Blake Writes a Story #9

Archival Access (fantasy, horror)

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So ends this year’s short story crop. Sadly, I have not a market to my name, save my own, of my own. I can’t say I’m not disappointed in my lack of progress, but the interest shown from several of those I’ve solicited is heartening in the face of my failures. I will keep moving on with new short stories, ideally starting around June of next year. There are quite a few stories (listed in My Work but as of yet unposted) that I haven’t edited yet–they’re either too fresh for me to look at them objectively, or I just don’t feel confident enough to work on them right now. I’ll also be coming up with new material between now and then, hopefully pushing my personal envelope and experimenting more as we move into 2014.

At present, I’m working on two larger writing projects that I can’t really discuss publicly, but which I’m really quite excited about. Both are quite experimental, and I think folks will enjoy them once they’re finished.

As for this, last, story, I allowed it to malinger in submissions for far more time than I typically allow. Each story, as you may recall, I have given only sixty days to wow someone before it was to be posted on here for free. (In retrospect, that was a short-sighted system which will have to be revised next year: those stories which seem to arouse the most interest also take the longest to be, ultimately, rejected.) Archival Access would disappear into my corkboard for two months at a time before getting a “no,” and from markets which are generally much more timely. It’s a shame I never found a happy home for this one.

Left on my own, I wonder if they are gone, the mythological days of chain-smoking editors taking awkward, neophytic authors under their wings, and through harsh tutelage (like Tarantino’s Pai Mei) imparting insights into virtuous editing techniques? Or, if those legends do still exist in passionate abundance, then perhaps those who have read Archival Access had decided that it was already, from its inception, too far gone, too crude a block to be worth the trouble of reshaping? How else might I parse the delay in rejection, which implies intrigue, but which, like a clumsy virgin lover, failed to germinate into creative collaboration? Perhaps they were simply delayed by an inopportune influx of manuscripts and I am reading too much into things? I often read too much into things.

In any case, I present, here, what will likely be my final short story of 2013, a strange sort of romance about a young woman who grew up unafraid of monsters who discovers the last terror of mankind in a library:

Archival Access
by Blake Vaughn


“What does ‘A-R-C’ mean?”

The girl pushed forward a scrap of paper with a title and an LCC number on it.

Marsha Witenfield turned toward the girl and winced as her weight fell on her hip. She read the page, looked up from under her glasses at the girl, and clicked her tongue against the back of her teeth.

“‘A-R-C’ means ‘archival’,” Marsha said, “I’m afraid the only copy of that text is in archival storage. I’m sorry.” She gave a sympathetic frown and turned back to her filing.

“Excuse me? Ma’am?” asked the girl, “Would it be possible to see the archival copy?”

©2013 by Blake Vaughn. The text of this story may be redistributed freely in its original form with attribution to the author, Blake Vaughn, and his website,, as under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


  1. Posted February 4, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

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    • admin
      Posted February 12, 2014 at 3:54 am | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome, and I’m glad you enjoyed it! Stick around–lots more content coming soon!

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