In the dream, Uncle Jack was there in that drainage ditch and I was there with him. Above us the ice was thick–not so much as a crack in its surface–so that I couldn’t figure how exactly it was we’d come to be there in the water beneath it. As for the water itself, it was damn near dark as night. Only reason I could make out Uncle Jack at all was he was naked and so pale as to be glowing almost and rippling around like there was a current maybe trying to suck him through the culvert what runs under Cold River Road. He was rippling around like he didn’t hardly have a body at all except for what fleshy white strands I could discern and yet I knew it was him somehow.
Continue reading at Maudlin House.
We skip class. We bail. We ditch. Taller than our teachers, deeper-voiced, goateed, we smirk with secret knowledge we ourselves don‘t fully understand–and get the hell out of there. We hang out. We kill time. We loiter, a snickering band of cigarette-butt-flicking, loogie-hockers making the grocery shoppers, gas-pumpers and ATM line-waiters of the town nervous. Are we mocking them, these disciples of the afternoon errand? Probably we are, though the logic of it eludes even us.
Continue reading at Big Lucks.
Rarely did I encounter Uncle Jerry outside family gatherings. In fact, when he shuffled through the staff entrance that first day I found myself wondering where I’d seen this sallow, unshaven stranger before: Maybe smoking outside a bar on Center Street, maybe eyeing the adult movies at Video World, maybe on a bench in Depot Park with the bums counting their empties. Only then did it hit me, like a terrible wave of déjà vu: I was related to this guy.
From Glimmer Train Issue 94 / Fall 2015. Available for purchase here.
To come upon the owl as I rounded the bend near mile marker 14, crouched upon the yellow line with wings folded and head cocked to the side, gave the impression that this bird was there in anticipation of my arrival at that exact point along my route home. That I didn’t immediately drill my boot into the brake or bare down on the horn in surprise, but instead merely decelerated and carefully advanced like we’d agreed I’d simply try to steer around it–like this moment had been planned out in detail beforehand–speaks I think to the general lack of rational thinking that had already begun to overtake most of us by then.
Continue reading at Split Lip Magazine.
The people grow dizzy with the pain. Some black out, then come to again. They feel tendon unraveling from bone, bone shifting from flesh. When it is done their skeletons stand across from them nonchalantly, as though division of body were a common occurrence.
Continue reading at decomP magazinE.
Some notice him immediately. Others notice the empty cars barring the street in staggered abandonment, the crowd with heads raised, eyes squinting. They press on the horns of their own cars, roll down windows in preparation for hollering. They have jobs to get to, kids to drop off at school. Then they see the man, high up in the hazy sky, enormous legs dangling over the ragged periphery of a gray cloud bank.
Continue reading at matchbook litmag.
Available to read and download at glitterMOB.
The first ones to turn play practical jokes, eavesdrop, watch strangers undress, do what they can’t do seen. They themselves boast of such deeds. Occasionally, money goes missing from registers or items disappear from store shelves. But generally the invisibility is thought of as a novelty: Something exciting, temporary. The visible grow tired of looking around, however, wondering where the disembodied voice might emanate from next. They find themselves cringing from the once-thrilling sensation of unseen hands. They plead with the invisible to put on clothing and resume normal, perceptible lives.
From Gigantic Sequins Issue 3.2. Available for purchase here.
Over the next few weeks Sara was witness to Dr. Bruce’s experiments many times over. He’d open the transmogrifier, stick some half-decayed animal inside, flip a switch and scribble a note or two on his clipboard. The lights would flicker, a loud electrical pop would sound on the other side of the room and black smoke would coil forth from the receiver module. Dr. Bruce would then yank open the receiver and duck his head inside to inspect the remains of the creature splattered on the inner walls. Sometimes he’d scoop out a fleshy glob with the tip of his pen and flick it angrily into a jar. The jar Sara would stack with the others in the closet where it would remain, never to be looked at again.
Continue reading at Monkeybicycle.
The two and a half decades underground were forgotten. Perhaps they hadn’t registered at all. She was no ghost, no reanimated corpse. She certainly wasn’t a hallucination. Eddie could feel her body as she leaned dumbly, dutifully against his legs. She was dead, yet somehow alive: A simple, unknown thing.
Continue reading at Storychord.
My friend whose mom died shows me his room. He shows me a lighter. He shows me a knife. He shows me a fake hand he keeps in his closet. My friend whose mom died, he shows me a grenade. “Disarmed,” he says, like he’s teaching me the word. He shows me seventeen dollars stuffed inside a pencil box. He shows me a tiny animal skull, cradling it in his arms like a baby. “Touch it,” he says, cradling his tiny skull-baby. My friend whose mom died has a tiny little skull-baby and he tells me to touch it. “Touch it,” he says, then yanks it away.
Continue reading at Burrow Press Review.
Yes, thought Eddie, he was looking at himself. Scribbling in his notepad, the man appeared odd and solitary, cursed with a life of long, vacant days, too much time to think and peculiar little habits. He was Eddie, manifest in all his absurdity and aimlessness. He was Eddie, standing there among the idiotic relics of the past. He was another Eddie, brought into being for no reason he--the first Eddie--could discern.
From Phantom Drift 5: Navigating the Slipstream. Available for purchase here.
They toss empty soda cans into bushes. They abandon moldy couches on the curb. They mow half the lawn before forsaking the mower to the tall, browning grass of the un-mowed half–this, according to Frank–where it remains, rusting in the rain. “Like a monument to their indifference,” Frank says, sort of poetic-like.
Continue reading at Revolver.
She took a long, deep drag on her cigarette, and for a moment Eddie wondered if some intangible part of his mother's being had been left behind in oblivion when her body was revived. He knew, of course, his mother had always been like this. That was what baffled Eddie: She’d come back to resume life as ordinarily and unchanged as possible. She’d come back without any secret knowledge of the grave. She’d come back and the world was no more meaningful nor complex.
Continue reading at Funhouse Magazine.
One night Larry discovered a naked man who looked exactly like him. He was lugging a bag of trash out through the staff entrance of Mr. B’s Roast Beef when he saw the man stir by the dumpster. He was startled at first, then annoyed, assuming the man was one of the belligerent homeless guys who sprawled in the booths until closing every night and who Larry, moments before, had roused and prodded out the front door. But then the man stepped forward, out of the shadows.
Continue reading at Necessary Fiction.
Whether any leads at all will be found in this case is, in this investigator’s opinion, doubtful, when one considers the tenets of ineluctable modality. That is to say, while the doctrine of eliminative materialism is acknowledged by some to be inherent in this profession it is beginning to seem more and more likely to this investigator that only the mind and its contents can be said to truly exist: a photograph appears to affix to Daryl Lee Allen the persona of a light-hearted, meat-chomping man, and yet, despite this, he can no longer be made manifest either to his loved ones or to VSP personnel.
Continue reading at People Holding.
Never had he hated anybody the way he’d hated Cody Cavanaugh back in second grade. Sure, he hated his ex-wife. He hated her custody lawyer, too. He hated his landlord, but who didn’t hate their landlord a little? He’d decided he hated his supervisor at Big Lots, too, after the bastard cut him down to twenty-eight hours a week. He hated this crummy town full of potholes, empty storefronts, dead-eyed teenage boys roaming the sidewalks on BMX bikes and chunky girls in too-tight Tweety Bird t-shirts hanging out in parking lots all day. He’d grown up here and never left. Who in his position wouldn’t hate this place?
Coming soon from Profane Journal.
Read the full list over at Entropy Magazine.
“Darleen’s in the kitchen doing the dishes. Me,” Frank says, “I’m about to sit down and relax. Unwind,” he says. “Maybe watch a little History Channel. They got this new show on there about Vikings. Helluva show,” he tells me. “Helluva show,” he says, practically shouting it. “And now here comes what’s-her-name. I can see her through the window. Eyes all bloodshot. Brow all furrowed. Lips clamped around a lit cigarette,” he says, real descriptive-like. “Grimy pair of flip-flops. Sagging pink pajama bottoms. An ancient, unwashed tank top,” he says, “so thin you can see her goddamn nipples through it.”
“Red field,” she was saying and what it brought to mind was like a field of thick reddish grass like what you might see in a painting of some distant countryside somewhere. That, or it was like a field which had caught fire–ablaze is what they’d call it–radiating a deep red hue there in the twilight. “Redfield,” she said again and that’s when I understood it was a name. A man’s most likely. For a second my brain even latched onto the idea of another lover–like how in movies they’re always accidentally confessing to secret affairs–but there was a kinda fearfulness in her voice that made me decide otherwise.
Continue reading at FLAPPERHOUSE.
Of all the garden level apartments in the city someone had chosen to break into Isaac’s. It was kind of flattering in a way. Returning home after a long day of work to see a broken window and shards of glass glinting upon the grimy carpet--that was a little scary. But when he heard the burglar shuffling around in his bedroom and peered around the doorway, the real shock was simply seeing another actual human being here, in his apartment. His girlfriend of four years had broken up with him over a year ago, he hadn’t made a single friend since moving to the city and his coworkers at the call center alternated between hostile and sullen, barking at their callers and then staring belligerently at one another between calls. But now, Isaac thought, I have a visitor.
From Weave Magazine Issue 06. Available for purchase here.
Okay–so this car was something of a downer when compared to the kinda talking car one might see on TV. Really, this car was on the depressive side. This car had a bit of an existential streak if we’re being honest, but that I suppose is what I related to.
Continue reading at Talking Book.
What force has drawn us all to this desolate piece of real estate to wallow, purgatory-like, in our private little miseries? Why are we, the weary and soul-sick tenants of this life, even here at all? Is man but a mere renter, a sad creature of impermanence?
Continue reading at Queen Mob's Teahouse.
Before I tell you of the man who lives in the garage next door I must be allowed to speak of the miniature rocking horse. The trouble you see began with this miniature rocking horse. Its body is white. Its mane is black. Its saddle a curious shade of orange. Let’s say for instance a gentleman in a suit is going door to door with a clipboard in hand making inquiries regarding the color of saddles. Vermillion is the color of this saddle I would tell this gentleman.
From Little Patuxent Review Issue 19: Myth. Available for purchase here.
“Spent most of the weekend laid up on the couch,” Frank tells me. “Yesterday I was hoping to hit a couple yard sales,” he says, “but the second I walk out the door it’s like I been punched in the face. That’s how bad the smell is. I walk out the door and bam–” Frank claps his hands together and I jump a little “–right in the goddamn schnoz. You understand what I’m saying?” he says, like he’s pretty sure I don’t.
From Portland Review Volume 61.2. Available for purchase here.
Let’s be honest. Considering what has come to pass since the first of the mass mortality events why shouldn’t we? Our boyfriends were but an assemblage of misguided facial hair decisions and unwashed Billabong shirts, possessors of a savant-like knowledge of car stereos and World of Tanks, apologists for unsent texts, garnished wages, empty afternoons spent stoned with cousins. High school diplomas were had by few, GEDs by fewer still. Hardly ever were complete sentences uttered. Sex was a thing of ungainly thrusting and occasional mouthing of nipples so artless it was like the heeding of yet another inarticulate lexicon.
Continue reading in Pacifica Literary Review Issue #7. Available for purchase here.
When the door opened, those who had already arrived would look up at the newcomer suspiciously. The newcomer would immediately adopt a self-deprecating, apologetic look and carefully slink around the edge of the folding-chair-circle, hoping to avoid further scrutiny. They’d choose a seat as far from the others as possible, drape their jackets over the back, then slowly, hesitantly sit down. The next time the door opened they, too, would look up suspiciously.
Continue reading at The Brooklyner.
He needed a leather outfit. The leather outfit was key. He pictured himself, clad in tight black leather, a dark harbinger of doom walking a slow, leathery walk. He ordered a leather outfit online. A size too large. He dug through the trash but couldn’t find the receipt. He practiced the walk, but the pants bunched up, twisted around. He wiggled, shifted, smoothed the pants, practiced some more. He saw himself in the mirror, in his hot, oversized leather outfit, red-faced and sweating.
Continue reading at Juked.
Webster‘s defines zany as:
1. being or having the characteristic of a zany 2. fantastically or absurdly ludicrous ex: A zany plan to drive cross-country on a motorized scooter.
While I hesitate to disagree outright I would go a bit further in defining this term. Zany more often than not involves a plethora of characters chasing each other around a room for indeterminate reasons — typically to the accompaniment of a Yakety Sax-style musical composition. The room in question can be anything from a mad scientist’s lair to an Old West-style saloon, any place, in other words, where oversized props are readily available and breakaway glass bottles can be easily procured. A man in a gorilla suit isn’t necessary, though it is strongly advised. And while I agree with Webster’s assessment that a motorized scooter is zany, I would posit that a dune buggy is better, while some sort of wheeled, overland boat-car is best. As for a plan being zany, as in Webster’s cross-country drive scenario, I would argue that zany cannot, by definition, be planned. The truly zany lacks reason.
Continue reading at Johnny America.
Most people throw the notice out with their junk mail, unread. When the collection comes around they are caught off guard. They are, in fact, in bed, and awake to what they think is thunder. Soon, however, they discern individual noises amid the clamor--the rumbling of engines in the street, the slamming of car doors, the heavy footfalls of booted feet up their front steps. Then comes the terrifying sound of middle-of-the-night knocking. Like helpless, idiotic children they pull covers up to chins, hoping whoever it is will go away. When the knocking continues, they shuffle down their halls, hesitantly open their doors.
From kittyBOOGER twenty-twelve. Available for purchase here.
FADE IN: [1. This is a re-imagining of William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose For Emily.]
The CRYPTKEEPER sits at a stone slab, perusing a dusty, hard-bound book. After a moment he closes the book, removes the wire-rimmed spectacles on his decaying visage and addresses the camera.
Good evening boils and ghouls! Ready for another dead-time story? The author of tonight’s terror tale has won all the major awards, from the Slash-ional Book Award to the Pulit-slaughter Prize. Perhaps you’ve read one of his moldy old tomes: Fright In August, The Sound and the Scurvy, or my personal favorite, As I Lay Dying. That’s right, kiddies. I’m talking about Kill ’Em Faulkner. As in, kill ’em with your long-winded prose and heavy-handed symbolism.
Continue reading at tNY Press.
Growing up, I didn’t have reason to be jealous of my brother, as I was four years older than Tad, wiser, able to stay up later. But ever since Madeline and I had our son Radbert, then our daughter Radmilla, things have changed. The sound of Tad’s Kawasaki roaring defiantly down the recycling-bin-lined, street-hockeyed streets of my neighborhood has become more and more frequent, the obscene smoke-farting heralding yet another visit from the Rebel Without A Flaw. How ten year old Radbert waits dutifully at the edge of the yard. How eight year old Radmilla, sleepy-eyed from laying awake all night in anticipation but springing from the breakfast table with renewed vigor, laughs at these post-Pop-Tart pyrotechnics.
Continue reading at Ear Hustler.
By the time I clocked in there were usually fifteen, maybe twenty of them in the vacant lot across the street. More would show up as the day wore on. This was the first week. The younger kids shoveled, scooping dirt up with a workmanlike determination I’d never seen in children before. Occasionally, one would stop, lean on his handle, wipe sweat from his brow. The older kids paced the lip of the hole, surveying its progress, instructing the younger ones.
From Hypertrophic Press Summer 2016. Available for purchase here.
So what if I did grab a transfer from the shocked driver, hop out the door and push through the crowd gathering around the bloody pulp splattered on the bus‘s grill? I wasn’t the one who ran over the jaywalker, was I? I didn’t break some sort of protocol, did I? Is one expected to remain in one’s seat in such situations, making concerned faces? To mill about outside the idling bus, shaking head sadly? This wasn’t 9/11 or Katrina. Schools shut down for such tragedies, businesses close, newspapers report, televisions televise. We feel confusion, sadness, outrage. We feel serious. Oh, how wonderful it is to take things seriously again.
Continue reading at Nailed Magazine.
1. Start With the Title.
Come up with a good enough title and the book will practically write itself. Look at The Hardy Boys #14: The Hidden Harbor Mystery. Where does it take place? Hidden Harbor. What kind of story is it? A mystery. What about The Mystery of Cabin Island? Setting: Cabin Island. Genre: Mystery. The Shore Road Mystery? Another mystery. Setting: A shore road–maybe not the most inspired setting, but you get the point. Pick the first place that comes to mind, insert the word mystery and you’re halfway there.
Continue reading at Defenestration.