Instruction Manual for Swallowing

by Adam Marek

This selection of short stories offers a taste of the surreal and bizarre. Set in a contemporary Britain they are often fantastical and are more of a glimpse rather a standard story with a neat ending. Each one of them a surprise where you're not quite sure where it will go.


The centipede stared at him, as if about to say something, but then decided not to and returned to scoffing its rabbit. While it chewed pieces of the juicy flesh, it imagined that it was eating the man lying on the bed in the corner. Since the centipede had come across Grady four days ago, he had thought of nothing else. The centipede had been marching through the forest when he heard a scream and went to investigate. A man was caught in a bear trap. The metal jaws had made a mess of his right leg, biting in deep with rusted teeth and dead leaves. The man had forgotten his agony for a second when he saw the centipede, then redoubled his efforts to prize the trap open to escape. The centipede was joyous. This much meat would provide food for a week, but as he leaned in close to paralyse the man with a nip from his toxic pincers, he smelled something familiar. Something in the man's sweat and fear reminded him of his wife.


The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by J G Ballard

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