Welcome to Night Walk Wednesday, where I talk about the submission journey of a story from my flash fiction anthology Night Walk & Other Dark Paths. This week’s tale is “The Rarest Cut.”
This is yet another one-hour flash fiction success story, and the “Rarest Cut” is one of my earlier attempts in the one-hour blitz that has defined my flash fiction career. Word tells me this story was originally written in 2013, but I think it might be a tad older. The prompt is now lost to time, but I know it got me thinking about cannibalism and then, well, even darker stuff.
“The Rarest Cut” is another that follows my patented flash fiction formula in that it features only two characters, takes place in a single location, and starts right near the, uh, meat of the story. It’s a simple setup with a man trying out a new dish at a restaurant that is decidedly off the beaten path. It’s one of those stories with a twist, so I won’t spoil it here, but I was proud of it when I finished. Fun anecdote. I have a friend who likes to share my work with other folks, especially those that don’t read much horror. This is his go-to story when he introduces someone to my writing because he gets a kick out of their (often disgusted) reactions. I mean, can you ask for a better compliment than that? Anyway, here’s a little taste. 🙂
Vincent cut into the meat, grimacing at the effort needed to saw through the stringy, pink flesh. He sliced off a portion, speared the chunk with his fork, and skated it through the fatty au jus pooling on his plate. He lifted the morsel to his nose and sniffed. The coppery tang told him the meat was quite rare, as he’d ordered it, but beneath that pleasant smell was a gamey odor that, of all things, reminded him of dirty laundry. He shrugged and popped the piece into his mouth.
It took me a bit longer than usual to sell “The Rarest Cut”, though it did receive some nice personal rejections. I ended up selling it to Evil Girlfriend Media in 2015 and then it was reprinted by Ellipsis Zine in 2018. I suspect it struggled a bit at first because, well, it’s gross, and that really isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t know if I’d call it gory, but it’s definitely icky.
As I said, five rejections is more than usual for a flash fiction story I sell, but not anywhere near my record. “The Rarest Cut:, was good enough to place twice, but it’s definitely been edited a few times between acceptances. The version in Night Walk is, I think, the definitive version of the story–lean, mean, and icky.
If you enjoyed the submission journey of “The Rarest Cut”, check out its 39 siblings in Night Walk & Other Dark Paths, which you can order in print and eBook by clicking the cover below.