“I visited the nearby city of Joplin, Missouri last year just after an EF5 tornado destroyed much of it. And before long, this story began to slither its way into my head.”
Of Ants and Mountains
by Charlie Bookout
‘I thought it would be worse,’ I said as we ascended College Lane. ‘But it’s…’ My words caught in my throat. I stomped the brake pedal. Directly in front of us was a red minivan that had come to rest on its top. It was crumpled like tissue paper and was bleeding fluids onto the street. And beyond it was what old Mrs. Cropley must have already seen. The devastation was complete: bricks and cars and furniture… all jumbled together as if some great machine had bit into the earth and churned away for miles. No landmark was recognizable. Here and there the trunk of a tree remained, denuded of its bark. There were fires burning in half a dozen places. And there were people, everywhere in the streets, all in a hurry and accomplishing nothing. From a distance, they looked like ants searching for a pheromone after someone smashed their hill.
About the Author
Charlie Bookout lives with his family in Gentry, Arkansas—a stone’s throw from the hillbilly infested Ozark Mountains. His fiction is set in (or refers to) Cedar Hill, Arkansas, a weird take on his already weird hometown. His stories can also be found on Pseudopod. The reading of one of them was a Parsec Award finalist a while back, so now his name shows up if you search for it in Wikipedia. When he isn’t writing, Charlie hangs out with his buddies in Gentry’s abandoned mortuary. There they compose and record funky music, make funny and scary short films, and throughout the month of October, operate a wicked haunted attraction. More at his website Mortuary Studios, and Charlie’s music can be purchased at his CD baby website.
About the Narrator
Paul Tevis is an Ennie-award winning podcaster whose shows Have Games, Will Travel and The Voice of the Revolution discuss games, game design, and gamer subculture. He is an active participant in this subculture, and is a recognizable figure at many of its conventions. He has released his own game, A Penny for My Thoughts, in the summer of 2009 through Evil Hat Productions.