AntipodeanSF Issue 308

By Chuck McKenzie

Mike took a few paces up the hall, wrinkling his nose against the stale air as ageing floorboards creaked underfoot. He turned back to face Jacob as his brother closed the front door quietly behind them.

“Okay, I think I’ve been pretty patient, so what the fuck?”

Jacob beamed, throwing his arms wide theatrically. “This is it! This is the idea! The start of it, anyway…”

Mike frowned, peering past Jacob to the window beside the door, through which he could see the tattered FOR SALE sign slumped at an angle on the dying front lawn. “So…what? Is this some house-flipping real-estate thing?” He turned to glare back up the hallway, casting a critical eye over yellowing walls and cobwebbed architraves. “This shitheap’d need a fucktonne of work to make it sellable, even if the market was riding high, which it fucking isn’t—”

“I expected your usual scepticism,” Jacob interrupted, only the faintest edge to his voice, “but how about you let me explain before passing judgement?”

Mike crossed his arms, staring at the floor without turning around. “Go on, then.”

“Two words. Haunted. Houses.”

There was a long silence. Eventually, Mike turned around and fixed Jacob with an incredulous look. “I’m sorry, Jake, but fucking what?”

“Hear me out. There’s an unprecedented interest in the paranormal right now. Every other film or tv show that comes out deals with the supernatural, and the cultural obsession just seems to be growing. So — we buy shitty houses like this, houses that can’t find a buyer due to their reputation for being haunted, market them specifically to those with an obsessive interest in the supernatural, and sell them for a massive profit without even having to put a lick of paint on the place!”

Mike stared, open mouthed, then turned away again to gesture aggressively at their surroundings. “Fucking ghosts?? This is your big fucking idea?? This is why you told me not to tell anyone where I was going, or with who? You think someone might steal this stupid fucking idea? You’re a fucking idiot! Ever heard that old joke? ‘How can you tell your house is haunted? Simple: it isn’t.’ Fuckwit!”

“It’s a winner. And I’m offering you a partnership.”

Mike snorted. “Partnership?? You must be—” A thought suddenly occurred. “You haven’t already bought this place, have you?”

The floorboards creaked as Jacob walked up behind Mike. “Sure have.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” Mike dug into his pocket and pulled out his phone. “What’s the address? Never mind, I’ve got it. You’re fucking crazy if you think I’m buying into this, literally or figuratively! You can take your partnership offer and—”

“Yeah, well, that’s not the sort of partnership I had in mind…”

“And look!” Mike stabbed a finger at the screen of his phone. “There’s not a single fucking mention online of this place even having a reputation for being haunted!”

“Well, no,” said Jacob. “That’s because it isn’t.”

Something dropped past Mike’s face, and as the wire began to cut into his neck, he heard Jacob say: “Not yet, anyway…”

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About the Author

chuck mckenzie 200Chuck McKenzie was born in 1970, and still spends much of his time there.

He also runs the YouTube channel 'A Touch of the Terrors', where — as 'Uncle Charles' — he performs readings of his favourite horror tales in a manner that makes most ham actors look like Gielgud.


Issue Contributors

The AntiSF Radio Show

antipod-show-50Our weekly podcast features the stories from recently published issues, often narrated by the authors themselves.

Listen to the latest episode now:

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show is also broadcast on community radio, 2NVR, 105.9FM every Sunday evening at 7:00pm.

You can find every broadcast episode online here: 

Meet the Narrators

  • Michelle Walker

    michelle walker32My time at Nambucca Valley Community Radio began back in 2016 after moving into the area from Sydney.

    As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I recognised it was definitely God who opened up the pathways for my husband and I to settle in the Valley.


  • Geraldine Borella

    geraldine borella 200Geraldine Borella writes fiction for children, young adults and adults. Her work has been published by Deadset Press, IFWG Publishing, Wombat Books/Rhiza Edge, AHWA/Midnight Echo, Antipodean SF, Shacklebound Books, Black Ink Fiction, Paramour Ink Fiction, House of Loki and Raven & Drake

  • Alistair Lloyd

    alistair lloyd 200Alistair Lloyd is a Melbourne based writer and narrator who has been consuming good quality science fiction and fantasy most of his life.

    You may find him on Twitter as <@mr_al> and online at <...

  • Tim Borella

    tim borellaTim Borella is an Australian author, mainly of short speculative fiction published in anthologies, online and in podcasts.

    He’s also a songwriter, and has been fortunate enough to have spent most of his working life doing something else he loves, flying.

    Tim lives with his wife Georgie in beautiful Far

  • Sarah Pratt

    sarah pratt 200Sarah Pratt is an avid fiction writer and a Marketing Consultant.

    She is currently working on her first novel but loves diving into short stories to bring a little lightness, intrigue or humour to the day.

    Her work has appeared in Sponge Magazine and The Commuting

  • Emma Gill

    Emma Louise GillEmma Louise Gill (she/her) is a British-Australian spec fic writer and consumer of vast amounts of coffee. Brought up on a diet of English lit, she rebelled and now spends her time writing explosive space opera and other fantastical things in

  • Sarah Jane Justice

    Sarah Jane Justice 200Sarah Jane Justice is an Adelaide-based fiction writer, poet, musician and spoken word artist.

    Among other achievements, she has performed in the National Finals of the Australian Poetry Slam, released two albums of her original music and seen her poetry

  • Marg Essex

    marg essex 200Margaret lives the good life on a small piece of rural New South Wales Australia, with an amazing man, a couple of pets, and several rambunctious wombats.

    She feels so lucky to be a part of the AntiSF team.


  • Mark English

    mark english 100Mark is an astrophysicist and space scientist who worked on the Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn. Following this he worked in computer consultancy, engineering, and high energy research (with a stint at the JET Fusion Torus).

    All this science hasn't damped his love of fantasy and science fiction. It has, however, ruined his

  • Ed Errington

    ed erringtonEd lives with his wife plus a magical assortment of native animals in tropical North Queensland.

    His efforts at wallaby wrangling are without parallel — at least in this universe.

    He enjoys reading and writing science-fiction stories set within intriguing, yet plausible contexts, and invite readers’ “willing suspension of

  • Juliette Cavendish

    juliette cavendish 200Juliette Cavendish was born in Liverpool UK and is of Welsh and Norwegian heritage. Juliette has an interest in Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Science and writes in both Science Fiction and Contemporary Fiction genres. Juliette was fascinated with space as a

  • Laurie Bell

    lauriebell 2 200

    Laurie Bell lives in Melbourne, Australia and is the author of "The Stones of Power Series" via Wyvern's Peak Publishing: "The Butterfly Stone", "The Tiger's Eye" and "The Crow's Heart" (YA/Fantasy).

    She is also the author of "White Fire" (Sci-Fi) and "The Good, the Bad and the Undecided" (a

  • Barry Yedvobnick

    barry yedvobnick 200Barry Yedvobnick is a recently retired Biology Professor. He performed molecular biology and genetic research, and taught, at Emory University in Atlanta for 34 years. He is new to fiction writing, and enjoys taking real science a step or two beyond its known boundaries in his