The Oily

Antho Title: Stupefying Stories, November, 2011
E. A. Black Short Story Title: The Oily
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 353 KB
Publisher: Rampant Loon Press, 1 edition (November 1, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
Lending: Enabled
Price: 1.99

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The second volume in award-winning writer Bruce Bethke's new e-book only original anthology series gets bigger and better, with nine all-new tales of the fantastic, frightening, and funny by Aaron Bradford Starr, Clare L. Deming, Anatoly Bellilovsky, Sarah Frost, Rebecca Roland, Henry Vogel, and many more.


Storm clouds roiled in the distance, casting shadows on Strangeman’s Swamp. Wind blew strong and hard, tossing the tree branches that danced a frenzied tango. Gnarled branch arms reached into the afternoon sky, grasping at ravens that steered clear in fear. As the sun hid behind cloud skirts, shadows lurked in the underbrush, off in The Oily. Lara raised the window to let out the stale air and a gush of marsh wind blew into the room, rustling the dirty curtains. Dust billowed around her, making her sneeze.

She leaned against the windowsill and stared out into the dank afternoon, watching Strangeman’s Swamp, as if demons lurked in the bramble far below.

No demons lived in Strangeman’s Swamp, though. No ghosts, either. Only creatures born of rock and wood, sticker bushes, vines choking the life out of trees, mud, water and wild flowering shrubs. Nothing human lived in Strangeman’s Swamp, or The Oily. Whatever lurked there felt nothing for humanity, and only wanted to end mankind’s encroachment in its territory.

Lights flashed in the distance. What were cars doing on the road so close to the swamp? Especially during a thunderstorm?

Then she remembered that no road ran along the swamp’s edge.

Lights blinked on and off like fireflies, but she'd never seen fireflies on Caleb’s Woe. She watched the glowing pinpricks and wondered what they were. Will o’ the wisp? Saint Elmo’s fire? Swamp gas? Phosphorescence?

Corpse candles?

They migrated from the edges of the swamp to meet in the center, circling each other like ravens fighting over a carcass. They danced and twirled, some only inches above the muddy waters and others high in the trees. They met in the center of the swamp. Once they reached The Oily they stopped moving.

Then they began to creep towards the house.