All Stories, Fantasy

The Lighthouse Keeper by Loredano Cafaro

Today Leonardo comes home crying. When his father and mother hear what his school friend has told him, they understand that the day they have feared for a long time has come— the moment when they will have to start crushing his dreams. They speak to him, say that his friend is right; tell him I do not exist. But they are wrong.

I dream, therefore I am.

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All Stories, Short Fiction

339- Secret Rooms, Incidental Blonde Bashing and Results From the Tiny Wildcat Division at the Feline Olympics

Hugh is on a well earned holiday this week. This leaves me alone in a room, thinking of what to do for Week 339 at 3:56 A.M. on a Thursday morning.

The cursor is blinking, and my mind is its usual unsteady and fearful self. Writing is like life, I go from here to there and make it up on the spot, then return to edit the mistakes later.

Yet there are always some things I miss and never fix. For instance, the fatuous simile in the previous paragraph.

Anyway…

When I was a child we lived in a house that had secret rooms. Actually, the secret rooms were crawl spaces above the eaves–one at each side of the attic, accessed through pull out shelves. Only persons the size of your standard six-year-old (or so) could move around comfortably in the crawl spaces; only persons of six (or so) have enough imagination to consider the places the Christmas decorations wind up secret rooms.

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All Stories, Editor Picks, Short Fiction

Week 338: Fearing the Two-Hundred Degree Day and Results From Feline Olympics

The Pacific Northwest winter used to run September through July. The main features were a minimum eight hours’ rain every twenty-four and temperatures favorable for sustainable mildew. Some years, but not all, there’d be a relatively balmy August, which motivated many to rush to the rocky shores of the Puget Sound to frolic drunkenly in the sea until they suffered pointless deaths brought on by hypothermia.

I avoid Climate Change as a subject for debate because it really doesn’t matter. It could very well be that the cloud of hairspray sent up into the atmosphere by 80’s Product Rockers, Poison, alone, has punched a lethal hole in the sky. But it still really doesn’t matter. My advice to the people who are smart enough to change the world is stop wasting time trying to make the people who hate you see things your way. Be creative and invent something big that will end the problem. Channel the same egghead pluck and ingenuity that ended World War II. Your scientific ancestors impressively overkilled the most significant event in human history by inventing a device that, when applied vigorously, can wipe out our species’ future in less time than it takes to roast a turkey.

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Short Fiction

Week 334: Little Toughs, A Kvetch, Good Stories and an Extra Helping of Frederick K. Foote

Little Toughs

My football-shaped black cat, Dudley, has been assassinating my left ankle again. He is an irresistible little thug who takes “No” poorly. “No, Dud, I’d rather you not shred the new sofa.” “Um, no Dud, you may not go outside and fight with the crows.” He can hold a grudge longer than a Catholic funeral; and has the sort of personality that would drop a nuke to end a snowball fight.

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Short Fiction

Week 330: Fear and Recreational Violence

Fear

I’m afraid of heights, close places, and small talk with strangers. This makes me a crummy candidate for riding in planes. Which is fine because I’ve only been on one air trip in my life, and I will never do it again. I’ll go by car, rail or ship first. Hell, I’ll walk, if it comes to that. A friend once told me that air travel is statistically much safer than going by sea. She also reminded me that I cannot swim. I retorted that I may learn how to swim anytime I please, but that my prospects for self propelled controlled flight are limited.

Excellent questions usually attract poor answers. For instance “Why do some people joyously skydive and bungee jump, while others clutch the sides of their chairs until the blood has left their knuckles just contemplating those activities?” I usually reply to something like that with “You never hear about anyone leaving a crater after she falls off a barstool, right?” Yet, later on, when doomed to spending time with my own thoughts, I wonder why I am afraid of the devil may care aspect of life.

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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, Horror

Dust to Dust by A. Elizabeth Herting

The sheet snaps crisply in the wind, perfectly white, a blank canvas hanging on a line. A woman, neither young nor particularly old, bends over a large, wicker basket. Her hands are large and red, prematurely knotted from the harsh, unceasing wind. She is a good-sized woman. An old floral print dress clings to generous haunches as she efficiently plucks each item from the line and places it in the basket. She is one of an unbroken line of generations past, hardened and forged by life on the plains.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Right Honourable Friends by Thomas Lawrance

Sir Walter Alistair Remington had a fantasy. It was no small thing; he would have to wait until parliament’s summer recess to fulfil it. In the meantime, he’d try to satiate himself with his usual habit.

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