Tales from the Asylum

SPFBO Edition: Jon Auerbach


One of the goals of SPFBO is to give a chance to self-published authors to get more exposure. This year I’m taking part in the competition with my own team. You can keep updated on our progress and all of our content on my SPFBO 5 page!

Tales from the Asylum is a new feature I came up with for SPFBO. I wanted to create a unique opportunity for the authors to show off their story telling skills by taking their characters and putting them in an asylum room to see how they would deal with the situation. A lot can happen in a closed space…


The Author

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Jon Auerbach’s love of fantasy began at the tender age of six, when his parents bought him the classic 1977 animated version of The Hobbit. Jon hopes to pass on his stories to the next generation, including his kids, who have their own copy of The Hobbit that they lovingly call “the Bilbo book.”

The Setting

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The Scene

I was in the middle of my latest Quest when you took me. It was midday Saturday and I was peeling off a flyer from a construction wall just south of the Empire State Building. A small strip of silvery metal coated the wood under the flyer, and after I had pried about half of it off with a boxcutter, I felt two taps on my shoulder.

I turned and was greeted by two masked figures in hooded sweatshirts. Do they work for you? Or just subcontractors? Anyway, before I could react, one of them placed a cloth over my mouth and the next thing I knew, I was waking up on the mattress that sits opposite the desk where I am writing this note.

The room is somewhere in New York City, that much I am certain of. When I lie awake at night, I hear the familiar cacophony of sounds that any city girl like me would know in a heartbeat. Except there is no night in this room. You’ve done something to the glass in the three large windows that line the wall across from the door, so it is always daytime. 

I noticed this piece of paper and the yellow pencil on the desk during my second day here. Or maybe it was the third. It’s hard to measure the passage of time in this place. 

You’ve been kind enough to feed me, so there’s that. It’s always the same two things: a thin piece of bread and an edible pod filled with blueish liquid. They come on a tray that is pushed through a slot in the bottom of the door. I had hoped to use the empty ones as a counting mechanism, but somehow the tray is always gone when I’ve finished my “meal.” The bread satisfies my hunger and the liquid slakes my thirst just long enough so that I am always on the precipice of delirium by the time the next tray inevitably appears. 

A clever bit alchemy, I must admit. Much like this piece of paper and the pencil. I was wary of them for a long time, until the boredom was finally too much and I sat down and cautiously wrote the phrase “Hello world.” I wrote the phrase again and again until the lines of the paper were filled. And when I lifted my pencil up from the final line, the words suddenly faded into the paper and the sheet was fresh and empty again. 

Are you from the Guild, I wonder? If you are, I’m not sure what your game is here. I have no quarrel with you, save for my association with Beatrice, and I thought you guys had a truce? Do you want to know the secret location of her lab so you can steal all of her alchemy research? Well, unfortunately for you, she’s never showed it to me. I imagine it’s somewhere you’d least expect, like in the abandoned storefront next to the smoothie place on the fourth floor of the Port Authority bus terminal or behind the study carrels in the basement of the Borough Park Library. I’ll wait here while you go and check.

Not taking the bait? 

Well, whoever you are, you’re probably wondering why I finally gave in and am spilling my guts out to you on this page. Do you think you’ve broken me? I was already broken long before I ended up in here. 

But I will hand over a tiny morsel of information, as a reward for capturing me in the first place.

In your haste to confine me, you forgot to check whether the blue stone embedded in my mother’s locket that hangs around my neck was actually a stone, or whether it was one of Beatrice’s buffs. You know, those little square gummies that imbue you with a temporary boost in speed, focus, or strength when you eat them. Can you guess what the blue one does? I’ll give you a hint: it’s the one that will let me smash through the walls of this room like they were brittle pieces of glass and escape about 30 seconds from now.

Until next time,

Jen Jacobs


If you’d like to get in touch, you can find Jon Auerbach on social media:

Website | Instagram | Twitter

Jon Auerbach entered Guild of Tokens, the first book of Guild of Tokens series into SPFBO and got sorted into Kitty‘s group.

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Please check out all the other tales on my Tales from the Asylum page!