I Didn’t Break the Lamp – Historical Accounts of Imaginary Acquaintances

Edited by Dawn Vogel and Jeremy Zimmerman

by E.D.E. Bell, Jade Black, Die Booth, Maureen Bowden, Veronica Brush, Jacob Budenz, Sam Crane, M. Lopes da Silva, Matthew R. Davis, Julian Dexter, Sam Fleming, Troy H. Gardner, Kiki Gonglewski, Lucinda Gunnin, Neil James Hudson, Blake Jessop, Vivian Li, Tucker Lieberman, Christine Lucas, Ville Meriläinen, Jennifer R. Povey, Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi, Kayleigh Taylor, Jieyan Wang, E. R. Zhang

"When I was little, I didn't have an imaginary friend, I had an imaginary bully. She was a little girl of my age, who looked just like me, and took great delight in being cruel. This included doing things to make my parents furious, like punching my little brother. One day, when I was about thirteen, Ludwig showed up and wrapped all two hundred of his copper-bladed arms around this evil version of me. There was a warm light, like a camera flash made of lava, and then she was gone."
-- Sam Fleming, "Ludwig"

Are they in our imagination, or are we in theirs? Mad Scientist Journal has brought together twenty-six tales of people with uncertain existence. These accounts range from cheerful to dark, stopping off at frequent points between. Imaginary friends share space with witches, monsters, nightmares, and maybe a few things that have not yet been dreamed.

Included in this collection are stories from E.D.E. Bell, Jade Black, Die Booth, Maureen Bowden, Veronica Brush, Jacob Budenz, Sam Crane, Matthew R. Davis, Julian Dexter, Sam Fleming, Troy H. Gardner, Kiki Gonglewski, Lucinda Gunnin, Neil James Hudson, Blake Jessop, Vivian Li, Tucker Lieberman, K. K. Llamas, Christine Lucas, M. Lopes da Silva, Ville Meriläinen, Jennifer R. Povey, Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi, Kayleigh Taylor, Jieyan Wang, and E. R. Zhang. Interior art is provided by Errow Collins, America Jones, Leigh Legler, and Ariel Alian Wilson. Cover art by Luke Spooner.

About the Authors

E.D.E. Bell

E. D. E. Bell was born in the year of the fire dragon during a Cleveland blizzard. After a youth in the mitten, an MSE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, three wonderful children, and nearly two decades in Northern Virginia and Southwest Ohio developing technical intelligence strategy, she now applies her magic to the creation of genre-bending fantasy fiction in Ferndale, Michigan, where she is proud to be part of the Detroit arts community. A passionate vegan and enthusiastic denier of gender rules, she feels strongly about issues related to human equality and animal compassion. She revels in garlic. She loves cats and trees. You can follow her adventures at edebell.com.

Jade Black

Jade Black is an American author whose career in law enforcement is used to fund a profound penchant for all things macabre. Prior to beginning her law enforcement career she worked as an archaeologist.

Die Booth

Die Booth lives in Chester, England and enjoys making monsters and exploring dark corners. When not writing wild lies, he chairs a writing group, and DJs at goth nights. You can read his stories in places like The Fiction Desk, Shoreline of Infinity, and The Cheshire Prize for Literature anthologies. His books Spirit Houses, 365 Lies, and My Glass is Runn, are available online, and he’s currently working on a collection of spooky short stories featuring transgender protagonists. http://diebooth.wordpress.com/ @diebooth

Maureen Bowden

Maureen Bowden is a Liverpudlian living with her musician husband in North Wales. She has had over a hundred stories and poems accepted for publication by paying markets. Silver Pen publishers nominated one of her stories for the 2015 international Pushcart Prize. She also writes song lyrics, mostly comic political satire, set to traditional melodies. Her husband has performed these in Folk clubs throughout England and Wales. She loves her family and friends, Rock 'n' Roll, Shakespeare, and cats.

Veronica Brush

Veronica Brush is the author of the novellas First Grave on Mars and Second Deception on Mars, a murder mystery series set on the red planet. Her work has been featured in publications including Apex Magazine, the Mad Scientist Journal, and the anthologies Bubble Off Plumb and Do Not Go Quietly. She also has an occasional blog, www.ThemelessWriting.com.

Jacob Budenz

Jacob Budenz is a writer, multi-disciplinary performer, and witch with an MFA in Creative Writing from University of New Orleans. The author of Pastel Witcheries (Seven Kitchens Press 2018), Jacob has recent work in journals such as Pussy Magic, Liminality, and Slipstream, as well as anthologies published by Mason Jar Press and Lycan Valley Press. For links to additional publications, as well as photos and videos of performances, visit http://jakebeearts.com/

Sam Crane

Sam Crane enjoys writing science fiction and dark fantasy stories. A History major and an IT professional, she draws considerable influence from both history and technology, as well as from New England, where she lives with two very mischievous black cats. You can find her online at sam-crane-writes.blogspot.com.

M. Lopes da Silva

M. Lopes da Silva is a bisexual author and artist from Los Angeles. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Electric Literature, Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers, and Nightscript Vol. IV and V. She likes to put fairy and folk tales in everything she makes. She tends roses and cats alongside her partner, a film critic.

Matthew R. Davis

Matthew R. Davis can never just walk past a second-hand bookshop, so his home increasingly resembles one. He’s had over forty short stories published thus far, with his first collection, If Only Tonight We Could Sleep, due in 2019. He has acted as a judge for the Australian Shadows Awards and the Aurealis Awards, and his work has been shortlisted for both (these occurrences are unrelated). A dossier on his behaviour and crimes has been assembled at matthewrdavisfiction.wordpress.com.

Julian Dexter

Julian Dexter is a writer and English tutor who comes from a long line of teachers, avid readers, and English nerds. He lives in Washington with his cat and spends his free time pretending to be other people in various role-playing games.

Sam Fleming

Sam Fleming lives in the north east of Scotland with an artistic spouse, an opinionated husky, a number of bicycles most people would consider abnormal, and several invisible friends. When not writing various flavours of speculative fiction focused on unconventional characters, Sam is an environmental scientist being paid to save the world (it's not as glamorous as it sounds). Their work has been published in Black Static, Apex Magazine, and Clockwork Phoenix 5, and is forthcoming in the Not All Monsters anthology from Rooster Republic Press. Find more at www.ravenbait.com.

Troy H. Gardner

Troy H. Gardner was born in Florida. He grew up and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in New England before returning to the Sunshine State just in time for Hurricane Irma.

He started writing stories on his Tandy Personal Computer in the ’90s after devouring the works of Stephen King in elementary school.

Red is his favorite color, but blue hasn’t gotten the memo yet. When Troy isn’t writing, or talking about writing, he enjoys killing hours on his PlayStation or watching horror movies (both really great and incredibly bad are his jam). You can find him on Twitter @TroyHGardner.

Kiki Gonglewski

Kiki Gonglewski is a senior at Albuquerque Academy high school. She was a finalist in the 2017 and 2019 state-wide "NM Girls Make Movies" screenplay contest, has won a National Gold Medal for Scholastic Art and Writing, and 17 gold keys in their Southwest Regional levels. She has also been published in literary magazines Gypsum Sound, Madness Heart, and Unfading Daydream, as well as Third Flatiron’s recent anthology, Terra, Tara, Terror! Her former childhood imaginary friend Luna Hepburn (who has since left on sabbatical) shares Kiki’s love of art, obscure movies, long naps, and Korean Barbecue.

Lucinda Gunnin

Lucinda Gunnin is a short story author and commercial property manager in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She writes a gossip column for Mad Scientist Journal and has a published collection of short horror Seasons of Horror available at Amazon.com. When not writing, she’s a gluten-free gamer girl, sushi lover, and cat-spoiling pet parent. Find her on Twitter @LucindaGunnin.

Neil James Hudson

Neil James Hudson is a UK-based writer who has published over forty stories. His collection The End of the World: A User's Guide can be obtained from his website at neiljameshudson.net, and his paranormal romance On Wings of Pity is available on Amazon. He lives in the North York Moors, but spends much of his time in York, where he works as a charity shop manager, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at York St John University.

Blake Jessop

Blake Jessop is a Canadian author of science fiction, fantasy and horror stories with a master's degree in creative writing from the University of Adelaide. You can read more of his speculative fiction in DreamForge Magazine or follow him on Twitter @everydayjisei.

Vivian Li

Vivian Li is a writer, musician, and inventor. She is currently studying at the University of Toronto, and has been awarded Gold and Silver Keys from Scholastic Awards for her poetry, and Silver Keys for her fiction. Her creative works have been published in journals or magazines such as The Window, ellipsis…literature & art, Young Voices Magazine, and the UC Review. Most recently, she has received a Book Prize for Ted Chamberlin’s Poetry Prize, and Honourable Mentions in Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize. She is currently editing her fantasy novel. She can be reached @eliktherain.

Tucker Lieberman

Tucker Lieberman is the author of Flip the Finger at Despair, Bad Fire, and Painting Dragons. His short fiction is in Owl Canyon's No Bars and a Dead Battery and Elly Blue's forthcoming The Great Trans-Universal Bike Ride. His superpower is listening to a Top 40 song over and over until a story emerges. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, he lives in Bogotá, Colombia. www.tuckerlieberman.com

Christine Lucas

Christine Lucas lives in Greece with her husband and a horde of spoiled animals. A retired Air Force officer and mostly self-taught in English, has had her work appear in several print and online magazines, including Daily Science Fiction, Pseudopod/Artemis Rising 4, and Nature: Futures. She was a finalist for the 2017 WSFA award and is currently working on her first novel. Visit her at: http://werecat99.wordpress.com/

Ville Meriläinen

Ville Meriläinen is a Finnish university student, award-winning author of speculative fiction, and death metal vocalist. His short fiction has appeared in various venues online and in print, including IGMS, Cast of Wonders, and Pseudopod. His musical fantasy novel, Ghost Notes, is available now.

Jennifer R. Povey

Jennifer R. Povey lives in Northern Virginia with her husband. She writes a variety of speculative fiction, whilst following current affairs and occasionally indulging in horse riding and role-playing games. She has sold fiction to a number of markets including Analog, Daily Science Fiction, and Third Flatiron, and written RPG supplements for several companies. Her most recent novel is the urban fantasy Daughter of Fire.

Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi

Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi is an author and screenwriter, a lover of the frightening, and a purchaser of clothing much more suited to a younger person. Though originally a Texan, she currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two children, and two guinea pigs.

Kayleigh Taylor

Kayleigh is a seventeen-year-old high school student living in the Northwest. Despite having pretty significant cognitive delays, she works very hard at her school work and, after seven tries, does have her learner’s permit for driving! Getting her driver’s license is a bit tricky since she has trouble with spatial orientation and has recently had a few seizures. Still, she continues to try!

Inspired by her mother’s love of writing, Kayleigh has been writing her own stories since she was twelve. She likes to write about her life, and her cats, and her favorite activities. She’s currently working on an illustrated story about a taxi company where cats and dogs drive taxis along with their human friends.

Kayleigh believes that people can do anything they want, so long as they try hard enough. She wants her readers to know that they shouldn’t let anything stop them from making their dreams happen.

Jieyan Wang

Jieyan Wang is a fiction writer from northern Idaho. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, The Blue Nib, Canvas Literary Journal, and elsewhere. Although her reading tastes are broad, she is especially inspired by the works of Emily Brontë, Gabriel García Márquez, and Lewis Carroll.

E. R. Zhang

Officially, Zhang cultivates a tiny army of bacteria that may or may not help to save bananas. Unofficially, they are often commissioned to translate various documents and end up having knowledge of the uncanny and the strange, such as ghostly stenographers. You can find them on twitter at @zhang_er_ren.