All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

The Executor by Barb Lundy

Emmet Emafo started his day running. Broken branches and shredded herbs told the story of the hail storm that woke him during the night. A thin mist still fell. A canvas of fall leaves swayed in trees. He became one with the morning light and shadow. The slap of his footfalls on the wet cement comforted him.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Fake Teeth Yarn by Kiersen Clerkin

Listen officer, kids die all the time, you know. Trust me. And seventeen isn’t that young. But his blood tasted like mine, that was a surprise. So was his walk; wobble really. Monnie told me he needed a few more, “Get it girl,” that’s what she said, and she said it just like that, like her lips were dripping with sticky spit and she was slurping it back up. I couldn’t, not just then, couldn’t give him what he need.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction

There’s No Bars in this Town by J Saler Drees

We were bored when we started drinking and bored when we got too drunk and bored when we stole Adee’s pickup and drove it down to the riverbank. What a joke. We laughed the whole way, that forced, bored kind that sounds like a fraud. How we mused, won’t this be funny when Adee gets off her shift and finds her truck gone.

Since no one ever locked their cars, or their doors, stealing came easy. Only problem in a town this small, you’d get caught. Didn’t matter. Stealing was more a game than a necessity, so catch us if you can, Adee.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

A Saddle in the Desert by Tom Sheehan

He was in the sparse land between shifting sands of the great desert and the last tree bearing green when he saw the vultures descending from their high flight. Breward Chandler, “Brew” to friends back in the mountains where breathing was much easier than here in the midst of little life, sat bareback on an Indian pony he had freed from a natural corral behind a blow-down. Chandler had learned that the horse would obey pulls on his mane and in this manner he had escaped from sure capture by heading into the desert, with his pistols loaded and a lariat and a canteen he had grabbed on the run. He was not sure who was after him, either renegade Indians or renegade whites out for the kill, looking for guns, clothes, saddles, anything for free. He was hoping that they’d measure the little he might have against the rigors of a chase in the desert. Perhaps, he also hoped, they were smarter than he thought they were.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Van Damned by Todd Mercer

I’m not saying society is unstable here, but Kidnapping is the third-leading sector of employment. When I flew in, I was shocked by the ubiquity of it, and the apparent randomness of who is selected. So different from back home. Six months later I’ve adapted and am making mind-blowing amounts of money driving a Kidnap Van on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I could ask for more assignments, but the quality of the work-life balance is so important. Two days a week pays all my bills and then some.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Snow by Diane M Dickson

The body was a small broken thing from a distance. Seen across the snow field there was little more than a coloured smudge against the white.

They couldn’t go for it now, it was too dangerous. There were fissures out there, hidden and lethal.  If there had been any chance of life, there would be no option, but they couldn’t justify the risk. Witnesses said that he fell from the summit and there had been no movement since. No reason for him to fall they had said. He had made it to safety, removed the roping and then just fallen back. It was inexplicable, a tragic accident. Maybe a dizzy spell caused by the altitude. Jake had listened to all the radio communication. The panic and distress.

They had called his mobile of course and the helicopter had hovered overhead for a long time, powder swirling upwards in the wash but there was no visible sign of life and so he would stay out there. The dark would hide him and probably more snow would cover him as the season progressed.  In a few weeks he would be invisible, nothing but a hump and a sad memory for his climbing mates.

Jake moved away. He wouldn’t come back. Not then, not in the spring. If the season was very cold the body would be well-preserved and if they got to it before the wolves and birds there would be something left for the family but Jake didn’t need to see it. The hullabaloo, if they found the bullet might reach where he was and he would smile at the fuss, but he’d be long gone.

He pulled up the warm fleece around his face and bent to retrieve his ski poles. He had already tucked the rifle into his backpack. As the sun slid away the summits turned pink, and Jake turned to the East and moved off. He loved the snow, the chill and the clear cold air but it would be nice to feel the sun warm on his bare skin and he smiled under his face mask.  Life was good when the jobs came up this way. When he got back to the hotel, he needed to call his contacts in Hawaii and organise things ready for his arrival. Another few years working at this pace and he could retire.  Maybe he’d come back then and ski with no interruptions.

Diane M Dickson

Image by Alexgan from Pixabay 

All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Cherries by L’Erin Ogle

Frankie is his least favorite nursing aide. She wears cheap perfume that smells like cherries and he hates cherries, the knotted pits inside them, the red juice that blooms across fingers and teeth, the bittersweet taste spread across the tongue. His mother loved cherries, left bowls of them half eaten sitting on dressers and counters and even stacked on the floor, the pits stinking and rotting with bits of the fleshy fruit still attached. The stain on her fingertips resembling the lipstick smeared around her mouth.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Loch Ness Monster by Steven French

He loved the drive up to Inverness: leaving Edinburgh on the motorway, crossing the Firth of Forth and looking across to the old railway bridge, wondering, each time, if it really was true that when they finished painting it they had to start all over again … Even the inevitable congestion around Perth he didn’t mind so much because once he’d got through all that it was the A9 and a free run all the way up to the Highlands. On a beautiful autumn day like today it was just unbeatable. He felt so good in fact that with only an hour or so still to go he decided to pull off the road into Aviemore and grab a bite. There was a wonderful ice cream store there that also sold cannoli and he picked up a box for the trip home. That put him behind schedule a little but he reckoned he still had plenty of time to do what he’d come for and get to the bed-and-breakfast by a reasonable hour. 

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Aunt Sarah by Jeff Hill

Everyone showed up to the funeral.  They grieved, they said nice things, they ate a nice meal, and then they left.  And moved on.  Or at least tried to.  But then it happened again, just a few days later, and they were back at the same church, the same cemetery, saying the same nice things and eating leftovers from the same nice meal.  And this time, they were afraid to leave.  Because the important questions aren’t usually asked this close to the grieving process.  The important answers aren’t usually as necessary.  One death is sad, but two, and so similar in nature, is alarming.  Were they both accidents?  Or were they linked?  And if they weren’t accidents and they were linked, the questions that came to mind among the grieving townspeople were as follows: Who killed them?  Why did they kill them?  And am I next?

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Veil by A E Rocher

It was a beautiful wedding. I knew it would be. After all, I planned it.

Held outdoors, next to a crisp, perfect stream in the Great Smoky Mountains where we loved to hike. Gorgeous fall morning, with blue mist gently rising, the crop of massive boulders on the bank looking quiet yet colossal, like waiting, sleeping giants.

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