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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Tourist Trap • 3

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This week’s Pete Wood Challenge was pretty simple. In keeping with this being the first week of summer here in the northern hemisphere, and therefore of summer vacation season, the challenge was to write a 100-word story centered around the concept of “tourist trap” without resorting to any of the ideas that have become shopworn and threadbare horror movie clichés in the past 60 years. With that as preamble, here are the next two winners, by returning contributors Cécile Cristofari and Eric Fomley

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“How Not to Save Your Marriage” • by Cécile Cristofari


The lush, green scenery was gorgeous, but Brenda’s mood was somewhat spoiled by Ron’s grumbling. Too hot. Too damp. What would have been wrong with just staying home?

Brenda forced a cheery smile.

“There’s even food! Over here!”

They raced to the buffet. The fare was strange, but deliciously sweet. Ron’s smile came back.

“Thanks for organising this,” he said, rubbing his two front legs together as he relaxed under the large green leaf.

Brenda’s wings fluttered happily.

She only had time to spot the leaf lowering, from the corner of her faceted eye, before green cilia closed on them. 

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After working in Canada for two years, Cécile Cristofari settled in her native South France, where she teaches English literature and writes stories when her son is asleep. Her stories have appeared in Interzone, Daily Science Fiction and Reckoning, among other places. She can be found on Twitter @c_cristofari, or on her website: staywherepeoplesing.wordpress.com.

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“Roy’s Playland — Half-price on Weekdays!” • by Eric Fomley


It’s a sham. A tire-swing with rotting rope, a rusty merry-go-round, a pool with oily black pond water. 

Roy comes out of the house to greet us, as does a smell like spoiled meat. He’s wearing patchwork jeans and his unbuttoned shirt shows a gaunt frame.

“Howdy, name’s Roy.”

He shakes our hands. Holds onto mine for a little too long, showing his broken, brown teeth.

“If y’all want to come inside, there’s good eat’n.”

We refuse.

He looks us up and down, licking his lips.

“You sure?”

We shake our heads.

He pulls a .45 from his waistband.

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Eric Fomley’s
work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Galaxy’s Edge, Flame Tree Press, and The Black Library. You can read more of his work on his website at https://ericfomley.com or buy him a coffee in exchange for a story at https://ko-fi.com/ericfomley.

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