Story published! Read at your own peril.

My short story “The Metamorphoses”, was published on Friday by Altered Reality Magazine. Give it a look and a read, and I would always appreciate a comment on how this story resonated with you.

Photo by Debadutta on

I first saw her on a Tuesday, early November. It was starting to chill down outside. That’s how Bradley always said it — “chill down”. I liked him for small things like that, but small things weren’t enough to keep us together. Hell, even big things like a son weren’t enough to keep us together. Anyway.

She was moderate height, blonde, slim build, pretty. She came in to Jack’s All-U-Can-Eat alone, with a book. Stories, by Kafka. I read one before, I think, I couldn’t remember if it was him or Faust.

She helped herself to the buffet, ate quietly, read her book. After she was finished she got a second plate, and then a third. Each time I cleared her table she gave me a small nod and smile, said “Thanks” with a slight German accent, thonks.

“Marie!” Jack called me over to his manager stand, hands on hips. A scowl turned down the corners of his mouth, his thick, greying mustache poking out over thin lips. “She needs to leave.”

I found myself defending a stranger. “She hasn’t done anything wrong.”

Jack’s glare deepened. “You know what I mean. We got a policy here.”

I tossed my head. “No free meals doesn’t mean much when you call it ‘All-U-Can-Eat’,”

“Whatever,” he snarled. “Just get rid of her.” Rolling my eyes, I slowly made my way over to her table.

I didn’t want to do it, I said, but I was going to have to ask her to leave.

“Can’t I just stay here and read, for a while longer?” I loved her accent. “I’m in the middle of a very exciting story.” She sounded so intelligent, so refined.

I got an idea. “Actually, yes,” I said, looking over my shoulder. “That’s perfectly fine.”

Jack was even more disturbed than before. “What the hell’s going on?” His eyes were accusing slits. “Why is she still there?”

“She’ll just pay again for the dinner service,” I said. And even though I often complain that money is tight, I knew I would be able to cover one extra meal.

The Metamorphoses by Stephan James

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