Night of the Lemmings
By day, Bob was nobody. Forty-two; chubby; a greasy film clung to his skin; he was a background player.
Your eyes slid off him and onto someone or something more interesting.
But, at night, by moonlight, Bob was legion. He threw his head back, ecstatic in anticipation for what was to come.
His clothes hung suspended briefly as his new selves, tiny, furred, fountained from sleeves, from pant legs, spilling everywhere. The garments lay, discarded on the hardwood floor.
He split, fragmented into 200 tiny minds. Their unifying thought: RUN.
A moving carpet of lemmings defenestrated onto the fire escape. Leapfrogging riser-less steps, they scurried to the roof.
As one, the lemmings skittered across the gravel-laden tar. They crested the steel lipped edge and plunged.
Their hive-mind cried out: OOPS.
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My Father’s Buick
by David Gilman-Frederick
Cyrus could scarcely believe his ears.
“You can’t seriously be saying,” he raised both eyebrows, “that you don’t make any decisions at all? That the Lord Jesus Christ does all your thinking for you? I mean, he chooses your outfits in the morning; they, like, magically appear, all laid out on your bed? Do you do your homework, Jeremy – or does your Heavenly Father? What kind of grades do you get?” he laughed without amusement, a friend without an r. “I mean, God what, God brushes your teeth for you . . . .” He mimed this and then laughed again.
Sitting opposite him on the stoop, Jeremy slumped forward, pale and shivering. His skin was a sallow, hypothermic blue, despite the warmth of the early May evening. He focused on a spot on the step between his generic tennis shoes. He didn’t answer, just trembled and tilted his head in a gesture somewhere between a nod and a shake. Continue reading
The Stranger in Your Bed
By Laura Beasley
Her answers didn’t add up.
She told him the wooden cage was for a large bird she’d caught. But only small and medium-sized birds lived in the woods. She let him chop up the cage to burn in the fireplace.
She let him scrape the candy off the outside of the cottage. It had been a failed decorating project she’d seen on Pinterest. Women do crazy things.
They met on a dating website. He liked her long, grey hair and flowing black dresses. She was interested in marriage and liked children. She owned her cottage in the middle of the woods.
Their relationship was clicking and he planned to pop the question. He was ready to bring his grandson to visit on weekends.
Everything changed one day. He was fixing dinner in her kitchen while she painted her nails blood-red. He needed more EVOO for the salad dressing. He found the pouch of bones in the pantry. They were children’s finger bones.
He never married her. He kept his grandson safe.
He called the cold case district attorney. The DA had been searching for the killer of a missing child. A little boy had been lost in the woods for more than a decade.
Hansel’s parents would find peace at last.
No-name could have been you and, for a brief moment, you were No-name. Everyone has been, at some point or another. Suspect and uneasy features assigned to an otherwise faceless being. A boogeyman. Someone’s nightmare. For a few moments, at least, you could have been a shadow that terrified or an unexpected voice that left your victim slack-jawed and pale. You might not have been my No-name, but you might have been somebody’s.
“You’ll keep quiet or…” Continue reading
Don’t Fear The Reaper
“I need you to kill him for me.”
The words were spoken in the right order, the request not unreasonable. After all, Brian Turner’s father had been a son of a bitch long before the Vietnam War but an even bigger one since.
But Brian also knew that rules were rules.
“You know I can’t,” Luke replied.
Before he could continue, Brian snatched the words out of his mouth.
“Rules are rules.” Continue reading