, she and I had learned to read each others’ lips ages ago.

“I told you the sign said ‘Employees only’ – ” Then her eyes glazed over and closed. I guess cuz she had screamed she had less breath remaining than I did.

She was lucky.

A voice growled behind me, speaking in some snarly language. Shapes – things – came out of the thinning fog, and began carrying us toward what looked like industrial-size food processors.

Happy Hallowe’en!