New Fiction – “Step on a Crack” – 34 Orchard Magazine

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EDIT 11/10/22: Issue is now live! You can read “Step on a Crack” HERE. Don’t forget to drop a donation if you can. 34 Orchard Magazine does wonderful work.

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I’m tremendously excited to announce my new short story “Step on a Crack” will be available in Issue #6 of 34 Orchard Magazine on November 10th, 2022 (Yeah, that’s less than a month from now!). I’ll update this post once the issue is live.

This one is particularly special to me because I’m a huge fan of 34 Orchard Magazine. Writer and editor Kristi Petersen Schoonover has such a talented eye for curating fiction; every issue is full of stories that are disturbing, evocative, and for a lack of a better word (and at risk of sounding like a stoner), deep. To have my work considered amongst the writers featured there is truly an honor.

Do yourself a favor and check out some back issues. You’ll find some authors you’re familiar with, and some you may not be, but they all have one thing in common: Their stories are damn good.

Issue #6 Promotional Flier:

I wrote the first draft of “Step on a Crack” back in 2019. It was titled “The Play Room,” and the story came from a vivid nightmare I had the night before, specifically the final scene. If you’ve read it, I regret to inform you that’s not the most horrific image I’ve seen in my dreams. Yes, I should seek therapy.

Anyway, it wasn’t very good, and I ultimately shelved it in my “spare parts” folder that I use for–you guessed it–spare parts in future stories.

At the time I was reading, and re-reading, a ton of Cormac McCarthy, and I believe it was All the Pretty Horses that sparked my obsession with Gnosticism as a literary and existential concept. The idea that our physical world is a false world, an appearance rather than actuality, was present from the very first line: “The candle flame and the image of the candle flame…” McCarthy wants you to know that those are two very different things.

So what is the real world? Where is it?

I don’t know, but when I rewrote “The Play Room” as “Step on a Crack” almost three years later, I realized it was a story about someone, traumatized by personal loss, who found that world by disappearing deep within themselves. And what they have to share from that place is true horror.

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