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Latest Stories

December 05, 2022
General Stories M Da Costa

Only Sixty Five

Standing outside the supermarket Harold noted the diminishing line of trolleys. It’s going to be busy, like last week. Tuesday was ‘pensioners’ day; besides the specials, it was a time to socialise. His wife, Mavis, was an imposing lady and thanks to her job…
December 05, 2022
Poetry Peter Greenhall

On The Come Down

What a weekend, How great was that? Total mayhem, Too much of that. Sliding down the walls, Excessive sweating too, Can't keep still, Body is aching through and through. Then come the shivers, Poison in my blood, Wish I could detox, Gun in my hand, I really…
December 05, 2022
General Stories D.A. Cairns

A Place of Refuge

“I’m so tired of this weather,” said Spider. “Me too,” agreed Beetle. “I want to be out running around in the sweet, long grass feeling the sun on my back.” She extended and beat her wings suddenly out of frustration. “Calm down,” said Spider. “It can’t rain…
December 05, 2022
Poetry Peter Greenhall

Relief Its Over

Thank god we no longer exist, A couple, Together, A faded mist Smiles and laughter, At times it was great, Who could be dafter?, Oh for f**k sake. Then the intimacy began, Between us two, Drinking and flirting, I've got feelings for you. Kisses, a connection,…
December 05, 2022
Romance Stories L Christopher Hennessy

Exploring The Nature Of It

Part One Holding open the door for her was always the better part of my day when life, as it does, places people together, for whatever reason. Our reason was to learn. Her name I prefer to keep to myself and her eyes still have me mistaken. Dark green, I…
November 10, 2022
Horror Stories Robert Pettus

Three Musky Tears

A hulking drop of sizzling, putrid acid-rain crashed with force into Carew Tower, crumbling thousands of the old khaki bricks, sending them falling weightily downward hundreds of feet to the street below—its Art Deco, classic beauty now destroyed. Another…
November 01, 2022
Poetry Ava

Company None

Set up a company. None. I am thinking of what it should be. None. Hard to tell. None of my business. Anywhere and everywhere, ‘How To Discuss What Matters Most’. Live or die. I am on my way to Cambridge. Whether it is your negotiation or your solution, I…
November 01, 2022
Poetry Peter Greenhall

Economy

How can we see this through, Rates rising, Inflation too, How much more, Can we take from you? Blame the war, A far gone place, Energy crisis, In your face. Not of our making, Nor the Russian people too, NATO expansion, Putin warned not too. Costs are way too…
November 01, 2022
General Stories Lawrence Hartmann

The City

She was 40 years old. Halfway to eighty, she thought. Half her life is over. “Today is my birthday,” she said to the waiter at the café. “Happy birthday, ma’am,” the young handsome man said to her. People were calling her “ma’am” now. Was she looking like a…
October 20, 2022
Poetry Ava

Wait For The Sunrise

A morning, Suddenly rain, Not so early, Wait for the sunrise. A typical night, It was raining, Prevented the outdoor artwork, Went back to word. I feel the feeling, It’s from you, But it’s not about me, Save the word. I feel the feeling, Just like you in me,…
October 20, 2022
Poetry Peter Greenhall

The Boys

 Boys, boys, boys, Who do you wanna be, A good boy, naughty boy, or An apple from a bad tree. Boys, boys, boys, The choice is yours to see, Read book's, University, Safe, reliable. Boys, boys, boys, What do you want to do?, Fighting, earning, and screwing, No…
October 20, 2022
Mystery Stories Norman Marcotte

The Nose Knows

The two detectives walked slowly down the path of a blooming field. It was 8:40 am on a sunny Sunday morning when they were called to the suburb of Mapleridge. All they were told was to investigate a situation whereby a body had been found in a park behind a…

I awoke with a strangled cry, startled to find him standing over me.

The Stalker, dressed all in black like always.

Sure, I’ve seen him before, but never up close. Watching me from a darkened doorway, peering through the slats of the dingy blinds in an abandoned house, sitting in the next car over on the subway, standing on the opposite curb as I waited for the Walk signal.

For the most part, I’ve gotten over being afraid. In the beginning, I was terrified. Double- and triple-bolting the doors, nailing the windows shut, willing to take my chances on burning up in a house fire as long as he couldn’t get me. I'd worry that he’d gotten in the house while I was out, check every nook and cranny, places he couldn’t possibly fit, my frenzied imagination granting him superhuman powers. Maybe he could shrink himself to the size of a mouse, wait for me to let my guard down, reassume his normal size and come after me as I soaked in the tub or watched TV.

I bought the gun a long time ago. I used to carry it everywhere, even around the house, but it’s lying in a drawer now, gathering dust. Who knows if it even works anymore? Do bullets have an expiration date like medicine and batteries? Guess it’s a little late to go Google it now.

You know what they say: after awhile you can get used to anything, even a hulking stranger all in black stalking your every move. Okay, nobody says the last part, but I’m saying it. I mean, I still have a life to live. Work, bills, parties, dates. Although my dating life’s not so great—it’s hard to be intimate with someone when there’s always someone else watching. I know people are into that, but for non-exhibitionist me, it puts a damper on things.

After awhile I started imagining that The Stalker was a guardian angel. On the whole, my life runs pretty smooth. Like even though I live in a not-so-great part of the city, I’ve never been mugged, not even in the dark subway tunnels late at night. Maybe The Stalker’s a good guy. Maybe everybody has one; they’re just too wrapped up in themselves to notice.

He isn’t looking so benevolent right about now, looming over me. How’d he even get in? Have I gotten so complacent that I forgot to bolt the door? Now I feel invincible, telling myself he’s protecting me? Does he stand watch every night, and I’ve just never woken up before?

In all these years, I’ve never seen his face. Even now, it’s too dark. He’s too dark. Maybe he doesn’t have a face, just blackness, like the Grim Reaper. I’ve never seen him with a sickle...surely that would’ve caught my eye. Maybe the sickle’s a myth, artistic license to make Death look more interesting. Maybe he hired some fancy advertising firm to spruce up his image.

I can just picture the brainstorming session for that gig.

It needs something. It’s so blah—I know! It needs some color.

But it’s Death. Death doesn’t do color.

I’ve got it! A sickle. He needs to have a sickle.

Then everyone else would just stare at each other, not knowing what a sickle was. Once they figured it out, the guy who came up with it would get huge kudos, a raise...wish I had something like that on my resume. Designed the official image of Death—that would have the job offers rolling in for sure.

Has he been watching me all this time, just waiting to punch my ticket? Surely Death has a pretty full schedule; he couldn’t afford to spend all his time on me, unless he has a staff of underlings on the payroll, like all the Santa Clauses at Christmas.

Maybe he pals around with Santa, picked up the idea over a round of golf. There is all that business about Santa being an anagram for Satan...maybe he’s part of the dark side, too.

I glanced over at the clock. 3:47. Time to get the show on the road or call it a night. Death or no Death, I’ve got work in a few hours.

“Get it over with, or let me go back to sleep already.” That didn’t come out nearly as forceful as I intended, voice hoarse and scratchy. Still, The Stalker turned and walked out with a rustling sound, like leaves scraping in the wind.

He closed the door behind him; I heard the sound of the lock sliding home.

I rolled over to go back to sleep, smiling, finally figuring it out:

All this time, he’s had the key.

 

END

 

 

Vela Damon grew up in the rural south and now resides in The Lone Star State. Her short stories and poems have appeared in 101 Words, Dark Dreams Podcast, Leaves of Ink, The Subterranean Quarterly and several other publications. She has work forthcoming in Hogglepot and Blackout City Podcast. Find her online at www.veladamon.com and www.facebook.com/veladamon

 

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