Last Halloween

I had been preparing for weeks; months if you count the myriad gruesome drawings haunting my ever present sketchbook. That black, bound codex was my shield against taunts and bullies, ape-ish jocks and unimaginative, authoritarian teachers that populated the terrifying… Continue Reading →
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Last Halloween

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The Third Act

It was the eyes that did it. Darbinyan could have shut the door in the man’s face but for the eyes. When he had opened the door, he had been taken slightly aback by the man’s height, but it was… Continue Reading →
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The Third Act

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The Invisible Killer

The braying voice and undisguised hate of Lou Carmody that was coming over the radio were so offensive to Tyler Feasel that he almost went for his hammer in order to smash the radio to bits. But the moment of anger… Continue Reading →
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The Invisible Killer

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Fairy Hunters

When Henry Willis told me he was taking me to a fairy crossing, I thought he was just being a typical homophobe. “Okay, I’ve seen the sign,” I said. “Very funny. If we leave now I can still catch the… Continue Reading →
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Fairy Hunters

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A Silver Bullet

I returned the following morning. I always do, or try to, after a night like last night. Sometimes I leave something behind.

Once I found my shirt hanging from a tree. I asked some local boys to throw rocks at it to knock it loose. They happily obliged.

Another time I left behind the smashed window in the door of a butcher’s shop. The next morning, the owner was taking inventory and I offered to help sweep up. He shrugged and turned away. I whispered an apology and then bought the last fresh ham from his wife. I had a bit of a stomachache, but knew I would eat it later.

But this morning at the gas station, I couldn’t find any evidence of misbehavior. In … Read the rest

A Tin Can

I was reduced to crawling through the dirt. My legs and back were done. On the upside, being near the ground meant I could better see any movement among the leaves and trash. Movement meant something living, and that meant food.

I inched along toward a wooded area and my hope grew as I neared a rotting log. I struggled to flip it and saw dozens of larvae and some larger bugs scurrying around. I gleefully reached in and got a fistfull of rotting wood and grubs and picked out the larvae one by one with my lips, as though kissing them. I didn’t chew – just let them slide down my throat.

This was the biggest meal I had had in days, but I suddenly … Read the rest

A Darker Horse

The speaker crackles and a voice says, “Hello Finn. Apologies for the circumstances. You understand how privacy is paramount. Your past assignments have shown you have the skill to erase digital histories and now I need you to erase some… for me. This job will require more… delicacy. I’m prepared to triple your rate.”

Finn smiles. “I’m all yours.”

Big Eddie finishes a call with his wife and waves Henry in. “Everything changes when you have kids. So… A very private individual we’ve worked with before asked for you. Said you were discreet.”

“I never…”

Eddie gives an address and another for the dropoff point.

“Don’t write it down. Remember it. They’re paranoid; I don’t care. It’s not my job to care. In fact, it’s … Read the rest

A New Man

I entered NPR’s 5th three-minute fiction contest, where you have to write a “flash fiction” story in 600 words or less. The constraints were that the stories had to begin with the line, “Some people swore that the house was haunted,” and end with the line, “Nothing was ever the same again after that.”

I didn’t win, or even get into the final round, which is fine because the winning story was quite good. The winning stories in these contests tend to be more “literature” and less “popular”, which is more my style.

Regardless, here’s mine.

“A New Man”

Some people swore that the house was haunted. That didn’t bother me – it meant I was left alone.

Someone knocked at the door … Read the rest

What Can You Do in Twenty-Five Words?

NPR has a ‘3-minute fiction’ contest, which puts a word count limit at 600.
In the field, this is known as ‘flash fiction.’

The even briefer version is called ‘hint fiction’ and has a word limit of around 25.

The New Yorker has a review of a book on the subject, “Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer”

Examples:

“Blind Date,” by Max Barry.
She walks in and heads turn. I’m stunned. This is my setup? She looks sixteen. Course, it’s hard to tell, through the scope.

“Houston, We Have a Problem,” by J. Matthew Zoss.
I’m sorry, but there’s not enough air in here for everyone. I’ll tell them you were a hero.Read the rest

Conversations with My Mailman III

Conversations with My Mailman III

It was a warm afternoon; the rain was ending and the Sun was coming out.

My mailman was under an awning with one bare foot on the pavement and his shoe on the mailbag. He was wringing out his sock.

I slowed when I got near him. “Step in a puddle?” I asked.

“Yeah.” He said without looking up.

After a moment he noticed I was still there and he looked up, then smiled. “Oh, Hey. I thought you was someone else. Yeah, these puddles’ll get ya. I was talking with a buddy of mine over there across the street and I stepped in the gutter when I was talking. He’s a new dad and trying to figure out what to … Read the rest

Blood Brothers

I ate shit once. I literally had a piece of a turd in my mouth and I chewed and swallowed it.

Brian and I were upstairs in my room. We could hear our parents laughing and talking downstairs; I shut the door as Brian positioned himself by the window. He had just returned from the bathroom with a big wad of toilet paper. I had a glass of water ready. He looked at me with eyes wide, waiting for me.

“Well?” I said. “Let’s get this over with.”

Brian handed me the wad. It was slightly warm in my hands. I slowly unwrapped the paper, not wanting to see that first peek of brown, but there it was: Brian’s turd. It was a good one, firm … Read the rest

Milgram Redux

Julia had responded to the request for laboratory assistants at the university hospital and arrived at the medical offices a few minutes early.

A few others sat in the waiting room, staring straight ahead with headphones in their ears. One young man looked up when she walked in and then turned his attention back to the wall.

She gave her name to the receptionist who seemed to have difficulty finding Julia’s name in the records, then made a face. “You’re late. Wait here.” And the receptionist walked back out of sight.

“Oh. I…” Julia started toward one of the chairs but then stopped. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other and was turning around to look for a magazine when a side door … Read the rest