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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…

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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