Monday, May 10, 2010
Proudly Rejected by Kaleidotrope Magazine/Someone Unpredictable
Wandering home late from the club one night, Pollyanna found herself in a maze of dark streets and darker alleys. She should never have been out so late alone, but none of the handsome men with whom she had danced had really interested her enough to let them walk her home.
The truth was, she was bored of them all. She was tired of Mark with his rugged good looks and reliable dependability. Whenever they went bungee-jumping together, he insisted on following all of those pesky rules and regulations, and the last time they had gone lion-hunting, Mark had practically forced her to keep her gun on safety unless she was planning to shoot something. Boring, dull, hum-drum Mark. A girl could never really feel alive around a man like that, she mused.
And Luther, well, Luther was only a little more daring than Mark. He had taken Pollyanna base-jumping off the cliffs in South America a few times, and she had found it interesting, but only vaguely.
They’re just so drab, thought Pollyanna as she wandered through the dark, moonlit city. When will I ever meet a really entertaining man? she wondered with a sigh. Slowly, Pollyanna became aware that she was being followed. A dark slender shadow trailed behind her silently. Her heart sped up and she willed her dainty silk-clad feet to move more quickly. The shadow shape behind her matched her pace.
Pollyanna broke out in a run. She was panting now, partially from fear, partially from exertion. Her delicate bosom rose and fell like the wings of a stressed out hummingbird.
She turned corner after corner in the darkness. She was running, but no matter how quickly she went, the dark shadow followed behind her…until she found herself in an alley with no exit.
Pollyanna pressed against the wet, mossy brick wall at the end of the alley. She cried out, “Whoever you are- don’t come any closer!”
The shadow crept along the dark wall and finally stood in front of her in the pale moonlight. Pollyanna gasped.
“You’re…you’re just a teenage boy!” She exclaimed. His pale face rose above her with a leer. She noticed his poor posture, sagging pants, bad hair, and horrible pimples.
“I hate to be indelicate,” Pollyanna continued, “But you have horrible acne. Isn’t there some kind of medication you can take for that?”
“I know about my acne!” the boy snarled. She shrank back when she noticed a glint of moonlight shining off his unusually long canine teeth.
“Well, I was only trying to help,” Pollyanna continued, “You really don’t have to be so unpleasant about it.”
“You trying being an undead teenage boy for three hundred years and see how you like it,” he whined sulkily. “And for your information, I have tried a lot of different medications, and none of them work on the undead.”
“Undead?” She gasped, “So you must be….”
“That’s right! I’m a bloodsucker, a leech, a mosquito…I’ve been called every name in the book. I’m a vampire!”
“Ooh!” Pollyanna squealed. “Have you come to turn me so that we can live undead forever?
“Well…” He said quietly, looking deeply into her limpid eyes…“No. I’m just going to kill you.”
Aah, finally a man who’s unpredictable, thought Pollyanna.
It was her last thought.
The above story was freshly rejected by Kaleidotrope Magazine. The editor, Fred Coppersmith, said, " It was not un-amusing, but it was quickly predictable, less a story than a quick joke. It just never really worked for me because of that."
Well, Fred, thank you for your honest opinion and your speedy 14-day turn around time. As much as rejection hurts, honest feedback like that is about the most valuable thing a writer can recieve. Most editors can't take the time to tell me why, they just reject without any reason, if they bother to tell me at all.
I liked the story when I wrote it, which is why I sent it off right away, but I might have done better to wait a few weeks and re-work it a bit. Or maybe it was a weak premise to begin with and the whole thing just needs to be scrapped.