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Evolution: Vol. 2

Evolution: Vol. 2

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Evolution: Vol. 2

5/5 (1 rating)
158 pages
1 hour
Sep 2, 2012


From the 2nd 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: "Sixteen Down" by Brian Panowich

"Sixteen Down" by Brian Panowich
"The Million Dollar Club" by David Ballard
"Tunnel Vision" by Lane Diamond
"The Drying" by Voss Foster
"The Living" by Ranee Dillon
"Walk Knock" by Conda V. Douglas
"Ursus Americanus" by John Anthony Allen
"Beneath the Skin" by Ioana Visan
"En Plein Air" by Erin Ryan
"Behind Family Lines" by by Stevie Mikayne

Sep 2, 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

Book Preview

Evolution - Lane Diamond


A Short Story Collection

Edited by

Lane Diamond & D.T. Conklin



A Short Story Collection

Copyright © 2012 Evolved Publishing LLC

Cover Art Copyright © 2012 Sarah Shaw


ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622539974

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-997-0



Sixteen Down Copyright © 2012 by Brian Panowich

The Million Dollar Club Copyright © 2012 by David Ballard

Tunnel Vision Copyright © 2012 by Lane Diamond

The Drying Copyright © 2012 by Voss Foster

The Living Copyright © 2012 by Ranee Dillon

Walk Knock Copyright © 2012 by Conda V. Douglas

Ursus Americanus Copyright © 2012 by John Anthony Allen

Beneath the Skin Copyright © 2012 by Ioana Visan

En Plein Air Copyright © 2012 by Erin Ryan

Behind Family Lines Copyright © 2012 by Stevie Mikayne


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. 1 (A Short Story Collection)

Forgive Me, Alex – A Psychological Thriller by Lane Diamond

Jellicle Girl – A Literary/LGBT Novel by Stevie Mikayne


What Others Are Saying about Evolution: Vol. 2:

Quirky Surprises

I wasn't sure what to expect from this batch of short stories, but I walked away from it pretty damn impressed.Chuck Regan Geekspeek

An Excellent, Wide-Ranging Collection

This collection bounces effortlessly from one genre to the next, each story standing on its own and complimenting those around it. ... The editors at Evolved Publishing gathered some damn good stuff under their banner here.Ryan Sayles

Literate Again

"I have found it increasingly difficult to make time to enjoy a full-length novel, however when I decided to create a reading window for the occasional novelette after downloading Evolution: Vol. 2, I ended up reading the whole, brilliant collection in one sitting." – Ruth Palmer Ruthie Toombs

Short on Quantity... Long on Quality...

I am not a full blown reader of fiction. But this great collection of stories makes me wish for Pt. 1... and other stories by the authors found here. In my opinion, it should be considered a sin that such a collection can be bought for so cheap. It is worth at least double the average online price.John Cannon

Stellar Collection

A top notch collection. As a writing teacher and avid reader, I recommend it highly.Thw Wood Elf

Pleasant Surprise

"One of the things I find about short story collections is that they are often uneven. You won't find that with Evolution: Volume 2. The stories are varied—some will creep you out, others will make you think—but the stories are all worth reading. I particularly enjoyed The Million Dollar Club, Sixteen Down, Beneath the Skin, and Tunnel Vision. Another aspect of this book that I liked was that it crossed genres. A little sci-fi, a little horror, and some fantasy elements thrown in others. Interesting and well done." – A.A. Perona


For every aspiring author who pursues that ultimate dream.

Table of Contents



About the Author: Brian Panowich


About the Author: David Ballard


About the Author: Lane Diamond


About the Author: Voss Foster


About the Author: Ranee Dillon


About the Author: Conda V. Douglas


About the Author: John Anthony Allen


About the Author: Ioana Visan


About the Author: Erin Ryan


About the Author: Stevie Mikayne


More from Evolved Publishing


We created Evolved Publishing published the winners of our first short story contest in December 2011, in Evolution: Vol. 1 (A Short Story Collection). We were thrilled with the result – 10 great stories from 10 talented authors. When we opened up our second short story contest for submissions just a few months later, we were admittedly concerned about matching the quality of that first anthology, given that we’d set the bar so high.

Well, we’re concerned no more, because in Evolution: Vol. 2 (A Short Story Collection), we are thrilled to say that we have another fantastic group of stories and authors to bring to you.

Lane Diamond (Co-Founder, Managing Publisher/Editor, Author) and D.T. Conklin (Co-Founder/Publisher, Editor, Author) joined forces to review and judge the many enthusiastic entrants for this second 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 Brian Panowich, whose story Sixteen Down won our Grand Prize: a Kindle Fire.

Additionally, we present here 5 terrific stories from authors David Ballard, Conda V. Douglas, Voss Foster, Ranee Dillon, Erin Ryan, and Ioana Visan.

Finally, we’ve added 3 stories from our own Evolved Publishing stable of authors: John Anthony Allen, Lane Diamond, and Stevie Mikayne.

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, August 30, 2012


by Brian Panowich

Maddie stopped breathing shortly after 11:00 p.m. on August 10th, 1996. Not long after, I met the Angel of Death.

He went by Gary, and he was a bit of a gambler.

I guesstimated the time, of course. I didn’t wear a watch that night, but I remember what time we arrived at the chasm, and I couldn’t imagine the whole thing taking more than a few minutes to play out.


My buddies, Chris and Dianne, spent most of the summer at the old rock quarry, and they knew what to expect. Maddie and I, on the other hand, spent most of our time at her folks’ pool and had never seen the place, much less at night. Chris parked his Jeep by the road, and we walked the short dirt trail through the woods. After crossing a section of downed chain link fence, the path opened up onto huge, flat rocks that formed a landing. Ten feet beyond, the plateau dropped off into a vast, seemingly bottomless black abyss. It looked like the edge of the world.

Chris placed our Styrofoam beer cooler on the rock, reached in, and grabbed a six-pack of PBR. He held it to his chest like a football.

Who wants a brewski? he asked. Before anyone could answer, he said, Well, come and get it, and took a running jump into the abyss, Rebel-yelling all the way down.

The remaining three of us rushed the edge and stared into the blackness, holding our collective breath. The sound of Chris hitting the water, followed by his insane laughter, defined cool that night.

He’s so crazy, Dianne said. I could almost see the cartoon hearts circling her head.

Maddie said, He’s beyond crazy, Di. He’s gonna break his neck.

My Maddie, the cautious one.

No way, I said. He’s done this a dozen times. He knows what he’s doing. I didn’t know that for sure, but I wanted to sound confident. I wanted to be just as cool as Chris that night. Cool as ice—for her.

From the minute I met Madeline Brewer, she owned me lock, stock, and barrel. I couldn’t explain it any other way than love at first sight, but try being fifteen and getting anyone in the world to take that seriously. We’d been dating for a year, and had no doubt it would last forever. We were soul mates. I trusted her every move, and she hung on my every word. That’s why we would jump. We were sixteen and invincible.

Come on, baby, I’m getting lonely down here! Chris shouted from the water.

Dianne tossed us a wink, held her nose, and bunny-hopped into the black.

When we heard Dianne hit the water, Maddie grabbed my hand and pushed against me. The warm wind blowing across the open canyon felt good on my bare chest, but nothing compared to that girl’s skin pressed up on mine. She set me on fire.

You ready? I asked.

Do you love me, Jimmy Dierso?

Yes I do, Madeline Brewer.

Then I’m ready. Don’t let go. She squeezed my hand tighter.

I won’t. I started to count.



We jumped.

I didn’t know when I let go.


Forty foot drop.

I hit the water hard, like a baseball bat to the nuts, and I saw stars even underwater. I didn’t close my mouth in time either, so the stagnant water almost choked me out. It felt like falling through space. All in all, not the refreshing summer splash I’d intended it to be, but I didn’t care. This perfect girl and I had just made a memory well worth a shot to the family jewels.

It took a lifetime to swim to the surface, and I reached it, coughing up cold water, just before the panic could set in.

Maddie! I yelled as soon as I could speak. I looked around, still not able to see two feet in any direction.

No answer.

Maddie, baby, where are you?

I let go of her.

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