Night Of Acceptance by Denny E. Marshall

Featured Flash Fiction Fall/Winter 2016

     Larry is checking his email. It has been a few days and he is curious if any of the

publishers have responded to his art submissions. There are two new emails in his inbox. One is

an offer from his bank. The second message is from Cover Of Darkness Magazine. It is a small

horror magazine. Larry opens the email and the editor informs him the art submission has been

rejected. What an odd email Larry thought. He received an email two weeks ago rejecting the

same art submission. Most likely, a mix-up he tells himself. He deletes the email and logs out.


     Two weeks later, he gets the same email rejecting the same art submission. Larry replies

to the email and kindly tells the editor that he has already received an email rejecting the

submission. Two weeks later, he receives the same rejection. Larry thought about the drawings

he sent. Okay maybe they are not his best drawings or even good drawings perhaps. Still there is

no need to send the same rejection repeatedly. Larry decides to let go until he receives the same

rejection every two weeks. This time instead of replying to the email, Larry starts on a new

drawing. He works weeks on a beautiful full color horror drawing. The art filled with scary

creatures of the night lurking in the shadows amongst a small village. The population fearful of

what the night will bring. The full moon above shines like a warning lantern. Moonbeams paint

the dark angles more sinister.


     Two weeks later, he replies to the rejection by attaching the new drawing. He cannot

believe it when he receives a response the next day. He opens up the email expecting the same

rejection. To his surprise, the email informs Larry that the drawing has been accepted and he will

receive a copy and ten gold bars. The editor guarantees Larry he will be on the cover. The email

ends with the editor thanking him. The editor’s name is Cal Cygnus Zetar. Ten gold bars and

another new editor Larry though. They must be doing pretty good to pay ten gold bars. Larry

does not know the exchange rate of ten gold bars but he knows it is more than the five dollars

that they normally pay. They seem to change editors often too. According to the email, all Larry

has to do is sign the email with an X and return it if he agrees to the terms of the contract. Hmm

the contract changed too. He types X and hits the sent button.


     It was only a few seconds after he hit send that his entire body felt a strange sensation.

Larry could see the walls all around him disappearing and turning black. His hands and some of

his body have now become part of the computer. Slowly objects and area shrink. The space

around Larry is coming closer and melting.  There is no heat. No pain felt in the shattering

experience. Soon Larry arrives in his own drawing. He is in the village hiding like the rest. Larry

sees a woman approaching him. She introduces herself and tells Larry she is a poet. She asks

Larry, “Did you fall for the ten gold bars too.” Larry looks at the women and replies, “That and I

finally did a good drawing.” The women looks up at him and offers, “At least we are on the

cover.” A faint attempt at humor to hide the fear painted brush strokes on their faces. Larry

pauses for a moment then says. “Yes a cover, a cover of darkness.”


     Both Larry and poet search for a safe place to hide from the night of acceptance. The pair

jumps over the editor’s name and head deeper into the village. The calls of the night creatures

echo more loudly. The air foul and the remaining light wrapped in sheets of fog. Soon the

creatures will be upon them. Larry feels his pocket to make sure. Yes, the eraser is still there.