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
A Cry for Help
by Rivka Jacobs
They turned left from Peachtree Street, into the parking lot beside the Brookhaven apartment building. Kayla, sitting like an unstrung marionette slumped against the back seat, caught her mother’s eyes as she glanced in the rear-view mirror. “Young lady, put your knees together,” the woman demanded of her daughter as they pulled into their reserved slot.
Six-year-old Kayla didn’t move. She watched as her mother checked her makeup and hair, then switched off the ignition. “I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with you,” her mother said as she exited with a graceful swing of her legs, stood, tugged her tight red skirt back into position. “The doctors and counselors couldn’t find anything wrong with you. They don’t have to live with you, sitting there with your mouth hanging open like a dumb animal, your mind the hell knows where…” She paused, then said loudly, “What are you waiting for? Take the damn seat belt off and don’t forget your book bag.” She waited another moment, then shouted, “Kayla Marie Boggs, get your butt out of that car!” Continue reading
By Claire Davon
The candles flickered, once, twice and then burst to life, surging up in a synchronized flare of yellow and sulfur. They cast their shadows across the altar in forms that to the untrained eye appeared random.
They were not.
The flame sought the stale air, using it to gutter higher. Although it had no eyes, it could see; no ears but it could hear. No mouth but it knew the taste of flesh.
A human was coming from the heavy slap of feet, one after the other; after so long another being had found this place of worship. It had been that human once, come to make offerings to the terrible, magnificent altar of skulls and smoke and power. It had dared to invade this sanctuary and had paid this price. Then it had waited for the next one to come. It had not expected the decades that followed.
There was a faint squeak, a terrified high pitched noise. The human did not come alone. A paltry offering, to bring only a rat, but it would serve. Continue reading