Tag Archives: Tom Stephan

“The Love Spell” – Fiction by Tom Stephan

The Hut of Dead - Nicholas Roerich, 1909
The Hut of Dead – Nicholas Roerich, 1909

“We always recognize the evil we make,” says the narrator of “The Love Spell,” Tom Stephan‘s chilling yet heartfelt tale from our Winter 2015 issue.

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I TOOK IN THE CABIN. Sundown streamed through small, sturdy windows, caressing dust motes crazed in the agitated air. Warped pine floor, black as the stove that pierced the roof like an ancient pylon. Refrigerator, stovetop, sink, all lined up in martial order against the wall. In the opposite corner squatted a comfortably broken-in bed with brass head and footboard, perfect in patina, covered in a bright, threadbare quilt. To the right, a claw-foot bathtub old as the Wild West, visible plumbing jerry-rigged together with plastic pipes and curtain rods, suspended by chains and ropes.

“This is my cabin,” he said proudly, holding me tightly from behind. “Turn of the century. Some of the wood is a hundred years old. See that beam above the bed? A hundred years!”

I breathed in the smell of the potbellied stove, wet wool, undertones of pine and unwashed clothes.

“I’ll start the pipes for the water. You have to drain them in the winter or they’ll freeze,” he said, running for the door like a teenage boy, pausing only to grab a wrench. “If you need to use the bathroom, let me know and I’ll stand outside.”

When he came back I took his hands and pulled him in for a long kiss. When he leaned back for air I said, “This is perfect.”

His face lit up like Christmas. “It is?” I nodded, smiled, and kissed him again.

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We spent four days in that cabin. In the mornings I woke up early, pulled the scorching feather quilt off my legs and stepped lightly onto the frozen floor. Dressing hastily, I would re-light the stove, grab my coat and go out to walk the ridge.

He had neighbors on the hill. The Chicken Man was out every morning with his pail and his flock. His wife was fat and he was lean, both with smiling, achingly sweet faces like dried apples. I would wave and march up the hill to the cemetery, the bench in the middle and the gorge beyond. I would bunch my fists in my pockets and watch the sunrise pull color into the gray fields of snow. It felt like freedom.

About an hour later, I would see him poke his head up the hill. “What are you doing here?” he’d call in mock surprise. “Hanging out with dead people?”

Continue reading “The Love Spell” – Fiction by Tom Stephan


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Outside the Flapperhouse – 9.13.2014

Holy Smoke! Our Flappers have been mighty prolific outside the Flapperhouse these past few weeks…

Joseph Tomaras’ sci-fi surveillance state story “Bonfires in Anacostia” appeared in the August issue of Clarkesworld. 

Natalia Theodoridou has had a couple short stories published recently:“Wayward Sons” in Lakeside Circus and “That Tear Problem” at Kasma.

At Split Rock Review, Emily O’Neill has a poem partly inspired by the fantastic show Supernatural titled “Disguises for the Waxing Moon.”

Todd Pate blogged about his new gig with the North Dakota Museum of Art at El Jamberoo.

Aoibheann McCann’s “Premium Line” ran in issue 2 of The Incubator.

The cannibal-themed anthology edited by Dusty Wallace, “People Eating People,” is now for sale.

Mila Jaroniec’s “Desperate Strangers” was posted at Luna Luna. 

Rebecca Ann Jordan’s “Gospel Of” was published in Infinite Science Fiction One.

Jeff Laughlin wrote on the loneliness of tennis in covering the Winston-Salem Open for Triad City Beat.

J.E. Reich wrote about how “We Never Notice Our Own Addictions” over at Medium.

Tom Stephan posted a sort of psychic detective tale, “Never Anything Useful,” on Jux.com.

Diana Clarke reviewed the documentary Kabbalah Me for the The Village Voice.

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s “Tea With the Titans” appeared on NewMyths.com.

Outside the Flapperhouse – 7.2.2014

Here are some writings our beloved Flappers have posted & published around the internet in the past couple weeks:

J. Bradley responded to SCOTUS’ Hobby Lobby decision with his poem “Where the White People Are: Women’s Reproductive Rights” at The New Verse News.

Mila Jaroniec recounted her “Brief History of Blackouts” in an essay for Medium.

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam‘s short story “Hero” appeared yesterday at Daily Science Fiction.  UPDATE: Bonnie also had a story go up at Hobart last week, the amazingly-titled “The Stink of Horses: Excerpts From The Marina Golovina Controversy By the Ballet Book Series.”

Jeff Laughlin coped with a metaphysical hangover in his Hunter S. Thompson-esque “A Night Without Peace at Bowman Gray” over at Triad City Beat.

J.E. Reich‘s “Breakers” (from our current issue) was read aloud on last week’s broadcast of Mr. Bear’s Violet Hour Saloon, and it was also reposted at Medium under the title “Teasing it Open.”

Rebecca Ann Jordan‘s magical realist tale “This Is No Garden” was recently published at Swamp Biscuits and Tea.

Tom Stephan posted the very creepy “A Summertime Tale” last week. We’re not sure if it’s a true story or not, and we’re too scared to ask him for the answer.

“Reach” – Poetry by Tom Stephan

Nudes in Dunes - Otto Mueller, 1920
Nudes in Dunes – Otto Mueller, 1920

A cloud of “unspoken violence” hangs in the air above Tom Stephan‘s “Reach,” a poem which resides in that alluring and mysterious locale known as the hotel room. “Reach” is just one of 19 very flappery works of literature that you can read in our Spring 2014 Issue, now on sale for 3 measly American dollars.

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And keep reaching
Sheets like virgin dunes
To where you should have been on the shore I could not see.

The hum of guitar strings
Or violins
Or sympathetic sitars
with a bit of wounded care
I strain across vastness and you are never there.

Is there some key that unlocks you?
In the golden light of cheap curtains
In plastic hotels and crunchy pillows
Some hidden lever to move our lives together?

I packed the room today
Sat at the edge of the bed
Listened to the shower drone overlong.
And you are naked and wet, and at my side, saying are you ready—

Yes, I’m ready.

The air is thick
Industrial cleaner and bleach
And unspoken violence
You dress for the execution; I will fire point blank into your heart.

We toss the keycards on the floor
and shut the door behind us.

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tomstephanTOM STEPHAN is a Texas native who has spent a little time being a bit of everything: teacher, actor, playwright, writer, traveler. When he’s not doing any of those things he’s living in Austin and eating well. He has a BA in English, an MFA in Acting and has a curious collection of hats and suspenders. 



The PDF of FLAPPERHOUSE #1 is no longer for sale, because it is now available for free.
Click the cover to enjoy.


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“No More Poems About Resolutions,” “A Highly Magnified History,” “When A Poet Wants To Date You,” and “Yelp Review – Total Wine”J. Bradley
CRYONICS”Mariev Finnegan
“The Puddle of Romeo’s Tears”Luis Galindo
“The Thrill of a Lifetime” – Phyllis Green
“Window Glass” – Mila Jaroniec
“Stage Manager” – Rebecca Ann Jordan
“What Really Drives You To Drink” – Jeff Laughlin
“Rebel, Rebel” – T. Mazzara
“The Root of Everything Arty” – Jenean McBrearty
“Stanley Kubrick’s Shit Happens – Joseph P. O’Brien
“The Better Cowboy” – Todd Pate
“Angels Howling in the Trees” – Misti Rainwater-Lites
“Dare” – Lauren Seligman
“Rules and Secrets” Judith Skillman
“Reach” – Tom Stephan
“Axis Mundi” Cameron Suey