All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, Fantasy

On Alternate Realities and Blocked Noses By Daniel Ashmore

There is a truth about loneliness that is known fervently to all those suffering from it, and yet is forgotten the very moment we find ourselves free from its oppressive yoke. That is to say that being alone is not unlike having a blocked nose.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

The Dog by Paul Goodwin

My new neighbour is on the doorstep, towering and muscular, jaw thrust forward, bushy grey whiskers like a Victorian.  “Your dog kept me awake last night,” he says.  “Incessant howling.  Given me a headache.”

“Impossible,” I say.  “I don’t have a dog.”

He leans forward, slow like a crane.  His face is close to mine.  I see madness in his eyes.  His breath smells of tobacco.  “Don’t give me that.  Think I’m stupid?”

I force a nervous laugh.  “I’ve never had a dog.  Stick insects and a hamster when I was a kid.  Never a dog.”

He’s walking away.  He tells me he’ll get the police onto me.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

One of the Good Ones by Tom Matthews

Joe replayed kissing Katy in his mind as he exited the train station. From the soft, tentative touch as their lips met for the first time, to the breathless parting as they released themselves from their fervent embrace. The smell of her perfume lingered on him. His heart pounded. Although only a second date, he felt certain he was on to something special. The long stroll home was what he needed to end the perfect evening.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, Fantasy

Snakeskin by P.L. Salerno

Leona Wiley stood outside the casino, waiting. She leaned against its brick facade, one suede heel up against the building’s side. Her dark blonde hair was neatly curled, just barely hitting her shoulders. Dangling pearls weighed down her earlobes, obsidian mascara darkened her eyelashes, and her lips shone a vibrant vermillion. She wore a copper fox fur coat and, under it, a black velvet dress. Leona watched as people slipped in and out of the casino’s double doors, looking for the person she was sent to see.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Manhattan and Gibson by Rachel Sievers

My fingers glide over the white and black of the piano keys. The tune, a melody that wrote itself on my heart years ago, when my hair was not white and my joints did not ache, is familiar like the embrace of a longtime lover. My fingers are too stiff and my knuckles too engorged to play with the elegance they once possessed but the tune calms me. 

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Killer Killer by Doug Hawley

I had been hoping to be invited into The Posse for some time.

If you are too young to remember, or have been asleep for many years, here’s how we came to this.  The world has always had serious divisions, not the least the USA, but disintegration here accelerated with the ravings of a former president whose name I don’t use.  He died of a heart attack screaming “I’m the president’ while being questioned during his 2022 trial for various and sundry financial crimes.  Soon thereafter, led by his sons and daughters, true believers were convinced he didn’t die and would soon return to save the country.  Cult 45, as it became known, began to plague politicians at all levels of government with arson, death threats and kidnapping.  Politicians aligning with Cult 45 were treated likewise by the enemies of Cult 45.  Those opposed Cult 45 were called Anti45 by their supporters, and spelled derisively Auntie45 by Cult 45.  The country was further divided by an Endemic, worsened by many variants.  Mask or not, vaccine or not, the country was violently divided.  As government was forced to protect itself, the business of governing the masses was left behind.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction

Follow by R B Miner

The morning is cold and dark and quiet. The roads are nearly empty, strange for a Monday, even at this early hour. Victor Fetter watches the clouds, purple against the leaden sky, while he listens to the familiar rattle inside his mail truck. He thinks the clouds look like rain, and he is pleased. Rain means fewer people, fewer eyes, fewer conversations. He can go about his business with his head down, without fear of interruption, the way he likes.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

For Love of a Three-Legged Horse by Marco Etheridge

The interrogation room is like any other. This one happens to be inside the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office in Nashville. A steel table occupies the middle of the room, legs bolted to the floor. Two chairs face each other across the scarred tabletop. The chairs are secured to the floor as well, for good reason and from accumulated bitter experience.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, Editor Picks, Fantasy, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 387: Blame It On The Tintintinabulator; Five New Memories, Plus a Season Finale

I blame it on the Tintintinabulator, that musical Spirit who goes from ear to ear and secretly whispers catchy songs into semi-catatonic minds. That is my theory for why tunes get stuck in our heads. Currently, Kate Bush is singing Wuthering Heights in my mind. “Cathy” has been at the window for about a week. She’s done it before and will again. It usually takes ten days for her to go away, satisfied that she has once again qualified me for a berth in Crazytown.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Ben by Hugh Cron – Warning – Adult Content.

Before Ben knew it he was sixty.

He wasn’t sure if that bothered him but it was now forty one years.

He stayed in what he called his ‘But and Ben’. He loved the old bed that pulled down from the wall. Ben reckoned that there was a cure for cancer within it’s mattress but he didn’t care that there might have also been a hundred different types of lurgey living within the confines of decades of dead skin and bodily fluids. It was quite comfortable.

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