All Stories, General Fiction

Requiescat in Pace by Bill Huey

Patrick Mulcahy awoke with a start after a night of fitful sleep. It was Monday, October 23, and this was the week he would die. On Thursday, October 28, at 3p.m., Patrick Mulcahy, 62 years and six months, would depart this life.

This doleful fact had come to him in a dream, but Pat had always had a knack for prediction, especially for death. He wasn’t a shaman or a mystic, but his gift was prediction. This made many people wary of him, but others flocked to him for predictions about sports, elections, and even the weather.

Being certain of the time and day of his death had its advantages, because it happened soon enough for Pat to enjoy a full life. His work as an actuarial consultant furnished him with both ample time and income, and Pat visited every major league ballpark in the United States. He went to spring training for his beloved Red Sox every spring, and even went to Cuba for the historic game in 2016, as a guest of David Ortiz.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Desert Dust by James Bates

The middle-aged, balding man sitting behind the desk at the Arapahoe County Funeral Home looked up as I walked in. He smiled a greeting. “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” I said, trying to be polite since I really didn’t want to be there. “My name is Sam Jorgenson. I think I talked to you earlier this week. I came for my father’s ashes.”

“Ah, Mr. Jorgenson.” He nodded, his face taking on what I figured was his practiced look of sad commiseration. He stood up, came around his deck, and extended his hand. “Nice to meet you,” he said. “Yes, we did talk. I’m Jack Benson, the director here. May I offer my condolences.”

I shook his hand. It was dry and cold to the touch. “Thank you. Nice to meet you,” I said.

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General Fiction, Short Fiction

 Black Flowers by Michael Ventimiglia

Being home hurts. It’s a subtle sort of pain that isn’t always obvious, but it’s always there just the same. The aching starts the moment I cross the state line and it won’t stop ’til I cross it back over. I guess that’s just the price of having a past, having to live with it.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Orchids in the Sun by Dorothy Rice

Sadie Blankenspiel was raised without faith, which she’d always been stubbornly proud of. Pricing caskets at her brother-in-law Peter’s deathatorium, she wasn’t so sure she’d hadn’t been too hasty in giving short shrift to all that spirituality and after-life mumbo jumbo.

In her eightieth year aboard the mothership, with achy hips, estranged from her two narrow-minded children, she wondered if daughter Maribel hadn’t been right after all. What had the ungrateful girl screamed out the car window before tearing away from the house that last time? Always so dramatic. Something about her mother likely running out of time to make things right before the Grim Reaper plucked her number.

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction

A New World by Peter O’Connor

“Is that all?” she asks.

He offers her the strap of woven hessian. She runs it through her fingers feeling the soft weave.

“All natural materials,” he says, “natural colouring, as strong as steel and 98% recyclable.”

“What about the buckle bit?”

“The ratchet.”

He hands her the item. She turns it and lifts the bar. The click is sharp and staccato in the over stuffed office.

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All Stories, Fantasy

The Good, the Bad, and the Zombie by Matt King

The Good was the worst. The Bad was worthless. The Zombie, at least, was willing.

Life is so energy intensive. Though the Zombie held few thoughts in its putrefying head, this one stuck as flies buzzed feverishly around, attracted by the kill on the street. The Good had done it. Savagely struck down the child and then walked on fingering his rosary beads as if he’d just blessed the poor little soul.

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction

Relief by Rati Pednekar

There must have been about ten or twenty of Them. Circling above the house like the beginnings of a tornado. Their smooth, steady flight was stark against the clamour from inside. Voices clashed against running footsteps, something clanged in the kitchen, and the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. One man sat huddled in the corner, unable to move. And in the midst of it all was a wail, a cry that every few minutes rose from within and floated slowly outward. But They remained indifferent, a set of black wings and sharp beaks stark against the sun that was just beginning to dip downwards. They soared round and round, while inside the small bungalow chaos reigned. One of Them ruffled its feathers.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction

The House Across the Street by Robert P. Bishop

Harvey looked out his front window, saw the real-estate lady pull into the driveway of the house across the street and get out of her car. She walked to the For Sale sign with Sale Pending pasted diagonally on it.

Another victim is moving in, he thought.

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