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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…

 

 

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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