I remember the first time I saw them.
On a scale of 1 to 10 of depressing journeys, this one had begun as a 9.99er.
The RER train was going from the centre of Paris to a faceless bourgeois suburb. I should have seen the signs on the platform at Chatelet Les Halles. Sat on a cold concrete bench was a tramp. He was wearing a rotten suit jacket and woolly hat. Holes in the elbows and pockets. Dark turtle neck jumper. Scuffed and shitty trainers. And that was it. His cock and balls lay flaccidly between legs. Flaccid. Thank the gods for small mercies. It was minus three out in the street. I wondered aimlessly how he had managed to get Continue reading The Wild Hunt by Jason Michel
Tyler ordered five shots of espresso.
Two weeks of drinking had somehow failed to erase the reality of final exams. He needed all the help he could get for what was bound to be a long night of gorging on information. Information that he would promptly yak up the next day, hopefully on paper.
They were taking forever with his drink so he went to take a slash. He was unzipping his fly when he noticed the checkerboard floor tiles in front of the urinal were rather shaky. Four of them, all uneven, grout between the tiles reduced to dust. He crouched, lifted each tile and stacked them in a corner. There was a piece of cardboard Continue reading Squishy Tendrils by Chris Rhatigan
My parents told me I could do anything I set my mind to. Then, when I tried to conjure a demon, they were mad about it.
They were also wrong. I couldn’t do it.
I’m not an idiot. I realize what can go sour when summoning some hell beast. It wasn’t that I wanted to use him or have his great powers. I wasn’t planning on freeing him, I Continue reading Reach for the Brimstone by Charley Daveler
The radio crackled and spat, having long ago faded from friendly entertainment to background noise, one station bleeding into another with a whisper of static and broken voices. His foot beginning to tingle sleepily on the gas pedal, James Mitchell drove on. Lost in the trailing road, he breathed in weary miles. Long hours unfolded before him, slow and lonely over the empty California highway.
Drumming a disjointed tune on the steering wheel, he squinted through the fly flecked windshield. The night, vast and starry, moved around him. A lone sign, frozen briefly in the dim glow of rushing headlights, flashed by in the darkness:
Suddenly cramped, he yawned and shifted his weight in the seat. Morning was a long way off, but it would still arrive well before Los Angeles crept into sight. Hell, he thumped the steering wheel, he’d count himself lucky if this old car got him as far as Ventura County! With a sigh, he turned the radio off at last.
Continue reading Driving by Richard Cody
I was walking toward my car, carrying a garbage bag full of my shit. It was hung over my back and I probably looked lack a sad-sack Santa Claus. I was coming from the home of Mary Bermiano. We’d broken up the week before. We’d had another one of our vicious arguments over the phone, only this time it got a little bit out of hand. I was at her home to collect my various personal effects at her request. Mary had broken up with me because I had not been around much since the summer ended. I had become more Continue reading Never as Hard as You Thought by John Grochalski
On the way up, the Tom Waits song “Cold Cold Ground” was playing in the elevator. Not an elevator-music version of it, but the actual song. Even though I was by myself, the lift felt stuffy and cramped. The music made it more bearable.
When I reached the ninth floor, I stepped off and looked down the long, beige hallway for Apartment 903. It was to the left. I checked the gun in my pocket, a Browning Hi- Continue reading Blue Bullet Waltz by John Weagly
Marigold gazed out from the balcony of her third floor apartment admiring the clear blue sky over the city. She felt good. Today was special: the sky in her head was blue too. She moved along the row of window boxes and pretty-painted flower pots, carefully watering the plants in each with a pink plastic watering can; she spoke to them as she went.
Continue reading Marigold’s Geraniums by Keith Gingell
I hear voices.
They creep like ivy up the walls of this once grand house, rising like smoke, scuttling like rats, sneaking like thieves, they rattle like the bones of the skeletons stuffed into the closets. They sound, these voices, like violent death.
Continue reading VOICES by Mike Miner
After the hard edges smoothed away, I saw nothing but the sky. I knew the car was still burning.
I knew that he was still in there, but I didn’t care anymore.
The first time I saw Ed, he was passed out in an elevator. I was going out to lunch with my sister who worked in a bank on the third floor. When the elevator doors opened, he was Continue reading Love Me Tender by Melanie Browne