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Latest Stories

November 19, 2021
Flash Fiction Russ Bickerstaff

Perfect

It’s the little things. That something was wrong. But he couldn’t figure out what it was. And maybe it was the bed and the direction it was amazing. There was a problem with one of the club shops in one hand. Maybe with the thread count of the sheets. Or…
November 18, 2021
General Stories Matty LibraWolf

Haunting Stories Of The Visionaries

On a snowy mistrustful night, a newborn Skully Doyle, who was fast asleep in his cot, his visionary confused himself getting abducted from a Demonic Apparition. A woman called White Widow owns a three-headed dog called Cerberus Trio. This woman was a Satanist…
November 12, 2021
Mystery Stories Glenn Dungan

Gosh Darn It I’m Wet!

Alright fine. Okay, so the rubber duck bobs in the water, ignorant of the vapor steaming from the pool and rising to the banisters and balustrades in the warehouse. It wears a yellow raincoat and holds in a cartoonish way an umbrella inscribed with the words…
November 12, 2021
General Stories Michael McCarthy

Motherload

‘‘Whiskeeee!’’ She ducked as the chunky glass came flying across the room, minuscule droplets of the alcohol splattering her cheek. She’d become quite adroit at dodging his missiles. But she couldn’t avoid his booze ravaged rasp. ‘‘When I call for a whisky,…
November 05, 2021
Flash Fiction Benoit

Therese

Therese Synopsis Rich parents are not everything. Therese is alone. She gambles on marriage when the chance arises, and lands in court on a murder charge. Therese Bordeaux France, 1952 Therese is not normal. She's not fun and has no friends. She finds…
November 05, 2021
General Stories Lawrence Hartmann

The Quiet World

The Pennsylvania mountains surrounded the small car with majesty and grace. “When I die, scatter my ashes here,” said Roger, the driver. “Ok,” said Paul. The two were married, five years now. They had met one summer day at the Macy’s store on State Street in…
November 03, 2021
Crime Stories Benoit

Dizzy

Synopsis – Mistaken identity can be inconvenient, even fatal. I was still dizzy when they brought me into the office. Sharp suits meet hospital smock. Bloody. I could not hear much. The crash and concussion, no doubt. They were smiling, trying to be nice.…
November 03, 2021
Horror Stories Derek-Avery Patz

Movie Night

Here I text him. His profile notified me that he likes cheeseburgers; it’s our second date and Jumpin’ Jacks has the best cheeseburgers around. Gavin is the real deal, or so the twins say he is. Elizabeth and Alyssa are fixtures in this small shithole of a…
September 25, 2021
General Stories NT Franklin

Coming Home

While Rupert paced in the parking lot, a cool spring breeze went down the back of his neck and made him shiver. Or was the shiver from having to go into the boss’s office? He had issues with male authority figures, or so his last work-ordered therapist had…
September 25, 2021
Flash Fiction Sandeep

Space Age Agency

Today I want to write about a nice story about OutSpace Consulting Pvt Ltd. that hired me to work for a Space Age Aeronautics Frontier (SAAF). To create a new vehicle and technology for managing their database, missions, research and exploration endeavors.…
September 13, 2021
General Stories Kasimir Kozlowski

An Understanding

1 The sharp halogen beams of the Greyhound bus cut a swath of light across the white frozen tundra of the flatlands nearing a small town outside of Winnipeg, and the passengers are beginning to get a little restless. Henry also stirs to life. He’s been…
September 13, 2021
Fantasy Stories Abdulla Ameen

That Memorable Quest

Beneath the starlit sky, which not only had that dark blue shade but also a purple tone, with stars lying flat on the vivid plain, was the cavern he chose to spend the night. The hillside was riskier in the dark and that was the only thought that made him…

There were three maybe four of them. When I saw them sneaking in, I grabbed my rifle from atop the mantle and hurried from my house to a position behind a boulder at the front of the mine. It wouldn’t take them long, maybe a minute or so for them to sort through my tailings or chip off a fragment of the turquoise that still clung to the walls. Then they would come out and slink off to their pueblo with prize in hand.

Well not today. I fixed the barrel of the rifle on the opening to the mine. Today, they would get more than they bargained for. This was my mine! My turquoise! I filed the claim! I got the rights to sell to Tiffany Co!  I’d be damned if some redskin was going to take away from my profits to sell his tribal fetishes to some TB case at the sanatorium in Santa Fe!

I heard Indians coming before I saw them. They were speaking their funny Keresan talk or maybe it was Spanish. I can’t understand either.

When they emerged, I fired hitting the first out of the mine squarely in the gut. He tumbled to the earth. The others fled in all directions.

I reloaded and took aim at another as he crossed open grassland, but the shot flew far right. Within seconds, he reached relatively safety of the pinyon and juniper scrubland. The rest were gone too, scattered by the sound of gunfire, like wild dogs.

I chambered another round and headed towards the entrance to the mine. The one I had caught lay there clutching his stomach and babbling something I didn’t understand. In his hand were several pieces of the Tiffany Blue, though they looked mostly red now on account of all the blood. Collectively, they were probably worth about a $1.10.

I stooped over the thief, pried the pieces from his hand, and pocketed the turquoise. He looked up at me. The eyes looked like that of a deer. They were brown and gave a sorrowful look. The type that comes when a critter knows its time has come.

I bashed his head in with the butt of my rifle. Bullets cost money. They eat into profits and his friends had cost me enough already.

 

*****

 

Now, I am a God fearing man. I knew the Indian, Christian or not, deserved a proper burial. If nothing else, I had to get rid of the corpse before it started stinking and attracting the critters, but digging a hole takes time. Time is money too.

So I compromised. I hauled the body to a shaft I was no longer using, one where the turquoise vein had run its course. With a quick prayer to our savior, I cast the Indian into the void below. Then I caused a small rock slide to cover any trace of the thief.

No sense in reporting it to the law, I figured. If the sheriff couldn’t keep them off my land and away from my mine what was the point. Besides that, the sheriff, he was Mexican. I had a hard enough time keeping his type off my land let alone the Indian. Between the land grants and the reservations, it was amazing that the white man had any land to call his own in this god forsaken country.

 

*****

 

That evening, as I was fixing my supper on the fire, I became aware of a noise. It was faint, almost like the sound of distant thunder, but with the fire crackling and the stew bubbling, I didn’t think anything of it. I continued about my business.

I ate some rabbit stew. Updated and reviewed the ledger. Wrote a letter to the Tiffany Company in New York about the mine’s current prospects and the beauty of the Tiffany Blue stone above all forms of turquoise. Wrote a letter to the Governor too, concerning the trouble the Indians been causing. I added a couple bills to the latter note, so that it attracted the attention it rightly deserved.

When I finally got around to laying down for some sleep, it occurred to me that the noise could still be heard. It was louder now and more distinct. It was the beating of a drum, slow and steady. More importantly, it was coming from the direction of my mine.

I hadn’t expected the Indians to return so soon. Nor had I expected them to be so bold. Who the hell beats drums while they try to make off with turquoise? Was this some sort of prayer vigil for their fallen comrade?

I wasn’t really afraid. The Indians knew better than to attack a white man. That would just bring the Army to the area for a good old fashioned showdown. They were the ones that should be afraid. I don’t have any qualms about killing to protect what is rightfully mine.

I grabbed my rifle from above the mantle and lantern sitting on the table. On account of the light from the lantern, I did not have the element of surprise. I moved quickly from the house towards the mine.

As I reached the entrance, it occurred to me that drums were coming from inside. So, I entered and began to weave my way through the tunnels to the origins sound. It quickly became apparent where the racket was coming from.

Before too long, I stood before the shaft where I had discarded the Indian hours before. The noise emanated from below. Here, it was a thunderous boom that almost shook the walls of the mine.

I raised the lantern above my head and peered into the darkness below. In the shadows, I could make out a figure moving amongst the rubble. Crawling up the walls of the shaft? How in the hell was he playing the drum? Maybe there were more of them.

I drew a bead on the figure and fired. However, I couldn’t rightly hear the blast over the pounding of the drum.

Now, I am a good shot. I hit what I am aiming at. Yet, the figure just kept crawling up the shaft. It moved as if un-phased. I chambered another round and fired again.

Yet still the figure crawled, ever upwards. Its move was slow, but deliberate. It progressed on four legs with ease, more like dog than a man. It looked more like a dog than man too. I could see it clearer as it came into the light of the lantern. It had black mangy hair covering its body.  I had mistaken it for Indian locks.

The echo of the drum beat was rattling my head, causing my brain to get a bit fuzzy. I backed away from the shaft.

The thing emerged. On two legs, it stood the height of a man with the face of a dog or perhaps a wolf. Its jaw parted exposing more than a dozen pearly white teeth. The eyes were blue, Tiffany Blue, and gave a menacing look. I knew my time had come.

 

END

 

Bio: Matthew J. Barbour is an archaeologist. He currently manages Jemez Historic Site in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. His fiction prose are inspired by the American Southwest and classic horror, such as the works of Edgar Allen Poe and H. P. Lovecraft.

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