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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All Stories, Fantasy

Witness Mark by Emily A Garfield

A witness mark is a groove, a dent, left by people gone before. Sometimes they’re deep, gouged, gone over so many times by people, living and reliving moments on moments. Sometimes they’re just a scratch, easily sanded away.

It was Catia’s first time waking up in a coffin. It would not be her last.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

In The Hills Of The Okanagan by Harrison Kim

When you’re crawling in the dark towards a desperate destination you can’t drink or drug, you can’t play the guitar, the goal is to duck under the barbed wire fence, under the surveillance and arrive undetected to attain your purpose. You’re crawling with a swede saw round your neck, and you’ve driven all the way from the Rockies, a giant circle travel to this vineyard once again.  To exact vengeance.  You’ve filled five weeks pruning grapes for nothing, with an oral contract signed by two voices, yours and the owners.  And the owner won’t pay.  After three weeks, he said the job wasn’t complete.  You knew it was. But you wanted the cash.  So you did the extra work.  Pruning the vines down to the nubs. You laboured two weeks more. And afterwards the owner sighed and said “the field must be weeded and the debris hauled away,” and you said “No.  That wasn’t in the contract.  I don’t have a pickup to do that”

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Blue Glacier Beer by Tom Sheehan

And so, it had come to this… nothing would ever take him from his steely promise to extract, once and for all, total redemption from his old pal and teammate, Greg Lumbada, payment of the highest order, Amontillado on the instant air. So be it.

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