lost time incident 83 – ants on fire and science is to blame

a moving image from a movie trailer for THEM. Silhouettes of people watch giant ants burn while text appears reading TERROR HORROR EXCITEMENT MYSTERY

lost time incident 83
It’s Easter Sunday here in these United States and the sun is shining, which means it must be time to sit behind blackout curtains and think about scary stuff that might populate a mansion. I hope it’s time to do that, because that’s what I’ve been doing.

Hi, folks.

Since the last time I sent out an edition of this newsletter, I released WITCHES TOWN, an ebook the collects the best of over a year’s worth of microfiction offerings, both funny and creepy, including bits that appeared here for you, loyal subscribers.

So if you’ve been thinking: I really like the LOST TIME INCIDENT newsletter but it would be a lot better if the fiction bits were collected all in one place… well, you’re in luck.

WITCHES TOWN cover image

You can pay what you like for WITCHES TOWN over at Gumroad. (“What you like” can also be “download it for free”. I’m just happy it’s being read. The tip jar is optional, but it does help reimburse me for the amazing art that’s included in the book.)

I’ll also offer this: As a subscriber to this newsletter, if you pay $5 or more for the book, drop me an email and I’ll send you a “signed” copy. (Basically, I’ll edit one or all of the book formats with an inscription personalized to you.) For $10 or more, I’ll write an original piece that specifically includes you and insert that into your personal copy, plus the inscription.

For $6.66 I’ll give you a version of the book that will send you straight to the Devil. Please don’t do this. I shouldn’t have this sort of power but every day, the voices… the voices, they beg me to destroy someone’s soul. I don’t want to do it.

Ha ha! Just a funny joke!

Those voices mostly tell me about times I embarrassed myself in the past and about how the future is bearing down on us at all times.

Okay! Who wants to see some microfiction?

genre fiction
As the torch drips in the dark passageway, the archaeologist of the group pores over the ancient glyphs.

“As I thought. This squiggly bit here looks like a doggy.”

As the wizard watched his entire occult library go up in flames– a hazard for those who stick candles in skulls and expect them to never fall over– he could be heard muttering to himself “Oh, I do hope it turns out the magic was inside me all along.”

The space rogue sneered over the space poker table. “Ha! The only thing in this world that I trust is my laser pistol.”

“You need to work on those trust issues,” piped up the laser pistol from under the table.

“I know,” said the space rogue.

“You can’t just rely on me. It’s not healthy and you end up moody and withdrawn.”

And just like that, the pre-gunfight lacuna got awkward.

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back in my day we didn’t have social media

you wanted a stranger to give you some positive feedback you had to walk along the train tracks gathering sodee bottles and distribute ’em to the rail-bums who knew how to get cash for ’em and they’d give you half a dirty playing card you’d hide in a tree house and while you was up there thinking about life, some soldier back from the war would see you out their window from the room they scream in and they’d give you a thumbs up

just like that


ending theme song
Two weekends back, my wife Amanda and I went to a small indie role-playing game convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was called, appropriately enough, New Mexicon. We figured: Where better to face our social anxiety about meeting strangers than by flying to another state and then attempting to learn unfamiliar game systems & participate in creative endeavours with them? If it doesn’t work out, we can just never go back to New Mexico.

As it turns out, the people at New Mexicon were friendly and lots of fun to play with. I received such immediate and enthusiastic support from fellow attendees that I actually volunteered to facilitate a game session in the very first available session, day 1. I lead a group of strangers in creating a living language for an isolate community of homesteaders on Mars. How about that?

Anyway, that recent experience is part of why my Sunday morning was spent thinking about mansions and monsters. I’ll be running a small game/experiment RPG-shaped thing online, using voice-over-internet. I’ll be trying my hand at running a horror-themed game with some friends & relations, and I’m writing up an original  scenario rather than using something pre-written. 

I turned 43 this month.

So far, so good.

Still here. Thanks for being here with me.

—Michael Van Vleet

Hey! Did you enjoy reading this? But did you find yourself thinking “Dang, if only this sort of thing were delivered directly into my inbox so I didn’t have to spend time on a website as if it were still the 90s or something!”?

You’re in luck! You can subscribe to the LOST TIME INCIDENT newsletter and finally class up your inbox.