Tag: Dark

Bottled Up by Yolanda DeLoach

“I can’t take this heat anymore,” I said, pushing back strands of hair that blew free from my headband. The open car windows did little to bring relief from Louisiana’s thick, oppressing air. “Might as well be holding a hair dryer up against my face,” I added for dramatic effect.

“For someone who grew up here, you sure complain a lot about the heat,” Daniel said. He poked me in the thigh.

“Well, we had this thing called air conditioning and it actually worked,” I said, returning a double jab to his thigh.

Teen Night by Brad Austin

A different boy calling this time—how many were there? Sounded like a party was happening in the background. Were parties so boring now that kids made prank calls to random businesses in the phone book? Or crank calls, was that the correct term? Roger was maybe 12 the last time he called someone as a joke. As a teenager he mostly called Steve. He’d ask Steve what he was doing, Steve would answer nothing, and they’d meet at one of their houses and do nothing. When they discovered drugs, they added drugs to the nothing-doing which made them feel like they were doing something. But they were doing nothing, especially not prank- or crank-calling anyone.

When Sweet turns Sour by Mel Fawcett

I’d often seen the hoodie-clad cyclist in the neighbourhood – forever going too fast,  jumping lights, and screaming at pedestrians and motorists alike. On this occasion he attempted to pass on the inside of a car, but he misjudged the manoeuvre, was squeezed against the curb and narrowly missed coming to grief. He shouted abuse at the hapless motorist as she drove away.

Hands Up Who Wants To Die by Sonya Vatomsky

I didn’t think anything of it when the mail arrived. Or rather I thought about the mail arriving, about the spoils of my latest shopping spree. I had, you see, a moderately popular YouTube channel and was in a perpetual state of buying and receiving perfume — samples usually, tiny vials always turning up under sofa cushions and between the pages of magazines. Mail, much like my life, could be exciting but was under no circumstances unusual. X led to y without dilly dallying; events brushed the crumbs of chance off their no-nonsense cardigans. My flat smelled of vetiver and old habits.

Six Defining Moments from a Mediocre Life: A Vengeful Tragicomedy by Matthew Alcorn

It has occurred to me that in these final days of my life, with no spouse or heir to wait at my bedside for my final breath, that I should preserve in writing the few defining moments of my mediocre time on this Earth. While I doubt that anyone will be interested enough to read these entries, it seems wrong that one should pass from this plane of existence without leaving something behind. Unfortunately, as I reflect on my mundane existence, I realize that each defining moment is somehow connected to my late “friend” (for he would, until the end, recognize me as such, though I could not reciprocate the sentiment) Howard Foreman.

Partners by DL Shirey

He took the name Desmond this time. It sounded nice as he said it out loud. He repeated the name, trying to commit it to memory.

“What’d you say?” his partner muttered; words slurred.

“Nothing,” Desmond said in the language both knew. Then he made the mistake of letting slip his partner’s real name. It sounded as foreign as any other word in their tongue and Desmond was pretty sure no one in Albuquerque spoke it. Nonetheless, it was against the rules and Desmond received a sharp elbow for the error.

How to Bear It by Audrey Alt

Esme wakes to the slamming of the front door and panics. Each night, she goes to bed after Nathaniel and, each morning, tries to ensure she gets up before him—in case she needs to dispose of leftovers, though usually she doesn’t. But today, after she scrambles down the stairs and rounds the corner, tripping on a throw rug as she does, she finds, as expected, as feared, that Nathaniel has beaten her outside. Worse, he’s on the driveway poking at her piles with a stick. She watches from the window, and when he notices her, he goes back inside.

“Why is there food out there?” he asks gently while also assuming her guilt. He shakes his head and rolls his eyes, only partly in jest, as he goes down the hallway to get the broom and dustpan. “Let me guess. You’re feeding wild animals again.”

Takeda by Christopher A. Walker

From the plane window, Tokyo yawns gray and endless. At this altitude, it all seems still, like a diorama. Despite the serenity of this quiet scene, I can’t shake this twinge of panic that haunts me every time I get on a plane.

It’s been some time since I was last in Japan. One day I’d like to visit without any interviews, no all-nighters spent hammering out a first draft, counting the difference between JST and PST on my fingers like a nervous tic. Among Tokyo’s millions, I hope to find one man. A man who doesn’t know I exist, but whose work and the questions it leaves unanswered have shaped the course of my life indelibly. I need to ask him how he made something that shouldn’t be possible.

The only problem is that Yusei Takeda disappeared twenty-three years ago.