Killer Krill From Outer Space by Mark Wolf
The headline in the New York Times, while attention grabbing, put me more in mind of a 1950’s B movie marquee than a serious front-pager.
“Killer Krill From Outer Space!” It screamed.
The story was about an interview with the eminent crustacean scientists Emmet Sanderson (that’s me) and Jiro Takata, genetics whiz kid and my best friend.
They quoted me: “Dr. Emmet Sanderson states that the killer krill is a combination of Antarctic Krill, an unknown squid, and a Cuisinart with all the safety features removed.”
I was in the picture holding up a dead krill that was a foot long. Read the rest of this entry
The Park by Regina Glei
Only Grandpa’s empty shell sat in his armchair, watching TV, not his soul. He had changed since Grandma’s death. He had died with her.
Judy increasingly feared that something destructive was going inside Grandpa’s mortal remains. The rest of her family–Mom and Dad, brother and sister–didn’t care. Judy felt ashamed of them. They weren’t even hiding that they were pleased that Grandfather was “out of the way”, “keeping quiet”, and “not bothering anyone”. Those were the expressions that Mom used. They didn’t care that he was still alive and doing nothing but sitting in front of the TV.
During the first year after Grandma’s death, he had still come to the dinner table. Now Mom was bringing his dinner to him in his room. In the previous two years, he had still zapped through the channels. Now he wasn’t even doing that anymore. All he was watching now was a silly variety channel that broadcast nothing but insanely dumb game shows. Grandpa was just sitting there, staring, day in, day out, empty and hollow-eyed. Sometimes he went to bed, sometimes he seemed to forget even that and remained sitting in front of the TV all night. He hardly ate the food Mom brought him and was losing weight. Sometimes he also forgot to go to the bathroom. Ever more often, Judy heard Mom scolding him when she found that he had wet his pants. Read the rest of this entry
The Climb By Gary J Beharry
I am afraid. He speaks to me in my dreams, you see. He tells me that because of me, everyone is angry. Things have stopped working the way they are supposed to, because of my selfishness. I do not understand. I do not remember.
He says I made my choice a long time ago. I had the courage to ask him why once, why it is my fault, why I am being punished. That, I remember clearly: Read the rest of this entry
Ouroboros by Marie Robertson
“Will it hurt?”
It was a childish question, but Lawrence couldn’t help it. The woman before him continued to work, her back to him, as though she hadn’t heard. The room was lit with a low, cheap lamp, and Lawrence could barely see her thin, gnarled body. She stirred something vigorously, filling the room with the scent of spice and timeless foreboding.
“Of course it will hurt,” she said after a few moments. Her voice was like a sheet of dry paper being torn in two. “It will be excruciating.” Read the rest of this entry
Jumpers By Steve Lowe
Marvin squirms in the wet grass with a shiv rammed into his side as tinny intonations of Beethoven’s fifth symphony emanate from his pocket. Lucy’s ringtone.
They picked a spot just above his belt, in that fleshy area around the hip, the tender love handle, to plunge the sharpened hunk of metal. Last he heard, they were lacing the tips of their homemade blades with poison, but he doesn’t know if it’s true. He coaxes the ice pick from his body and flips open his cellphone, oblivious to the chaos around him.
“Daddy? Are you OK? What’s happening there?”
“Yeah, baby, I’m OK.” Not very convincing spoken through clenched teeth. A frail woman in a wheelchair rolls past him, screaming. Read the rest of this entry
By Susan Cunningham
Cobwebs, dust, and stale air crush me like the weight of bricks. Time no longer matters in this musty old attic. How long has it been since I’ve been held and loved?
The feeling of tiny hands as they gently caress my hair seems like a distant memory. The sounds of children playing somewhere in the distance teases my loneliness. I desperately want them to find me, but I know what danger lurks if they do. Sometimes, they are so close. I imagine I will be found, and then my hopes shatter as the voices fade.
Today is different. The voices are much nearer this time.
Do I dare hope?
Strong hands grasp my leg and drag me through the dirt. A tall man with a gentle face holds me in the air, and I swing about like a pendulum. Read the rest of this entry
It Takes Seven by Anne Abad
She wondered why he had to keep saying that—‘tsk’. What did that even mean?
Or was it just a general feeling of resignation at the possibility that his sister would never count for anything in the world of banal instinct?
Daemon hated to be chided, hated that grating sound that bounced in her ears like cymbals, and hated how such a three-letter non-word could carry so much weight and meaning.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk!”
“Baen! Stop it already!” she felt invisible claws running up and down her spine, her body’s negative reaction to the unpleasant sound.
“Stop what? Tsk? Tsk, tsk, tsk?” he clicked on and on anyway, tilting his narrow head from side to side, slapping his gecko tongue against his palate. His woody irises seemed to crack, a piece of parched earth that somehow gained the gift of sight. He ran his trident of a hand through his wormy mane, giving her a mocking look.
He was a bastard, which in his case was a good thing since his mother was a very notorious busaw that could cause people to crave flesh. Human flesh. Few demons could mix pheromones like that nowadays, but whatever it was she used to make victims see a leg as a burger, she was downright cool.
But that was before she got exorcised. Crank back time two centuries into the past and they would have been able to meet the renowned flesh-eating demon that gave birth to the cannibalistic nations. Daemon could only heave a huge sigh, for she was but a Level E depravity. A level lower and she would be thrown back into the Inferno. The Abyss. Gehenna. Hell—call it whatever—but no one wanted to be there. Someone else held the keys now, the bossy Prince who had zero tolerance for failures. Read the rest of this entry
Duel On Hakkojji Bridge by: A.R. Williams
Hakkojji Bridge was old and beautiful. It stretched for a quarter mile, but since it was too narrow to allow two people to walk side-by-side, every hundred feet a small nook or resting place was constructed so that those passing from the south to the north or the north to the south could step aside and let the higher ranking traveler pass. These resting places were also used by the aged to rest and many times a young man or boy could be seen fishing from the bridge at these locations. However, the problem occurred near the center of the bridge and was viewed by many to be the only flaw in an otherwise perfect construction. There was no resting place.
Therefore, in order to pass, one individual had to backtrack to the nearest nook and allow the other to proceed. In many regards this is the reason that a second much larger bridge had to be built three miles downstream. It was also the reason that Hakkojji Bridge had earned so many nicknames within the community. Read the rest of this entry
A Two Flush Toilet by Dawn Allison
I was waiting for the second flush, listening as the tank refilled, staring out the window into the long emptiness of night. Still better than staring at the swirling leavings in the toilet bowl. I have one of those two-flush toilets, nothing ever all goes down the first time.
My house is also haunted. Probably the two are unrelated, unless the spooks are to blame for the weak water pressure upstairs. Sometimes, I hear noises in the night. Sometimes, as I lie awake, waiting impatiently for sleep, I feel a shift in the mattress, like tiny feet padding close to share my warmth, like a cat making itself comfortable in my bed. Or so I imagine. I never had a cat because I’m allergic.
Sometimes, when sleep finds me, I sneeze myself awake. Banged my head good, once, against the corner of the headboard. But I fell back to sleep like nothing happened, like I hadn’t heard that startling crack. I woke up with the pillowcase stuck to my face, held by crusted blood. When I pulled it away, my temple started bleeding all over again. Read the rest of this entry