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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…

We went in because we like visiting thrift stores; so we were a little disappointed once we were inside.

It looked more like a cross between a pawn shop and a curio store; on the wall shelves were what looked like toys. They were actually barely noticeable.

I wasn’t the only patron. There were five or six others. I don’t know if they had walked in right before me or had been there for a while. They seemed as confused or unimpressed as I was.

In the middle of the floor was a roped-off oblong-shaped block. It was clay or stone. I didn’t care and didn’t look close enough to know. It was too big to lift, but with enough effort could probably be rolled. Even this wasn’t really significant. The dark-colored ropes, only about three-feet high and attached to black post that were no more than a foot higher, weren’t necessary. We walked around it without paying it any attention. Everyone did.

There was a counter at the back of the store. There was an old man who looked like a foreigner behind it when I first walked in, but he disappeared into another room at some point. I don’t know when. Other than to nod a greeting, I had paid him no attention.

On the end of the counter was a box with a crank. It reminded me of a jack-in-the box. I turned it -- slowly, at first, and it clicked in a way that made me think of a child’s toy.

Then a little faster, and the clicking was replaced with a buzz. As I turned, something happened to the rock – it moved; it ululated. I was watching it, and the faster I turned, the faster it moved.

It took forms. First, they were inanimate objects. A chair; I turned the crank faster and structures of wood, stone, metal; a model of a skyscraper rose.

It never occurred to me to stop. I should have, but I wanted to see what next.

When I turned counterclockwise, whatever there was dissolved and a smaller image developed.

I went back to clockwise; even faster and the buzz became angry, and now it turned into animated objects – a suit of armor with a man in it; a man in a suit.

Faster and faster until the crank whined. A woman. She was light brown, slender built with long hair; she was exotic and from a different time, if not place. And she moved. She ran around the room with what looked like a flint knife. She didn’t seem like she wanted to stab anyone, but jabbed at everyone with the knife – seemingly more like she wanted to just touch than harm. Everyone kowtowed and scampered away from her. She rushed behind the counter. I told myself I wouldn’t, but I did the same when she came toward me. I backed away. Innately, I feared her touch. We all did. We feared she might take something from us (maybe our soul), or turn us into what she had been – or was.

The old man returned from some backroom and now, and she just stood and stared at me; only me.

He pushed us out of the store, though he tried to disguise it as shooing.

Behind him was his wife, just as foreign looking and probably from the same place, watching it all with a contended grin on her face.

Outside, I looked at the now dark storefront. The lights had been turned out that fast. Had I made it up? Had we all? That was it -- maybe it was a mass hallucination. There was no one left to ask questions or discuss it with. They had all scurried away. If there was anything else to be seen they didn’t want it to be by them.

I joined the others in disappearing into the shadows of evening.

It all frightened me. She haunted me. I wanted to see her again. I wanted to understand what I had seen and know who she was. Had I created her? Had I summoned her? Was he mine? A part of me?

Or was it all just a strange, weird dream?

I went back a few days later. Another man was there and the crap was still on the walls, but the block was gone from the center of the floor; he told me the owners were gone on vacation. It sounded like the word vacation was in air quotes. They were gone, and they weren’t coming back.

I walked to a nearby store. I didn’t want to say too much. I didn’t want to appear mentally ill. I was the only one in the store at the time, but I still didn’t want to be thought crazy. I asked them if they knew anything about the merchants from that shop. I didn’t want to be too specific, but I knew my real question was understood.

“Knowing his wife, it won’t be around very long,” the woman said from behind her counter. And that was it.

I didn’t know what she met by what she said about the wife. All I could wonder was did that mean she was going to break the box? Or kill her?

Nothing more was said, or would be said about it. She asked me if I wanted to buy something, as if I had just walked in and no other words had been exchanged.

I walked out into a blinding sunlight and into a world that was neither brave nor new, nor the same. It was all strange to me now.

 

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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