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The Seers’ Table July 2024


Kate Maruyama, Member of the Diverse Works Inclusion Community

Linda D. Addison recommends:

Bridget D. Brave hails from the dead center of the US of A. A lawyer by day, Bridget spends her remaining waking hours writing weird horror in short, long, and game formats and play-testing tabletop RPGs with the Wandering Monster Cast.

I found her story, “Burlesque!” mesmerizing and chilling from the Shadows in the Stacks Anthology edited by Vincent V. Cava, James Sabata, and Jared Sage (Shortwave Publishing, 2024). This charity anthology benefits the Library Foundation SD.

Recommended Reading: “Burlesque! Albanqua proudly presents Parsippany Phoenix and The Dance of the Seven Veils (sponsored by Frank Crown Buick)” from the Shadows in the Stacks Anthology.

An excerpt from the story:

The curtain parted and a single light shone on a figure wrapped in translucent, iridescent veils. As a slow, steady drum beat hit, she raised her arms above her head. Parsippany Phoenix began to wiggle while the veils swished lightly around her. A woman’s voice, low and whiskey-and-cigarette raspy, poured from the speakers.

“It is believed that the dance of the seven veils was first performed to commemorate the death of John the Baptist. This may or may not be true. This is a dance to be performed by a singular dancer. This is a dance about what is and is not real.” The dancer began to undulate, her arms weaving back and forth like twining snakes. “Tonight, we invite you to participate in the great unveiling. Remove the fabric that obscures your vision and embrace truth.”

Parsippany stopped in front of the first table and shifted her hips toward the seated couple, gyrating as she wiggled her fingers at the veil resting there.

“Remove the veil,” the recorded voice intoned. “Unveil your truth.”

A man in a button-down shirt, open at the collar, laughed nervously and made an exaggerated thumb point toward the woman next to him.

“Remove the veil. Unveil your truth.”

With a sheepish look toward his wife, Ralph Lewis, orthodontist and slightly above-average golfer, shrugged. His wife, the much younger Amy Lewis, slapped one of his hands in mock irritation, and reached out to tug on the veil at Parsippany’s hip. It slid over the jeweled belt she wore low around her waist and drifted onto the table, revealing a smooth expense of creamy pale leg.

The drumbeat stopped. Parsippany froze in place.

The voice sounded over the speakers. “Your first love was your last.”

Ralph sputtered out a noisy laugh and threw his hands up in the air. A few others in the VIP roared with laughter. He leaned over and clapped his hand on his wife’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, baby. Guess it’s me forever.”

The drumbeat picked back up, and Parsippany twirled toward the second table, the six remaining scarves swirling around her.

Find more writing and weird anywhere online at beedeebrave,  especially at http://beedeebrave.com/.


Geneve Flynn recommends:

YI IZZY YU works, writes, and cavorts in the weird wilds of Pennsylvania. She is the co-translator of The Shadow Book of Ji Yun; and her fiction, nonfiction, and literary translations have appeared in magazines and anthologies ranging from New England Review, Strange Horizons-Samovar, and Copper Nickel to Unquiet Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror.

Recommended reading: “The Substitute”—essay from the 2023 Bram Stoker Award® nominee for Superior Achievement in Long Nonfiction, Unquiet Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror.

Excerpt from “The Substitute”:


There are hundreds of ghosts in Chinese thought. Stink-faced ones and ghosts with mouths like blazing torches. Tumor-covered ghosts with long curling tongues that lap at their own pus, venomous ghosts that shapeshift into insects, and lust ghosts that manifest as arid, drought-causing winds. There are hungry ghosts and messenger ghosts, alcoholic ghosts who hang around the smell of liquor, and ghosts who prefer the odors of lavatories. Gentle ghosts hoping wistfully for offerings and ghosts who trick people into the bone-littered dens of tiger masters (Ji, 2021).

But the tisigui, the “substitute-seeking ghost,” is the one that most terrifies me.

Commonly portrayed as the long-tongued ghost of a young wife who has hung herself, it seeks to trick others into dying in the exact same manner. If it manages this, it will be freed from its earthly limbo to reincarnate, leaving behind its victim to become a substitute ghost in its place.

To achieve its goal, the substitute ghost creates illusions. Put your head through a stranger’s car door to give directions and find yourself hanging in his basement. Slip a lover’s jade bracelet onto your wrist and find you have slit it.

The substitute ghost doesn’t always need illusion, though. The right words whispered at the right time—say after a vicious family argument—can do the trick.

For several centuries in China, a major field of inquiry among male scholars was what substitute ghosts whispered to cause women to kill themselves.

Review for Unquiet Spirits:

“… beautiful, enlightening, poignant, and yes, haunting. This is a must-have book for anyone who is interested in the folklore of Asia and how it has impacted the lives of the women actually living it.” — Lisa Morton, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Ghosts: A Haunted History

Follow Izzy at: Twitter: @YizzyYu; Facebook: /isabella.yu.9.

Author photo credit: Danning Liang


Kate Maruyama recommends:

S. Qiouyi Lu writes, translates, and edits between two coasts of the Pacific. Their debut biocyberpunk novella In the Watchful City is out now from Tor.com Publishing, and their other work has appeared in several award-winning venues. You can find out more about S. at their Web site s.qiouyi.lu or on Twitter @sqiouyilu.

I love the way that Lu’s work is grounded in reality which makes for a hilarious juxtaposition with the supernatural. Okay, here be ghosts, I’m in. The excerpt below shows that balance of humor and creepiness, which, in my opinion, makes the creepy creep in better.

Recommended Reading:

Short story, “Que Vagi Bé” from Shirley Jackson Award winner, and Stoker-nominated anthology (and awesome gift for anyone who loves beautiful anthologies) Professor Charlatan Bardot’s Travel Anthology to the Most (Fictional) Haunted Buildngs in the Weird, Wild World.

The story thus far, Michael is running a séance in his family’s dumpling shop trying to reach his Auntie Quan.


“Then who am I speaking to?”




“Whomst the fuck?”

My words linger in the air like a slow drop of molasses. The room has gone dark and quiet save for the crackling, dancing flames of candles. Despite the tranquility. I’m uneasy. I’ve always been sensitive to people’s energies—side effect of having to communicate with adults while being patronized for my age—but never have I been in the position, holding up a lightning rod for a spirit to strike and reveal the full extent of my emotions and doubts.


A soft breeze sighs through the room, making the candles flicker.

I’ve already made sure every door and window is locked.

My room is never drafty.



Tiffany Michelle Brown is a California-based writer who once had a conversation with a ghost over a pumpkin beer. She is the author of How Lovely to Be a Woman: Stories and Poems and cohost of the “Horror in the Margins” podcast.


Her fiction and poetry has been featured in publications by Black Spot Books, Dread Stone Press, Death Knell Press, Hungry Shadow Press, and the “NoSleep Podcast.” Tiffany lives near the beach with her husband Bryan, their pup Zen, and their combined collections of books, board games, and general geekery. Brown’s fiction and poetry explores body horror, feminine monstrosity, superbly weird relationships, and lately … transformation and creepy crawlies like bugs and worms.

Her collection sounds fabulous and has gotten good notices: A woman desperate to achieve the life she’s always dreamed of orders an AI baby online. Mounting workplace misogyny helps an introvert unlock her innate power. A woman obsessed with skincare goes to great lengths to rid her face of imperfections. A frat boy looking to score gets much more than he bargained for when a sexy coed turns the tables on him. Seeking relief from the pressures of everyday life, a woman checks into a hotel that caters to her dark predilections.

Recommended Reading:

“The Price of Motherhood” from How to Be a Lovely Woman. I love the slow creep of this one, how we get firmly planted in the ordinary before being introduced to the something wrong.


For the bargain price of $79,999.95, which she would pay in monthly installments of $99.95 for the next 66 years (not including interest), Leslie Dawson became a mother.

The day the courier arrived, Leslie wore her most responsible-looking outfit, which she’d bought at Goodwill especially for the occasion: a blue button-up khakhi pants, and a string of fake pearls. The cotton material was stiff and scratchy, but Leslie resisted the urge to change into her regular uniform of jeans and a T-shirt. She knew first impressions were important. She was important. She needed to resemble the epitome of domesticity today, even if only for a paid delivery person.

When she heard footsteps ascending the stairwell in her apartment complex, Leslie leaped from the couch and opened her door before the representative from Lyfelike had the opportunity to knock.

On the threshold, Leslie’s smile dropped, and her heart clenched. She hadn’t expected her baby to arrive in a silver, egg-shaped case that reflected the cheap fluorescents in the hallway. When she’d pictured this day in her mind, she’d imagined the courier showing up with the baby strapped to their chest via a Baby Bjorn or pushed in a stroller. There had never been an egg.

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