Life in Progress...
Taking a hiatus from sharing anything for a while.
Thank you for the interest you've shown already by visiting my website.
If you want to know when I become active again, feel free to follow me on Facebook or Instagram. I have a Twitter, too, but I never really got the hang of using it. Maybe that will change once I feel ready to return?
For now, you can read my previously published stories by clicking the "Writing" button above. I hope to have more to share with you in the near future!
Click on the story title to open the story in a new tab.
Most recent publications towards the top!
Metanoia (anthology reprint)
The Bookends Review 'Best of 2018' Anthology
That Moment When Time Stopped
Corvus Review: Issue 10
Silver Pen Magazines 2017 Anthology
A Good Death Makes a Good Life
Down in the Dirt Magazine
The Bookends Review
Allegory Volume 32/59
That Moment When Time Stopped
Berlin Notebook, Edition 1
The Fable Online: Issue 22
Tell Empathy (reprint)
RHNK Issue #3: On the Road
Beyond the Chandrasekhar Limit
RHNK Issue #2
Have You Met My Monster?
The Fiction Pool
That Moment When Time Stopped
Viewfinder Literary Magazine
Berlin Unspoken Volume 1
RHNK Issue #1: On Tinder & Other Places
Sanitarium Magazine Issue #44
Fabula Argentea Issue #14
A New Perspective (or, That Time I Was Allergic to Wussing Out)
Popshot Issue #13: The Outsider Issue
Bonus free stories:
“Candy Cane Grumble”
Sal ducked to avoid the giant candy cane stem swinging at his head. As the chubby, middle-aged Mexican lady prepared for the follow-up swing, he couldn’t help but wonder how things got to this point. He had a nasty habit of inviting violence everywhere he went. He thought those days were behind him now and never for a second expected to get into a fight at a toy store. But then again, he should have known better. After all, it was Christmas Eve.
Two days earlier, Sal had finished his five-year stint in prison and was excited to be with his family again just in time for the holidays. His son, Zack, was eight years old now and barely remembered him. Elizabeth decided prison was no place to take a child after she decided to leave Sal about a year into his sentence. He was angry at her for about a year after that, but he calmed down enough to understand. Anger was what got him into prison, and he decided he wasn’t ever going to let it control him again.
The smack of the candy cane against Sal’s shoulder brought him back to the present.
“Motherfuuu—aarrggghh,” he gritted his teeth to keep from cursing.
They had attracted a crowd of horrified parents and cheering children. A little girl of about six years old dressed like Snow White white-knuckled a glitter shaker and shouted, “Finish him!” over and over, spittle flying from her mouth and head pumping so hard, her tiara dangled from the stray hairs it could still cling onto. Sal thought it was the most terrifying thing he had ever seen, rivaling even the scariest prison thugs he had encountered.
“Give me the Grumble,” said the woman in her thick Mexican accent, “and all of this will stop.”
The reason all of this was happening in the first place: the Grumble Monster Touch. It was the latest toy fad that every kid wanted this Christmas, and there was no way in hell Sal would hand over the last available one. This was the fifth toy store he checked that day. Giving Zack the Grumble would solidify his place as a good father, the kind you could count on for anything. Anything less and he might as well still be in prison.
“Over my dead body,” said Sal.
The woman shook her head. “So be it,” she said and raised the giant candy cane above her head.
Sal waited for her to strike before swiping the glitter from little Snow White and thrusting it toward the woman’s face. He sidestepped the incoming strike in the same motion and successfully avoided getting hit a second time.
The woman dropped the candy cane. Her angry yell transformed into a wretched cough as she tried to rid her mouth and eyes from the blast of the glitter bomb.
Sal used the opportunity to take the candy cane from her and try to get away, but the crowd had gotten too big. “Okay, show’s over,” he said. “Let’s move along now.”
“This is not over yet,” said the woman.
Sal turned back around and changed his mind about the most terrifying thing he had ever seen. The smiling, insane look of a desperate, middle-aged Latina woman’s sparkling face would haunt his dreams for years to come.
A little boy of about ten years old came out of the crowd and handed her a new three-foot candy cane.
Sal threw his hands in the air. “What the hell, kid? What are you doing?”
“You watch your mouth in front of my nephew,” said the woman. “That Grumble is for my grandson. Now, prepare to die.”
“Grandson?” said Sal.
The thought of him fighting a grandmother over a kid’s toy was enough to leave an opening for her, but not quite enough. Sal gripped the candy cane and parried the incoming attack. She swung low to try to swipe him off his feet but again Sal deflected it by swinging his candy cane. They instinctively backed away from each other to size up their opponent.
The woman looked surprised. Sal smiled. I can do this, he thought, just as the woman flung a frisbee at his face. He barely had enough time to wonder where in the hell that came from before she was charging at him again.
Sal managed to pivot around her like a matador and strike her from behind, a bold move that he was surprised he actually pulled off. He felt a bit guilty over hitting a grandma with a large candy cane, but these were extraordinary circumstances.
The woman’s nephew handed her a new toy, a Captain America shield. Sal’s guilt quickly faded away as he saw the determined look on her face.
She slapped the candy cane against the shield and shouted, “The Grumble is mine!”
Again, she charged at him.
Sal swiped a Spider-Man web slinger from the shelf and imitated that Marvel movie he saw last year. He aimed for the shield, but the web hit the woman right in the face. Even blinded, though, she did not stop and swung at the air where she thought he was standing.
She hit the Grumble, causing it to fly in the air.
“Stop hitting me with things in the face!” she said, wiping the silly string from her eyes. When she could see again, she followed Sal’s gaze to the toy on the floor.
A little boy excitedly picked it up. “Mommy, Mommy! This is the one I want!” He looked around the crowd for his mother but could not locate her. “Mommy, where are you?”
The woman walked over to the boy and swiped the Grumble out of his hands. “This is not for you,” she said.
The little boy began to cry and continued to call for his mother between sobs.
Sal couldn't believe she could be so heartless. “Hey!” he shouted at her. “We’re not done yet.”
“Go home now, boy,” she said without turning around.
Sal marched toward her and used the curved part of the candy cane to yank the Grumble out of her hands and back into his. As she turned around, he sprayed her once more in the face with the web slinger. This time, he did not stick around to give her a chance to wipe her eyes. He pushed through the crowd and mingled in with the rest of the people.
Sal looked for the little boy who had called for his mother but couldn't find him. He took that as a sign that he should claim the toy for himself. Finding a place in line near the cashier, he saw the woman approaching. For a second, he prepared himself for round two and looked for any oversized candy to defend himself with, but then saw her hesitation. The security guard near the door would ensure a battle would not occur here. Feeling safe and basking in his victory, he stuck out a tongue at the woman, who scowled and huffed away.
After nearly forty minutes, Sal had purchased the Grumble and made his way out of the store. The little boy from earlier was sitting on the sidewalk alone, holding back tears.
“Hey,” said Sal. “It's cold out here. Why are you by yourself? Did you find your mom?”
“She’s inside fighting over a toy,” he said. “I told her it doesn't matter anymore. There are no more Grumbles…”
Sal felt the weight of the Grumble in his bag. Part of him felt sorry for the kid, and part of him said he needed the toy for his kid. His morals had their own duel inside his mind. Ultimately, he decided to give the toy away. What kind of message would he be giving his kid if he thought some material possession was what would provide happiness? He wanted to be a good father, and to do that, he would need to be a good person.
He pulled the Grumble out of the bag. “Is this the one you wanted?”
The kid’s eyes lit up, but he was too polite to say yes.
“Go ahead,” said Sal. “It’s yours.”
He put it back in the bag and set it beside the boy. “Really. Merry Christmas.”
“Thank you!” said the boy as Sal made his way across the parking lot.
Sal smiled and waved at the boy as he drove past and exited the lot. Just as he turned at the intersection, the Latina woman approached the boy with her nephew at her side.
“Well done, mijo,” she said, patting the boy on the head. “And that is why it is important for family to stick together, see?”
“It worked just like you said, Grandma!” said the little boy, lifting the bag above his head.
The woman nodded and smiled, then looked at little Snow White exiting the store. “And you, travieza! What did I tell you about the glitter, huh? No. More. Glitter!”
Snow White opened her fists and threw the remaining glitter into the air like confetti. She giggled as the woman chased after her.
"The Price of Fame"
Flash! Flash! Flash!
The lights flashed from multiple directions, illuminating the body on the sidewalk and attracting more and more passersby like curious moths around a new flame. Lying on the cold concrete was none other than Janae Duncan, the twenty-three-year-old celebrity model last seen blowing a kiss to the world for her sponsor’s latest Valentine’s Day campaign, a risqué lingerie ad with the tagline, “This kiss won’t miss.” The blood pooling around her body expanded, turning into a spotlight with each camera flash.
Flash! Flash! Flash!
Camera shutters clicked like the sound of applause. The enraptured crowd was hungry for an audience of their own. A few of them had already garnered hundreds of views from the fatal stabbing they filmed moments ago, one of which included the culprit himself who was still livestreaming from his phone. He posed with the bloody knife, alternating between pouty duck lips and feigned shocked expressions, always careful to keep Janae Duncan in view behind him. Comments rushed upwards underneath the video, each one lasting less than a second before others replaced them.
RIP Janae. 4ever young, 4ever beautiful.
Get your fugly face out the way and show Janae.
i’d still tap that lol
Gone too soon.
Janae knows de way
Your all a bunch of sick fucks for watching this!!
I want to get up in them guts.
stfu with those old ass memes, grandpa
RIP Janae #forever23
You watching this shit too, sick fuck. GTFO
Check out my reaction vid @lildeekygetsfreaky
The body on the ground moved, spotted by a thirteen-year-old fan also streaming from her phone. She dropped to her knees for a better angle between the legs of the people in front of her and exclaimed, “Oh, my God! She’s alive! I love you, Janae!”
The rest of the crowd mimicked her reactions, pushing each other to get a better view and gushing with idolatry. The reporters at the front of the pack moved their cameras in towards the model’s face.
Flash! Flash! Flash!
“Let me through! Let me through!” shouted a voice from within the horde. The middle-aged man slammed his way inside, slapping people’s phones and cameras away to catch them off-balance. He knelt beside the body and put his face next to hers. “Janae, can you hear me? Don’t move, don’t move. Don’t worry, we’re all here for you. Can you speak?”
Janae Duncan’s half-drooping eyes stared at the man in front of her. A halo glowed around his head, caused by the light atop the videocamera behind him. Her eyes darted around the crowd, lights flashing and people screaming as if she was in a macabre version of a red carpet interview.
“Wha…” she rasped. The haloed man leaned in closer to hear her words. “What happened?”
“She’s still breathing!” the man shouted into the crowd and was met with thunderous cheering and applause. “Janae, everyone’s dying to know about you and Osiris. Are the two of you back together again?”
The man thrust a handheld recorder to her lips, desperate to get the latest scoop on the relationship between Janae Duncan and Osiris Creed, famous NFL quarterback. They had supposedly broken up after Janae Duncan was seen publicly with action star Thomas Getz, but were rumored to have had dinner earlier that evening.
“Is it all over with Tom Getz? Did Osiris take you back?”
Whatever answer she may have given was drowned out by the approaching sirens. Paramedics hopped out of the back of an ambulance with a stretcher.
“Clear a path, people! Clear a path!”
The paramedic leading the way pushed aside the middle-aged man before he could get his next headline and knelt next to the body. He took out a penlight and shined it on her eyes.
“Miss Duncan, can you hear me? We’re here to help.”
His partner examined the body.
“Looks like multiple stab wounds to the chest and abdomen.”
“Miss Duncan, you’ve sustained some serious injuries. We’re going to need to move you, okay?”
The two paramedics lowered the stretcher and got into position to raise the body onto it. The one who had pushed aside the middle-aged man turned to the nearest camera operator.
“What magazine are you from?”
“The Daily Deets.”
The paramedic shooed him away like an annoying fly and pointed at the cameraman to his left. “What about you?”
“From MTZ. I got the whole thing from the very beginning.”
“Get in here.” The paramedic pointed to a spot near the foot of the stretcher. “Make sure you get both of our faces in focus.”
“You got it.” The young cameraman jumped over the body and snapped away, his right index finger a blur from incessantly pushing the shutter button.
The paramedic made sure to pause between each movement in order to give the cameraman enough opportunity to take a good picture. An aspiring actor himself, he leaned in to Janae Duncan’s face and pretended to listen to her, put his radio up to his open mouth as if shouting into it, pointed in a random direction, and even let his partner get in on the action during the lifting-the-body moment.
Once Janae Duncan was placed on the stretcher, she screamed for them to stop. Everything froze as she struggled to lift her head. Even the sounds of camera shutters had ceased.
Janae Duncan, staring straight at the MTZ photographer, seemed to forget all about her wounds and spoke in a surprisingly stable voice.
“Make sure you get my good side.”
And with that final syllable, she exhaled the last breath she had left inside of her. Her head dropped and her eyes rolled back. The last great performance from the beautiful Janae Duncan complete, the crowd went wild.
Flash! Flash! Flash! Flash! Flash.
Pulling each note from my brain one vibration at a time...
In the meantime, check out my Spotify playlists for music I enjoy listening to. I rotate between all of them when being creative and try to keep them updated as much as possible. Since I can't embed a profile page, I'll only embed my Rezdan Recommends playlist, but you can see the rest by clicking the link here:
Alex Rezdan's Spotify profile
Also, if you're curious about the music I've made in the past, I've embedded my old SoundCloud account below. Feel free to check it out!
I'm currently having a blast learning game development!
I've always been addicted to narrative-driven games, and I'm looking to use this medium to really enhance the interactivity of storytelling.
I probably won't have a finished game for you to play anytime soon, but I'll be sharing my learning journey and any concepts I come up with here.
Currently in progress:
Figuring out all this C# nonsense!
And taking courses with Udemy and Unity Learn :)