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“Elevator to Jericho” selected for publication in WEIRD CITY magazine January 30, 2018

Posted by ambrosestolliker in News, Short Stories.

cover-01-smallI am so pleased to announce that my short story, Elevator to Jericho, has been chosen to appear in the second issue of WEIRD CITY, a literary magazine “dedicated to strange things in dense places.”

The story will be available in print and digital format before the end of March. For a taste of what WEIRD CITY has to offer, check out this listing on Amazon for the magazine’s inaugural issue, released just last winter.

If you’re a fan of old Twilight Zone episodes, or the strange and wistful fiction of Ray Bradbury, I think you’ll like Elevator to Jericho.

Here’s the jacket cover version of the story:

Elevator to Jericho is the story of Ellis LeFavre, a recently paroled ex-con trying to put his life back together after being convicted of manslaughter in the killing of his wife, Deborah. When we first meet Ellis, he is in the office of his court-appointed psychiatrist, the strange and mysterious Dr. Neville Constantine.

Seeing his patient is genuinely remorseful for his crime, Constantine tells Ellis he can offer him a chance at the one thing he wants more than anything else – to set things right. Ellis, of course, is skeptical. His wife, after all, is dead. How can he possibly make things right?

In response to this question, Constantine hands Ellis a business card with “The Jericho Building” and a Manhattan address printed on it, and instructs him to go there and take the elevator up to the twenty-fifth floor. When Ellis asks the doctor what he’ll find there, Constantine tells him, “Ellis, that depends entirely on where you want to go.”

Though skeptical at first, Ellis eventually goes to The Jericho Building, a triangular limestone skyscraper on Fifth Avenue reminiscent of the Flatiron Building. Inside, he asks the elevator operator, Mr. Barnaby, to take him up to the twenty-fifth floor. Mr. Barnaby complies, and when the elevator reaches that floor, Ellis asks before the doors open, “What’s out there?”

“For some, absolution. For others, damnation. For all, a reckoning,” Mr. Barnaby tells him.

The doors open, Ellis steps out and that’s where his story truly begins.

The selection of Elevator to Jericho for publication means a great deal to me for a number of reasons. For one thing, it’s been a long, long road with this particular story. Not only did I write it nearly ten years ago, but it was rejected at least a hundred times before WEIRD CITY’s editor, Michael Alwill, saw something in it he thought was worth publishing. So, before I say anything else, I have to say a big thank you to Michael for taking the time to read my story and for agreeing to publish it.

Also, I just love this story. I love its setting especially, having spent the bulk of my formative years in the shadow of New York City, in the nearby suburbs of Connecticut. More than that though, Elevator to Jericho is an intensely personal story for me on many levels, and I think it really speaks to one of our most basic and universal human impulses – the desire for  a second chance; our sometimes desperate wish that we could make up for the wrongs we’ve committed, more often than not wrongs committed against those to whom we were once closest.

Like all of us, Ellis LeFavre is a deeply flawed person, a person who would give anything to make up for a grievous and horrible mistake. What does he find on the other side of that elevator door? Is it absolution? Damnation? A reckoning?

You’ll have to read it to find out!





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