Author: Idle Ink

The Fear by Elliot Harper

Some days are just harder than others. I don’t know why. It can be triggered by anything really. A bad night’s sleep, the weather, eating something unhealthy the day before, not exercising for a few days, and, of course, drinking, always drinking. It can be something as simple as letting the Fear in.

The Fear.

Apartment 307 by E.J. Nash

I didn’t expect my upstairs neighbors to have tentacles, or to have such great taste in music. 

All I wanted was to sleep. It didn’t seem like too much to ask, but the people in the apartment above mine were constantly partying. The only upside was the music. The bass that throbbed from my ceiling was endless, although at least they chose good songs. 

I wanted to be the cool neighbor. I would pop upstairs, compliment them on their musical taste, and ask them to be quieter. No problem.

The Mystical Medium Hotline by Will Musgrove

My line blinks red, so I press the button on my headset to answer. A woman’s whisper I don’t recognize says my name, my real name. For liability purposes, we’re not supposed to use our real names. The operator probably goofed and let it slip when transferring the call. It happens. Leaning back in my chair, I contemplate hanging up. It’s Monday, and I get the same hourly pay if I pick up or not. Plus, it’s tough going into a reading cold. When I can’t get into character first, I have trouble taking everything seriously. The whole back-and-forth feels like an elaborate prank call.

“Eric?” the woman says again, my hand hovering over my ear.

“I think you might have dialed wrong, miss. This is the Mystical Medium Hotline. There’s no Eric here.”

The Big Empty by Nick Olson

The body didn’t matter anymore, so it wasn’t much. Some meat. Loose skin over hard bone. A splaying of nerves, biological wires that were always ever misfiring anymore, sciatica, numbness, pain throughout the day. The body was dying, and he needed a way out of it.

There was a jackport in the city, couple models to choose from, but no power to get it running again since the collapse. All the tech in the world and nothing to see it back to life. June had always liked this city, so thoughts of her kept him company as he walked the empty streets most nights, dodging sinkholes, collapsed bridges, ancient stalled traffic to get into another store, scavenge parts, look for food for this damned body.

Requiem for a Home Cooked Meal by Krystian Morgan

Alice was yet again in the kitchen, checking on the food being kept warm. It looked appetising when it was ready over an hour ago, but the prolonged stay in the oven irradiated any vitality it once had. Steamed greens lay pallid and mournful. Within the casserole, the lamb, root veg and liquor have broken down into a single homogenous mash, and a thick skin has formed over the top, already tanning under the orange light of the cooker.

She hears the front door and his usual clatter when returning home. He ascends the stairs without fanfare; no explanation for his lateness, nor for not replying to her texts and calls enquiring as to his whereabouts. Just his work bag slung into a mangled shape in the vestibule and soaked-through shoes bleeding dirty rainwater onto the floor.

Best Foot Forward by Riley Winchester

On the morning of May 27, 2017, I woke up and couldn’t remember if I get out of bed with my right foot or my left foot first. This triggered a crisis in my mind that left me paralyzed in bed. Right or left? Left or right?

What was the impetus behind this podiatric enigma? I hadn’t the slightest clue. I realized that I had never once woken up and deliberated on which foot should lead, nor had I any intimation as to which foot usually led when I woke up. But there must be a dominant foot that I led with every morning. The body is a muscle with rigid memory. This worried me further and bolstered my crisis. What other everyday aspects of my existence was I ignorant to? How little did I know of myself?

My Friend Has a Name by Tam Eastley

His blood pools on the tiles, red and thick. I know I should feel something, to see him lying there, but where one would expect denial and sadness and fear, there is nothing. You probably think this is horrible of me, that I am monstrous, but I am balancing between two worlds right now and it is hard not to tumble all the way down into one of them. Will you judge me if I say he is already starting to look like meat? Like flesh wrapped in clothes?

My hands are nubs but I manage to push myself up out of the bath anyway and I slide against the porcelain because my skin has started to go translucent and onion-y. I lean in close and I am reminded that he is in fact human. It is the smell – soil and sweat and last night’s shampoo. A hint of metal. So unlike me, all pickled and peppery.