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Latest Stories

May 19, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jo Carroll

The Curl and Vampire

She was a pretty thing to be sure, the little girl with the curl. Her cheeks were as red as blood and her skin as smooth as porcelain. And yet there was something odd about her clear blue eyes—something empty and soulless. She sat atop her throne of building…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Nicole Robb

New Frontier

Still groggy from her hibernation chamber, Stacey checked the readings once again on the ship's control panel.She had read them right. "Tom! Something's wrong." "What is it?" Tom emerged from the back where he had been checking on the twelve hundred sleeping…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Laura Ellison

Remedy

The smell of death hung heavy and pungent in the air. Sickness touched the skin and covered it in a dewy glow that in any other situation could have been attractive. Castellan held a scented handkerchief over her nose as she walked through the village to the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Dylan Thomas Nichol

Forged in Shadows

Screaming was all that could be heard through the bone chilling halls of the dungeon. This was what the supposedly great nation of Hace really was. An ugly abomination lay underneath the stunning Admor Keep, and Caelin made the long journey through it, his…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Isabel Schwaak

Something Stronger

A thick grey stone wall separated the village of Telly Fenn from the wilderness. A narrow path led the way out of the village and melted into a crossroad, from which a crooked path strayed far into the dark forest. The inhabitants of Telly Fenn were content…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jade De-Terville

A Light Bulb Called Tink

“This is more than just a bloody mid life crisis,” Karen said clutching a tattered red book, until her knuckles started going white. She savagely threw the book onto the chequered dining cloth, and ran her hands through her untamed hair. “Oi, mind the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories April Winters

Area Twenty Four and a Half

I, Jim Roberts, got fired today. I didn’t realize Mr. Kerr, my boss, was standing behind me when I referred to him as Kerr-mitt. He failed to see the humor, and now I have no source of income. Looks like my journalistic aspirations are out the window. I…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jeremy Szal

Crimson Snow

16th Day of Regon, Year 455 of the First Dawn I could feel the cold as we climbed higher, the chill reaching into my bones. The wind whispered across the grassland, flapping my black hair over my face. I wanted to lie down. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories B.J.Neblett

Forever

“Segue the next couple of records with a jingle then go into a stop set. I’m gonna get some air.” Hy Lit flashed his agreeable smile, adjusted his trade mark tinted glasses and winked. “You’re a natural, kid.” Then he disappeared out the studio door. The…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories BJ Neblett

Pockets Full Of Wishes

“Don’t put your hands in the pockets!” Jimmy looked at his sister. It was just a winter coat, a used one. It was all his parents could afford. But it was his. He picked it out. Now he stood proudly before the store mirror admiring the blue denim coat with the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Laura Ellison

Consumed

Arlia knelt down on a silk cushion in the middle of the room. She took a deep breath and centred herself. Gramps always told her to do this, sometimes he jabbed her in the sides with his walking stick if he thought she rushed meditation. In front of her the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Paul Magnan

Scorned

I grasped the rough edges of the tombstone and pulled it from the strands of thick, yellowed grass upon which it lay. I set it in an upright position. The words “Dear Love” were carved along the top of the stone. I had carved those words. For a few seconds…

 

 

Driving down State Highway 86, Donelli saw a sign, “Speed Limit Enforced by Airplanes.”  He started laughing.  Only in California.  He wondered if they really did that.  He pictured a Cessna coming out of the air in front of him, touching down on the pavement with a light bar on its tail.

He eased back to sixty-five and kept it there.

He watched the signs.  There weren't many.  Lots for sale.  Cheap.  A billboard said there was an Indian reservation  ahead, with a casino, natch.  He thought about stopping in when he was done, maybe try a little blackjack.  Probably not.  He was supposed to be low-profile.  Do the job and move on.  Another time.

The Salton Sea was off to his left, about a mile down.  White sand beach, powder blue water.  The sand reached way down from the shore.  It looked like low tide.  Donelli didn't think there were tides this far inland, but he wasn't sure about that.  There was a drought on.  Maybe that was it.  Had to be.

There was the sign.  Salton Sea Beach.  It sounded nice.  What the guys back in Vegas said was, it used to be.  Not now.  They kind of grinned when they said it.  That was all they told him.  He took the turn.  Brawley Avenue.  It was a straight road with small houses on it.  White stucco, one-story.  Some nicely kept up, some not.  It reminded him a little of Jersey, the kind of beach houses they had back there.  It seemed nice enough.   He had some time before dark, so he thought he'd check out the beach.  It'd be right down at the end of this road.  Maybe there'd be some girls in bikinis.  Local talent.  Place like this, there had to be some.

He passed a house with a trailer in the yard.  It looked like the family was living in the trailer. That was odd.  He hadn't seen that before.  The next block, a couple of the houses looked abandoned.  One of them was spray-painted with graffiti.  The yards were mostly bare dirt.  Then another house with a trailer in the driveway.  Another with a moving van.  The block after that was worse.  One of the houses had been torn down, the pieces left to rot in the dirt.  Now all the homes were empty.  They looked like they had been for a long time.  He was close to the water now.  He could see a marina, deserted, like everything else, the pier rotting away.  And the water looked wrong.  Something floating in it.

He rolled down the window for a better look.  Then it hit him.  The smell.  Dead fish.  Lots of them.  And rotten eggs.  Some other things he couldn't name.  Some salt, like a real seashore.  Not enough.  He thought back to what Arnie had said.  “By the time anyone notices the smell, it won't really matter.”  They'd all laughed.  He hadn't thought much about it at the time.

He thought about it now.

He rolled up the window.

He made a right, then a left.  Second house down.  There it was.  Pinkish stucco with flamingos on the lawn.  There was no lawn but there were two plastic birds lying in the sand.  Close enough.  He was supposed to wait until dark, but he didn't want to be here a minute longer.  There was no one around.  He pulled into the driveway.  He took his handkerchief out of his pocket and tied it around his face.  He looked like he was in a cowboy movie.  He didn't care what he looked like.  He just wanted to get it done.

He opened the trunk and pulled the bag with what was left of Lenny Mullens out onto the driveway.  What was inside felt soft, like it'd been in the trunk too long.  He dragged it up to the front porch.  There was the key, right where it should be.  He got the door open and the smell from inside hit him.  The smell of death.  He knew that smell.  He managed not to puke.  He went in, dragged the bag after him to the door that led to the basement.  He opened that and a stronger smell hit him.  The same smell, but more of it.  The handkerchief wasn't near enough to help.  He lifted the bag and pushed it through the opening.  It bounced down the stairs and landed with a wet thud.  For a second he saw a pile of black bags just like the one he'd thrown down there.  Something was moving down there.  Insects, crawling around.  He heard the chittering of rats.  He felt his stomach lurch.  Then he got the door closed and puked on the linoleum.  He couldn't breathe.  Sweat was popping out of his skin.  He staggered out onto the porch and fell to his knees.

He made it to the car and got back on the road.  He wouldn't be hitting the casino now.  All he wanted was a shower to get the stink off him.  And something to rinse the puke out of his mouth. But not here.  Not anywhere near here.  He ran the side streets back to the highway.  Then he turned right and floored it, got it up to eighty.  He wasn't worried about airplanes now.

 

End

 

Brian Haycock is the author of Dharma Road, a book about Zen Buddhism and cabdriving from Hampton Roads Publishing. His short fiction has appeared in Thuglit, Yellow Mama, Amarillo Bay, Pulp Pusher, Swill and other upstanding publications. Unlike the people he writes about, he is law-abiding and reasonably sane. His website is  www.brianhaycock.com. Visit anytime.

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