Fiction Editor's Note

Valerie Cihylik


This year the season of the curmudgeon – me – came early to New York. For some reason, the holiday crowds began swarming the sidewalks in early November. By now, the level of violence in my holiday tragedy fantasies has risen exponentially. It’s wrong, of course, for me to have such an attitude and I deeply regret it. So let us take refuge in fiction and luxuriate in wanton carnality, adolescent misbehavior, curious architectural phenomena and departure denial.

In Prelude to a Beating, Erik Rhey vividly freezes that doomed adolescent moment when it is impossible to back down despite the certainty of a dire outcome. Richard Weems, Melic fiction alumnus from Fall 1999, returns to us with a chewy, ribald tale of animal lust and the transforming effect Henry Purcell’s lovely music. M. Lynx Qualey’s Leaving Lebanon is a poignant reflection on the refusal to say good-bye. Finally, with Jared Carter’s The Spiral Staircase, I break one of my personal internet fiction tenets by bringing you a rather long offering. The story is crafted with the same artful precision as the mysterious staircase it so beautifully describes and ponders.

Read, enjoy and have a Happy New Year.