Tag: Dark

Blue Earth: A Memory Merchant Story by Frank T. Sikora

Winter 1959

1

The Memory Merchant cursed his fate: A mixture of ice and snowpack covered the road. What should have been a 12-hour drive took almost 24 hours with tires that had seen better days. The old truck’s brakes weren’t better, screeching with every skidding stop. The pickup also needed new spark plugs and a timing belt. He suspected the ball joints were hanging by a thread or whatever ball joints hung by.

Once a Mother by Stephanie Parent

Mother takes her Baby Girl to the park on the first warm day of the year. The bluebells have burst into bloom, turning familiar grass into a foreign seascape. Baby Girl wobbles with unpracticed feet on bulbous cerulean heads. She sways as if she floats atop the waves of a real ocean.

Mother loves to hold Baby Girl’s hand, keeping her steady, even if it means crouching till Mother’s young knees ache like an old woman’s. Baby Girl clenches her tiny fingers with determination: one step, then another, then another. Mother only wishes her daughter’s flesh did not stay so rigid and cold, despite the sun’s sweet caresses.

The Last Page by Zachary Toombs

It’s three a.m. and as her child lays beside her, she writes. She writes in a notepad that isn’t a notepad. It’s the very last page in a bible that she found in the nightstand. What she writes with is no pen but an eyeliner pencil on its last legs. When she runs the tip across the paper it hardly gets the words out. But desperate are those words scrawled in cursive. And it’s desperation that muffles her sobs.

Cherry Pie by Rina Song

Richard cursed softly at the state of the parking lot. Piles of rubble and broken bottles covered the asphalt. Shards of glass glittered menacingly, concealing the lot striping. In no mood for punctured tires, he inched his beaten gray SUV around the edge of the lot. By some miracle, a bare spot remained near the curb. He stepped out, massaging his cramped legs, and didn’t bother to glance at the object that loomed overhead.

The dollar store’s windows had been smashed, leaving holes big enough to step through. Richard, eyeing the jagged edges, went for the door. His shoulders slumped with relief as he looked upon racks of laundry detergent, party hats, and off-brand mustard. Perhaps the vandals hadn’t found much worth taking. In any case, it was best not to linger. He hurried down the aisles.

Marrow by T.G. Hyndewood

It was an in-between sort of creature. If nothing else, they could agree on that. And as they waited for the others in the last light of the frozen hills, Flanagan was beginning to wish they hadn’t caught it. When he’d first glimpsed it writhing in the snare, he’d mistaken it for a child; it was only after Miller had seen it too that he’d accepted it as real and not a fiction of his senses. They’d been staring at the snow-sealed landscape for so long now that no one trusted their eyes. The sea of white was hypnotic, with a lurid, febrile quality that the hunger played with in unsettling ways.

Tugging on the rope, Flanagan heard a stumbling of hooves and the same whimper he’d first mistaken for an infant’s.

White by J.T. Bundy

Her briefcase thudded against the stairs as Elise went up into the house. The client’s son Wade led the way. Despite his age – early thirties, she guessed – there was a white streak in his hair like he’d suffered a terrible fright and never recovered. “Not many female operators these days,” he offered – the typical preamble.

“Not many operators full stop,” she replied. “And mostly freelance since the HC downsized.”

“Indeed.”