By ReBecca Compton
I was fourteen when my grandfather bought me a Furby. I was too old for them and they weren’t really popular anymore, but even though he didn’t smile as I pulled it out of the Walmart bag, he looked so proud of himself. The way he crossed his arms and nodded to me when I thanked him, I knew he believed this would make me happy. I carried it with me around the house for the next few months. I didn’t expect any of my friends to understand him, and that’s ok because they didn’t need to.
He wouldn’t have cared.
He worked for the city’s utilities, and when he walked through the kitchen on his way to the couch, I’d hum The Song of the Sewer. He’d pretend not to hear, but I’d caught him smiling once. He liked that, when I teased him. Maybe it reminded him of my father in a way, though from what I understood Grandpa watched him from afar too. Continue reading
By Harmony Button
There is a certain horror to the ordinary. Every day, we force ourselves to do things that go against the messages of the body. I watch the nurse turn towards me, needle in her hand. She swabs my inner arm and I look away. Run! says the body. Bite and fight! But instead, I stare at a spot on the wall and try to count to ten.
The nurse tries to make conversation. I can’t remember what comes after three.
“So, are you married?”
I tell her the truth: I am not.
“Just having fun, then,” she says, drawing the blood.
This woman does not know me. Everything about what’s happening is wrong. I need out of this immediately, and my body pulls the ripcord.
On the Down Low
Nancy Ryan Keeling is a Diet-Coke freak hitchhiking through life on lies & caffeine. During her life in Itazuke, Japan, she began an affair with photography. Once it snowed tumbleweeds. That’s when she learned to always carry a loaded camera!
Inky Path is a quarterly literary magazine which seeks to promote interactive fiction as literary medium. Volume 1.1 was released in February.
In this interview with Paper Tape editors Kristy Harding and Harmony Button Inky Path editors Devi Acharya and Irene Enlow talk about founding Inky Path and reading and writing interactive fiction.
PT: What is interactive fiction?
DA: In interactive fiction readers make choices. These choices can alter the course of the story, change the protagonist’s statistics, and help the reader explore the world.
There are two traditional forms of interactive fiction: choose-your-own-adventure stories and text-adventures. In CYOA stories, the reader picks decisions from a list of choices. In text adventures, she types commands (such as >TAKE LANTERN) to move around and manipulate the world.
IE: Interactive fiction can mean many things and that is what makes it such an interesting genre to explore. There is a great deal of diversity in interactive fiction, partly because I think it is a genre that is still evolving. At its most basic level, I think interactive fiction is simply what it sounds like—stories you can interact with. Rather than being a passive reader such as one is when reading a traditional novel or short story, one who reads interactive fiction can take part in the tale. Whether that means that the reader makes decisions for the character, or simply gets a deeper feel for the world and the plot is up to the writer. Every piece of interactive fiction is different and that’s what makes it such an exciting genre to explore.
By Anthony Bain
I step into an apartment building entranceway deep in the heart of central Barcelona, the décor instantly grabs my attention, created when the city experienced a metamorphosis of modernism architecture; intricate multicolored murals look down at me from high ceilings, it’s an awe inspiring sight, designed to disarm any visitor.
For a second I cannot believe that I have the right place. Nothing indicates that some kind of social event is in full swing. No lights, no muffled conversations and no smell of fresh cooking odors seeping out into the stone corridor; Only silence, flickering lights and the musty humid smell of the apartment foyer.
I follow a winding staircase up to the first floor and I knock on a large paneled wooden door and hear the knocking reverberate beyond the door and into the next space, which seems vast and expansive.
I stand for moment reading from a crumpled paper in my hand, just to make sure that I haven´t stumbled across the wrong address.
Joston Theney is the director and writer of the new horror film Axeman as well as the thriller, Adam K, which is currently in production. A native of Atlanta, he became a fan of horror when he discovered a relative’s collection of 80s horror flicks.
In this interview, novelist Sidney Williams and Joston talk about the chance meeting that led to Axeman, the process of creating a homage to 80s slashers, and why axes are so terrifying.
An audio version of this interview can be found in Episode 14 of Sidney’s horror podcast Fear on Demand.
SW: Joston, from the trailer at least, it looks as if you’ve crafted a slasher film with just a little bit more to the story. Can you give us just a brief synopsis of what the tale is about?
JT: Sure, sure, sure. … Axeman—you’re right there’s just a little bit more to it than just being a straightforward slasher. It’s number one an homage to 80s slashers. In and of itself it has all of the prerequisite stereotypes that are typically found in 80s slasher films, but what we tried to do also is make all of those stereotypes very, very human and very familiar, not just in a sense of things you’ve seen on the surface but make it more familiar to you in terms of making the characters more real and more grounded and giving them more gravitas.
We also have the prerequisite group of friends who show up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. They sit around and they discuss these urban legends, and one of them turns out to be very, very true, which is the tale of the Axeman of Cutter’s Creek, which is part of the folklore of the Big Bear community. We also have a group of bank robbers who’ve descended on the cabin as their getaway from the heat of the cops as well as people they double crossed to steal the money. We use that money as a backdrop to talk about humanity and how money changes people and it changes people’s motivations. And so you have all of that swirling together as people are being hacked to pieces. Continue reading
By Christine Stark
Crisco was delicious. My mom always had a huge blue can on hand. The first few years I ate it, beginning when I was seven, I had to get up on a chair to pull it down off the second shelf. The can had greasy marks on the outside, which made it slippery on top of being big and round without handles. My hands didn’t fit around it and I had to be careful not to drop it onto the counter below, potentially scarring the counter with the metal edge of the can and splattering Crisco across the kitchen like an errant shotgun blast where inevitably some would lodge under the refrigerator or in the nook of a cupboard. I worried I wouldn’t see to clean it, and my mother would find on a later date and inquire why there was Crisco splatter.
Mike Keener is a cartoonist, originally from Erie, PA, but now a resident of Kansas City, MO. He’s a graduate of the University of Missouri (BFA, Graphic Design, 2007), and started professionally as a web designer (something he still does from time to time). He’s married to a really good schoolteacher and is thankful to work in the comics field.
In this interview with Paper Tape editor Kristy Harding we talk about Mike’s forthcoming graphic novel White Worm.
PT: What is White Worm?
MK: White Worm takes some characters and situations from Bram Stoker’s last (and hurriedly finished) novel Lair of the White Worm, and mixes them in with the larger Cthulhu mythos. Continue reading
Boat on Fire by Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones is Paper Tape’s art editor. Artist, dancer, musician, and singer. Art is one of Jessica’s life long passions. She took a break to explore other avenues, but found she thrives on it. Creativity, nature, and orginality attract Jessica. She loves exploring and adventuring literally and figuratively. She enjoys being surrounded by nature, breathing in the freshness as the breeze blows by. Books are her constant companion traveling alongside in her purse. She rocks at logic games, driving in reverse, and scratching on the eight ball in pool.
Natural History: Bobcat
Natural History: Bear
Female Nude Reclining
Eloise Bacher is a visual artist based in Portland, OR. She is endlessly fascinated by the natural world, and particularly loves to draw skulls and sea creatures. More of her artwork can be found at Wrenegade Studio.