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
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
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
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
By Kevin Lewis
It was midnight when the man entered the rest stop bathroom. The man clutched his face with his hands and screamed in agony. He bore his fingers into his face, tearing the flesh away. Chunks of his flesh fell to the floor. He threw them in the trashcan with no hesitation. His human covering always grew back.
The agony he was experiencing was not new to him. He endured the change every night for as long as he could remember.
The man stepped outside into the dark and cold night. He heard a woman gasp. Turning his head to the left, he stared at a young couple. Their horrified eyes were transfixed on his monstrous form – his dark and scaly body, sharp claws, and razor-sharp fangs.
The monster just grinned.
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Defender of the Girth
By John Taloni
Jerome sat in the examining room, waiting for the doctor to return. The chill metal of the examination table bit into his thighs. The too-small gown, open wide in back, provided little warmth. As the minutes ticked by Jerome tried the chairs in the room. They were all too small and the sides pushed into his legs.
After a half hour, the doctor finally came back. He gave Jerome a quick look, then stared at his clipboard. “Well, it’s arthritis,” he said, “Bone on bone.”
“I see,” said Jerome, “I’d pretty much guessed. So what are my options?”
The doctor barely looked up from his clipboard. “Lose some weight,” he replied.
“Um.” Jerome tilted his head, “Of course I’ve tried many diets. It’s not really as easy as that.” Continue reading
The Tolling of the Iron Bell
By John Kaniecki
The iron bell rang penetrating every nook and cranny of the village. Roosters roused from their sleep and ‘cockadoodled’ in a bold chorus. Soon the sheep, goats, and cattle were merrily joining in. To the peasants of the Duchy of the Gentle Hills, the resulting impromptu performance was one of dark despair, for with their intelligent human minds, they knew the significance of the tolling of the iron bell. It was the harbinger of death and the worst kind of death, at that.
Mourac, like all the other serfs in the village, was roused from his sleep. His wife, Karen, slept there at his side, comfortable and untouched by the tolling of the iron bell. She must be awakened. There was no choice in the matter. All of the peasants were required to be present for the ritual. There would be no exceptions. Failure to comply meant death and a demise, not by any pleasant means, for the clergy were not only skilled in the oratory preaching of the word of God, but also in the implicating of His terrible wrath.
“Come, Karen, come,” spoke Mourac firmly as he shook his wife’s shoulder. “You must arise.” Continue reading