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Dead Lucky

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“Do something, Andy.” - Editor

Dead Lucky

by Len Dawson

A few days ago I would have enjoyed standing out on our sixth-floor balcony in the mild autumn weather and warm midday sunshine, but now I’m watching for those fiends to come back.

An old lady in the street below me stumbles among the bodies, as though she’s stoned, but she’s blinded, another casualty of the virus. I hear a noise and look off in the distance. I know that she heard it too because she turns her head in the direction of the car that’s careening towards her.

Ask me how can I stand here and watch what’s happening and do nothing to help and I won’t have an answer, except to say that I’m scared. I want to yell to the old woman, to warn her that the car isn’t going to stop, but I don’t because I don’t want the brutes in that car to know we’re up here. I don’t want them to come looking for us.

I hear the car’s engine race just before it slams into her, hear the thud as her body absorbs some of the car’s momentum. She’s airborne for several long surreal moments before she bounces off of a parked car like a rag doll. It sickens me, but I comfort myself with the knowledge that her troubles are probably over, and that nothing I could’ve done would have made a difference. The first time I saw them kill somebody, I wanted to make them pay for it, but now I’m just glad it’s not one of us out there, and I can’t remember when I crossed that line.
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My Own Reflections

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Know thyself - Editor

My Own Reflections

by Andrew Black

Edward Hoffman looked down at the muddy, swirling water fifteen odd feet below him and pondered what it would be like to topple over the cast iron railing atop the reservoir into those murky depths. He kicked a pebble off the ledge, watching the little stone tumble in a lazy arc until it plopped into the placid surface below. Circular ripples echoed outward and were quickly absorbed back into the silt-laden water. Would a body make ripples that lasted longer? He wondered if maybe all of life was like those quickly vanishing circles, where a man was no more than a pebble dropped in the great pond of life at birth, their ripples spreading outward while they slowly sank beneath the surface until at last even the small wake of their passing vanished.

He often came to the Ross Lake reservoir wall to ponder such thoughts. The wall couldn’t really be classified as a dam, though it served the same basic purpose. It separated the bulk of the large lake from a smaller retaining pond whose underground spring was once source for the larger body of water. Ohio Route 65 traversed the reservoir wall, a lonely two lane county highway that formed the northern border of the lake and its heavily forested banks. Edward worked a few miles down that road at KLH Manufacturing, a tractor and farm equipment factory that employed a number of people from nearby Parisville. He was a paper pusher, a regional sales manager who did little more than sit in meetings all day and pump out a few worthless memos a week. He would come to the lake three or four times a week on his lunch breaks and gaze down at the gently lapping water while thinking about the world and his place in it.
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Dead Things

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Crybaby - Editor

Dead Things

by Marius Dicomites

It was worse than she expected.

Nothing could really prepare you for the cold, irrefutable confirmation - the shock of the moment when all doubts and illusions were snatched away to be replaced by a suffocating and onerous grief. The final day for the dead was the beginning for those left behind. This was when the mourning truly began.

Rachel watched silently as the long procession gradually gathered around the graves. It was still raining heavily – it had been raining for most of the day – and as they held their umbrellas over each other, she felt they were closing themselves off from her. They were a close, impenetrable group, and she was not allowed to be part of them. But she understood; she was the one to blame for all this. She had no right to share their grief.

From a distance, hardly feeling the cold or the rain, she held herself as she watched the ceremony. Desperately, she tried to draw some consolation from the priest’s words, but she was only reminded of what she had lost. How could words relieve the gnawing shock and disbelief she still felt? How could words ease the emptiness? There could be no persuasive reason or justification for all this. She just wanted those she had lost back again. She wanted things to be the way they had been before.
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Siren Song

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Nurse...Nurse!

Siren Song

by H T Garton

When they sent Ewan to the State Secure Hospital, I thought I would never have to see or think about him again.

Twenty years later, Granddad died. No one but Gran and I turned up to mourn his passing. I had never given much thought to how sour things must have turned for him and Gran since the day Ewan crashed into the jetty with the butchered remains of his best friend on board.

Gran took her time before she recognised me. When she did, joy obscured the grief in her eyes for a moment.

“Alison! I thought I’d lost you forever!” she cried as she clasped me to her. I smelled the salt in her tears and the familiar lavender of her soap. I went back to her home, which seemed even smaller than I remembered it.

While she rattled around her tiny kitchen preparing tea, I studied the photographs all over the living room walls and mantelpiece. I found only one with Ewan and me together with both our parents. In it, I am smiling at the new baby in mum’s arms. Dad looks ready to burst with pride as he stands behind, enveloping us with his brawny arms.  Mum is tilting her head to one side as though distracted by a distant sound.

Gran caught me looking as she came in and set the tray down.
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The Water Bearer

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Death by misadventure - Editor

The Water Bearer

by John F.D. Taff

Jim was the kind of neighbor who never said too much; a wave when he saw you outside, maybe a few polite, friendly words at the mailbox or when you caught him outdoors as he puttered in his well-kept yard, but little more.

The year is 1947, and Jim, oh, he must have been at least 80 years old. Never married, but in good health, his back slightly stooped, his legs bowed.

My wife and I live in a newly built suburban home, bought with money from a GI loan. This was supposed to pay me back for the year I'd spent tramping through the muddy fields of France and Germany, living with an ever-dwindling group of men, sleeping wherever I fell, and shooting at--and being shot at by--people I couldn't even understand.

Now here I was with three suits in my closet, a new Chevrolet in the garage, a kid born while I moved through the dark trees of the Ardennes, and young wife I barely knew. It was an adjustment for all concerned.

This spring, though, we had begun to settle in, to make our peace with our long separation. We had begun to find a rhythm.
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