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

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Flash Fiction Friday *Return*

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Return

By Jillian Bost

Violet jerked awake, her heart thudding like a thick fist against an iron door. She tossed away all outside sounds and sat up in the bed, clutching the blanket to her chest.

Yes. She heard it again.

With shaking fingers Violet threw on a robe, hurried into the living room, and flung herself onto the couch. She reached for the remote, then hesitated. She left the television, and the lights, off.

And waited.

The shadows elongated in the vague moonlight spilling through the thinly-opened curtains, and tried to coax her to come out to them, and be enveloped in their skeletal embrace.

The next bang came seconds or years later. Violet crept to the front door and peeked out through the peephole. She sucked in a gasp and grasped the lock by instinct.

The man on her front stoop was over 6 foot, and solid like a side of beef. His hair was stringy, clothes drenched. Even through the door, she could smell the sea. His face had been nibbled on by innumerable fish.

He was beautiful. Violet unlocked and opened the door, and held out her arms. “Come here.”

He lumbered forward into her embrace, and she held him tight.

Tears spilled over, and she slashed them away with the backs of her salty fingers. “I’ve been waiting for you a long time,” she said, voice as tender as a baby bunny. “I’m going to take care of you now.”

Seawater dribbled from his gaping mouth, and Violet smiled.

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Spellbound

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Spellbound

by Fanni Sütő

 

Akimitsu stood before the huge lacquered mirror, examining her naked body with a smug smile. Her skin smelled of warm sunlight, sweet rice cakes, and powder white perfection. She was preparing for the arrival of her beloved, the man she had summoned with the help of spirits and the power of angry longing. Her spell would call him away from the arms of another woman, from his duties, from his life. It would overthrow anything that stood between them. Akimitsu’s power reached out for him across seas, above mountains, and below rivers. From the moment she laid her eyes on him a long, long time ago, she wanted Nobuharu to be her lover. But he already wore another woman’s mark, a faded ring of hasty promises.

Akimitsu frowned at the memory and ran her hand down the golden brown kimono waiting for her on a chair. She tried to twirl her hair into elaborated designs but her locks kept breaking free. Under her touch, the silk rustled with the sound of falling leaves. She felt her lover drawing closer, dragged by the power of Akimitsu’s spell. The ground moaned about the fall of his footsteps. Akimitsu, the witch of the autumn winds, smiled. She enjoyed her power, it was bringing her the man she had desired for endless years. Her longing was so strong it would have ripped the jaws of earth open.

Akimitsu had been alive since the dawn of the time, dancing around death with the light steps of a geisha, always avoiding his touch when he reached out for her. Her power grew as the years went by, her reality merged with visions about the past and the future.

Akimitsu couldn’t remember when she saw him first, the ink-haired Nobuharu, but she remembered the haunted look in his eyes when he saw her. He must have seen Fate sitting on her shoulder.

The drifting scent of incense filled her house and the wind chimes reminded Akimutsu of wedding bells. The dying sun poured its copper light on the zen garden and the room, setting the scene for the long awaited meeting.

There was a knock on the door. Akimitsu gave herself one last appraising look, then rushed to salute her fiancé. He was bound to love her and to share her long life and to warm her tatami.

The autumn witch pulled away the rice paper door and faced the man she hadn’t seen for such a long time. Lost in her timeless thoughts, it had never occurred to Akimitsu that human life is as fragile as the finest china. Once it’s broken, it cannot be mended. Unless…

Nobuharu’s skin was gray and he was shading it like a cherry blossom shed its petals. His lightless eyes were drinking in the shape of Akimitsu who stood in front of him in her full beauty. Nobuharu’s one remaining nostril trembled with yearning for Akimitsu’s flesh.

She had summoned him and he came, following the call of her spell, leaving behind his village, his serenity and even the realm of the dead.

Nobuharu stepped closer to embrace the woman who ruined his peace. He saw horror in her eyes, but she didn’t try to escape, not even when he bit into her lips hungrily.

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Drink, Eat… Be Merry?

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DRINK, EAT…BE MERRY?

by Tim J. Finn

Brett Ralston tapped the Smartphone in the pocket of his parka and silenced its chirping. His latest friend with benefits failed to comprehend his no-call directive also applied to text messages. Her spectacular bedroom skills stayed him from booting her taut buttocks to the curb. He should be enjoying her prowess instead of supervising a body dump in the middle of a hazardous waste site. Ralston resolved to leave grown up virgins alone, despite the appeal of acting as ‘deflowerer’. Paula Downey proved to be too stupid and too Catholic to prevent her problematic pregnancy.

Adam Edwards leaned on his shovel and tugged a gin bottle from his coat. He gulped half a dozen mouthfuls and offered the bottle to his fellow digger. Continue reading

The Things We Do For Love

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THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE

BY BRAD P. CHRISTY

Seventeen years is time enough to name all the cracks in the walls.

Ellen is that narrow one that spider-webs up the eastern side. Tucker is that wide one stemming from a chip over in the corner. But, my favorite is Mia. She’s the deepest, and on sunny days a pinhole of sunlight shines through her.

We went to college together, Mia and I. She was absolutely radiant the first time we met. God, my palms were sweating like crazy. I remember she was wearing a baby-blue button-up shirt that was just big enough to peek at what was underneath if I leaned forward in my chair far enough. I was so close to her that I could smell her hair; it smelled like some kind of fruit.

I remember how the way she fit into a pair of jeans made teachers uncomfortable. It was funny how they would refuse to look directly at her, even if she asked a question. It was also the reason guys showed up early to class. It definitely got my attention. I’d fight my way in to get the perfect seat in the back where I could watch her without making it too obvious, you know, to be aloof. She liked it when I watched. Continue reading

10 ‘What If’ Writing Prompts

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It’s Monday! If you’re feeling a little stunted after the weekend, here are some ‘What If’ writing prompts to get you thinking or writing (hopefully both!).

Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday *Breathtaking*

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Breathtaking

by Mike Carey

93eaf9b67ac9a96a0d79165b8d588d0bKaty was cursed.

When she was little, her grandmother had told her that she was going to be ‘breathtaking’.  At the time she didn’t know what that meant, but by the time she was sixteen, her grandmother’s prediction had come true.  Extremely so.

Every man she crossed paths with found her to be, as her grandmother said, ‘breathtaking’.

Katy didn’t like it.  She didn’t try to be that way.  It was natural and there was nothing she could do about it.

She tried to stay inside as much as possible and not draw attention to herself, but she had to go outside sometimes.   Even on her worst days, men everywhere found her breathtaking.

Katy never stayed in one place very long.  She was adept at making herself disappear.

Each time she moved on, a local police force was left befuddled, hopelessly confused by the discovery of several asphyxiated men.

 

You can find Mike Carey’s other work at Salem Uncommons.

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