Meriah L Crawford
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My story, "The Light," is in the November 2013 issue of Skive.

     People always talk about the light at the end of the tunnel. Fuck the light at the end of the tunnel.

"Promise Kept" is one of 53 pieces of horror flash fiction in the anthology Dark Bits.

     She was expecting a key. An old-fashioned, ornate skeleton key with a faded pink tassel attached to it; a bland, utilitarian silver house key; a tacky flower-patterned copy with a green rubber bumper around the base; a key to a safe deposit box, with Do Not Duplicate stamped on it; a key to a lock box, a filing cabinet, a padlock, a shed, a bus station locker; even a card key for a motel room in a tiny town in Wisconsin. 

My second person story, "Gonnagetya," is in the anthology You, Me & a Bit of We. Though it was released in August 2013, it does not currently appear to be available on Amazon. Hopefully I will have an update on that soon!

     You’re walking out of your hotel room, your mind on dinner and drinks in the restaurant downstairs, feeling well satisfied with yourself in general. Then two kids come bursting out of the room across the hall: a girl who looks about nine, fast on the heels of a boy who might be four or five. As he runs, he’s screaming, “Nooo,” and she shouts, “Gonnagetya, gonnagetya, gonnagetya, little pus head!” 

My essay, "Calisthenics for Trees," is available online in About Place Journal.

     I remember reading somewhere, maybe a dozen years ago, that wind is like calisthenics for trees: the motion strengthens them and makes them grow better. For this reason, it’s important not to stake young trees too tightly or for too long, or they’ll become brittle over time.
     This struck me as absurd as I stood in my dining room window one night, looking almost straight up at the dozens of huge trees towering over the house, watching them whip around like blades of grass in a strong breeze.

My PI story, "It Tore the Laugh from My Throat," was reprinted in a revised edition in Wildside Press' Detective Megapack.

     I was supposed to be on vacation. I was supposed to be relaxing, putting my feet up, reading. I was supposed to be eating locally-caught seafood, like drum, soft-shell crab, and oysters dug fresh. I was supposed to be sitting on the porch of my little rental cabin on Chincoteague, enjoying the break I’d earned after nearly four solid months of long hours, seven-day weeks, and living out of my car while working on a huge class-action lawsuit. The phone was not supposed to ring, and if it did I was not supposed to answer. But it did, and I did, and this is what happened. 

I co-wrote the story, "The Persistence of Dreams," with Robert Waters. It was published in the Grantville Gazette, an online journal associated with Eric Flint's 1632 series.

Grantville, May 1636
Daniel Block stretched his aching back, then tilted his canvas to capture more of the fading light of the evening. The reddish hue changed the colors on his palette, giving Fraulein Barnes's pale arms and shoulders an orange tint that he found most intriguing. Painting outdoors had much to offer, though he worried the colors of his final work would be off. But then, the painting would seem odd to down-timers anyway. Even many of these up-time folk seemed tied to tradition when it came to art. Perhaps, he thought, my coming to Grantville will help change— 

"Transcript of Statement" is a somewhat experimental piece of writing: it's the statement a woman makes to police after she's attacked. You can find it online at Grift.

     The van was white, but with old paint showing through on the side. Like from a rental company, maybe – Budget or Ryder, something like that. I dunno. It was worn and faded. Dents and a few rust spots. I’m a PI, so I notice things. I try to. Couldn’t see the plates from that angle, of course. Not that it matters now. 

During the second half of 2012, I worked a vast number of hours on a project with artist Chuck Scalin, designer Meena Khalili, and a group of mostly local authors on the Evidence Boxes project. I wrote one of the stories, titled "Consumed," and a news article, titled, "Mystery boxes perplex authorities," as well as editing all of the stories. The result is a limited-edition book art project that I am very proud to have contributed to!

     Bill was a hero: a hero, dammit. True-blue, bold and brave, all-American. With his swank uniform on, tearing around town in his shiny Duesenberg, a sweet and sassy girl by his side, we all bought into the show. We were convinced Bill was the king of spies to Reilly’s ace, and everyone wanted Bill coming around—dancing, laughing, telling his tales with a wink and a finger to his lips. He was glorious, and everything was jake—at least for a while.  

My second vampire story is called "Blood Born." It was published in the Loco-Thology anthology.

     Most people who experiment with calling demons don’t survive that tricky learning period. If you call up a demon but don’t do it quite right, the demon can’t come all the way through. Demons apparently find this quite annoying, so they eat you and return to where they came from—usually leaving no sign they were ever there. And when the raising is successful? Carnage. 

My story, "Everyone Knows," about a security guard who doesn't get along well with his bosses, was published in Richmond Macabre II: More Nightmares.

     Jack’s first wife, Louise, left him because he was a loser. He worked as a security officer for just $9.75 an hour, in spite of his degree in criminal justice and his rugged good looks. He looked like he ought to be some kind of government agent, she thought, and make at least 80K a year. But he’d shown no interest in seeking any other job. Instead, he’d been demoted from security supervisor no less than three times over the five years they’d been married, each time for refusing to follow orders.  

A story I'm especially fond of, "The End of Grace," was published in the anthology, The Old, Weird South. It's about the true cause of the Louisa (Virginia) Earthquake.

     On August 23, 2011, at 1:51 pm (EDT), there was an earthquake centered in Louisa County, Virginia, with a magnitude of 5.8. Unlike most earthquakes on the West Coast, where tremors are seldom felt even a state away, this quake was felt for hundreds of miles—as far north as Montreal. According to the United States Geological Survey, this is "due to the ease of wave propagation through the North American craton." 

My PI story, "Right Where She Wants Him," is a dark tale of an evening on the job as a private investigator.  Did I mention it's dark? (You've been warned.) This story is in the really marvelous journal Needle: A Magazine of Noir.

     By the time we’d been in the car together for twenty minutes, Carl had used the word “motherfucker” nine times. He’d talked about sex unendingly: who the subject was screwing, how utterly fuckable his wife was, who some celebrity bimbo was doing this month. He’d called me baby. Twice. Soon, I was going to punch him. 

My first vampire story is in Richmond Macabre. This rather bloody story, "Hunting Joey Banks," features a PI searching for a client who's been abducted by bad guys.

     I was hunched in the corner of a small, rickety tree house overlooking a backyard in Church Hill near midnight, struggling madly not to move. I had the mother of all leg cramps, and it took everything I had not to holler with pain and try to massage it out. Since becoming a vampire two years ago, I’d become stronger in almost every way—but when I go too long without a red meal, the pains kick in with a vengeance. If I’d been home, I’d have been rocking back and forth, cursing loudly, but any movement would alert the four men talking in the hedges below that I was there, and my investigation would be over before it really even started. Worse, my client would almost certainly end up dead, and while that might not exactly be a tragedy, it would definitely be awkward. 

"Cleaning Fish" appears in Chesapeake Crimes: They Had it Comin'. I like to describe it as a story about the healing power of murder.

     Jake had expected to find himself digging ditches or washing cars or some such work when he got out on parole, but this wasn’t half bad. He whisked a brush down the Thoroughbred gelding’s hindquarters, both of them enjoying the shade from the barn’s broad overhang and the cool breezes coming from the lake. After he finished, there was a pair of dapple-gray Percheron mares and a palomino gelding who needed grooming. Then, after lunch, Jake would clean tack and do some minor repairs in the equipment shed. Whatever Otho and Anna Waggoner, the farm’s owners, asked him to do. 

Chesapeake Crimes III contains my story "It Tore the Laugh from My Throat," and the front cover features a photo I took on Chincoteage in Virginia.

My short story "Still, Life" won second prize in the 2007 Style Weekly fiction contest. 

      The woman is lying on the bench, asleep, when I arrive at the North Richmond train station around noon. For some reason, I feel compelled to sit and watch her for a minute or so, until I catch the rhythm of the rise and fall of her side. In spite of the air conditioning, the air is warm and heavy, and I doze for what must be almost two hours. I awake to see the same woman, lying on the same bench—only now, she's not breathing.

My writing has also appeared in Neo, The Washington Free Press, and Gaia, and I've written scintillating certification exam prep materials for New Riders Press.

Below are links to other writing available on the web now:

Occasional blog posts on Unleaded--Fuel for Writers.

I have several entries in the Encyclopedia Virginia, though I have recently noticed some issues introduced in editing.

Breakin' the Law - a column about writing about PIs

The Glamorous World of Surveillance - Ditto

My Blog - has only a few entries, but may be interesting.