The banana leaves were shredded by the storms that had torn through Florida in September, but new growth had already unfurled, and turgid green leaves clapped in the wind. Dana sat alone on her back terrace and sipped red wine that she couldn’t taste. She sucked on her cigarette, gazing at the smoke as it jetted from her mouth and dispersed into the blackness beyond her porch light.
It had only been a few months since Troy left her. He had a heart attack, which might not have even killed him if he hadn’t careened off the road into an alligator infested canal. Blunt trauma to the head, the coroner’s report said, from the impact of Troy’s skull against some part of their old Jeep. Continue reading “The Particles Formerly Known as Troy by Christa Wojciechowski”
don’t think just act don’t think just act don’t
The metal girder was cutting through Eddie’s tracksuit, slicing through the fabric and into his knees as he strained. He cursed, yelled, but he wasn’t strong enough to pull both children to safety simultaneously, risked letting them fall.
‘Listen,’ he said, into the hole. ‘I need to let go for a second.’ Continue reading “The Other Boy by Robin Maginn”
The bastard alarm goes off, wrenching Seymour out of his dream. The nightmare images fade rapidly but he’s left with fleeting, barely-remembered glimpses of hideous twisted creatures. He blames the cheese puffs. He remembers being slumped in bed the previous night, snacking and watching the late news on TV. There’d been some mention of a virus, and a couple of serious looking academics had explained that the situation was worsening. The newsreader sternly announced that the filthy public were starting to riot in the streets. This was followed by images of a general panic as people ransacked supermarkets for microwave ovens and widescreen televisions. Because those were always so terribly useful in an apocalypse. Continue reading “The Restless Dead by Martin Webb”
‘Those bastards never deserved a second chance,’ Bret said, talking to himself as usual. Though nothing was usual tonight. Three of his clients were dead, and he was on his way to a safe house outside of London, in the woody byroads surrounding some forgotten little town. Weygone. Weydon. Something like that anyway. The point was, no one ever looked for him here.
The road was narrow, twisting between colourless trees. If he drove fast enough it would tear, show itself to be a stage backdrop. The car felt real however. It was a beautiful Mitsubishi Lancer, a relic some would say, but the wheel in his hands, the titanium frame, the three litre engine purring, these were all totems to reality. Reality was an important thing to a man like Bret. Continue reading “The Final Tape by Joseph Sale”
I walked along the offbeat path that led to our house; steeling myself. Even though it was yards away I could already hear the fighting going on. Mum and Kenny, husband number four, were screaming at each other loud enough for the whole neighbourhood to hear. My stepfather had probably come home late after his shift at the car factory. Mum was always volatile and incredibly violent. She’d probably had a shitty day working at the nursing home and was looking for an excuse to lay into someone.
I deliberately spent a few hours at the shopping centre after school in the hope I wouldn’t run into a row at home. No such luck. As I rounded the corner the yelling grew even louder. Mrs Slyde the obese woman who lived in the home opposite was smoking on her front porch. As usual she regarded me with a toothless leer. Still despite her unfriendliness the old woman never seemed particularly bothered by the constant fights going on next door. The whole Slyde family was weird. Continue reading “Home Sweet Home by Cordelia Harrison”
I loved you. I don’t quite know why after all you put me through. The ups and the downs were as they happened, and I cannot deny that I lost my temper on some occasions.
I’d always loved you for who you were, not what. I knew you felt the same way about me too. It made me happy to think about that, to know you were mine and I was yours. I did think that way, and I know if I tried I could do so again.
Now I’m beyond trying, and I can’t get back. Continue reading “Something Strange by Micah Wendelborn”
1. The Book Club
The famous crime writer met with his literary agent for help with a problem. It was strange, you wouldn’t think that this crime novelist, who was rich and successful, had any problems in his life at all. He was the author of the Inspector Tak mysteries – a series of police procedurals in which dour, working-class cop Ian Tak investigated serial killers (aided by DC Sarah Lombardi, a hot-headed half-Italian sidekick who wore expensive suits and had a habit of swearing in Italian). The books had been popular for many years but sales had begun to ebb. Feminists objected to the visceral rape-slaughters of the author’s anonymous fictional victims. Comments he had made on panels, at festivals, on his blog, and on Twitter, had been misinterpreted. It was time for a new direction.
‘Vampires,’ said the agent. ‘Vampires is it.’ Continue reading “Triptych by Max Dunbar”