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Latest Stories

May 17, 2022
Flash Fiction Sharmila Ghosal

The Fateful Evening

Barrackpore, a small town was situated a few kilometres from Kolkata. My father had recently been transferred here from the State Bank of India Kolkata branch. Life was enjoyable. Every day in the evening I would go for a walk near the riverside with Malati…
May 14, 2022
Flash Fiction Ben Macnair

A Conversation With Your Seven Year Old Self

The first thing you notice about him is the jumper he's wearing. it is one like you had when you were younger. You wore it out, you liked it so much. This jumper is a lot newer than the old one you had. The colours are brighter, it is a better fit. Then you…
May 14, 2022
General Stories Yolanda Billingsley

The Prophet Who Struck At Midnight

Introduction Prophetess Tanya didn’t just attend Church ; she considered herself to be the epitome of all that Church should be. She was religious and loved it. She was a prosperous business woman, she wore the finest clothes and shoes and always had a…
May 14, 2022
Mystery Stories Beauty Anyanwu

Of Fire And Heartbreak

AGATA'S POV Nasty C said ‘we start to question GOD like we can play his part’ and nothing has resonated with me so much in my entire life. When I think of the butterfly effect, and how the flap of a wing can change the course of our life—I remember those…
May 14, 2022
General Stories Luke Beling

The Rosebush

"We're going to revisit your blood, run some extra tests since it's your third miscarriage in as many years, Mrs. Cozbi." Susan stared into Dr. Tims' cold eyes, one hand gripping Chuck, the other the arm of the teak chair. "I thought it was because the fetus…
May 13, 2022
Horror Stories Pavan Kumar

A Grisly Party

Albert hosts a party to his coterie of friends on the eve of getting a promotion and increment in the salary. Three of his friends (Michael, Peter, and Robinson) attend the party in the evening and fill the aura of his house with excitement and joy. An old…
May 13, 2022
Crime Stories Doug Jacquier

If You Cuckolded Me, I’d Have To Kill You

It was a fact that Phil had organised for Matthew to die. Phil took full responsibility but there would be no trial. He could have confessed but he chose not to. On principle. When the Reverend Matthew Patterson and his wife, Penny, moved in next door they…
May 13, 2022
Poetry Paweł Markiewicz

The Marvel Of The Freedom

In patches The vault opens oneself at dawn. The calyx of an Arctic alpine forget-me-not reopens for an enchanting glory of the sunshiny dreams, because of the eternally august poem, that reads lenient and benignant. Throughout the day: there is up there a…
May 13, 2022
Crime Stories Mike Merchant

The Molly Prom

The airpods looked like pallid worms crawling into Robby’s brain. Or maybe crawling out, leaving a nest of annelids inside. His slack jaw and laugh-at-anything smile suggested the latter. His head bobbed to the music like a tzadik at the wailing wall. “Yo,…
April 20, 2022
Science Fiction Stories L Christopher Hennessy

She

Everything about her was human except she wasn’t. She was humanoid. Model SHE0456. Her male counterpart was a HE. Her name was Mira. She was a generation three model SHE. She was fifty-seven years old but didn’t look a day over twenty. She kept herself well.…
April 20, 2022
Horror Stories Alexander James

3:33 AM

Ever since they moved into her grandmother’s old house way on top of Bannockburn Hill, he had woken up every morning at 3:33 A.M. without fail. He hated the old house. He hated the way it creaked and moaned. The way it seem to attract the wailing wind on cold…
April 20, 2022
Crime Stories L Christopher Hennessy

Dead Dogs Are Good Dogs

Sweetheart, I’ll tell you exactly what’s going to happen if you drink with me tonight. First we’ll get talking, then we’re going to laugh a bit, and then we’ll hit our third drink each, and I’ll be in your lap crying like a baby. I haven’t held a woman…

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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