All Stories, Fantasy, Short Fiction

The Fifth billygit of the Apocalypse by Leila Allison


I was just sitting there, taking up space, contributing nothing to the Universe other than not plotting its destruction. I was studying the concept of wrath as dispensed by cyber-mobs, and I arrived at the conclusion that those who frame witches do so to forestall winding up bound and tossed into the river themselves. Hardly a revelation, but the truth seldom wows. When you get down to it the words of the prophets are found on the subway walls, tenement halls and in stupid tweets, old chum.

My Imaginary Friend and second in command, Renfield, popped into my office and told me that the billygits wanted to see me.

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Literally Reruns, Short Fiction

Literally Reruns – the Questing Knight by Michael Bloor

Michael Bloor’s excellent little gem, The Questing Knight, looks at, then beyond the charm of a pub raconteur. Michael shines a light on the truth that people had ignored with his description of the man’s previously unseen widow. This is a beautifully understated piece of work that says more than its small quantity of words.

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All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 388: Interstellar Juice Boxes; The Week That Is and Visual Velveeta

In a Saturday post several months ago I took aim at the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Looking back, I discovered I did not insult it enough. The Great Eye recently opened and discovered (brace yourself) more galaxies. At work, I often deal with large shipping boxes separated from their invoices, thus they arrive as mysteries that I must explore. Whenever I open one to see what’s inside nowadays, I always say “Look gang, more galaxies.”

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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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Literally Reruns, Short Fiction

Literally Reruns: Paper Lined Tables by Rachel Sievers

The two things that stand out for me in Rachel Sievers’ Paper Lined Tables are displacement and expectation. A hard to face big problem is usually addressed through an unrelated smaller trouble, and waiting for something is often better than getting that something. Mostly, the things most wrong in our lives are impossible to articulate without receiving negative pushback from a person associated with the woe. And dreaming of a best pal dog without accounting for how you will deal with the uptick of chewed slippers, barking and dogshit in your life can be stressful.

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All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 386: What’s It All About, Five, No Four Works of High Fiction and the A to Z of Buying a Round For the Unsteady Jukebox

What’s It All About?

I’ve begun my fifth year of feeding the little gray menace in the header–Misster Andy Hisster. Andy is in fine health and continues to live the pirate life even though I constantly offer him different situations. Off and on for the last few months, Andy has had a sidekick; a young Tuxedo Cat (also pictured–goody, I see he was photobombed by my device) first named Patch, but after an exchange of enlightening interoffice communications with Diane, I now call him “Alfie”–as in the ne’er do well portrayed by Michael Caine.

I’ve always been suspicious about Alfie during the six months or so he’s tagged along with Andy, for me to feed under the hedge. Alfie never shows up when the weather is bad nor does he ever appear to have slept under the building, covered in cobwebs like Andy often is. Andy is indifferent to personal grooming, which is unusual for a House Cat, but not unseen in the ferals. Alfie is a dandy. Never a hair out of place. Fop.

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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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Short Fiction

Name Game By Leila Allison

Vital Information

Before we begin, it is important to know that Satan never cheats at games. In fact she may be the only thinking being in the universe who is honest to a fault when it comes to games of chance. But her truthful nature does not mean that she is a good loser. Oh, she’ll shake your hand and heartily extol your virtues as a gamer; but she’ll never forget the sting of losing. In that regard it might be better if she did cheat, or at least flipped the board to conclude a Monopoly match with a mistrial. But, as we will soon see, that is not her way….

Now On With the Show

The Witch needed a name for her newest season on Earth. The need had nothing to do with business. Her vast wealth and properties were under the enchanted aliases of her human familiars–a trustworthy lot because they knew that something much worse than death (a something most likely to be as creative as protracted) awaited any servant caught dipping in the Witch’s till. Such certainty reinforces loyalty. No, the want of a name stemmed from the idiotic peasant need for labeling things.

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Literally Reruns, Short Fiction

Literally Reruns: Walk on By by Jane Houghton

Even the stars will go out, one by one, the great and the small, at entropy all will be done. And such is the case with Margot, a small star in the show business sky, yet a first magnitude sun in Jane Houghton’s Walk on By. This is a fine example of parallel writing. The current story nurtures the backstory and both resolve together in a bittersweet, even uplifting conclusion.

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