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Short-Story.Me!

The Bones of Miracles

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Ancient Chinese secret... - Editor

The Bones of Miracles

by Nik Korpon

With the barrel of a gun trained on him, Mr. Chan blinked once and stifled a yawn. The man in the Reagan mask cursed and jabbed the muzzle into his cheek, pulled it back and gave him another fair view of the gun that threatened to paint the bamboo wallpaper of his store a vibrant shade of grey matter. Mr. Chan wasn’t nervous, though, and it gave his eye the look of a target, concentric circles of iris and undilated pupil. Cartoon noises seeped from the apartment above them. He wondered if his daughter was still watching Looney Tunes. He swallowed a laugh, an image of himself with a finger stuck in the barrel of the gun and Reagan with wisps of smoke curling like errant hairs—his own private Daffy Duck cartoon—lodged in his head. In the back room that served as both a storage space and the Chan family kitchen sat four large simmering pots.

The summer breeze blew through the holes in the burlap curtains hanging in the windows. Reagan startled, checked behind him, pushed the muzzle of his gun further into Mr. Chan’s wrinkled cheek. Hung from the ceiling by braided thread, thirty-odd sets of wind chimes knocked against each other, a hollow soulful noise like a wooden xylophone. The tone echoed off the cracked tile floor the color of dried bone and a tsunami of funereal sound waves filled the room.

Although the rest of the neighborhood was round-eyed, it was his wind chimes that gave Mr. Chan his reputation. The carving was so exquisite that a man from the Visionary Art Museum approached him once, offering a place in the self-taught artist exhibition. He later declined, citing the store’s long hours and the lack of anyone else to run the business. But it was more their tone than the artistry, the way they turned a person to a lump of gooseflesh, froze their blood into pellets, that made the chimes renowned.

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Saying Goodbye to Grandfather

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Stop that! - Editor

Saying Goodbye to Grandfather

by M. J. Waller

We shuffled out of the alley, took a right turn and bore down slowly upon Avonlea Care Home for Elderly Zombies.  When we reached the cast iron gates, my father buzzed the intercom to gain access and they swung open ponderously in front of us.  My father made to step inside the grounds but I held back, suddenly fearful and not so keen to see my grandfather any longer.

“Come on, Calum,” my father urged.  “It'll be fine, really.”

I still hung back, not particularly convinced.  The care home was nothing like I imagined it would be.  Thin grass speckled the vast grounds and, here and there, dotted about mostly in areas closer to the cracked pathway, the odd flower grew, sometimes even in bunches of five or six.  A single tree stood a short distance from the gate and not only did it look alive and healthy, but my eyes caught movement high up of a squirrel darting between the branches. . .no of two squirrels racing each other to the tree's crown. . .of three, of four!  A bird burst from out of the upper foliage.

“Come on.”

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Christmas Morning

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Short and (not too) sweet - Editor

Christmas Morning

by Rick McQuiston

Jeremy rolled over in bed and glanced at the clock on his nightstand. 5:55 stared back at him in red LED numbers. A tiny red dot was lit next to the a.m. designation.

Not even six o’clock yet, he thought sluggishly. Still too early to get up.

But the anticipation that he harbored for Christmas morning was severely tempered by the memory of what he had witnessed earlier that same night.

Or thought he had witnessed.

It was shortly after two- thirty a.m. when he woke up, as most children do, overwhelmed by the curiosity of what lay under the Christmas tree. With excitement that could only be fostered in a child on that most anticipated of nights, he gleefully crawled out of bed and tip-toed down the stairs to investigate whether or not jolly old Saint Nick had fulfilled his holiday duties.

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Starving

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Vampires are people, too - Editor

Starving

by Kelly Barnhill

The people gathered in the rain - black hair and black clothing all clinging to spare frames like damp feathers.  Crows, Randall Kinney thought as he stationed himself in front of the large black door.  A murder of crows. He liked the sound of it, and felt the corners of his wide mouth twitch slightly, itching the contours of his stubbled cheeks.  He forced his face into that look of stern detachment, which he had perfected in front of the mirror before his first day, five years earlier.  He had never smiled on the job.  A smile could be dangerous.

He leaned back on the dented steel and waited for the knock telling him that he could let everyone in.  The line stretched along the length of the low building, its black face painted over with the white lettering of bands that had played there in previous years.  Some of the shows he had seen as a teenager, back when hanging out with your friends on Hennepin or First Avenues was cool, before the bodies, half frozen and drained of life, blood, and everything else that once flowed under their skin, started showing up in dumpsters or abandoned cars or the quiet doorways to abandoned restaurants.

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Here

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If you've ever loved a dog... - Editor

Here

by John F.D. Taff

The first time I saw him he was all motion and energy, pushing over his littermates, straining to get to me, to be taken with me.

To be with me…

Here…

The last time I saw him he lay motionless, a pool of dark water in the middle of the country road that runs in front of my house.

Only it wasn’t the last time…not really.

I’d gone in for a second, just a second, to pee while I let him out to do the same.  I was late getting home from work, and I knew he’d be anxious to get outside.  It was dark, no moon, and he was a small, black pug.  But I wasn’t worried, never gave it a thought.  The road, a narrow, gravel thing, heavily cratered and barely graded, was little used.  I live on, if you’ll excuse me, a dead end.  The few people who actually use it are those few who actually live on it, and there aren’t many of us.  Traffic wasn’t a concern.

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