Folks up on Wheeler Mountain had their fair share of weird that winter. Bo Gifford claimed his prize heifer gave birth to a calf with two asses and Danny said there were a lot more shooting stars than normal. But I think things really started going downhill when my Ford pickup ate Richard Petty. Little […]
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Beryl, smiled at the postman and placed her next door neighbor’s parcel on the floor. At home all day, she often took in packages for those who were out at work. Before closing the door, she glanced across the corridor. Edith hadn’t taken in her newspaper yet. If it was still there at tea-time she […]
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Clyde regretted not buying a ticket to ride approximately three seconds before the conductor tossed him off the locomotive and into a stand of prickly pears. His intestines knocked up inside his ears. His nether bits prickled with cactus needles. And a decidedly slimy object, smelling like viscera with a strong dollop of ipecac syrup, […]
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I dreamed of dismantling him. He wasn’t the first. I dreamed of dismantling others, too, before and after. But mostly him, for what he did to me when I was small and we were meant to be gorging on chocolate milk and graham crackers while we waited the half hour for my mother to get […]
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Marissa huddled in the middle of her living room as a thousand missing people chanted around her. Find me. Find me. Find me. The chorus muffled Daniel’s words, though he stood right before her, fists clenched, eyes pinched. She forced herself to pay attention, sensing the final thread of their relationship unravel. “I’m gone for […]
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The two sat alone in the forward pew, the child dressed all in white, her mother in black. The little girl wore a pair of butterfly wings strapped to her shoulders. “Momma? Can little girls fly?” “Of course they can,” the mother whispered. The woman held a tattered scrapbook in her lap. She turned the […]
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The online ad hovered somewhere just between “free babysitting” and “get rich working from home” on the sketchy-meter, but I was sneaking up on my fourteenth month of unemployment. So, recalling the lessons of my short stint in law school, I pondered the landmark case of Beggar v. Chooser and scribbled down the address on […]
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The news wasn’t even news anymore—that was the problem. It was full of shoe styles and celebrities and five year olds who could play Mozart. Yeah, there was the occasional tear jerker about a local house fire and some sensationalist crap, like that story about a thousand dead birds falling out of the sky that […]
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Running my fingertips around the concrete pillar in the rental house bedroom, a story took shape in my mind. I wanted to write it down but I’d have to hide it from Scott. “The outside became the inside?” I asked the realtor. What would I look like if my outside became my inside? Scott called […]
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The application process is no different from any other: transcripts, teaching philosophy, Skype. Until it reaches the in-person interview stage, and a flame-edged portal opens in your living room. But when you peer through, there are no fiery pits on the other side, no shrieking tormented sinners. There’s just an institutional-yellow waiting room and a […]
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Hush. Hush. They come. The hungry ones. Go hide in the closet. Whatever you hear, don’t you dare come out. Of course I’ll hug you, but quickly now, and remember, I love you. No, nothing will happen to me because the soldiers will be here soon, and they’ll take care of the hungry ones. Keep […]
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Try as I might, Master, I fail. Keep the house clean and keep red meat in the fridge, he said. These are menial tasks, yet I fail. He will be unhappy that his bank account has been drained. This weeks-long power outage causes no end of trouble. Without electricity the meat rots and must be replaced daily. Meat is expensive, and Master’s account has had no deposits since he left for this unusually long business trip. Without money, acquiring meat is difficult, sources scarcer every day. A knock sounds on the door. I open it and greet the two police officers, one man and one woman. The man looks at me and then at the woman. “This household doesn’t have any registered bots.”
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I was mowing the lawn on my tractor when a raccoon jumped out from a line of trees. Luckily I stopped in time. The raccoon waddled to the side and I continued on. I was amazed to find the raccoon keeping pace with the tractor. I decided to name the raccoon Bandit. It’s not the most original name but riding around the lawn doesn’t lend itself to creativity.
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“You’re a good girl, Ruthie,” Ma says, placing hands on my arms. She’s looking at them—really looking at them—for the first time in longer than I can remember. “You’ve always been a good girl.” The cadenced beeping of her heart monitor rises up from the background noise of the ward, intrusive, and it seems to […]
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Behind the local anchorwoman, Tessa’s snapshot hung suspended in the corner of the screen.
“Day two of search for missing woman,” the ticker tape read.
I switched off the set. I palmed my face and scrubbed the two day old stubble along my jaw.[…]
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Death arrived in London in a plain, brown, cardboard box topped with a ribbon.
Martha Bazelton found the box on her stoop early on a chilly Tuesday morning. Expecting to see little but the week’s milk when she opened her door, Mrs. Bazelton instead took her first steps toward her own gruesome and painful death by cocking her head to the side with curiosity. Then she leaned down and picked up the object of mass doom[…]
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The fire engine races as fast as my heart through the dark, snow-banked streets, sirens shrieking.
Still I see his blackened shell, red eyes pitted inside a face twisted with madness and malice. Still he is with me. But I couldn’t tell the shrink that because I have to keep going. If I don’t get back out there and do this now, my career is over. And the memories will be there to haunt me just the same.[…]
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I am no storyteller, but I photograph my wife every day.
One of my favorite photos of Anne shows her sitting on our bed, face stretched and beaming, with the little white pregnancy test stick in her hand. Her freckles glow in the picture. Her eyes jump at will between green and brown. Most indoor photos give them a darker tint, but not this snapshot. Her single dimple, left side, is deep and at its face-cheering best. Anne’s dark curls wear sun-bleached highlights because it dates to late summer, only six months before the first death in Vermeer Park.[…]
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The three dead guys in my squad kept making too much noise. They shuffled their feet, dragging tattered boots through the underbrush, and every loud rustle, every crunch from their clumsy steps made the rest of us cringe. The living had dark stains growing down the armpits and backs of our shirts despite the cool air. […]
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The stack of red is rather high, but I toss mine in anyway. A few others slide down, like unstable tomatoes piled strategically at the grocery store. I arrived sooner than one would anticipate, but I’m far from alone. A steady line of men and women slowly walk up to the pile and toss, adding to the stack. Over time I can no longer see mine. […]
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