Category: Episode 12

Episode 12

Hello all my fabulous followers and most excellent writers.  In Between Altered States is celebrating its first year!!!  This has been an amazing journey in flash fiction for me and I have been blessed to come across so many talented writers who are willing to let it all go and be bizarre while still maintaining credibility of work.

I have been lucky enough to have featured 68 different writers in the last year with 16 of them being great female writers (which are hard to come by these days, it seems).  I have had some repeat offenders who have helped to propel this website forward with their dedication to getting the word out as well as bringing new faces in the form of readers and writers.  I would like to thank these writers for their dedication to small press:  Len Kuntz, Tim Gager, Kristin Fouquet, Robert Vaughn, Mike Whitney and Jeffrey Miller.

I would also like to thank Brian Fugett of Zygote in My Coffee for his original idea all those years ago that mutated into this website.  He is the real genius, I’m only as good as the people I borrow from.  I would also like to thank Ben Smith at Horror Sleaze Trash for linking me up and keeping it weird.

Enjoy the junkies/nightmares/fiends!!  Read them all in a row and then go back and indulge on the ones you can’t help but read again.



Leyla woke up in a glass coffin at the bottom of the sea. The first thing she saw was her hair floating and slowly turning into sea moss.
     She woke up to pink, silver, gold and purple colored fish scurrying around her. She heard the roar of a storm. She had no idea what she was doing in so deep.
     Leyla got out of her coffin. There was something carrying her towards the surface of the water, but she wasn’t sure what it was.
     On the waves up there, the sun was blindingly bright. There were a thousand little caiques, and in each of them a child. All the children had blue hair. They had not risen from the sea and they were not made out of waves. They whispered from caique to caique.
     Leyla wanted to remember herself so she slept in the shadow of each child. One was called
الملك                                                                                                         اللطيف
             another was called                                        another was called
                      السلام                                                            لغفار
                                                         and           and
The children, in total, were 99. The sweet water of sleep dripped from Leyla’s mouth. Their shadows became her. They began to fit her like a sleeve.
Leyla couldn’t see herself in the names and with a rush she jumped out of her caique. The children lost their faces. Leyla dived into the waters and the faceless children dived after her. They followed her like shooting stars into the sea. And they all lay there, in 99 glass coffins, at the bottom of the sea and closed their eyes.

i saw a dog with tulips growing out of his eyes—it wasn’t actually a dalmatian it was a dachshund & they weren’t really tulips they were sunflowers & they really weren’t growing out of his eyes they were growing out of his butt but they weren’t really growing they were sort of just stuck there.  i know because i stuck them there.  & i didn’t actually see this dog i just heard about it from my wife whose dog it is—except i’m not married & never have been so i made that part up & all the rest too except the part about the dog having sunflowers stuck in his butt but actually it was a female dog & the sunflowers which were really daisies were stuck in her vagina—all the way in—& i had to remove them during a dissection experiment the purpose of which is unclear to me since i’ve never been involved in a dissection experiment & the only time i ever cut through bone & flesh was during my tenure in the coroner’s office when we cut through flesh & bone from 9 to 5 & combined the codes of dalmated species in intoxicated after hours

We’re sitting there and the pulsating strobe of the neon rips through me.  The clack of the cue ball against the rack.  Clientele like serpentine ooze.  Toothless and cackling and smoke rising from ears.
   You fuckin’ aye cheat!  You dint call shit motherfuck!
   Something flies past my eyes, a faint spray of hops dots my glasses and I flinch.  The soles of my Vans are sticking to the floor.  Tongue inching back in a reversal of natural course.  I could be choking, but then I’d have to ask someone for help.  Impossible.
   Maintain.  Just.
   Ivan!  Wake up!  You still wanna go in right?
   Jesus tits, I mutter.  I swing in a chandelier of thought dipped in salad dressing.  I cannot make out my mind.  I stagger to my feet yet rooted to the spot am an elephant in a straightjacket.
   I!  I!  Anybody home?  Laughter and shrieking.
   There is a lump in rear pocket of my khakis, but difficult to manage, as I am wearing two pair, against emergency, snow, blackout.  The horrible pulsation of tectonic grating, youth supplicated between concrete expectations, sunburn and fever in the deluxe edition of crushing night.  Warily I extract the damp notes.
   Score man!  C’mon let’s get the fuck!
   That means outta here.  Game I am, were I up angel.  It’s the bottom of the ninth here.  Clack, clack go the briny pearls.  The suffocating neon.  The blue coral teeth chattering.
   We’re in the backseat of something going faster than a gallop but smooth.  Somebody I think maybe Chet.  Sets me up.  Now I’m good.  I is good.  Maybe it was Marlin.  But Marlin’s hanging from the roof, I can see a boot from the car window, Marlin’s on the roof and the boot is in and out of view, dependent on our direction, this minute southpaw, the other, plummet.
   Marlin my brother hanging onto the roof of the world smiles the smile of one newly abandoned.
   Wearing dead guy’s Levi’s.

I didn’t think anything would be salvageable. I just assumed that the impact had been too great. They called and said I had one day to claim anything inside before they demolished it.
When the phone rang I initially thought it was my lawyer. I still had a few felonies hanging over my head at the time from the crash.
I think the owner of the junkyard recognized me. I used to go down there when I was a teenager and break into the cars and steal any parts that were still good enough to get me a few bucks. The old man had even run me out of the place a few times. He threatened to call the cops. Nothing ever happened though.
I had to sign a waiver and pay the guy fifty bucks before going into the truck. Some sort of waving of liability. I didn’t really read it.
The driver door came off the hinges as I opened it. I put my hand under my seat right away hoping it was still there. All I could feel were pieces of flint and dried up gum. I borrowed a flashlight and continued to search. I knew it was in there. It had to be. I don’t even think that the cops checked the truck after they arrested me.
Just as I was about to give up, I poked my hand on a needle. The bag was right next to it. I could feel the tin foil packages inside.
The owner had gone to his office to answer the phone. I quickly put the stuff in my pocket and left the yard.

She heard the hookers taking johns up against the wall.  She couldn’t see them and from the sounds of it she didn’t want to, but she listened as these men ate of their flesh; listened as these women endured their mental and physical filth for another fix.

She heard the crack vial crush under her sandal.  The grinding glass felt like a small torture that ran up her leg and lodged into her throat.  She wished she weren’t so high.  She wished she could stand up from the condom strewn bench and scream.  But, she could only sit there in the secretions of strangers with empty dreams under her feet and hands docile in lap unsure of the next moment.

Ian desired acreage, and held in disregard those who thought otherwise. His head-butting glory days in the past, he reminisced over acreage, never getting enough. Ian (see sentence one) applied rust-proofing stuff to his fences and stairs; as well he was liable to hurl insults at you, if you know what I am proposing.

Ian glanced over his hirsute shoulder, Capricorn that he was. Then, holding down the fort, he wished fearlessly, quietly: whispering forgotten old-timey sayings, safe-guarding the hell out of ten acres filled with trees and some fruit-bearing vines. Reader, you’re perhaps thinking Ian’s not his real name at all, but to elaborate, I mean it. It is. Mishaps with his childhood slingshot rang doom to his young genitalia.

Nowadays, Ian curates his valuables, worrying when his acres get flooded. Sideshows, otherwise, but Ian’s the curator now. This one time, we were shindigging around and the oak branches caught Ian off guard. Man, that fucking tree was an actual alleyway mugger. Two healthy males, Ian and me. I watched him tie one on.

Schedule 8


We can all opiate

All the summer long

Schedule 8

Schedule 8


I have come into your little clinic here, can’t you see, smartly dressed, yet casual, and full of pain.  You’ve known me a 100 years or more, since I was small and scared.  Now my cares have broken my heart, and the aches have been released to burlesque my entire body as they please.  My marrow is leaking directly onto the ground beneath me.


Ah, you’ll be needing the strongest sched 8s I can offer you then.  But first, tell me what ails you.


I’m dying all inside.  I need an escape plan.


Let’s have that background a bit more specific.  I’m a working man.


I have this persistent feeling deep down in my left ventricle that I am too resplendent for this ugly, vile world.  The febrile nonsense that my fellows carry forth as idle fobs in their breast pockets limber me not.  Have you seen a sunset, Doctor, or am I the only one?


Please, do go on.


And now you wish me to renounce myself, I can perceive it.  Your eyes bleed it!


Do not be so course.  Not here.  Not yet.  I eat good amounts of roughage!  But, do tell on…


My demons claw at the base of my skull.  They slink about in my spinal fluid, always up and about, rocketing between my head and my heart.  But I have not let them yet cross that threshold into my brain, not but once!  But the price I pay for keeping them at bay is heavy, I repent.  Long, I redeem.  And so I return to my original ask…  


Yes, of course.  And all that I can spare!

Ray by Walt Conley

Ray comes in the diner alone.  He eats alone, too.  People drop by
looking for him—some even brave enough to interrupt his meal—but he
shows up by himself and leaves the same way.

Everything about Ray is trim.  He dresses like a businessman on Casual
Friday.  He’s always clean-shaven, hair and fingernails clipped.  When
he does smoke, which is rarely, it’s long, thin, filtered cigarettes.

Ray listens hard and talks in a whisper.

The word is he’s done time, but when you ask what for, the conversation stops.

He eats at a table-for-two by the wall.  No one comes in after him
tonight.  When he’s done, he peels a few bills off a roll from his
pocket, then nods to Vy at the register and leaves.

Danny and Phil, a pair of neighborhood shakes, eat at the counter next
to me.  This whole time, they’ve been chewing, red eyes on their
fries, hardly ever breathing.  Once the door bangs shut, Danny peeks
over his shoulder.

“I’m only afraid of two people in this world,” he says.  “God and Ray.”

“I don’t think God’s a person,” Phil says.

Danny looks back again and says, “I’m not sure Ray is, either.”