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Short Story Excerpt

This is an excerpt from The Rat Burner, which will be in the upcoming issue #2 of Shock Totem magazine:

They walk deeper into the alley, past hills of trash piled high like ramparts against the buildings—black plastic bags hemorrhaging used diapers, rotting vegetable matter, and cardboard. Rats patrol the heaps. Some of them are big. Some of them look like they could bite a cat’s leg off. Someone—a drunk Wikipedian from the university, he thinks—once told him the big ones were actually nutria, not rats, but still part of the rodent family. Huge things with front teeth the same color as his earmuffs—nuclear orange. Punk soldier rodents in their castles of trash. But the distinction makes no difference to the guide. They’re just big rats with freakish orange teeth and he hates them all the same—their skittering, chirruping, and scratching. He hates their black accusing eyes and grey muzzles and long bald tails. They make his insides feel tight. And there are always just too damn many of them. The burner never comes often enough.

And this is an excerpt from a story set in the same universe–a sort of parallel weird Austin–called The Earth Knew His Name:

The earth knew his name because he’d pissed it into the dust of every town on the border of the Shining West, blind drunk on cactus liquor. No one had any cause to complain if a Ranger got a little crazy, not when he’d just saved the whole town from a plague of angry ghosts. The trees knew his name because a long time ago he’d carved it into an old sprawling oak, next to a heart and next to the name of a woman he tried not to think about nowadays. He swore the trees whispered about it—rustling branch to branch, leaf to leaf—a wooden gossip about an affection that was against the law. He’d been young then. The wind knew his name because his friends had howled and cursed it out at him for turning traitor, right before he shot them all dead.

Everyone in the city of Austin knew his name too, because it was blazoned at the top of the Secession Battle Memorial when they thought he’d died a martyr’s death. He’d survived, of course, which just made it all the more embarrassing to his superiors, but a phenomenon to the people. They knew his name—for a hundred different reasons they knew it—so he came in the dead of night, driving an old hummer he junked the minute he found a scrapper who wouldn’t ask any questions. In the end, he had just enough money for some rope, expensive liquor and a last greasy meal.

About Me

Ricardo Bare
Austin, Tx

Ricardo Bare is a writer and game designer living near Austin, Texas. Currently he works as a game designer for Arkane Studios, which in 2012 released Dishonored. Ricardo started his career in the games industry working on the Deus Ex series, winner of the BAFTA and numerous other Game of the Year awards.

Ricardo is the author of Jack of Hearts and Fool of Fate, the first two books in a young adult fantasy series.


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Amazon [paperback & kindle]
Barnes & Noble [paperback & nook]


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