All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Passing On by John J. Dillon

Kemp emerged from the dark woods behind the little St. Andrew’s church and took a moment to look things over. One car sat in the small lot and a few stained glass windows glowed with feeble light. His watch showed 8:58 p.m. All good for his scheduled private confession.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Her Special Day by Nicholas Katsanis

Clara looks up from the edge of the bed. Her eyes are red and swollen. She dashes to the wardrobe, blurting something about a different pair of shoes.

“The black flats are fine, hon,” I say with my softest voice. Next thing I hear is her scream, the crash of the shoe rack, her sobs: those unbearable sobs that cut through my flesh. I rush to the closet. She’s curled up at the corner, empty boxes strewn everywhere. The edge of her hand is bleeding.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Ghosting By Tom Koperwas

Eddy Cutmore grinned as he placed the large black briefcase containing the bioweapon next to the channel of water flowing into the city’s underground reservoir. Depressing the green button on the side of the briefcase, he linked it with the other bioweapons he’d hidden close to the city’s vital ventilation and water sources. All that was left was to activate the trigger and release the plethora of pathogens. He leaned forward and put his finger on the switch.

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All Stories, Fantasy

Towen Meeting by Leila Allison

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Charleston’s sleepy New Town Cemetery had once been the center of a controversy. For many years Town was spelled ‘Towen’ on the fancily etched marble dedication obelisk located just inside the main gate. The unique spelling was on purpose because the wealthy widow who had donated the land for the cemetery and paid for the obelisk wanted it that way. She claimed that it was the name of the Welsh village of her birth. Despite more than a century of weathering, you can still mark her unpronounceable name on the obelisk, but, oddly, not those of the local big shots who’d presided over the cemetery’s plating in 1882.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

The Weight of Return by Marco Etheridge

Darryl slid three quarters into the vending machine and weighed his options. They weren’t all that good. The overnight Greyhound had carried him across a state line, which violated of his parole. If his tight-ass parole officer got wind of it, Darryl would be on his way back to a cell in Lucasville. First off, don’t get spotted by the cops, same as any day for an ex-con. Second, don’t get spotted by the bad guys. That left having breakfast and finding the girl. He reached for the chrome handle and pulled. A snickers bar tumbled into the sheet metal tray.

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All Stories, Fantasy

The Grim Morass by David Samuels

They say you’re a paladin, but all I see is a fool.

Look at you: armored like a crawdad with the brains to match. One wrong move on that poleboat and you’ll sink to the base of the swamp.

Gimme your hand. Let’s get you back on solid ground—if you can call this pier solid. The stilts wobble in the sludge, so watch your step.

Not a talker, clearly. Don’t bother unrolling that scroll. I know all about your oath of silence. Word travels fast among us Marshmen. As the village shaman, I was among the first to learn about your little quest. You seek redemption, yes?

Then go home. Adopt a war orphan and get on with your life. Truth be told, you’d have better luck floating in that platemail than slaying the Bogroth.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Last on the List by Robert P. Bishop

Olin Bahr sat on the end of the exam table, his feet on the footrest and waited for the doctor. The exam room in which he sat, typical of all exam rooms in any medical facility, he thought, felt impersonal, devoid of anything suggesting human warmth, compassion or comfort. The only decoration in the room, an articulated human skeleton with a hook protruding from the top of its skull, hung on a metal pole in one corner and stared at Olin with empty eye sockets.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Bruise Free Tattoos by Martin Toman

So I only noticed that the door to my tattoo shop had been kicked in after I put the key in the lock. I slid the key into the cylinder and twisted it, but the door didn’t move. Through the tunnel of a receding hangover, I saw that the frame had been cracked near the lock, but the door hadn’t quite been kicked open. I pulled away in surprise, the blood receding to the back of my head, and looked around. A shard of the door frame lay on the ground, cleanly broken away. The glass next to the lock was undamaged. It was too early for this shit.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Accountable Victim by Donald Zagardo

A black and green lamppost, tall with chipped paint, across from Bryant Park, in front of a classic brown and gold twelve storied building, the wind reeking of the park’s dead yellow grass, cigarette smoke, automobile exhaust and blood. Hanging from the lamppost is a half-skinned, large white male wearing only trousers, supported by ropes about his torso, legs and arms. In agony, still alive but barely. New York City is some kind of town these days. He will be dead in less than a day.

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