Out There

a Short Tale of the Weird and Wonderful

It's a day just like any other day... until something utterly unfamiliar suddenly lands in your back yard.

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Out There

It's a day just like any other day... until something utterly unfamiliar suddenly lands in your back yard.

Susan is the epitome of the happy housewife, contentedly conducting her daily ritual of cleaning her home and keeping everything just as it should be. Wrapped up in her own little world within those familiar walls, she hardly notices the altogether different arrival in her own back yard.

She may ignore the sudden shaking beneath her slippered feet, she might even neglect to spot the conspicuous sight itself—but she can't evade the stench.

Something's wrong. Very wrong. And Susan's incapable of determining just what to do about the uninvited eyesore in her back yard.

Turning to her best friend for help with the impromptu emergency threatening to shake up her very existence and happy home, Susan combines efforts with neighbor Trisha to decipher the composition and meaning of the frightfully large and utterly unpleasant new arrival.

But are these two women really capable of realizing the gift of new awareness they've just been given by an unseen entity? Or will they continue to fail to see the world that exists out there?

What a difference a day makes... unless you choose to ignore it.

Palm fronds crackled and sang in the cooling coastal breeze high above. Bees communed around stalks of lavender stretching toward the sun. Flowering succulents rebelliously reached across the edges of the sidewalk, showing off their resilience.

Her surroundings teemed with thriving life and newborn beauty fresh as the last droplets of remaining dew underfoot, but she noticed none of it.

Only her cell phone held her attention as she cradled it lovingly in her perfectly manicured hand. Her fingertips lovingly massaged the touch-sensitive screen, beckoned new surprises to delight her narrow focus with each fulfilling tappity-tap granting instant gratification. Just as yet more was immediately required.

She walked, almost utterly blindly, all the way to her front door, her back turned toward the frolicking baby mountain lions playing in the foothills, just visible in the distance. Only when the key was turned in the expertly tarnished brass lock, did she pause to pay homage to the present moment.

She sighed with appreciation for her life's achievement: marrying the man who bought such a magnificent home for her to call her own, the largest, most garishly adorned house on the block.

Just inside her front door, Mrs. Susan Anderson stepped out of her soft-heeled walking shoes and into her padded house slippers and proceeded to go about her usual day in the usual way.

She sought out unsightly specks of devilish dust, tracking its trail all over her home, her trusty feather duster firmly in hand. She hummed her usual happy tune while on the hunt, cheerily obliterating any sign of clouded glow or bespeckled shine detectable by the human eye.

She was completely unaware of the unimaginable—and quite substantial—sudden arrival in her back yard.

Susan continued her deadly dance, her hips swaying to the rhythm of her cheery melody as she savored the growing satisfaction of feeding her addiction to assassinating all unwanted inhabitants of her home. Her slippered feet served to heighten the luster of the hardwood floors as she scuttled to and fro; her swirling knee-length skirt stirred up the stale air of largely untouched, unused rooms.

She did detect the gentle tremble traveling through the earth beneath her home, but the recesses of her contentedly focused, subconscious mind found no reason to notify her consciousness. A possible, predictably unexpected quake shaking up her beloved southern California life was of no real concern. Neither was anything that happened outside the immediate confines of her dictatorially guarded homestead.

But, of course, something indeed had happened within her precious domestic territory.

As Susan tritely triumphed at her habitual game of attack and desist, her blissfully ignorant consciousness was finally clued in. The stench was too much for her subconscious awareness to bear alone.

The completely unique and utterly jarring scent first floated in as a mere whiff, then grew into a veritable bouquet of indigestible decay.

Susan's grip loosened on the handle of her feather duster; her posture straightened to firm attention. Her eyes darted left and right in search of the source of the odorous invader. It was her nose that lead her punctually to the French doors leading from her family room to the terrace stretching behind her home. ....

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Editorial Reviews

Readers Favorite 5 Star SealOut There: A Short Tale of the Weird and Wonderful is a contemporary urban fantasy short story written by Justine Avery. Mrs. Susan Anderson is quite oblivious to her surroundings as she walks up the path to her front door. She doesn’t see the flowers blooming or the tenacious cactus, smell the scents of the ocean wafting up from the coast, or notice the wildlife in plain view up on the hillside above the lavish home where she and her husband live. Her eyes, attention and fingers are all focused upon her cell phone as she strolls, her imagination held captive by the small screen and the results of her tapping fingers. When she is finally inside the door, she quickly gets into the mood for dusting and polishing and making sure that everything she sees is perfectly clean, pristine and spotless in her domestic paradise. What she cannot control, however, is the strange brown mass that has somehow appeared outside the French doors to her terrace. It glistens in the sunlight, and the smell it exudes is disgusting.

Justine Avery’s humorous urban fantasy short story, Out There: A Short Tale of the Weird and Wonderful, juxtaposes the wonders of nature with the artificial world of a self-obsessed Los Angeles housewife. I wanted to tear her cellphone away from her face so she would see the lion cubs at play on the hillside and appreciate the salty breeze making its way up from the coast, and then I wondered at her obsessive-compulsive cleaning rituals. Avery sets the scene perfectly with those first few lines, and her imaginative, gentle take on the inanities of the so-called civilized world sweeps the reader from the banal to the fantastic, almost before you know it. This is a tale that is masterfully told, and it left me smiling for a little while and wanting more.

Reader Reviews

In one of the most apt metaphors for Los Angeles that I have read in some time, Justine Avery imagines that a well-to-do Angelino woman, "Susan", manicured and self-satisfied, discovers that a gigantic pile of reeking brown filth has appeared just beyond her "lovingly manicured grass terrace". The nasty mound towers over the house. Avery sets up the discovery nicely: after a well-written opening paragraph describing the natural life around her, Susan spends her time dusting her McMansion in a obsessive-compulsive way, attacking even the slightest speck of dirt. (One imagines her as one of those people who, later in life, keep notebooks full of "observations" and "data" in tiny script.) It's perhaps fitting, if slightly unfair, that such a woman will now have a literal pile of crap to deal with.

Avery has a superb ear for "California-speak". Over the phone, one of Susan's friends asks if "you're not just having a bad Ambien morning". I think I've heard that very sentence spoken in the southern California city where I reside. The wealthy denizens of what Don Henley called "The Last Resort" have bad Ambien mornings, zonked-out Xanax afternoons, and twitchy Viagra nights. Meanwhile, those bad Ambien mornings can be countervailed by a pot of fair-trade coffee, over which one can gossip with one's friend while the mountain of crap hardens outside the front door, as forgotten as the mountain lions stalking along the tinder-dry hillsides.

Avery provides a hilarious explanation for the story's events, by way of coda, which I won't spoil. "Out There" is a subtle environmentalist tract, but more than that, it's a morality tale about humanity's complete obliviousness to the world around them. In the meantime, I'm fairly certain that there are mountains of crap in the backyards of thousands of McMansions from Irvine up to Ventura -- I think I stepped in a few, in my long-ago youth.

5 out of 5.

Justine has that unique aspect on looking outside the box and the four walls that we become use to everyday. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and it really makes one think about what really is going on around us every day things that are unusual and things we never thought might be. hooked from the second page and it is going to change my day from my visual aspect at least!

Out There is a modern The Great Gatsby

Wow I have been reading/gobbling up this womans short stories up like crazy.

This one tells the tale about a woman and her life. It starts off ordinary enough....but I dont want to ruin it for you.

Its a thought provicing story with a touch of humor.

Is there more out here?

This book is very great short read. I love the dark humor and all the twists. The author knows how to keep you on your toes while reading. I love how it makes you realize things!

There's a lesson in here... somewhere.

I feel one can tackle a number of issues with this. The traditional story of man coming up against a world so much bigger than they. Micromanagement vs macro. Ignorance as bliss. Seeing the world as we want it versus seeing the world for what it is. The housewives are obsessed with things. The... am I to assume giants? are more concerned with everything.

Out There paints a wide picture of perception, tickling our most minute senses while entertaining our grander ideas.

A New Favorite.

Please don't be discouraged by the fact that this short story is only 12 pages long and it might take you 15 minutes to read. What Justine Avery does in those 12 is absolutely genius!! Her ability to paint a detailed picture and have her readers hanging on every word to the end is that of a literary genius. This is by far my new favorite of Justine Avery books!! Even though this book is clearly fictional, the way she identifies and details the main character and neighbor makes it easy to see how she based this on real relationships. It's fantastic! Out There in all 12 pages of its splendor has rocked my world this morning. I can't imagine how difficult it is to write such a detailed story in such a short book. She continues to amaze me. Can't wait to read another!

Two worlds collide in a unique fashion

I enjoyed the writers poetic description of a housewife cleaning her immaculate home, the finest on the block of course, bought for her by her husband. I enjoyed the poetic descriptions, I am fan of Colette and early french eroticism, this writing reminded me of Colette's writings of the Music Hall.

I also enjoyed the dialogue between the two spoiled housewives, and the way their troubles were all forgotten after a bit of the latest gossip, and caffeine incited jabbering. When a child enters the picture that world was shattered and I landed on a new one.

I couldn't imagine this spoiled housewife having the responsibility of a child, and I suppose that was the point. I was taken into a new world where a mother must teach her child values, morals and the ways to behave, that shifts us to a new dimension.

Silly and interesting

It made me at first think I was reading a serious criticism of materialism and egoism, then it went off the deep end.

It made me laugh though, Avery definitely has an interesting sense of humor.

It's about how we can so stubbornly evade the most obvious and life altering discoveries, even when they are impossible not to notice.

The Earth is massive with so many nooks and crannies that it is impossible for someone to know everything about it. The ocean, specifically, has never been completely explored because of our lack of scientific research on electronic devices to make the trek possible. I find that it is certainly more than likely that there are species and creatures that have not yet been discovered.

"Out There," by Justine Avery, tells a story of a Los Angeles woman who has been blessed with a husband who is financially secure and has provided her with a beautiful house. During her normal cleaning ritual, she notices something large in her back yard that leaves a scent that is gut wrenching.

This story came from a very creative mind! The author did an outstanding job of being descriptive. Highly recommended!

An interesting short story that provides us with a perspective of an OCD housewife in Los Angeles. In the beginning, I was trying to figure out why Susan had the urge to clean her immaculate house beyond the normal and I couldn't blame her. First, I thought she was a germophobe but then realized she just suffers from OCD. It was quite a mystery to learn what the mound was in her backyard that had her in a hysterical fit. The ending was indeed not what I was expecting but it just wrapped up the story and made so much more sense. It might not seem like an easy read, so I suggest reading it a second time after knowing what the story was really about.

Good short, with a fun ending

Quick story Justine just lures you in. Her attention to details while describing the character makes you feel familiar to this LA house wife and her lifestyle. However the end of the story brings a twist that'll put a smile on your face. All this and lots of hidden messages in a 15 minutes read.

In the beginning of Out There by Justine Avery, disgust and disturbance of the main character, Susan, is clear, when something large and foul lands in her back yard. A woman so wrapped up in her cell phone and her LA lifestyle, you can imagine the confusion when she sees something so out of the ordinary. She can't figure out how something of this size could land in her yard, she can't even speak of it in full sentences.

Then Susan and her friend Trisha seemingly forget the travesty, and life moves on. This short story will give you a bit of a chuckle, it is quite absurd after all, and it will also make you think-about life on Earth, but also the possibility of more.

With beautiful writing, the story rolls off the pages with an almost Twilight Zone feel. The imagery is gorgeous (even through the stench) and I enjoyed reading this book quite a lot.

Creative, Thought-Provoking Story

This story is great for a quick stimulation of the mind and a huge laugh! It captures your attention, reels you into the story, and then suddenly, there is a mind-blowing twist! It made me smile to see how the same situation has two different views.

For me, it made me think about perspective. As I sit here thinking about the issues in my life that seem so great/challenging, this story shows me that what is big to me is small to others and will soon be small to me as well!

This short story is a must-read! It was money well spent. The writer is brilliant and made me want to come back to her to read more! Fantastic!

Out There offers a twist in plot for those who love a unique book. True to her word, Justine Avery paints a story of oddity, but in it of itself is the interest of the story due to its strange take.

Characters are painted with vivid detail. We are immersed into the life of our main character, faced with a dilemma that landed into her life. Descriptions place the reader into the story, yet at the same time, the reader is left guessing and wanting more of this fantasy life.

A good read, especially for those who do love a great short story.

A simple little story with a fun ending.

A bit onerous in the beginning, but a good description for those lacking a fundamental part of human nature-the world outside of themselves. A fun little surprise ending when the real nature of what happens is driven home. A simple little story with good alliteration and description of OCD.

This was a very short story but it was entertaining. All during the first part of the story I was trying to figure out what the smell could have been. The second part of the story takes a big perspective turn and makes the smell irrelevant. We live our lives believing certain things are important but there is a bigger purpose. This story reminds us that we are pawns in a larger game of life.

Great use of suspense in this short story. I enjoyed the the foreshadowing of the 'thing' in the main character's backyard, and how she smells it powerfully before she really sees it, and the suspense later of her friend coming by and seeing this thing. I also enjoyed the magical qualities of this story, especially the appearance of the strange object in a world that is apparently familiar to us, one that is polluted, filled with trivialities and set in Los Angeles County, and the reveal.

Out There by Justine Avery is what is promised by the title...weird and wonderful. Avery doesn't disappoint with her short story, jumping in immediately to tell us about Susan, a housewife content in her beautiful California home until something unknown to the reader is discovered in her backyard. It was indeed weird as I was trying to figure out what in the world it was and why in the world Susan and her best friend continue on with their routine despite the stinky problem in the backyard. It isn't until the second part of the story (which is incredible for a 12 page story) that it all becomes clear...kind of. A weird and wonderful turn at the end of the book left me thinking about this story for a little while. Great read!

Justine Avery has done it yet again! With the descriptive and entertaining style of writing that captivated readers in other short stories such as 'The Post-It Note Affair' and 'It Gets Easier,' Avery has provided yet another gem with 'Out There.'

The 12-page tale begins with the leading lady, an affluent housewife named Susan Anderson, relaxing in a tranquil scene that many would adore to be in the midst of. Rather than being smitten with her surroundings, however, Susan appears to be detached entirely, her attention riveted only to her cell phone -- something many of us have surely been guilty of in our own lives.

Following her relaxing sitdown, Susan proceeds to retreat into the comfort of her home -- seemingly the only thing capable of diverting her attention from her phone -- and begins a diligent attack on everything in her path with a feather duster. She has no idea how her small, quiet world is about to be turned upside down...until she notices the stench.

Filled with humor -- and even a valuable lesson about how we could all stand to be a little more observant of our surroundings -- 'Out There' is sure to delight all who opt to give it a read.

This was definitely not something I have ever read before. The very beginning took some time to move into the story but once it moved past the beginning, it was good. I couldn't imagine what the source of the smell could have been and once I read to the end it made a little more sense. It seems like it's a story about looking at life from a different perspective with a little imagination. Not a bad read; Avery makes you think a little deeper into things and if you're willing to do some close reading, there may be more messages hidden within the text. Overall, not a bad read and it is well written. This is the third work I have read of Avery and with each one comes something completely new. I would recommend her!

The beginning of this story completely baffled me. I spent the first several pages (about 10 of them) asking myself what in the world was going on and what the point of this story was going to be. How were they just relaxing when a giant pile of something was sitting outside? Why were they so concerned much more concerned about whether or not Susan's husband would be upset? Why would he have been upset at all?

I sat there reading and balking at their ignorance and kind of wondering what the point of the whole story was until the last few pages. Then I understood the brilliance. The last few pages of this story are what makes it such an amazing and enjoyable piece.

I think that if this story was any longer, it wouldn't have worked. The characters are a little too vapid to hold a reader's interest for chapters at a time. At this length, however, the story is an absolutely perfect commentary on life, society, and humanity. Avery made a brilliant decision by keeping the page count down with this one.

Out There is yet another incredible story from Justine Avery. This one is very short, but packs a load of humor and and a powerful life lesson. Its simple, witty style immediately captures the reader and takes them on a hilarious journey of epic proportions.

The story is about a self-absorbed woman who married herself into a rich household. It describes how this lady's daily routine is to sit outside each morning in the beautiful South Californian weather and enjoy the wonderful life-giving cell phone that her husband's money bought her. After her morning sit she goes inside and sets to work, productively sweeping up every single visible particle of dust in her home. She is so absorbed by her own habits and appearances that she even fails to notice the large gift that plops into her back yard. That is, until it overwhelms her. Even then, she is so unable to comprehend things that don't fit in with her view of the world that she invites her friend over for coffee. They sit and drink and forget life's problems in their gossip.

Out There is a wonderfully absurd commentary on today's "normal" lifestyle. It calls out those who are concerned with only themselves and their appearances, and complains that the people who do care never receive thanks or recognition. All around, this book is a fun read, and delivers its message simply and directly.

Out there is a cute, 15-20 minute read. I was able to read it in its entirety during my lunch break and it was certainly worth reading. For such a short story I'm surprised by how well I enjoyed all the characters. From gold digging neat freak Susan to cute little Jonathan. They were simple characters that I was able to grasp the personalities quite quickly, which is a plus in such a short story.

The book was a bit wordy, which is dangerous in such a short story, I would have preferred if there was less describing her cleaning dance and more

talking about the story itself, but it made for an interesting read.

In conclusion, Out There was certainly worth the low price of a dollar, and the even lower price of 15 minutes, to read. I would recommend it to anyone who's got a few minutes to kill and is looking for something interesting.

I Experienced So Much In Only 12 Pages

I feel like I delved deep into such an intriguing and complex story. It was hard to believe so much detail and creativity was packed into only 12 pages. There was very little dialogue compared to how descriptive the story telling is and yet I feel like I got to know the characters so well in such a short amount of time. This was a fascinating, short, and enjoyable read.

I can't say what I was expecting...but it certainly wasn't that!

This was my first Justine Avery story, and I must say it did not disappoint!

Avery is a great writer, with effortlessly visual descriptions, knowing exactly how much to describe to draw you in...or to keep you wondering. I found myself both baffled and amused by the story's mystery in the first half (wondering, "Is it really...could it really be...?"), and intrigued by the explanation offered in the second half. "Out There" is a sharp commentary on peoples' priorities, subtly delivered through the characters' thoughts and actions, rather than directly--a storytelling method I, personally, really appreciated.

I think we'll all find a little of ourselves in Susan Anderson, even if we don't want to admit it, and "Out There" definitely lives up to its title as an unusual invitation to re-evaluate, to broaden, where our minds and hearts can go.

Playful and Witty

Justine Avery has done it again. This short story is wonderful in many respects. It is distinctly psychological in its analysis of its' characters and their own shallow idiosyncrasies and yet surreal and playful at the same time. I find the balance between the acute examination of the mundane and the delightful imaginative magic of the otherworldly provides not only the passive enjoyment of such diametrically opposed realities but also, by way of sharp contrast, a thought-provoking examination of upper-class modern life. Avery's story is full of descriptive, original, and uniquely inventive writing that is a fantastic complement to the story. Her ability to create a self-contained and absorbing story in so few words is impressive and allows the reader to step into Avery's imagination briefly and to return from it aroused and reflective.

A Wonderful Short Read

I am often nervous about purchasing the Kindle-only novelettes being sold on Amazon. I have found a great many to be sub-par and poorly written, often with spelling mistakes and not well thought out plots. With that being said, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by The Post-It Note Affair.

The novelette was written in a manner more consistent with a young-adult style of writing. While this is typically a nuisance to individuals who read more in-depth novels, it actually worked well to convey the sentiments of the protagonist. I was happy to see there were no spelling mistakes and the dialogue, mostly demonstrated through inner struggles of a character battling with her own morals, was well done. This would be a perfect read for anyone looking for light reading that addresses a deeper conversation – truly appreciating the wonderful things you have in your life. Other reviews I read claimed the novelette was predictable; I disagree with this. In a world where divorce and cheating seem to be the norm and communication, faithfulness, and appreciation for marriage aren’t quite as common, I found the twist at the end to be refreshing. In the end, this novelette was engaging and I enjoyed the read.

An Emotional Rollercoaster(In A Good Way!)

I was instantly hooked by this story. Everything about it was completely relatable, starting from the very first page. The scenario that the main character is in is one that we all have probably experienced at one point or another, and not just in regards to love.

Emily is bored. She wants excitement, craves passion. She's missing that special spark in her marriage, and soon finds it with someone else. She quickly falls in love with the author of her own personal love notes, and experiences lots of ups and downs in the process. In the end, she learns a very valuable lesson that we could all benefit from.

As a whole, this book is captivating and insightful. The pace of the story was perfect. It was to the point, yet didn't feel rushed. I felt this book was written very well. I can't wait to read more of Justine Avery's books!

Short, hilarious story with a resonating life lesson!

Justine Avery has done it again! She has managed to pack two stories and two POVs centralized around a main theme into 12 pages, while simultaneously providing descriptive and unique imagery. This is a fast and satisfying read that brings attention to how self-absorbed and oblivious humans can be.

I was instantly entertained by the portrayal of Susan, the self-centered LA housewife. The imagery and elaborate description proves just how ridiculous it is that Susan could be so engrossed with her cell phone, instead of the beauty of nature and "baby mountain lions playing in the foothills" around her. Some readers might find the descriptive writing to be over the top, but I think that's the point. Justine's humorous writing and overt description of an action that most people partake in every day pokes fun at us humans.

Although not directly related to the first part of the story, the second part echoes and solidifies the overall theme. Humans need to be more conscious of their surroundings and experience the beauty and nature of the present. We could also benefit from not being so self-absorbed.

What I loved most about Out There was how unpredictable it was. This seems to be one of Justine Avery's strong suits, as she implements that unpredictability in another short story I've read by her titled, It Gets Easier. Every time I thought I knew where the story was headed, SURPRISE! I was wrong. When the story switched point of views and I thought I had answers to the first part of the story, wrong again! This unpredictability contributes to the perfect comedic timing in Justine Avery's work and keeps the reader on their toes.

This story doesn't directly answer all of the questions it intentionally provokes, which allows readers to use their imagination and come to conclusions via their own interpretations. I would recommend this book to anyone because it is short, easy to ready, hilarious, and offers a great lesson that everyone should learn.

Not only does it make you think, but it makes you feel for the poor humans. This is a quick read, but it is well worth the amusement. It is Weird & Wonderful in the most unusual and fun way.

Out There is a cute little story that will take very little time to read. The two women we are first introduced to are likable enough, and they bring to mind the stereotypical LA housewife. The author does well at helping you get lost in their day while at the same time seeming to criticize the ways we ignore the strange things that happen in our lives. The ending was a little out of left field, by it what ultimately made the story as cute as it was.

The story is not that difficult to read, though the author does use a lot of alliteration and poetic imagery. This can get a little carried away at times and, at least for me, quickly became a distraction. The saving grace was the fact that it is such a quick read and turned out to be as cute as it was. It is worth the dollar just for the read.

Fun story with good detailing

This was a fun and quirky story. Justine Avery is very descriptive in her details, which helped pull me more into the little quirks of the story. It has some great nuances about how to live more in your life.

Justine Avery’s short story, Out There, is basically poetic imagery. The thousands of adjectives come alive and paint a picture that you can, not only see, but feel as well. Each word makes you want to know more. Even as descriptive as the words are, there is mystery that makes you wonder. You will be left with thoughts of, is it and animal? is it an airplane? Is it nature? You may also have to pull out your dictionary a time or two, but you won’t mind the interruption to get to the story’s meaning. A great, fun read.

ALLLLLLRIGHT! Justine Avery knows how to build a good tale. Every word means something and as someone who's aware of that, I could see when she was hitting her beats. Very well paced, she shows that she knows what she's doing.

I see her comfort zone too. Often, I wonder what women get out of caffeine that they can't get out of booze so, for me, it was weird that these chicks got so into their own caffeinated zones without breaking into the liquor cabinet. These are privileges women after all.

The title is perfect for the story you're reading. It's definitely out there. Avery's talent of weaving this tale is close to masterful, if it wasn't for the slight slip up in the delivery. Not sure how to describe that other than a bit crass and yet, you can see she has the capacity to deliver the goods.

She also provides a butt-clencher of a tale from another story line that's the anxiety-ridden equivalent of avoiding walking on a floor that's made of pretend lava or snakes. Download Justine Avery's work while you can because she's going to be inaccessible before you know what hit you!

Oh how I love surprises!

Don't let the length of this one fool you. The author takes you on a journey that will tickle your funny bone and leave you wanting more. I found myself trying to figure out what was going on until the end, and boy was I surprised! If you are looking for a quick story that makes you think and then makes you laugh, this is it!

A refreshing piece of literature, "Out There" is an interesting read about a housewife, obsessed with the goings on inside her phone and the domestic bliss of her perfectly pristine domestic life, whose entire existence is threatened by a disturbing brown blob in the back yard. This wouldn't be a signature Justine Avery short story without a monumental plot twist. This is not my [first] short story from this author so there was a level of expectation going in. I was not disappointed. The ending left me guessing which was different from my previous experiences from this author. I reread the story to see if I had missed something, but the open interpretation at the end ultimately added to my love for this novella. Another great read from the author.

This is one of my favorite Justine Avery short tales! While I must admit that I did read this story a second time to make certain that I was not missing anything, it was a great read that left me feeling curious and thankful of my surroundings. Avery's gift of description and imagery is not lost in this story, and she again manages to transport the reader into the story in such a short amount of time. Typically, I'm not a huge fan of stories whose endings are left up for interpretation by the reader; however, there was something about Out There that was so...out there...that I enjoyed coming to my own conclusions and thoughts about the entirety of the story. Out There is a fantastic short read!

Avery’s beautifully descriptive writing manages to develop characters clearly by describing their actions with intricate detail. I found myself engaging with the characters very quickly, as if I had known them much longer than only a few pages! The slow reveal of details creates a tension and curiosity that makes the story wildly interesting.

Avery gives readers time to imagine what the mysterious object might be, but the ending surpassed even my wildest guess. Altogether a delightfully strange (but wholly endearing) piece.

"Out There: A Short Tale of the Weird and Wonderful" is an urban fantasy short story written by author Justine Avery. The main character, Susan Anderson, is completely oblivious to everything that surrounds here as she makes her way inside her home. Everything. She is, much like the youth of today, fully engulfed by her cell phone. Once inside, she focuses all of her attention on cleaning and dusting, controlling her surroundings. In the backyard, just beyond the french doors to her terrace, is a strange brown mass that gives off a disgusting smell. This extraordinary intrusion into her routine threatens to unravel her well maintained homeostasis. The tale was expertly told by the author. The contrast between the natural world that surrounds the main character which she completely ignores to the created reality that lives inside her cell phone that engulfs all of her senses is a wonderful take on the world we are currently living in. This story was short and to the point, filled with humor and wonder. Don't skip this tale. You will not be disappointed.

So funny! Justine Avery gives us a wonderful glimpse of the world around us. Taking us on a journey from our everyday lives to an extraordinary view outside of anything beyond our perfect picture of paradise.

This is a super fast read - I finished it in less than 15 minutes, after getting sucked in to the story immediately when I started reading it. Avery has a talent for evocative description, which in this story was almost... too evocative (read it and you'll know what I mean.) For such a short story, Susan and Trisha are well developed and feel familiar, like someone you've known a few (too many) versions of yourself, without becoming flat stereotypes. You'll have some guesses about the explanation behind Susan's peculiar day, but the end of the story should still surprise you and give you a good chuckle.

The only reason I took off a star is because ... I loved Avery's tone and use of alliteration, but there were a few words choices that didn't seem quite right - for example, the patio furniture could probably just be "overpriced" instead of "overly priced".

The story definitely keeps the reader guessing about the direction of the plot. This is an intriguing and refreshing opening to a short story since it is relatable in some ways while piquing interest in others. I felt that the characterization of the humans was a bit harsh at times, but it made the author's thoughts on the current stereotypes very clear. The overall message of the story was a strong one to remind the reader that the world is much bigger than the screen of a cell phone or square footage of a pristine house. The author has a very distinct style of describing her characters' surroundings using unpredictable word patterns to make sure the audience is reading carefully.

Surprising and inventive

This was my second sampling of Justine's work and I'm now seeing the comedic quirks and nuances that make her characters so compelling. This quick read left me wanting more -- and that's good. You don't make a joke better by making it longer. I'll be looking forward to more of Justine Avery's writings.

Out There: (a Short Tale of the Weird and Wonderful) is aptly titled and just that, a short tale of the weird and wonderful. The tag line, "What a difference a day makes… unless you choose to ignore it" is perfect for this quick read. I felt this could have been easily adapted to a subplot for Twin Peaks or an episode of X-Files with it's science fiction undertones and bits of humor. Susan is a self-obsessed housewife, stuck in her own little world, when something unexpected threatens to shake the very foundation of her reality. The way Susan handles the unexpected 'guest' in her back yard is unimaginable yet intriguing and the very reason I fell in love with this tale. Without giving away too much, because it's a short read after all, the twist caught me completely off guard and sealed the deal for me. I love this story. Being able to fully engulf the reader in her world in such a small work, is a testament to the author's ability to engage the reader, quickly and completely. I highly recommend this thought provoking story to any fan of fantasy, mystery, the unknown and… dare I say… the weird and wonderful!

Very Engaging

This quick read was amazing! Out There kept me engaged and wanting more. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time reading it and would definitely recommend it to a friend. I look forward to reading more from Justine Avery.

Thought provoking subject!

Reading this short story the first time I thought I might have missed something that would further explain it’s unusual ending. Then, I realized this outstanding author wanted each of us to interpret her story with our own perception of life’s mysteries.

I instantly fell in love with the author’s description of the OCD Los Angeles housewife in her superficial world of existence. The surprise ending brought back memories of my beloved childhood fantasies. In an attempt to better understand the connection, I called my daughter to talk about this author’s story.

This thought provoking story opened up a long dialog and in depth study that quickly spanned our age gap. Our lively discussion included life’s numerous adventures that we all too often overlook in our hectic lifestyles and need to ‘fit in’. We realized how easily we could get caught up in ourselves and miss out on the true meaning of life and our existence.

My conclusion: How easily we grown-ups willing gave up our inquisitive endeavors to learn the secretes of our universe and relinquished our belief in fantasies for rationalism in the credence of becoming adults.

This a quick, fun read with an amazing twist. A bit of a social commentary mixed in with the fantastical and a LOT of laughs! I even loved the bonus short story at the end. My only critique is the length; this author has such a gift for writing and imagination that I fell in love with her characters and found myself wanting to know more about them: their life, the "world" they live in, the disasters they have overcome. ... the story had me so enthralled. Overall, this book is worth the read and the author is one to add to your watch list.

I had to reread this a few times to fully absorb the story. I would have liked to learn more about Jonathan and what he is supposed to represent. The ending to the story definitely took me by surprise and the descriptions were vivid and unique. Overall, it was an enjoyable read.

This a quick, fun read with an amazing twist. A bit of a social commentary mixed in with the fantastical and a LOT of laughs! I even loved the bonus short story at the end. My only critique is the length; this author has such a gift for writing and imagination that I fell in love with her characters and found myself wanting to know more about them: their life, the "world" they live in, the disasters they have overcome. ... the story had me so enthralled. Overall, this book is worth the read and the author is one to add to your watch list ;)

ha! an amusing read!

This was a cute read with the potential to become something much darker if the author chooses to do so. It was light hearted, amusing, and the main character did remind me so much of...well... most people these days.

I'd definitely like to read more from this author.

Very short and somewhat easy to read. In fact you'll probably read it twice just to clearly understand it.

This short story has layers of explanation and each reader will have to allow for their own personal discernment.

I'll be honest, I did get hung up on the overly descriptive, overly used adjectives and strangeness. Which is why I had to re-read the story.

This story will stick inside the walls of your mind, which is a refreshing change in this fast pace literary world.

Give this story a try, see what you gather, let it linger... and then pass it on.

Out There is a great little read! It is so highly descriptive that you will see, taste and smell the components described in this surprisingly delightful book. The unexpected ending is well worth the wait and the very small investment of both time and money you expend. Pick up your copy today and put a smile on your face!

Very short and somewhat easy to read. In fact you'll probably read it twice just to clearly understand it.

This short story has layers of explanation and each reader will have to allow for their own personal discernment.

I'll be honest, I did get hung up on the overly descriptive, overly used adjectives and strangeness. Which is why I had to re-read the story.

This story will stick inside the walls of your mind, which is a refreshing change in this fast pace literary world.

Give this story a try, see what you gather, let it linger... and then pass it on.

This was definitely an interesting short story. I actually read it twice. The alliteration was a little much, but otherwise it was good. Very surreal, but it was for certain a mighty fine read.

I was very curious as to what was going on. The ending definitely threw me for a loop! I would definitely read more of the author's work! Very descriptive writing that made me feel as though I was there.

What an incredibly refreshing piece! The author's descriptions and details painted a very clear and vibrant picture for me as I read the book, I could very well imagine myself in the story. The message of the story is very applicable to society today, and is something that I can definitely relate to and appreciate. I wasn't expecting the end of the story at all, which made it surprising and amusing for me! I was hoping there was more to read - readers should check out this unique short tale.

This is an interesting read. I like this kind of extra-natural story. I won't spoil the ending, but it is a bit of a surprise. I wanted to hear what happened next, so it could have been a little longer. The writing style is pretty descriptive, maybe overly descriptive in places. All in all, pretty good short read. I would read more from this author, maybe something a little longer.

Out There is another great example of author Justine Avery’s ability to seamlessly weave in and out of reality. For a very short story. it is chock-full of minute details that carry the story to unseen worlds.

The subtle nuances that drive the story offer a glimpse into the over- sanitised blank existence of modern suburban life.

“Susan's grip loosened on the handle of her feather duster; her posture straightened to firm attention. Her eyes darted left and right in search of the source of the odorous invader”.

A delightfully descriptive tale and truly is about the weird and wonderful. I thoroughly enjoy reading something something a little bit different from an author not afraid to break from the norm and this hits the spots nicely. Talk about getting dumped on from a great height though... :-)

This short story packs a real punch with few words; the type of story I truly enjoy. Mrs. Susan Anderson Is a typical person in that she doesn't pay much attention to things around her.

Our number one task in life is to become conscious. Why? So we can separate truth from illusion. Susan and Trisha are sound asleep. They can't even separate a rock from a pile of you know what. Even when it stinks to high heaven. They're too busy wielding their feather dusters and drinking their coffee. They're caught up in their own tiny (very tiny) world. They haven't a clue. But I don't know if they're any more asleep or clueless than rocket scientists wielding their numbers or writers wielding their words. But Justine Avery is one writer who knows how to wield words that wake us up....and in very short order.