Friday, June 25, 2021

Tourist Trap • 5


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 is this week’s winning entry, by Hayley Stone



“Crush Depth” • by Hayley Stone

As Namora approaches maximum depth, the tourists lean into the viewports to glimpse Old Miami. I’d make more shuttling folks between ports, but this old gal can’t compete with the commercial submarines.

“Did you see that?” Some kid is on his feet, pointing. “Something swam past the window!”

“Please remain seated,” I say.

“I saw it, too,” an adult seconds.

“Just fish—”

Namora shudders, startling screams out of my passengers. The depth gauge trills in warning. I blow ballast, but it’s no use. 

“Told you!” the kid screeches as giant suction cups blacken the viewports.

Guess we were both right.

¤     ¤     ¤


Hayley Stone is an award-winning author and poet from California whose short fiction has appeared in Apex Magazine, Fireside Fiction, and more. She is best known for her weird western novel, Make Me No Grave. Find her complete list of works at


In a world...

Where the Soviet Union won WWII, England is now a Soviet satellite, some magic actually works (sometimes), and Premier Kruschev is going eyeball-to-eyeball with President Patton—

The last surviving member of His Majesty’s Dragonslayer Corps is called out of retirement, because it seems dragons aren’t extinct after all and one has taken up residence in a prominent Politburo member’s country estate. Read the rest in THE SHE-DRAGON OF BLY, by Jason D. Wittman, just one of the terrific tales in STUPEFYING STORIES 22!

Available now in paperback, on Kindle, or free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.