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Rejection Letters To The Afterlife (Flashfic by Ray Daley)

23 Feb

Published with my heartfelt apologies to the always delightful Charlie Finlay who read then politely rejected this. Neil Clarke didn’t want it either.

Rejection Letters To The Afterlife
By Ray Daley

(original idea inspired by Joanna Maciejewska from Twitter)

“Charlie?” Megan read the printout a third time, just to be certain. “Got a rejection going to the afterlife here? Is that a misprint, or does my address book need updating?”

Charlie Finlay stuck his head around the office door. “You screamed?”

Megan nodded, holding up the printout. “What in gods name is this, Charlie? Rejection letter to the afterlife?”

The rest of his body slid out of the door. Charlie looked at his feet. “Oh, yes. That guy – he’s dead I’m afraid. Sorry Megan. Look under D, for Daley.”

Charlie tensed, fully aware of the reaction that was about to happen. It was a damn good job he had, too.

Megan started hyperventilating. Then she finally screamed, “You’ve got a medium on speed dial? The note under here reads ‘Ouija board in the supply closet. Do not throw away’.’ Charlie, as much as I love this job, you can fuck right off there!”


It took two hours to calm Megan down. Along with three Valium tablets, a shot of neat Jack Daniels and a large raise. By which time the medium had arrived at the office.

“Hey Charlie. You must be Megan? She’s new Charlie, what happened to the last one? Never mind, I’m Maggie. Nice to meet you. So, we’re sending another rejection notice to Mister Daley? Doesn’t let a little thing like death stop him from sending you new stories, does he Charlie?”

Megan quietly mouthed, “Last one?” to herself.

“Pass me the letter, love.” Maggie clicked her fingers in front of Megan’s face. “Megan? The letter, please?”

Eventually Megan snapped out of it and handed the printout across the desk.

As Maggie scanned the document, she mumbled out loud to herself. “Thank you for sending, not a good fit, made me laugh, look forward to seeing your next submission. Oh, that’s a nice one Charlie. He almost made it this time then?”

Charlie nodded. “Fell at the final cut, sadly. He does good work, I’m sure whoever he left his archive to will find the right story pretty soon. Shall we get on with this then?”

Placing the Ouija board in the centre of the table, Maggie nodded. “We’ll try the seance first. See if young Mister Daley is in a chatty mood or not, eh?”

So Maggie and Charlie joined hands.

Maggie called over, “Megan, we need a third dear. Otherwise this won’t work.”

“I’ll approve your travel claims, if you help us out?” Charlie offered.

She was over there like a flash, grabbing their hands before she regretted it.

Maggie closed her eyes. “I call on the energies of all present, guide my mind across the ether. Help me find this departed soul. Raymond Daley, can you hear us?”


Maggie smiled. “Don’t be disheartened, this isn’t an exact science. I’ll try again. If everyone can concentrate for me please, and try to keep your minds clear. That’s fantastic, Megan. Just like that. Why can’t you be that relaxed, Charlie? You really should try golf.”

Charlie just rolled his eyes at her.

“Okay, focus back to me again please. We are trying to reach the essence of Raymond Daley. We have a message about your story submission to Fantasy and Science Fiction. Raymond Daley, are you there?”

The planchette on the Ouija board started to twitch.

“Ooo, I think he’s coming through another way Charlie. Go ahead Raymond, we feel you among us.”

The planchette quickly moved from letter to letter.

I prefer Ray, actually.

Maggie blushed. “Sorry, Ray. I’ve got a message from Charlie Finlay.”

About my story? Cool. Go ahead.

“Dear Raymond, thank you for your submission “The Shape Of Come To Things“. Sadly it wasn’t a good fit for this issue, but it certainly made me laugh. I want you to know this only just missed the last cut so I hope you will submit again in the near future. Good luck with finding this story another home. All the best, Charlie Finlay. F&SF.”

Is Charlie there with you?

“Yes Ray.”

Tell him he can sod off, okay? And tell him to toss that bloody Ouija board away too, it’s giving me a terrible migraine. Fella can’t even be dead in peace now. I’ll let my executor know not to submit there again. Ray Daley, signing off from the netherworld. Tell my tweeps I love them!

Then finally the planchette shattered across the table into thousands of tiny pieces.

Charlie let out a sigh. “That’s a shame, he was a bloody good writer. Funny bugger, too. Megan?”

“Yes Charlie?”

“Can you be a dear and put Ray’s details into our ‘do not contact again‘ folder please? Then you can have the rest of the week off on full pay. I don’t know about you Maggie, but I could murder a drink?”

Maggie smiled at him. “Does this mean I won’t be needed again then, Charlie?”

As he was getting his jacket, Charlie looked across the office at her. “Of course not, Maggie. I still need you. How else am I going to talk to Isaac Asimov? He still owes me three short fic pieces.”



First rejection this yr

11 Jan

Got my answer back on the F&SF submission.

A no but it was a really good reason.

Thanks to CC Finlay for his super honest feedback, helps me work on my weak areas of writing.

1st story sub of the year!

2 Jan

Just submitted a story to C.C. Finlay’s second open call in F&SF.
2nd time’s the charm, hopefully. Got REAL good feedback last time.

Closes Jan 15th if you fancy your chances?