The name, Steven Lloyd, might not mean a whole lot to many of you. He is a writer, but there are dozens, hundreds, of them popping up every time you turn around. We can thank the miracle of Do-It-Yourself publishing for this glut of mostly unreadable stuff that constantly comes out.

There are exceptions. There are always exceptions.

One such exception is The Wooden Box, by Steven Lloyd.

But who is Steven Lloyd? Well, I know him from the sadly short-lived small press, Croatoan Publishing. Croatoan only did two books, but they were lovely things. They published a collection by James Newman called People Are Strange, and they did a novella by Ron Kelly called Flesh Welder. I had hoped to see more from them, but you know how it is.

Happily, Lloyd did not disappear into the woodwork the way many aborted publishers have done. No, he is trying his hand at the writing game. He recently put short story called Brothers out in digital form. I haven't read Brothers yet, but I hope to soon.

Stephen Lloyd also did a short story called The Wooden Box, and I have had the pleasure of reading it.

The Wooden Box is a story that is as old as time, but it's also acutely fresh. The themes in it are ones that people face daily. That does not make them any less painful and difficult.

An old man runs a farm and is caring for his wife, who is slowly, but surely, dying. He has not lived an exemplary life and he is not a man of firm faith. She, on the other hand, has been virtuous and has a deeply personal relationship with God. Knowing what is ahead, the man begins work on a wooden box.

In a very few pages Steven Lloyd paints a portrait of a man and women who have lived and loved. They have fought and they have danced. We feel the man's wretched sorrow, just as we feel the woman's joy that her miseries are almost at an end.

The Wooden Box is as excruciating as it is uplifting. It's a simple parable, but it packs a strong punch. Best of all, it's free to read on Kindle right now.

That's right. Better look out the window. Judgement Day might be here. I am recommending that you download something on a Kindle. Anyone who knows me is well aware that I do not care for Amazon or e-readers, but The Wooden Box is such a special treasure that I'd hate to see anyone miss it.

And I hope that the Stoker voters give it a chance as well.

And, for the record, as well as my reputation at stake, I did not read a Kindle story. Lloyd hand bound some personal copies of The Wooden Box and sent me one.

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