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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…

Lazlo didn’t have to read the note to know he was screwed.

The sealed white envelope, alone on the otherwise spotless mahogany desk, told him everything.  He assumed it contained a pithy remark or a morbid pun, but Lazlo was too damn tired to read the Old Man’s grim joke.  Making a 30-story vertical ascent up the glass skin of a skyscraper could do that to a guy.  So he just stood there dripping sweat on the crimson carpet of a dark room, with a glass cutter around his neck, a coil of rope around his waist, and a twenty-pound pack on his back…staring at the desk, feeling exactly like a man in his shoes should feel.

Screwed.

“Hello, Lazlo,” came a quiet voice from across the room.

The thief’s head dipped and only half-turned toward the source.

“Vince.  Figured it’d be you.”

The voice’s owner edged out of the shadows.  Lazlo knew Vince would have his gun drawn, leveled at him.  With pained, slow effort, Lazlo dropped the suction-cups he’d gripped for the last hour.

“Figured, huh?  When did the little voice inside your head start telling you this was your last job?”  He sounded completely cool.  Totally calm.  Totally, well…Vince.

“About five stories ago.”

“Why didn’t you listen to it?” Vince asked.

“It was only whispering then.  Didn’t start screaming until I saw the note.”

“Y’know, the notes aren’t my idea.  The Old Man writes one every time somebody gets… fired.  Thinks it shows style or something.  ‘Course he’d use a fancier word.”

Lazlo propped two aching hands on his hips and chuckled.

“Style…” he murmured.

Vince moved closer and at an angle, getting between Lazlo and the door to the outer hallway.

“Just out of curiosity,” Vince asked, “why did you think it’d be me waiting?  Organization’s big… you know he has plenty of choices.”

“No matter what I think of him, I gotta admit the Old Man’s a pro.  He picks the right people for the job.  The best people.  He needs something stolen, he calls me,” Lazlo raised his head and his chin jutted out.

“I’m the best.”

Then he turned to face Vince head on.  “And if he needs someone…fired…he calls you.”

Vince nodded at the compliment.  Lazlo put his hands on his hips and frowned.

“What’s wrong?” Vince asked.

“Aside from the fact you’re gonna fire me?”

“Yeah.”

Lazlo scanned the ceiling and shook his head repeatedly.  Sweat dripped from his chin with each shake.

“Because I knew something was wrong.  Knew it like I know my own equipment.  Something the Old Man said when he offered the job.”

“What was it?”  Vince looked interested, although his aim never wavered.

“He said ‘Lazlo, it’s a low-risk, high-reward shot.  Simple robbery compared to last time.  Do this final job for me and you’re done…you can walk away.  Consider it a victory lap.’”

“A what?”

“Victory lap, y’know, like in the Olympics, when somebody wins the gold, they take one slow lap around the track while the crowd watches.  One last time on the field of battle, just so everyone can cheer and know you’re the best.”

“Sounds nice.”

“Yeah, did to me too.  That’s why I took the job.  Should’ve known better.”

“Why?”

The thief’s mouth turned into a sad grin.

“Because Vince, guys like us don’t get victory laps. Or get to walk away.”

“What do we get then?”

The grin faded away, and the thief nodded toward the desk.

“We get notes.”

 

***

 

The two stood motionless for minutes, neither man knowing quite what to say.  Then, Lazlo’s eyes flashed in the darkness, and his crooked smile returned.

“Vince, will you do me a favor?”

“Depends.”

“Look, I’m not going to beg.  I know what you’re here for.  I just don’t want to go out like a chump.  I want a shot.”

Vince cocked his head to the side, questioning.

“What kind of shot?”

“A million-to-one.”

Vince stared at the sweating, obviously exhausted man.  He knew Lazlo couldn’t grip a doorknob, much less escape from a room with a gun pointed directly at his chest.

“What did you have in mind?”

“I’ve got about thirty feet of rope on me.  Lemme tie it to the desk and give that the hole in the window a try.”

Vince shook his head.  “What good would jumpin’ out the window do?”

“Don’t know for sure.  If I can grip the rope tight enough…might be able to swing out and back.  Maybe blast through one of the windows of the floor below us.”

“You’d never make it.  Even if you did, there’s a couple guys in the lobby.   Just in case.”

Lazlo was shaking now, focused on Vince.  “Believe me.  I know the score, I just…”

The thief bowed his head.

“…sometimes it’s better to resign than get fired.”

Vince stared into the eyes of a man accepting his fate.  He took two steps back and lowered the gun to his side.

“Your call.”

Lazlo removed the rope from his belt, and tied it to the desk.  He didn’t bother to check the knot.  He moved toward the window, just like Vince expected a professional thief to move: quiet, smooth.  Lazlo looked at the night sky outside the window, a world beyond desks with notes.  The thief took a deep breath before turning back.

“Vince, let me ask you something.”

“Anything.”

“You think one day there’ll be a note in a dark room, waiting for you?”

Vince saw no reason to lie. “Yes.”

The two men looked at one another with equal measures of respect and pity.

“Crappy job, isn’t it?” said the thief.

Vince laughed.  “Yeah.”

Lazlo took three steps backward to get a running start, then hunched down and focused on the window—a sprinter in the starting blocks who’d already lost the race.

“Bye, Vince,” he said without looking over.

Vince holstered his weapon.

“Goodbye, Lazlo.”

 

***

 

It wasn’t until Lazlo broke for the window that Vince realized how quiet a backpack full of burglary tools could be, especially when running.  The pack made no noise—no metal clanging against metal—almost like there weren’t any tools in it at all.  As Lazlo dove through the opening, Vince noticed a shiny aluminum handle on the thief’s belly.

Looked like a ripcord.

“Son of a bitch,” Vince breathed.

His own note in a dark room suddenly felt a whole lot closer.

 

 

 

Trey Dowell lives in Saint Louis, Missouri with his Anatolian Shepherd proofreader, Lulu.   Trey has won First Prize honors in Writersweekly.com’s 24-hour short story contest, as well as been a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Annual Genre Fiction competition.  His crime short story Ballistic, published by Untreed Reads, is available in e-book format at Amazon.com and all the usual places.  Trey also has a short story in the Rainstorm Press print/e-book anthology, Nailed, due in February 2012.  His debut novel, The Aphrodite Way, will be finished in Spring 2012.  He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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