Tag Archives: Shawn Frazier

“The Shadow’s Insomnia” – Fiction by Shawn Frazier

The Shadow - Pablo Picasso, 1953
The Shadow – Pablo Picasso, 1953

An acquitted killer finds himself stalked by guilt in “The Shadow’s Insomnia,” Shawn Frazier‘s dark & powerful story from our Winter 2017 issue.

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AFTER SIX NIGHTS OF INSOMNIA, I SAW THE SHADOW. It appeared on the paisley wallpaper of my bedroom, as black rings transforming into a pitch black child-size figure. It stepped off the wall, tip-toed on its black cat feet, and sat on the edge of my mattress. Then, as if seizing control of my thoughts, my mind filled with memories of the black boy I killed: his screams, his blood pouring onto my manicured lawn, where my new SUV was parked in front. His opened eyes staring out of a sleeping face.

Fear paralyzed me in bed, though not enough to stop me from moving. I willed this charcoal illusion to return to the wall where it belonged. What right did it have to invade my space like this, to forcibly remind me of that boy? I was found not guilty by a jury of my peers. All I wanted was to keep intruders from burglarizing my enclave. I knew every-one who crossed through our front gate.  How was I to know this boy had friends here?

The shadow returned to the wall.

I shook myself awake and jumped up, thinking my insomnia was playing tricks with my head. I turned on the lights and touched the wall to see if I could feel where he— “It,” I mean— went…but it had vanished without a trace.

In the morning, on my bedroom bureau, I saw a photo of my grandmother crying. She was not crying before.

My friends and family have kept away from me. Frightened of my story. How I acted. Jumping at shadows I see on a wall. They thought I was losing my mind.

Was being alone really becoming so scary for me?  No—this phantasm manifested from my lack of sleep. I prayed before going to bed that this black boy—I mean shadow—would soon be nothing more than another bad dream. And would go away.

But at night, it returned. It floated across the carpet, passing right through my TV set, picture frames. In a photo of me, where I once flashed a gleaming white smile, I now sulked pitifully.

Continue reading “The Shadow’s Insomnia” – Fiction by Shawn Frazier

FLAPPERHOUSE Halloween Reading, In Pictures

A million creepy-crawly thank-yous to everyone who helped make our first-ever Halloween reading such a graveyard smash: Cooper, Michael, Shawn, Joanna, Darley, and Stephen for performing your spookily flappy lits; the late Rod Serling for guest-hosting; Alibi for your sinister singing & stellar photography; Pacific Standard for their always-gracious hospitality; and all you beautiful freaks who came out to enjoy the show. We hope y’all have a Happy Halloween, and we’ll be back for reading #12 early next year…

(photos by Alibi Jones, except where noted)


Alibi Jones prepares for a herky-jerky performance of “People Are Strange”
(photo by Rebecca Robison)


Cooper Wilhelm terrifies us with a transcript of true-life horror


Michael Seymour Blake reads “Mediocre Company,” his haunted-house tale from FLAPPERHOUSE #11 Continue reading FLAPPERHOUSE Halloween Reading, In Pictures

FLAPPERHOUSE Halloween Reading

flapperhouse-halloween-readingHalloween isn’t just our favorite holiday here at FLAPPERHOUSE, it’s also our birthday! So we’re gonna celebrate & conjure the spirit of the season at our 11th reading on 10/26 at Brooklyn’s Pacific Standard by sharing some spooky & supernatural lit…

the late ROD SERLING.

(facebook event page here)

FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #7, In Pictures

We’d like to stir a big bubbling cauldron of gratitude for everyone who helped make Reading #7 such a bewitching evening: Kailey, Mary, Shawn, Darley, Dorothy, Ilana, Ron and Luis for performing your flappy lits; Pacific Standard for continuing to be the best bar in all of New York to host a reading; Alibi Jones for your scintillating singing & lovely photography; and all you gorgeous cats & kittens who came down to get spellbound. Let’s do this again, say, around the next Solstice…

(photos by Alibi Jones)


Kailey Tedesco reads some of her magical poetry, including “How Often We Confuse Ovens for Rabbit Holes”


Mary Breaden keeps the witchy vibe alive with some spooky short fiction


Shawn Frazier gets surreal performing a dreamy new tale Continue reading FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #7, In Pictures

FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #7 / YEAR TWO Flight Party

We’re gonna dance like centipedes on tumbleweeds as we celebrate the flight of our YEAR TWO print anthology with our 7th reading on Wednesday, May 25th from 7 – 9 PM at Pacific Standard (82 Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn).


(Here’s the facebook event page.)


“How Emma Jean Crossed the River” – Fiction by Shawn Frazier

Go Down Death - Aaron Douglas, 1927
Go Down Death – Aaron Douglas, 1927

A woman on the run from the Klan ends up on an otherworldly journey in “How Emma Jean Crossed the River,” Shawn Frazier‘s powerfully gothic short story from our Winter 2016 issue.

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“I am confident that there truly is such a thing as living again, that the living spring from the dead, and that the souls of the dead are in existence.” —Socrates

FLASHLIGHTS SPREAD OVER THE WATER LIKE BRIGHT EYES. I ducked. Branches scratched at my legs and arms. The white devils still chased after my Jacob. I tumbled over fallen logs and fell down into the river. The current dragged me under. Quick. I saw so many poor souls stuck between rocks. If black folks knew what was buried in Darlington’s River, they stop holdin baptisms.

We was on our way home once we heard the hounds. We’s stompin through the wood, back from warnin folks that the Klan was comin.

“Emma Jean, go hide by the oak tree where we first kissed. I promise to be there.” Jacob told me. The fool—he called them Klan boys crackers. But I was proud—it was the first time I seen him hold his head up to white men. It was always Yes sir, no sir, and thank you sir before. Where would you like me to nail this sign? NO COLOREDS WANTED, sir.

Under the water. I seen one skeleton dressed in a suit and a woman in a nightgown holding a baby. A man in overalls had some flesh still on his face. He turned his head at me, seemed he grabbed the hem of my skirt. I pulled and pulled, for I don’t know. Til finally my skirt tore and I floated away and up to the surface where orange and brown leaves floated. I reached land and crawled to a patch’a oak tree. My face and my hair and clothes was wet and filthy with mud.

In the sky, the moon looked like a silver coin. And there was stars. I rested on land and stared at the twinklin. I smelt gardenias. Like a good bottle of perfume I once broke whilst cleanin a house. I wanted to be rid of that odor, but it grabbed a hold of me. A rattlesnake slithered in the gardenias and dashed off through the grass when it seen me.

I put my hand around a flower stem, but the petals fell. Each time I touch one, it died. The white petals crinkled and the perfume smell disappeared. I placed my hand on an oak tree, the leaves fell. Leaves turned yellow, brown and orange. The branches of the oak become toothpicks, stripped of their leaves.

An as I sat there, soakin wet, the moonlight shone out on a ship floating toward where I rested. Big black letters was scrawled on the ship’s surface: R.I. and a third word was all but washed away. There was a loud noise from the boat and the white sheets billowed out from the masts like clothes drying in the sun. A faceless boat covered by fog. Someone held a lantern. That ship dropped its anchor and the water splashed. And they pushed a bit of wood out onto the shore. A young colored boy came down the plank.  He read my name off a clipboard.

“Emma Jean, I apologize for coming so late. A storm came.” He made marks on his clipboard with a feather pen.

Bats hung beneath the ship’s railing. I stepped out from behind the oak.

“I am the ship’s captain, Henry.” Henry smiled—his teeth was cracked and yellow. He said, “Don’t be scared, Emma Jean.”

He wore a cotton blue navy uniform and had medals on his great coat. I never seen nobody, especially no colored, dressed so well unless it was for a funeral or he was headed to trial or it was a Sunday. A red carnation hung out his penny-shaped pocket. His swoll belly stuck out, strainin his coat buttons.

I whispered because I thought the Klan was still in the woods. “Did you see a man? He got on a pair of overalls. This tall,” I held up my hand, “and wears a hat. His name is Jacob.”

“Emma Jean, we are ready to go.”

“How you know who I am? What do you want? I am a married woman and my husband is out here with a rifle.” I lie about being married. I stepped away not sure what he wanted. A wind shook the leaves what was left on the oak.

And Henry said, “Poor thing, you look tired. Come with me. I will take you to where he went.”

I thought that why did Jacob leave me? He went where it was safe. Sure he would. If he was someplace safe, I would be there too with him. Continue reading “How Emma Jean Crossed the River” – Fiction by Shawn Frazier

FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #5 in Pictures

A jillion juicy thank-yous to everyone who helped make Reading #5 such a joy: Bud, Joanna, Jon, Shawn, Franz, J.E., & Ron for reading your flappy lits; Alibi for your scintillating singing & lovely photography; Pacific Standard for your warm hospitality; and all you sweet sexy people who came out on a Winter Wednesday night to watch us. How ’bout we do this again on, say, March 23rd?

photos by Alibi Jones


Bud Smith reads his flash fiction “Tiger Blood,” originally published at Hobart


Joanna C. Valente reads “Chapel of Sacred Mirrors,” one of five powerful poems she contributed to FLAPPERHOUSE #8 Continue reading FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #5 in Pictures

FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #5 / Issue #8 Flight Party

Come experience a post-Solstice epiphany & join us as we celebrate the flight of our 8th issue with our 5th reading on 3 Kings’ day– that’s  WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6 from 7 to 9 PM at Pacific Standard, 82 Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn.