MJG’s Short Stories

A pretty full bibliography of Michael John Grist‘s short story career, excluding his later sales to semi-pro and pro magazines, which are here:

The best of all these stories are available to buy in Michael’s 2 short story collections – Cullsman #9 and Death of East.

Most of the following short stories were published in small press, niche online magazines, anthologies, compendiums, mostly 4 the luv or token pay, between around 2003 and 2010. Some may have paid as much as $50.

Many of these small zines are now extinct. The stories are hosted here.

Universal Time

Leanna Drew the Moon

apocalypse-rassouli evilmoon1
I’m working the deep 7 run again. Last time I was out here, must’ve been pre-schism. Before the split, and opinion divided the universe.

Image from here.

Leanna knew she was a special little girl because the moon spoke to her. She knew that it shouldn’t, and that she shouldn’t listen, but none of that stopped it from happening.


Caterpillar Man

waterfall1 caterpillar
in The Harrow – June 2009

I cut open his brain because he needed help.”Help me,” he’d whispered, banging at my fly screen in the middle of the night.

Image from here.

in Shelter of Daylight – April 2009

I fell in the hole on a Tuesday. The hole is a hole in the road. Maybe 50 people walk by a day. I fell in by accident and now I can’t get out.

Freemantle Mons

Celibate Jayne the Hammerhand

published in Something Wicked – February 2008

It was 4:59 and a minute from dawn when Freemantle Mons the Leviathan Smile felt the Grammaton clockworkings die.Image by Hendrik Gericke.
published in TQR Stories – April 2008

It was nearing high-tide on the Sheckledown Sea when Celibate Jayne the Hammerhand finally bashed his way out of the belly of the whale.Image from Ben Saber.

Stick Man

Building New Atlantis

stick man building new atlantis1
Dray is slumped at the edge of his desk, doodling. It’s Saturday again. Another business studies class. 4 low level Japanese students talking about their companies in broken English.

Image from here.

The first stage in the construction of New Atlantis went quietly, and the world scarcely noticed. It looked enough like a new ship or oil drilling platform on the satellite photos that no other nation would pay it too much mind.

Brand New Day

Two Hearts

Picture 2 twohearts1
She wakes up slow, opens her dull eyes expecting the new day to glow in, but no. It’s still night. She blinks, yawns into her pillow, stretches beneath the duvet. It’s the pig bedspread, the one her mother made. She has no idea there’s a dead man in her room.

Image from here.

He held the FridgePak plastic bag close up to his eyes, but he couldn’t see anything special. He saw no spark of life, no memory of love, nor any trace of meaning. He just saw the pulp of a heart.

Image from David Ehlen.

Sir Clowdishley and the Sea

Sky Painter

clowdishley2 paintstratusclouds3
His name was Sir Clowdishley. He was once a royalty man, an astronomer to the king. He surveyed great kingdoms of heaven and charted the progress of the stars. The Sky Painter lived on the mountain and painted the sky. He painted it blue for blue skies, and white and grey for clouds. At night he painted it black, with white for all the stars.

Image from here.

Freya 13

Killin Jack the Malakite

space-station ?
Delathon Rent, a 28 year old technician on the Freya 13 space station, sits slumped in the Outer rim command pod with a gas hatch sealed behind him, video-phone in his lap, waiting for it to ring.Image from here. It was gone All Hallows by the Grammaton’s gong when Killin Jack the Malakite mobbed down the last of the Bunnymen. He was stalking spires up the Seasham cathedral that night, swerving in to the dome-top graveyard in the middle.

Image from Mike Beddall.

Route 66

Hunting Ground

desert-walk post_apocalypse2
Black highway snaking through an empty desert, star-studded midnight sky overhead, reflecting on the polished blacktop. Constellations dot to dot across the shiny old road, forming new and curious imaginary beasts on the black surface.Image from artbypavel. They pick up the blip off the bait drop corner, burning bright green on the inner screen of their visors, flashing with a rapid-fire heartbeat, scouring afterglow trails into their eyes.It’s the strongest they’ve ever seen.Image from here.

Fade out


industra2 sky_web2
They strapped a man to the ceiling today. I know him. His name is Wasari Ichimura. I tried to talk to him afterwards but he wasn’t interested, and I was too tired to give chase.Most days now, my muscles don’t stop shaking ’til past midnight.

Image from here.

It’s a beautiful day already. The sun is up and dawning like a golden rip in the pewter and orange sky, leaking rays of light across the blue ocean and bridge.Everything is still. It’s a beginning, the start of a new day. Strange thing is, everything that matters is already over.

Image from here.

Giant Robot and the Myna Bird

Fortune City

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The giant robot stalked the empty world, looking for its lost arm. It had fought in many wars, from the beginning to the end. In ancient Thrace it had brought down the gates of Thermopylae. In Samarkand it had crushed the Czar’s men underfoot.Image from here. I started talking out loud around 3, I think. It’s a sweltering day, but that’s no excuse. It’s more to do with the height, I think. The wind rushing in my ears and I couldn’t hear a damn thing I was thinking.What was I saying?Oh.
It’s like reality TV. Safe. Distant. Gritty. Real.
I’m a star again.

Isidro’s Furnace


fireplace-painting-web3 mountaincrop11
Isidro’s furnace demanded FBI agents, but he only fed it limestone and coke, sometimes Rice Crispies if it was good. In return, it fed his insanity. Neither got exactly what they wanted, but it was a happy enough arrangement for the both of them.Image from here. The storm-post was made of crumbling old red brick. Ragged weeds grew up its chipped and tattered sides, through its paving stones and round the observation platform binoculars on its roof.Image from here.

Emhoola’s Gibbet

One Eighty

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?Emhoola peddled magic. He sold it by the cartload, and everywhere he went it was bought with self-deceiving gusto. He wakes, but it’s not what he expects. His room is in disarray, futon lying disheveled with the covers beneath it, bookshelf standing on its head and tilted into the corner, full-length mirror fallen flat and smashed to pieces. But that isn’t everything.Image from here.



darkforest edge
On the southernmost fringe of the tanglewood forest beyond the kingdoms of men, in the midst of a purgatorial wasteland blighted with perpetual winter, there stands an inn where the battle-lines between sanity and madness meet.

Image from here.

published in Reflection’s Edge – April 2008
At the center of Flatland there was a tall sky-scraper, thirty stories high. In the skyscraper were many offices, filled with workers who spent their days typing at their ledgers, recording the business of Flatland that they could see out of their windows.

Sagasu’s Life

The Mistman

butterfly-nubula1 mist2
published in Reflection’s Edge – February 2008

Sagasu was watching the child in the corner. The corner was dark, and the child was dark. Its mouth was open, always. Sagasu was grinding butterfly’s wings.Image from here.
published in Byzarium – September 2008

There was a village in the mountains at the top of the world that was always shrouded in mist. Its name was Ballahee, and in it lived a small community of good people.Image from here.


Clay Head

gutterman 4401
I found him one mad marsh-walking night. I was out in the bogs, I don’t know why, crossing wet rivers and wading through peat mulberry patches, dashings of filth worming their way into the cuffs of my suit turn-ups. There’s a giant head in my living room. It’s made of grey clay and it sings through the night.It sings songs about America. Sometimes boogie-woogie or the Big Bopper. It sings Buddy Holly.

Image by Karina Ishkhanova

One missing story includes: On the Raft published at Dawnsky

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