Render Unto Caesar

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Render Unto Caesar

Liam Hogan

“Mr. Odberry?”

A face appears in the thin gap between door and frame. Nose too big, lips too grey, eyes red and glistening.

“Mr. Joseph Franklin Odberry?”

“Yes?” the rabbit at the doorway nervously replies.

I flash my ID card and give him a reassuring smile. “I’m Ms. Adriana Prescott, from NHS Blood and Transplant. May I come in?”

“Is this… is this about my kidney?”

I nod, solemn now. “Yes, yes it is.” Continue reading

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*Flash Fiction* The Stranger in Your Bed

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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

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No-Name

D.S. Thomas

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

The Only One in the Room

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The Only One in the Room

By Nick Manzolillo

The bodies sway gently in the breeze, with one hanging from every other lamppost along the Main Street.  Robert wonders how they all got up there, he doesn’t see any ladders.  He takes one final pull from his cigarette and then tosses it against the asphalt. There’s a brilliant flash of sparks before the stub’s sole ember is left struggling to remain alive before it eventually suffocates.  Other corpses rock to and fro from the tree branches, but they are shrouded in the late evening darkness.  Go figure, the next bus isn’t coming ‘til the morning, but this was always meant to be the boring part of the trip. Continue reading

Theater Three

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Theater Three

By Ellie Brown

When I was in my early twenties, I worked at a small movie theater that showed only independent, cult, and foreign films. The theater was built in the early 1940’s and was decorated in the style of the era with heavy red velvet curtains, stained glass light fixtures, and dark wood. My co-workers were mostly college students at nearby Wayne State University or were enjoying their post-graduation “lost years”, like me. We slacked off, smoked pot in the basement and on the roof, picked the films for the summer midnight movie series, came up with cast lists for who would play each of us in a movie about our theater, and generally had the run of the place. Despite the minimum wage pay, tacky uniforms, and the misanthropy that comes with working with the public, it remains my favorite job. Except for this one thing… Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday *Waltzing Matilda*

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Waltzing Matilda

By Jillian Bost

Matilda trudged down the country lane in a huff. She shouldn’t have been walking by herself this late in the evening, but Emma had stayed behind at the party to bat her eyes and giggle at every word Thomas Ward said. Matilda was the one who’d coaxed Thomas out of his shell, and taught him how to waltz. Yet Emma had been the one he’d stared after, as if she were the cupbearer and Matilda the desert.  “You can’t dance, you great big drooling beast!” Matilda had yelled before storming out of his house.

Jealousy bit at her insides, and she winced. She drew her cloak tighter around herself, hating the wind that battered her face and cursing the moon that was hiding in the dark, for Thomas would be walking Emma home tonight, not her.

Matilda closed her eyes and imagined a new dance partner. This man would be taller than Thomas, stronger, and have a full head of lush black hair. He wouldn’t fall prey to the simpering lamb act of a bored young woman. He would know every dance, including the waltz.

She opened her eyes and gasped. “Oh my…”

“Good evening, milady. I’m sorry to have startled you.”

It was him. Tall, strong, and mysterious.Her dream.

Together they waltzed, though he moved as if he were pained. He released Matilda just as she caught a glimpse of yellow eyes. Some trick of the moon, she mused, which had peeked out from behind the clouds.

“Thank you for the dance.” He bowed, then hobbled away, curled in on himself.

“But wait! What is your name?” Matilda hurried after him, nearly stumbling over her skirt.

She gasped when he swung round, his snout and fangs shining in the light. “Oh dear,” she managed, before he closed in.

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Drops

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Drops

By Lee Blevins

The first drop fell during a Buster Keaton comedy at the arthouse theater in the city nearest their town. Bertrand felt the cool plop of a single drop of liquid upon the edge of his hairline. He raised his hand and brushed the water off and chalked it up to leakage or spittle or maybe premeditated hooligansim and continued watching the film.

The second drop fell during fourth period the following day. Bertrand had placed a slide upside down a projector. One of the less anarchic students then pointed out the error. Bertrand was turning the slide around when the second drop fell onto the transparent sheet. The fluid ate through the word Indochina. Continue reading