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Latest Stories

July 28, 2018
Mystery Stories Roger Ley

The Wheel Fiddle

The melody drifted across the garden as she was picking fruit to make a summer pudding. She put down her basket, wiped the sweat from her forehead and walked around to the front of the cottage. The man stood waiting at her garden gate, he raised his cap. He…
July 28, 2018
Flash Fiction Rekha Viswanathan

Pills and Capsules

I wake up to a crisp, clear and sunny morning. The fresh coffee smell beside my bed tempts me. One long sip of the coffee and my senses kick in! I have a long day ahead. At least that's what the papers at the foot of my bed say. Glancing at the paper I see…
July 28, 2018
Crime Stories Stephen A Murray

Russia,Russia,Russia.

There existed in Russia a small group of intelligence operatives left over from the KGB. They are known as Sputniks. From Wikipedia: "Sputnik was the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on October…
July 28, 2018
General Stories Paul Anobile

A Portrait of Slam Bang City

I was hired to paint the portrait of a billionaire who founded a small city twenty years ago in a ghost town he purchased in Arizona. Danny O’Keefe, professional wrestling promoter and executive, convinced a number of investors to build a fourteen-thousand…
July 28, 2018
Science Fiction Stories Majoki

The Deadest Generation

Sergeant Taylor always checked us thoroughly before sending us in: regulation uniform, backpacks, anti-ballistic helmets, Kevlar vests, and, of course, your gun. You couldn’t go anywhere in this place and be safe without your gun. Sergeant Taylor was strict…
July 28, 2018
General Stories J.B.Stevens

Dead Camel

The improvised explosive popped off to the convoy’s left. The armored black Suburban Neil drove muffled the sound to a dull thud. The blast seemed smaller than normal. “Anyone hurt?” the medic, Luiz, called across the radio. The team members, in four matching…
July 28, 2018
Romance Stories Jerry Hogan

He'll Ask Me To Dance Again

Jay I’m Jay, and I have never been to the My Time Dance Studio before tonight. As I entered, the interior projected a garish 1930s Art Deco motif. Greenish, glow-in-the-dark, semilucent plastic tubing wrapped around the hand railings separating one sitting…
July 28, 2018
General Stories Jim Bartlett

The Comebacker

Cornstalk stretches forward, the look almost as if he’s about to fall headfirst off the mound, saved only by the slapping of his left hand to his knee. He locks eyes with his catcher, then lets his gaze wander down just below his glove for the sign. Uncle…
July 28, 2018
Crime Stories Susan C. Nigra

Never Kill The Author

Oh My God! What’s happening? This has never happened before. I am cornered, trapped, boxed in with no safe way out. There has always been a way out before, miraculous last minute saves. I think back to how I got here and I remember I was assigned this case as…
July 28, 2018
Crime Stories Thomas Schmidt

The Streets of Camden

Saturday night was cold and wet. Mike Joseph walked cautiously down Norris Street on his way to the Whitman Park Field, a large green space inside the depressed neighborhood. Propositioned twice by street walkers, he kept moving while shifting his head from…
July 13, 2018
Mystery Stories Rekha Viswanathan

The Enchanted Woods

The boys are on a trip. A trip into the woods. Accompanied by their family they trudge along a narrow path, a route that had obviously been traced by human footsteps, a trail that had been trodden many a time. They walk cautiously, startled by the snap of a…
July 13, 2018
Flash Fiction Carl Perrin

What Could go Wrong

If you plan every detail carefully, nothing can go wrong. I believed that when I was a teenager. Like the time Billy Long and I decided to make our own beer. Once in a while we used to steal a couple of Billy’s father’s beers, but we were always afraid we…

 

 

Shines like a beacon - Editor

My Wife Glows in the Dark

by Brian Ross

My wife is following me.

Again.

Lately, I have been distant: hands-off when she wants me to be hands-on, too busy or too tired when she wants to talk. She has suspicious blood, my wife, but she trips over her reckless curiosity. She does the math, comes up with five, and paints herself a pretty picture. Next thing I know, I’m watching my back because she’s on it.

She never stops to ask why.

So we play the game.

She asks me how my racquet-ball practice was and I say, great thanks. I rub my shoulder convincingly as she tells me about her evening of dishes and dirty nappies. Her story is as transparent as mine, but I’m working a lie so I don’t question hers.

She is a poor detective - more Clouseau than Poirot. She thinks I don’t see her - behind cars, in doorways, around corners - but I do. I see everything. She doesn’t move when my eyes try to find her, but she is there just the same, not realising that I have her chasing her own tail.

I’m happy to indulge her, to pretend I don’t notice my new shadow, because she will only ever see what I want her to. And besides, after tonight, she won’t do it again.

#

“It’s work, honey,” I tell her, already shrugging my jacket on. “I’m sorry. I have to go.”

I’m a doctor, so leaving the house at eleven-thirty on a Thursday night isn’t such a stretch. I have made midnight trips before: I have saved lives at this hour several times. This one though is different. Make up a patient, give him a name, a tumour, two months to live. Shake and stir.

I cross the street and make as if I’m checking for traffic, but there are no cars at this time of night, and it’s really her I’m looking for. She’s still there, hands frightened by her sides, pretending to be interested in the sides of beef Joe has in his butcher’s window.

My wife, the vegetarian. She can’t fool me.

The town is black, but the truth cannot be masked by flicking a switch and killing the light.

I turn up my collar and sink deeper into the gloom.

I pass a guy on the street, his hands shoved deep into his pockets like he is digging for answers. His eyes meet mine as our shadows merge under a street-lamp, and he quickly looks back at his guilty feet, as they take him towards the wrong bed.

I turn the corner and there’s the building I’m looking for. Five storys. There are a few yellow eyes in the wall of concrete and black glass: dozens of numbers on the silver panel by the door. I press forty-two, and say:

“Sorry to bother you so late, but I’ve locked myself out. Can you let me in please? It’s seventeen. Thanks, man.”

He doesn’t say a word. There is a buzz, the lock springs, and I push inside. The door falls closed on my tail.

The outside chill is replaced by artificial warmth. The heating system tick-ticks within the walls of the building like a telltale heart.

I climb the stairs, passing seventeen, and throw a look over my shoulder.

Nothing.

She has learned fast, but not fast enough.

Out of sight, and soon to be out of her mind, I think, almost loud enough to hear outside my own head.

When I reach the third floor, Number Forty-Two is standing in his doorway. Bare feet, wild hair, black pants. His middle-of-the-night curiosity is a dangerous thing, although at this moment he doesn’t realise it. I don’t mind. It saves me knocking or breaking in.

Less noise, more haste.

I walk up to him and say: “I believe you know my wife.”

It’s not a question but he seems to think it is. I can see him wondering who the hell I am and why the hell I’m here. He looks at me strangely - because comprehension is asleep at midnight - then tries to say something, but I am not interested in any of his excuses.

I pull a gun from my inside pocket and shoot him three times in the chest.

Phfft.

Phfft.

Phfft.

Silencers are wonderful. It’s like plugging a pillow.

Forty-Two falls back and hits the carpet, dead before he does. I’m a doctor. These things I know.

I put the gun back into my jacket and make my way downstairs.

My wife is standing in the foyer with her mouth open, looking at me the way people do when they don’t know what to say.

I smile and brush past her into the night.

You see, a cheat is easy to see, and a betrayal of the heart shines like a beacon.

My wife glows.

But not anymore.

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