Stephen Donald Huff
Born in Texas and currently residing in Ohio, Stephen Donald Huff is an author of fiction novels, short stories and poetry. He is also a published scientist with expertise in bioinformatics (computational biology).
Terminus: A Novella of the Apocalypse (Science-Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic)
Civilization deconstructed itself like a riot in a madhouse. One minute it all functioned with a standard sort of craziness, and the next it devolved into ten billion psychotic inmates at each other’s throats like suddenly sprung animals. Survivors refer to civilization’s final irrational act as ‘Terminus’, but this is an unofficial label. It simply gives them a handle with which to wield the concept of their end times. It bifurcates their memory. Before. After. In between, an unspeakable river of blood.
In the aftermath, a handful of guilt-wracked holdouts stumble onto a terrible secret. They discover the cause of the catastrophe, but the answers they find only beg further questions. Resolving this last great mystery soon becomes a matter of life and death, and the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. To learn the final truth and save their species, they must cross a blood-soaked wasteland, where they confront and overcome hordes of crazed lunatics and ravenous chimeras to investigate the long-standing enigma we call “Area-51”. Post-apocalyptic revenge is sweet!
The Serpentine: A Heart of Darkness Novella (Science-Fiction)
In the Common Era year 2113, Major Maximillia Brandenburg activated humankind’s first rendition of a differential gravity drive, momentarily exiting the multiverse and consequently cheating the physical barricade prohibiting faster-than-light travel. Thereby, she made possible exploration of the cosmos within the constraints of human timescales. Shortly thereafter, humanity began to fill their empty galaxy, one habitable planet at a time. Of course, nothing is so simple, really, and the one otherwise unmanageable constraint upon this form of travel drastically affected its utility. Differential gravity is found only on the fringes of a galaxy-sized mass. While the journey from one flexure-point to another could be accomplished rather quickly outside the galaxy, the journey from there to a habitable planetary destination within the galaxy often exceeded the length of a single human lifespan. To ease this toll of human aging, where possible, humankind established flexure-points near the orbit of artificially terraformed though otherwise dead orphan-planets – extra-galactic bodies tossed out of their originating solar systems by rogue solar phenomena. Ultimately, through the course of the next three hundred years, the bulk of human travel and interstellar commerce would transpire between these established flexure-points along a cosmic highway called “The Serpentine”.
Insatiable as always, humankind’s thirst for fuel only expanded with the advent of interstellar travel along this sprawling cosmic highway. To supply its gluttonous demands, the Company long ago dispatched ruthless agents to the galactic frontier with a single focus: procure fuel without regard for consequence or cost. When humanity encountered sentient, spacefaring aliens for the first time, the conflict quickly turned bloody, and now one rogue agent defends the frontier against ravenous alien hordes. Trillions of desperate citizens have come to depend upon him for survival. Unfortunately for them all, the stress and loneliness of his extremely isolated post eventually unraveled his mind. Consequently, he has become psychopathically insane. To restore order, a small troupe of mercenaries must hunt him down amid the galaxy’s darkest heart and destroy him, but he has long harbored a deadly secret that threatens the safety of every living human being in the Milky Way.
Deadfall: A Novella of ‘The Serpentine (Science-Fiction)
In the aftermath of a genocidal galactic invasion by hordes of ravenous aliens, the abandoned inhabitants of Pentax Nine, a remotely isolated colony cut off from all sources of resupply, devise a desperate plan to save themselves from certain annihilation. With their last reserves of fuel and determination, they salvage and resurrect a centuries-outmoded spacecraft named Titan, providing it with a skeleton crew consisting of three novice young men led by two sage combat veterans. Their best hope for success resides in the ship’s volunteer captain, Paladin, a genetically modified warrior descended from an elite race of martial experts. Cold, hard, and heavily experienced, she must lead them on a daring one-way voyage to the outer fringes of the galaxy in search of resources vital to the colony’s survival.
When they achieve their destination having expended the last of their fuel, Titan’s crew discover and must confront the profound implications of an evil secret long concealed by the sinister Company, master of all human technology, employment and government within the galaxy. Before they can return home with the supplies vital to salvation of their hopeful families, they must somehow survive the shocking terrors they discover hidden among the planets and moons of mysterious Deadfall.
Dark Matter: Collected Short Stories 2015 (Short Stories)
The title of this collection of twenty-one provocative short stories reflects the dark matter within us all, for we are all made of star stuff and the cosmos turns on dark matter of unknown origins. Explore the horror of contemporary darkness when you read “Ogre”, “Cassandra’s Cat”, “Redemption”, “King Charlemagne Ebersol”, “Perverse”, “Dorry’s Dilemma”, and “Poop Love”. Apocalyptic visions are, by nature, dark experiences, as you will enjoy in “Radiance and the Lingering”, “Maxim One”, and “Reaper”. Confront darkly dystopian futures in “All My Befores and Afters”, “Mate”, and “Veer”. Voyage into surreal shadow within “Never the Twain Shall Meet”, “A Clockworks Harlequin”, “The Forever Man”, “In Lividity of Dreams”, “Pyatak”, “Clandestine Incandescence”, and “Eleven”. Celebrate shades of history in “Semper Fidelis”.
Radiance and the Lingering: When a powerful, unavoidable cosmic apocalypse irradiated the entire planet, every living creature succumbed. Yet, all were spared a natural death. Why?
Never the Twain Shall Meet: How far does our mirror’s reflection imitate reality? If we could crossover to the other side, what might happen when in the twain we and our reflections meet?
Mate: “Project Ogre” is the most powerful information-gathering computer system ever constructed for the U.S. government, and it is being run by a sociopath. How far will he go to escape justice?
Mate: The bloodiest conflict in history was in an endless state of stalemate. Only a mad genius could save humankind from itself, but the price for victory might be too high to pay.
Maxim One: His maxims keep him alive in a world of harm, no matter the cost or the consequence to those around him. Then she comes along.
Veer: The editor of this tale is the last standing Veer, the lone survivor of a time war devastating humankind’s future, and she needs your help today!”
Semper Fidelis: During the bloody throes of combat, all is fair and the only rules that apply are those that promote survival. In the face of evil, what is the nature of right and wrong?
Cassandra’s Cat: Who killed Cassandra’s cat? And why?
Pyatak: Something ancient and evil has alighted in Pyatak. A mysterious entity, it is both vicious and insatiable. No one is safe.
Redemption: In a gritty, existential world rife with threats, a young boy fights to survive. One man has the power to save him.
A Clockworks Harlequin: No need to wind it. It doesn’t require batteries. This life-size clown runs on the power of black magic!
King Charlemagne Ebersol: Due to past scandals, the local high school plays under court-ordered supervision. How far will they go to recruit the King of youth football?
Perverse: All My Befores and Afters: Waging a genocidal war through time and space, can he preserve his sanity long enough to free his people?
Reaper: He has been biologically engineered to do one thing: fight for the survival of his people. Can one Reaper make a difference?
The Forever Man: Is it a curse or a blessing? No matter how he tries, he cannot kill the Forever Man.
In Lividity of Dreams: Countless nameless people populate our dreams. Who are they? What becomes of them when we lay violent hands upon them in lividity of dreams?
Dorry’s Dilemma: Young Dorry loves the fourteen year-old boy next door, but his abusive father is an endless distraction. She’ll do anything to save him.
Poop Love: Is theirs a match made in heaven or hell? Can he survive her preschool son’s animosity to prove his love for them both?
Eleven: Some say God is sleeping. Some say God is dead. In this story, the protagonist kills God with his bare hands.
A Clockworks Harlequin (Short Story)
He hates clowns. His wife thinks they’re cute. When they unexpectedly inherit an unimaginable fortune complete with fast cars, fine furnishings and multiple large houses, they learn nothing comes free. The one catch to their apparent good fortune is a clockworks harlequin. Animated and entertaining, the life-size doll initially appears to be nothing more than yet another of his estranged uncle’s bizarre idiosyncrasies. Nothing could be further from the truth.
No need to wind it. It doesn’t require batteries. This life-size clown runs on the power of black magic! An insightful short story.
Cassandra’s Cat (Short Story)
The mean streets of Skid Row teem with unhappy characters. Each has his or her own sordid tale to tell about their current condition and the sorry fate that has deposited them there. Meet “Narrator”, a documentary film maker who has come to interview these hapless souls. Through the lens of his camera, he hopes to improve his understanding of their plight and the struggles they confront in their daily quest for survival. His story will focus on a minor mystery with major implications.
Who killed Cassandra’s cat? And why? An insightful short story.
Clandestine Incandescence (Short Story)
Has Earth been visited by extraterrestrials? Yes. They live among us today. They watch us every moment of our lives with one intensely unwavering focus: to maintain the secrecy of their presence. Their surveillance technology is unimaginable. Their control is absolute. Yet, nothing is perfect. Through the years, a few clever people have learned the truth, but this knowledge invariably bears an extreme cost: keep the secret and survive, or speak the truth and die.
A handful of inquisitive men and women have discovered the extraterrestrial presence among us. Those smart enough to keep the secret survive. An insightful short story.
Eleven (Short Story)
On the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year of the eleventh holy epoch, he killed God. First, you’re probably asking, “Why eleven?” Second you’re probably asking, “God with a capital ‘G’?” Of the first question, the killer would only say “because”. It’s what the Big Guy wanted. Of the second question, the killer would answer “yes”. God with a capital ‘G’.
Some say God is sleeping. Some say God is dead. In this story, the protagonist kills God with his bare hands. An insightful short story.
In Lividity of Dreams (Short Story)
When we dream of falling, we inevitably awaken at the moment of impact. When we run for our lives from monsters or madmen, we invariably rouse before the bloodthirsty end. Myth and folklore imply we die in the waking world when we die in our dreams, and this is why living human beings never dream through such slumberous events. This assertion begs a question. How many of the dead have suffered such dreams?
Countless nameless people populate our dreams. Who are they? What becomes of them when we lay violent hands upon them in lividity of dreams? An insightful short story.
King Charlemagne Ebersol (Short Story)
Football is big business in the United States, but it plays largest in Texas. In Texas, football money is BIG money, and the best players start young. During high school, college scouts come calling, but they’re only seeking winners. Nobody likes to lose. Least of all, the most promising sportsman ever to play for Pecan Groves High School. King Charlemagne Ebersol. The booster club and the team coach will stop at nothing to put him on the field.
Due to past scandals, the local high school plays under court-ordered supervision. How far will they go to recruit the King of youth football? An insightful short story.
Mate (Short Story)
Born an enigmatic genius, he grew to be the greatest chess strategist of all time. Unable to relate to his fellow human beings, he relied upon his pieces in rank and file for all his companionship and comfort. Though their friendship is decidedly one-sided, his long-suffering assistant tells how this mad genius would lead the nation out of the most costly and deadly war ever waged between men.
The bloodiest conflict in history is in an endless state of stalemate. Only a mad genius can save humankind from itself. Will his price of victory be too high to pay? An insightful short story.
Maxim One (Short Story)
In a dystopian, apocalyptic future, he is the quintessential survivalist, a heartless loner. The only things that stand between him and death each day are his maxims. He relies on them to manage the violence inherent within a world gone mad, and they are as unforgiving as his soul. Nothing he witnesses or does can bend or break them, until a single unwilling act of kindness alters his philosophy and his outlook with the same stroke of mercy.
His maxims keep him alive in a world of harm, no matter the cost or the consequence to those around him. Then she comes along. An insightful short story.
Never the Twain Shall Meet (Short Story)
Every day, we confront ourselves in mirrors of various shapes and sizes. We stare into them, and our reflections stare back. Within these visions, everything about our reflection is backward, opposite, and reversed. Laws of physics prevent one side from emerging into the other, but we all wonder how far those renditions of reality might go. We wonder about life on the other side.
How far does our mirror’s reflection imitate reality? If we could crossover to the other side, what might happen when in the twain we and our reflections meet? An insightful short story.
Ogre (Short Story)
He was a child prodigy born with an irrepressible genius. He grew into a clever sociopath. When he graduated at the top of his class at a remarkably young age, the U.S. government recruited him directly out of the university and assigned him to a top-secret project entitled “Ogre”, the man-eating giant of mythology and folklore. As he rose through the ranks of government service, he learned to adapt the incredible power of Ogre to his personal benefit. After he is caught and prosecuted, he must pay a terrible price for his crimes.
“Project Ogre” is the most powerful information-gathering computer system ever constructed for the U.S. government, and it is being run by a sociopath. How far will he go to escape justice? An insightful short story.
Perverse (Short Story)
His pranks are sinister and macabre, but each one offers a critical life lesson to his hapless victims. His neighbors, coworkers, and acquaintances rarely associate their strange misfortunes with the odd young man in their midst. Yet, he is always watching, always aware, and his cunning mind is inevitably filled with delightfully perverse plans for their future.
Any outcome is possible, given proper context, impeccable timing, and the right props. An insightful short story.
Poop Love (Short Story)
On a sunny afternoon, he meets the love of his life and the bane of his existence in the same event. She is beautiful, wealthy and sweet. Unfortunately, she is also the mother of an extremely intelligent and overly protective five-year-old boy who takes enormous delight in tormenting his mother’s suitors. “You look like you’re made out of doo-doo.”
Is theirs a match made in heaven or hell? Can he survive her preschool son’s animosity to prove his love for them both? An insightful short story.
Pyatak (Short Story)
Pyatak, in Russian, means “slash five”. It is the last stop for the most violent and incorrigible prisoners in the modern Russian penal system. Famously, it is said to have two ways in and only one way out. Inmates enter its cages via a dilapidated, one-hundred-year-old foot bridge or an aging boat. The only way they leave is via their grave. Lately, however, many of its worst have gone missing from their cells, although they never escaped its walls.
Something ancient and evil has alighted in Pyatak. A mysterious entity, it is both vicious and insatiable. No one is safe. An insightful short story.
Redemption (Short Story)
Born to the street and abandoned by his paranoid, drug-addicted mother, a young boy struggles to evade vicious predators who hope to exploit him and insistent authorities who hope to save him. His only ally is his extreme natural intelligence and his only home is the public library. Daily, the noose tightens after his mother, his last link to childhood, goes missing. His future seems as bleak as the cold, hard streets. Then he meets Longbow.
In a gritty, existential world rife with threats, a young boy fights to survive. One man has the power to save him. An insightful short story.
Semper Fidelis (Short Story)
1943. World War II. The U.S. government drafted him out of his life of normalcy and complacency into the life of a United States Marine Corps officer. After intensive training, he would serve during some of the bloodiest assaults of the war. The violent rigors of combat would teach him the rules of long-term survival amid the most lethal fighting in human history. Those who failed to learn these lessons would not return home to their families.
During the bloody throes of combat, all is fair and the only rules that apply are those that promote survival. In the face of evil, what is the nature of right and wrong? An insightful short story.
The Forever Man (Short Story)
An unknown client contracted him to assassinate a quirky, unassuming middle-aged man with no apparent enemies and no violent tendencies. After the first attempt failed, the distraught hitman determined to learn what went wrong. During his covert discussions with his target, he hears an unusual story of astounding survival and astonishing physical endurance. How can one man survive so many attempts on his life?
Is it a curse or a blessing? No matter how he tries, he cannot kill the Forever Man. An insightful short story.