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Latest Stories

October 14, 2018
Crime Stories Julie Achilles

The Boy in a Hoodie

I am walking along the road, the road that leads to home and I see him. I do not know him but for some reason I know there is a significance. He is casually dressed and wearing a grey hoodie which is pulled up, yet, I can still see his face. I can see that he…
October 14, 2018
Fantasy Stories M.B.Manteufel

Two Heads are Better than One

He opened the jewelry box with one gloved hand, holding steady a slim flashlight with the other. He cursed under his breath. Empty. Again. Matt Sanders wasn’t used to bad luck. He had become one of the best in his profession because he refused to rely on…
October 14, 2018
General Stories Julie Harris

The Man Who Left His Wife With A Goat

The morning’s warm rain finally drizzled to a wind-blown spray before a strong sun blazed in the cloudless sky. Christine stood motionless at the kitchen sink staring beyond the teardrop stained window to where he stood watching from the summer house.…
October 14, 2018
Mystery Stories Salvatore Difalco

Vertigo

Juan rose to pee in pitch darkness, his eyes fluttering. He found the toilet, but peed all over the unraised seat, splashing his shins and toes. Catching jeweled glints of chrome and glass, his eyes oriented to the darkness. Incomprehensible, his next move—he…
September 09, 2018
Crime Stories Frankie Neptune

It's The End of The World as We Knew It

 Reggie Benangin had always been this way. He couldn’t do anything right. The following is true - Though not even Polish, he couldn’t screw in a light bulb. When growing up in Westfield, New Jersey, his father knew never to ask Reggie to cut the grass. Every…
September 09, 2018
Horror Stories Vidal Martinez

La Llorona

I almost slam my head on the dashboard when the car suddenly stops in the middle of the dirt road. “What are you doing?” He looks behind me. “Right there… those trees,” he says. “Are you serious?” I look out the passenger window, and in the dark distance is…
September 09, 2018
Mystery Stories Roger Ley

Curing Brian

The day started pleasantly enough, we’d met for our regular game of tennis, the old reliables, Chris, Marilyn, Malcolm and me. Then the man in the dirty suit appeared and everything changed. It was summer and the weather was warm, so we’d used the outside…
September 09, 2018
Romance Stories John L. Yelavich

Sunny Souls

I have fond recollections of my high school years roaming the hallways with my best pals and their gals. We all thought that we embodied the right stuff or whatever that mindset was. We were all proud, cocky and cool and never wanted to be labeled pretenders…
September 09, 2018
Science Fiction Stories Majoki

Snarge

What do you think we hit? Can’t say. We went through the critters pretty fast. I’ve never seen anything quite like that flock: multicolored, almost metallic-looking, circling in a protective formation. Very strange. We’ll have to wait until the techs evaluate…
August 21, 2018
Fantasy Stories Roger Ley

Making Babies

Martin Riley unlocked his front door, stepped over the threshold, and stopped dead. Everything was different: furniture, décor, layout, all changed. It didn’t look like his house anymore. A voice behind him said, “Hello Darling, I have some wonderful news.…
August 21, 2018
Science Fiction Stories R.Scott Venegas

How Far Back?

“The test subjects’ mental acuity, such as it is, and physiology are unaffected, the samples it obtained show little out of the ordinary, however it is quite agitated.” “Is it?” “Yes, seems it was spotted and chased.” “Did it do any damage during the…
August 21, 2018
Romance Stories Susan C. Nigra

A Lie is Born

Dec. 12, 2012 was a dreary uninspired winter day, and also the day I returned to relive the beginning of the lie. It was 43 years ago when I first came here at the tender age of 23 in high spirits... high on life, high on being young; and I have returned a…

 

 

I was inclined to turn to the woman sitting beside me and ask, “Do you see me?” I really wanted to, but if she could I figured it would creep her out; and if she couldn’t, well, that would mean something worse. I had been sitting there for two hours -- watching people come, sit and wait their turn to be called into the back room, and then they were gone; I had been sitting for two hours and no one had spoken to me or even made eye contact with me. So I couldn’t help but think maybe I had died and was now just a spirit trapped in this waiting room.

In the natural, it was a hospital waiting room, and everyone in it except me was waiting to have an x-ray; but if I had crossed over into the ethereal plane, as I feared, then I was waiting for … how would I know?! All I knew was what I saw. There was no smiling. Only the glum stare of those waiting to be taken into another room and – I don’t know, baked like a potato. There is no joy in a waiting room; no laughter; why would there be? There is nothing but anxiety in this place. It is, at best, a matter of pain, and, at worst, a matter of life facing death that brings all here.

There was no comfort to be had in this room. A television mounted on the wall blared so loudly that my ears hurt, which meant my head hurt. I couldn’t think. No matter how gently I try to place my head on the wall to rest, it bounced and jarred me. There is no mercy for me, I realized.

A few people sat with cell phones, speaking so annoyingly loudly to be heard over the television that they further irritated me as I was forced to listen to conversations I don’t want to hear; maybe this is purgatory, I thought.

Many that came in the room were old, and some were rolled in wheelchairs by assistants who looked equally grim. One woman’s eyes flickered toward me but showed no recognition and her face no acknowledgement. If she could indeed see me she didn’t let me know. Then she placed her head back in her hand and went back to her unhappy stare; someone else walked in and registered at the front desk, then went to a seat, joining the mournful crowd. And when one left, he, or she, never returned. Did they go to the supermarket and return to their life? Did they go home? Did they go where baked potatoes go once they have been radiated? Or did they leave this waiting room and go to some otherworldly place? I couldn’t help but think I would find out. I stood and stretched, but it offered limited comfort. I sit back down and the pain in my legs and back soon returned.

It was a sterile room with a cluster of cushioned but not particularly comfortable chairs in the middle of the floor and five sets of coupled chairs around the wall. There were two tables at opposite ends of the room with old magazines that no one would read unless they had no other choice. And even if you wanted to read, you couldn’t concentrate over the sound of the television or callers yelling to be heard. Yes, this was something more than purgatory, I thought.

“Mrs. Brown,” someone called from the doorway. A different someone would do that from time to time. I could see that was how they thinned the herd. The eyes that had been looking at me but never acknowledged me rose and took her crackly face and old, stooped body with them out the door.

“I thought you had forgotten about me,” she said as she followed the bearer of the voice. No, I thought, that would be me that has been forgotten; I’ve been lost, abandoned. This was most certainly more than purgatory; this has to be …

A man walked by the door and glanced in. We made eye contact and he nodded at me. At least, I think he was nodding at me. I nod back, but he has already passed.

THE END

Jamie C. Ruff is a former reporter, native of Greensboro, NC, and author of three e-books, the western “Colby Black: from Slave to Cowboy,” the contemporary tale of camaraderie and personal conflict “Reinventing the Uninvented Me,” and the coming of age story “The Peculiar Friendship.” All are available for download at Amazon.com.

 

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