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Evolution: Vol. 1

Evolution: Vol. 1

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Evolution: Vol. 1

186 pages
2 hours
May 16, 2012


From the first-ever Short Story Contest hosted by Evolved Publishing: 10 great stories from 10 terrific authors. [DRM-Free]
An eclectic mix that will excite, interest, and intrigue from the first story to the last. Laugh a little, cry a little, think a little.

Many genres, many voices, one goal: Provide the reader with a fun journey through the short fiction format.

Edited and polished to a fine sheen.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER: "If I should Die" by Amanda Papenfus

"If I Should Die" by Amanda Papenfus
"The Last Earthling" by D.T. Conklin
"Timothy" by Anjuli Bowen
"Grain Neutral Spirits" by A. Frank Bower
"One Last Thought" by Lane Diamond
"A Building This Size" by Jeffrey B. Burton
"Sirius Issues" by Ariyana Spencer
"Imagination" by Stephen Patrick
"Courage through Fear" by Ruby Standing Deer
"A Boy and His Monster" by Matt Mok

May 16, 2012

About the author

Lane Diamond is the pen name for David Lane. He grew up in Algonquin, Illinois, where he graduated from Harry D. Jacobs High School in 1978. After a short college stint, he served in the U.S. Air Force at Ramstein AB, Germany, 1980-1982, and at Lowry AFB, Denver, CO, 1982-1983. For more, please visit his website and blog at www.LaneDiamond.com.

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Evolution - Lane Diamond


A Short Story Collection

Edited by

Lane Diamond & D.T. Conklin




A Short Story Collection

Copyright © 2011 Evolved Publishing LLC

Cover Art Copyright © 2011 Sarah Shaw


ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622539990

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-999-4



If I Should Die Copyright 2011 Amanda Papenfus

The Last Earthling Copyright 2011 D.T. Conklin

Timothy Copyright 2011 Anjuli Bowen

Grain Neutral Spirits Copyright 2011 A. Frank Bower

One Last Thought Copyright 2011 Lane Diamond

A Building This Size Copyright 2011 Jeffrey B. Burton

Sirius Issues Copyright 2011 Ariyana Spencer

Imagination Copyright 2011 Stephen Patrick

Courage through Fear Copyright 2011 Ruby Standing Deer

A Boy and His Monster Copyright 2011 Matt Mok


Edited by Lane Diamond and D.T. Conklin


eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

Other Books by Evolved Publishing Authors in this Anthology

Evolution: Vol. 2 (A Short Story Collection)

Forgive Me, Alex – A Psychological Thriller by Lane Diamond

Eulogy – A Dark, Epic Fantasy by D.T. Conklin

Circles – An American Indian Historical Novel by Ruby Standing Deer


What Others Are Saying about Evolution: Vol. 1:

A Rich Dessert

Lane Diamond and D.T. Conklin assembled a diverse set of short stories that evoke feelings of wonder, morality, love and just plain fun. While you can read this collection in a day or two - don't: read one story each day and savor it like a rich dessert.Ben Bartman

A Story for Everyone

I would read one of the short stories, fall in love, and then declare it my favorite. Then I would go on to read the next story, fall in love and declare it my favorite. It continued like this until I had read them all. There wasn't one story I disliked, and though I am partial to certain genres, I found each story intriguing, beautifully written, and the characters drew me in. It didn't matter if the story fell in a genre I read or not—it didn't matter.ALC Angela

Endlessly Enjoyable

"Evolution Vol. 1 is an endlessly enjoyable collection of stories that, while lacking a set theme or shared genre, somehow gravitate towards philosophical examinations of Being & Nothingness. Here you will find death, lost love, wasted life, hope reborn, stands made, courage summoned and even The End Of All Things. Tremendous stories by D.T. Conklin, Amanda Papenfus, Lane Diamond and Ruby Standing Deer not only entertain and enlighten, but seek out new answers to age-old questions. Do yourself a favor, and dive into this rare collection of intelligent and heart-felt fiction, that flourishes somewhere between faith and understanding. There is not a weak tale amongst them, and every one will tickle your brain and your heart." – Axel Howerton

Some Really Great Stories

This is a great collection of various stories as others have stated, however, there is more to it than that. What we have here is a great collection of genres from Horror to real life, a collection that is often hard to come by in just one book. I found myself in various situations sparked by the many moods and styles of writing. It's not often that a gem comes along and it's far less often that a collection of short stories comes along that truly is a work of art by itself. This book offers some wonderful insights into the minds of various authors, some of which are on the rise to fame.JesterDev

A Masterful Collection, and Well Worth the Read

There is a blend in this collection of established authors and new contest winners. To see the raw ideas of some, or the refined writing styles of others, is truly interesting. Overall, I feel this collection was put together with a mix of the right stuff.Thomas Stonewall


For those of you who, like us, still love a great short story.

Table of Contents



About the Author: Amanda Papenfus


About the Author: D.T. Conklin


About the Author: Anjuli Bowen


About the Author: A. Frank Bower


About the Author: Lane Diamond


About the Author: Jeffrey B. Burton


About the Author: Ariyana Spencer


About the Author: Stephen Patrick


About the Author: Ruby Standing Deer


About the Author: Matt Mok


More from Evolved Publishing


We created Evolved Publishing with one goal in mind: to help ourselves and other authors to achieve the elusive author’s dream. Part of that is sharing great short stories that might not otherwise get a lot of exposure. We’re big fans of the short format, and why not? We, and that means all of us, don’t always have time to commit to a book-length work, but we can still satisfy those reading urges with quick, exciting, intriguing short stories.

And so we decided that, as a new publisher, a great way to accomplish those goals would be to hold a Short Story Contest. And voila! Evolution: Vol. 1 is the product of that contest.

Lane Diamond (Co-Founder, Managing Publisher/Editor, Author) and D.T. Conklin (Co-Founder/Publisher, Co-Editor, Author) joined forces to review and judge the almost 200 entrants for this first go-around, and out of those, we selected 7 top quality pieces. We then worked with those 7 authors to edit the stories, polishing them to a fine sheen. While we had many worthy entries, our space was limited, and we thought these stories would offer you the most pleasant and diverse reading experience.

A special shout-out goes to Amanda Papenfuss, whose story If I Should Die won our Grand Prize (a Kindle Touch).

Additionally, we’ve added 3 stories from our own Evolved Publishing stable of authors; specifically, Lane Diamond and D.T. Conklin (Hey, we worked really hard at this, so come on!), along with Ruby Standing Deer.

The end-result is an eclectic mix that will keep you interested from start to finish. And please know that your purchase is helping to support each of the 10 authors in this anthology.

We hope you enjoy it, and please be sure to post your review and spread the word.

On behalf of each of the 10 authors, we thank you.

—The Team at Evolved Publishing, December 19, 2011


by Amanda Papenfus

Does this coffin make me look fat? I asked my friend Madeleine as I stretched across the red satin like a model, my left arm above my head, the right resting on my knee-length skirt. My right leg rested over my left, the long vine-like scar looking beautiful, if only for a moment, in the sun filtering through the skylight.

Madeleine stood a couple feet away, twisting the chain to her skirt around her finger.

I blew her a kiss.

She dropped the chain. You’re morbid, Jes.

She looked toward the funeral home attendant, so I looked too. He had the same tight-lipped, perhaps constipated, expression he’d had since we got there. We’d shown up with my parents, my mother holding my hand, my father shuffling his feet behind us. I asked if Maddie and I could go alone, told them it would be an exercise in facing fear. They agreed. The funeral attendant had refused at first, but my mother whispered something in his ear, and he let us in. My parents retreated to the car, and we were alone with various caskets, save for the funeral attendant.

He stood against the wall now, hands folded in front of him, and stared straight ahead.

Come on, Jescha, Maddie said, pulling at her fishnet sleeves. Get out of there.

She only used my full name when anxious, but I didn’t listen. Instead, I laid my head against the pillow, stuck my legs out, and imagined what it would be like to lie in here with my eyes closed as family and friends walked past, kissing my cold forehead and crying. Would I look like myself, or would they put me in a pink frilly dress and heavy lipstick?

I’m not morbid, I said, just practical. I’m preparing.

Maddie sighed. She felt bad; I was, after all, dying. She placed her hands over mine, her black fingernail polish matching my own.

Can you put the lid down? I asked.

She hesitated, looking back at the attendant. With a sigh, she put the lid down over me.

The stagnant air smelled faintly of formaldehyde. My heart beat faster, and I took a couple shaky breaths. I wanted to pound on the coffin lid, ask to be let out, but I needed to do this. With eyes closed—hardly necessary in my entombed state—I imagined dirt being thrown on top of the casket, deep red roses landing on the smooth cherry wood, prayers to a god I wasn’t sure existed being said above me by a preacher I couldn’t trust.

Hey, someone shouted over me. Hey, that’s enough!

The attendant opened the coffin, and I opened my eyes. His face was red, and a little blue vein in his forehead pulsed like a snake. You, Missy, get out of there this second. You are not going to play around in there anymore.

I’m not playing, I said, I’m practicing. You lie down on a bed before you buy it. Why should my coffin be any different?

He opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again—like a goldfish in a bowl. I almost expected him to blow a bubble.

Out, he finally said. Get out. If you want to shop further, come back in with your parents. They could bring a leash. He pointed a yellow-nailed finger toward my collar, black with a couple chains connected to a metal ring.

Come on, Jes. Maddie tugged at my hand.

I sat up, crouched and jumped onto the floor. In my thick-soled boots, I landed with a thud. I felt as if tears were about to flow. Maddie must have sensed it because she said, Don’t, your eyeliner will run, and hugged me so tight I thought she would suffocate me.

I almost hoped she would; it would have been better than the death awaiting me.


Cancer sounds like it should be gentle. Those two syllables: kan’sər. They look more menacing spelled phonetically—simple and short, yet neither of the above. How do you get from a crab to a malignant tumor? Who decided this constellation within me was going to share the same name as the constellation in the sky, as if there’s any of that shining beauty in those cells? Then again, what are stars but balls of gas, destined to burn out?


Usually, melanoma occurred in those over thirty, or girls who spent each week getting a perfect orange glow. I was fifteen, and hardly the sun goddess, when I’d sat on the doctor’s chair, watching him draw out a diagram explaining that the melanin cells, which create pigment, were multiplying and had become malignant.

My head swam with m words, and then I focused on the last: malignant.

I could die from this, a mole that shape-shifted and became cancer, seeping below the skin like acid. The good news was

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