Everyone has their talents. My parents and teachers spent decades labouring over finding my quirks and talents, like they were mining for some valuable metal. They were disappointed when I flunked all my classes, out of disenchantment more than anything else. My poor mother and father enrolled me into every after school class imaginable, all coming up empty. Continue reading Born This Way by Jen Hughes
Jeanne Duval tried to stop herself from scratching her arm, a thing she did compulsively whenever she was nervous and there was no way to pace. Sometimes she scratched so much she drew blood, which at least would be appropriate today. Jeanne looked at her collage of photos covering the gallery wall.
Father Trevor rolled the rosary beads round in his hand for the twentieth time in the last twelve minutes. He knew exactly how long it had been, since the hands on the old wooden clock hanging just overhead ticked down loud, extra noisy, reminding him. He could see that both the hands and the digits had been painted on the clock’s face years ago, bold and dark green, against a pale cream colored backdrop, making them hard to miss. Under the ancient timepiece sat the calendar with the day’s date circled in red; December 31, 1949. Continue reading The Abyss by Lisa Ciarfella
Christopher Matthews was a dedicated teacher who touched the lives of many children throughout his thirty-five years teaching music. Thoughts are with his family and friends at a small funeral service there on this wet Easter Sunday afternoon, and all the students at St Cecilia’s Academy who have lost a teacher. There are large candles placed around the church which give the illusion of warmth but it is a cold and hollow place. The air smells strongly of mixed perfumes. The last time I was here, it was my last day at school before I was sent away. Too many bad memories, yet my psychiatrist said I should go. If you face pain, she will give you an ointment to stop your wounds from festering. The service starts, conducted by the same priest with the same dreary voice from before. Even the altar boys look similar to the ones before.
After dark, I’ll return to the crimson room at the top of the stairs, my tiny home in the seedy part of town, where the junkies and alkies O.D. on a cornucopia of poisons and feast on freaky visions. But in the early morning or afternoon, I sit in Eros Park and count the myriad objects of beauty. Some mornings, I come to the park about an hour before dawn. I wait for the light, the crepuscular insects, and a glorious, gold sunrise. I take a few deep breaths, close my eyes, and listen to the holy rhythm that soothes me, and imagine I’m floating in a sun-baked ocean or lying in the hot iridescent sand on a pristine beach below a tropical sun. And I listen to the melodious ebb and flow of the turquoise waves. Continue reading THE CRIMSON ROOM AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS By Dr. Mel Waldman
I fear the dawn. The night and its soothing darkness are my cocoon. They protect me from an unknown danger. But when the crepuscular insects and I rise with the savage light of dawn, my fragile heart begins to pound. Thump! Thump! Thump! The pounding gets louder and faster. Soon, my hands tremble and my shattered soul case-my mortal shell of flesh-shakes uncontrollably. I fear I will die! I pop a couple pills to calm my nerves. I black out. Continue reading I FEAR THE DAWN by Dr. Mel Waldman
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
‘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
The elderly taxi driver drops me off at a chain link fence blocking the main drive of the University of Hollinsbridge. “You sure you want to do this, lad?”
A painted rock.
A rock about the size of a small child’s open palm. Painted an odd, curiously light reflective smoky gray hue. One side of it was curved slightly. The curve gentle, suggesting that it would fit perfectly in the palm of a small hand. Like some kind of Neolithic hand tool; maybe a tool used to scrape the flesh off an animal hide. Or maybe some kind of stone hammer.
Continue reading The Chin By B.R. Stateham