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Latest Stories

March 18, 2019
Mystery Stories JD Plummer

Pseudonyms

“Gelb wants you to call him.” I looked at Frankie, opened my mouth, began to slowly shake my head. My reply delayed by the image of Gelb, monocle in eye, brow raised, lips tight, grimacing. I cringed at the thought. “I ain’t calling that prick,” I finally…
March 18, 2019
Fantasy Stories Lucia Balbuena

A Different Story

Her breathing was deep and steady when she run through the dense forest holding her grandmother’s kitchen knife in her hand. Her red cape was torn up, also her legs, hands and her face were cut by the tree brunches. Stop you are the victim, said the forest…
March 17, 2019
Crime Stories Wally Smith

Coda

Luigi Andante’s small apartment sat on the fourth floor of a block in the West Bronx at the corner of 18th and Davidson. It was adequate as a living space, but Luigi craved more than this. “A penthouse overlooking Central Park would suit me just fine”, he had…
March 17, 2019
Crime Stories Walter Giersbach

Fifty Ways to Leave Your Loser

Lorraine Vanderzanden had the thankless task being Lindstrom’s police chief. Her husband didn’t appreciate the risks she took. Her brother didn’t thank her for using her degree for something useful instead of helping on the family farm. Heck, she thought,…
March 17, 2019
Mystery Stories Jenny Webster

"Communicate with me, please."

I have been blind for so long, I didn’t even attempt to imagine what it would be like if I could see. I don’t know any different, all I know is darkness, and I base everything that I can experience mostly through sound. You see, I can’t walk either. I’m not…
March 16, 2019
Flash Fiction Michael Fredrick

Secondhand Santa

The late model sedan sputtered, coughed and dutifully careened forward on a cold December evening. Fred hit the gas pedal & ruminated as he always did, wondering again why life had dealt him this hand? Christmas Eve, foraging for returnable bottles to make…
March 16, 2019
General Stories Darrell Case

Trig's Smokin' Wheels

There were a lot of things Trig Nelson could do, many he wanted to do, and more things he couldn’t do. Trig couldn’t run, he’d never climb stairs or hills or mountains. He couldn’t play football or basketball. Being stuck in a wheelchair that would always be…
March 16, 2019
Romance Stories R. Scott Venegas

A Monument to Perfect Moments

His soul was bid, the beginning was near. Brice Connelly had a dilemma, appointment and summon conflicted. He relocated, the sensation tapered, his fervor intensified. Reversing direction he tried to reacquire the target. Heavens light struck him with a…
March 16, 2019
Fantasy Stories Peter J. Barbour

A Man Called Happiness

In the forest, the trees were so tall, they seemed to reach the clouds. The dark, damp, misty quiet around them gave the forest an eerie feeling. There were animals in the forest; deer, elk, squirrels, and chipmunks, and in the evening a rabbit might cross…
December 09, 2018
Mystery Stories Wally Smith

Body of Evidence

Crime Scene Tours Ltd. had built their business, some would say, on the basis of appealing to people’s morbid curiosity for grisly acts of murder, and Liz and Colin Stevenson therefore had no qualms at all about conducting tours around the scenes of the most…
December 02, 2018
General Stories John L. Yelavich

Aesthetic Shock

Allie is delicate and gentle, waif-like in her presence. Her luminescent smile frames an image that seems so lighthearted. A sense of reality cannot disguise my enamored, whimsical feelings. I rhapsodize her essence in my affectionate mind excursions. She…
December 02, 2018
Fantasy Stories Vidal Martinez

The Purpose of Life

The front door slowly creaks open just as I reach to touch it with my cold, stiff hand. I stand still, hesitant, wanting to walk away, but finally I peek into the house, and through the darkness of the old Victorian home is a shadow of a flickering light from…

 

 

Them Haddock boys was mighty close, two peas in a pod, Amos and Andy, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, stuck together like barnacles to the bow and sap to a tree, but I always suspected there might be something missing in the glue. The trouble started brewing on a Friday and boiled over like Everest by the time Reverend “Moses” Maynard hollered out his first Amen at Sunday sermon. And on that day, it weren’t more than three hours after sunup before one of them brothers was dead and the other hauled off to the hangman’s hotel. Now I ain’t one for gossip, I leave that to the womenfolk, but that Lily gal had to be Satan himself all dolled up in a dress, pouting and preening with a wiggle and a shake, stirring up Cain and Abel in them good old boys until one of them was laid out cold on the undertaker’s slab. I know, an age old story, old as dirt, but this one weren’t so simple as all that and Lily Morgan weren’t no ordinary girl, no how, and you can take that as solid fact as sure as my name is Cappy McGee.

My Nana Westbrook, true as a saint’s prayer, always used to say the Devil was a woman thought up by the Good Lord Himself to test a man’s mettle and drag him down to Hell if he came up short and, Lordy, I sure as hell kept my granny’s wise words to heart, God rest her soul, never once dipping my stick in a place where it might get snapped. And the moment I laid eyes on Lily I knew for sure she was a steaming pot of misery for any man fool enough to give her too long a look. She sashayed her way into town nearly three year ago. Not more than 16 she was and pretty as twinkling sunshine on Callouts Bay, but ever since she showed up there’s been three boys dead and one half dead from pining over that serpent in a woman’s skin. There was Kyle Hawkins, Lenny the grocer’s boy, not more than 19 when he met Lily at the register in early May and by December he done hung himself from the railings of the Wochtaqouan Bridge, 60 feet above the bubbling waters of the Makittan River. I always wondered why he just didn’t jump off, sure as hell would’ve done the same job, but I’m guessing he was afraid of the water and everyone knew he couldn’t swim a stroke. And then there was Frankie Maynard, the preacher’s boy back on spring vacation from some college upstate a year after Kyle was found dangling in the misty breeze. He took up with Lily a week in and before a month passed he was crazy jealous every time she shot a sly eye at any man that wasn’t him. After a heated row with Lily at Maggie’s Roadhouse, Frankie stormed out to his Ford parked in the lot, drunk as a rat drowning in a still, and sometime around midnight smacked head-on into a semi. He was doing 80 on the wrong side of the road and weren’t much more than hamburger by the time they pulled him out of his car in big meaty chunks. Probably would’ve ended up that way for him, anyway, Lily or no Lily. Frankie never could drive for shit. And now there’s the Haddock boys, Kenny and Bruce, 20 and 21. Kenny’s the dead one and Bruce the soon to be dead in March of next year, the 25th, I think, if the lawyers don’t manage to get it stayed, that is.

Queer how it happened, though, darkly strange if you ask me. I was there to see it building up in little snips while resting in my lean-to propped in a ditch off Kings Road near the lip of Hackers Woods, only a grasshopper’s leap from Maggie’s Roadhouse. Lost my Maggie damn near 20 year ago from the consumption and I been sucking the bottleneck on a quart of JDs ever since, trying to hang on to the good old times when Maggie was still alive and I was tending bar while she grilled the burgers and fried the wings. That was a long time ago and I been spying on that old haunt of mine from my little spot in the dirt for almost two decade now. So I seen a lot and learned a whole lot more about people than I did when I was slapping the brews on the oak and yapping away with the patrons like they was lifelong pals. And I’m the only one that seen what really happened between Kenny and Bruce, and that she-demon Lily Morgan.

Oh, that Lily sure was a sly one, and tricky, too, making each of them Haddock boys think she was shining on him more than the other, but just enough on the other to make it sting. And she’d get real close and hot and heavy only when she had one of them alone and all to herself, leading them like the Piper through the break in the trees into the shadowed edge of Hackers Woods. Then she’d choke their hearts and heads with her sweet smoky lies, filling them with spirits of blind and aching love she didn’t really want or had an ounce of to give in return. And I seen her working that black magic on both them Haddock boys more than once and, my, oh, my, that Lily sure was a beauty, long black hair smooth as marble and gleaming like night-blackened sea waves rolling in the moonlight, and the face mask of Helen ready to launch a thousand agonies on that eternal ocean of woes against any and every man she claimed as her own. And not long after that black Sunday morning rolled around, Bruce had his fingers wrapped around Kenny’s throat, squeezing the life out of his little brother whose face was reddening, bloodshot eyes bulging from their sockets, while Lily only stood there laughing and laughing with that naughty girl’s shrill and her eyes burning bright red with the flames of hell. That girl had the hoodoo magic of Merlin’s Morgana with a soul as black as Lilith, eating children and bearing demon spawn from the seed of any man fool enough to give her what she wants. When Kenny was finally dead and gone, stiff as week-old road kill, Bruce stared at is hands for damn near two hours, screaming like the town sirens on emergency test day while Lily sauntered away with a sway in her step and a wide beaming smile. Lordy, Lordy, that Lily Morgan sure was something and if I were only 20 year younger, I’d ask her on a date. ;-)

 

End

 

 

Bio: Born and raised in PA, skipped across the U.S from PA to NC to TX to VA to AZ to NV to CA and finally found myself in quiet southern UT limbo. Graphic Designer and writer of a collection of darkly strange short stories.

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