Once and Future King of the Projects by Walter Giersbach

LeRoi always got pissed if you called him LEE-roy like some of the homeys do.  “It’s Le-ROI,” he’d shout like you were deaf.  “You talkin to the king!Continue reading Once and Future King of the Projects by Walter Giersbach

Nun With A Gun by Paul D. Brazill

The light from the full moon guided her way as Sister Lara walked down Roseberry Hill using her father’s rifle as a walking stick. Lara’s Day-Glo Dr Martin boots gripped the slippery, muddy surface. Her nun’s habit flapped in the night wind like a bat’s wings.   Continue reading Nun With A Gun by Paul D. Brazill

Misery Loves Cake By Kimmy Dee

It was two and one quarter hours into Hawaiian Shirt Day when it became clear that Margaret needed to die.

Continue reading Misery Loves Cake By Kimmy Dee

Family By Mark Cowling

I could remember well the last time I had seen this place – the centuries old farmhouse with its still peeling paint and a roof that now seemed more moss than slate. I had been seventeen years old, my meagre possessions in the trunk of a long forgotten boyfriend’s car, tears and badly applied makeup running down my cheeks, and an ironclad determination to never again set eye on any member of my family. Continue reading Family By Mark Cowling

In The Lou By Jeff Dosser

The night hung heavy over old St.Louis, like the pregnant clouds that promised rain. Across the street, the rhythmic flashes of the Ambassador Theater’s marquis shouted their challenges to the darkness as yellow cabs swallowed up the lines of cheap, double breasted suits and faux fox stoles leaving the show. Soon only the crumbs were left. Those too cheap or too poor for the taxi ride home.

Continue reading In The Lou By Jeff Dosser

The Mandela Effect by Michael O’Keefe

Kelly was troubled by her philosophy professor’s digression into the field of theoretical physics. While he was totally out of his depth on that subject, she was more upset by the random thoughts careening just under the surface of her own consciousness. The professor was touching on points that had been bothering her for a week. She hoped he would wrap up his pointless diatribe soon. She had to use the restroom.

What Doctor Magnus was so inarticulately poking at, was the idea of alternate, simultaneous realities, or universes. Do they exist? And if so, do they sometimes intersect with each other? These time-streams, as he called them, might allow a member of one stream to slide over briefly to another, dimension jumping so to speak. Magnus posited that perhaps these slides could be permanent, which might explain the propensity for false memories that seemed to carry over from one stream to the next. Magnus cited the common, random memories reported by thousands of disparate people as evidence of this. They were rich in identical detail. That they were shared by people who had never met, or had any contact whatsoever not only gave one pause, it pinned the needle to the right on the creepiness meter. Continue reading The Mandela Effect by Michael O’Keefe

The Queen’s Second By Clara Brown

I hobbled through the arched entranceway of the outdoor market. The sack of sugar I purchased from the baking supplier was difficult to carry so I heaved the damn thing over my shoulder while muttering expletives. Then I saw her, the Queen’s Second— also another name for the Queen’s Executioner.

The Queen’s Second thwarted enemies of the throne and kept peace within city walls. Her beauty stirred jealously in girls like me but I never coveted her position. She intimidated me, though it wasn’t her leather lace uniform that bothered me. It wasn’t her bone-stiff cape protruding from her shoulders like a demon wing or even the hook-shaped sword she carried at her waist that sent chills through my body. What kept me in constant discontent was her mask of clear, outward-pointing needle blades. They said you should never look the Queen’s Second in the eye, but that day I did. She paid no attention to me as something else held her thoughts, something she feared.

A gloved hand touched my arm. I recoiled and dropped the sugar at my feet. The Queen herself towered over me. Her whimsical white gowns reminded me of desolate boneyards—I never cared for either. She may have been smiling but I couldn’t see past her feathered veil.

She brushed my tar-colored bangs from my eyes. “Caroline, today you start your training,” she said in a confident tone. Unless I wanted my parents to bury their only daughter, I followed the Queen and her Second. The sack of sugar was left with its sweet innards spilling into the street. The Queen crowned a new Second.

The former Second’s tears dripped from the blades of her mask. She sat crumpled against a wall of the throne room like an old pair of shoes and no doubt the Queen’s plans for her involved something gruesome.

I told my teacher, classmates, and family at home about my new title. As my mother fell to her knees and wept, the Queen squeezed my shoulders from behind—a reminder that I no longer belonged to my parents. I turned to my father, “Sorry about the sugar. I can’t make your birthday cake this year.” His red rimmed eyes conveyed his grief. I tried to tell them I’d be back, but they didn’t buy it.

Too short to be the Queen’s Second, I received arm and leg extensions which weren’t bad but the pain during my spinal column lengthening was unbearable. I learned to fight with my taller body and it didn’t take long before I mastered the drills. I received a hot iron rod to my thighs and legs for each unsuccessful kill and a concussion for misjudging my height.

The Queen’s success in finding immortality had worked these past few centuries, although my parents once told me she had been different people. “That’s why she hides her face underneath the veil. Nobody lives forever,” they’d say when I was still their daughter. Turned out, the Second’s infamous needle mask had a purpose other than intimidation. When I wore it, I could see Queen’s true complexion. Time stole her flesh and skin and left a heap of skeletal decay—she remained the same person throughout her rein—my parents were wrong.

From the genocidal twinkle that emanated from her hollow eye sockets to the blood covered truffles that her servants brought us, I knew everything. I never questioned whose blood I swallowed, I just accepted it. I accepted her.

I wanted to sleep where she slept and dine where she dined. I relished looking down on citizens through my mask, watching people avoid eye contact. Those who weren’t as submissive often walked into my sword.

Belonging to the Queen for more years than any other Second, she thanked me with a ceremony, or so she called it. Her soldiers tied my wrists together with coarse rope. I tried making a case for myself. I’d been the best Second she’d ever had, but the Queen wasn’t swayed. My pleading was drowned in the cacophony of cheers from the citizens. The Queen chose another Second and the first assignment came as a haunting realization.

Praying that the scared girl could throw a hooked sword well enough, I tried to think of my father and mother and teacher and old classmates. But I couldn’t. I could only think of her, my beloved Queen.

*

Bio: Clara Brown is a speculative fiction writer and blogger from Phoenix, Arizona. She created the website “Suck My Words” as a platform for topics such as fiction, religion, science, philosophy, activism, and sex.

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The Cabal by Graham Wynd

‘I’d kill for more reviews,’ Chris muttered, downing the dregs of his pint. In his head he calculated how much was left of the twenty he was meant to hold onto until Friday.

‘I’d sell my soul for more reviews,’  moaned Sandy. The bartender chuckled but no demon appeared in a puff of smoke at the summons. Continue reading The Cabal by Graham Wynd

Spectre vs Rector by Paul D. Brazill

 

‘I’m just a walking cliché,’ growled Rector.

He sat at a table in a dark corner of The Essex Arms. His black clothes melded with the pub’s shadows. His bony hand reached out of the darkness and scratched his unshaven face.

He took a sip of whisky. Continue reading Spectre vs Rector by Paul D. Brazill

Cry Baby by Sonia Kilvington

If you get there first, it’s very difficult for a woman to accuse you of stalking. Following women about, that’s for amateurs who haven’t done their homework. If you follow a woman into a café or restaurant, or are seen loitering around her apartment, alarm bells will ring. She will spot you, may confront you or even Continue reading Cry Baby by Sonia Kilvington

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