Category Archives: Stories

“A Pair of Ragged Claws” by Kate Heartfield

They came from the darkness at the back of the stage, with the easy speed of eight-legged creatures. Rona felt the whoop rising from her lungs to join the roar of the crowd.

The Scorpions scuttled to their low, custom instruments: theremin, drum machine, sampler, turntable. A siren whine, a backbeat, fast and loud.

The bass drove Rona’s heartbeat.

The crowd bounced like a single organism, every strobe a snapshot. Between flashes, the exoskeletons on stage glowed blue-green in the ambient black light. Continue reading

“The Three Hundredth Day” by Bruce Memblatt

He was never an emotional man. Even as a child when his brother Billy teased him something awful Taylor never showed his cards, but what happened to him, what he brought on, changed everything.

“Even the air stank of death,” Taylor whispered running his fingers across the bars. The metal was always cold. Everything was always cold down to the coffee. Day three hundred on death row was going to be just as dark as day one. Continue reading

“Welcome to Blackrock” by Michael Haynes

They sped down the latest back road Jesse had turned onto, gravel and dust kicking up in the pickup’s wake.

“Any signal on that thing yet?” he asked Elaine.

“Be patient, dammit. Don’t you think I’d tell you if it was working?”

Jesse growled. “Just let me know when you figure out where the hell we are.”

“At least we haven’t seen any cops.” Continue reading

“Night Shift at the Tim Hornets” by Mike Rimar

Death-gray knuckles smacked the wire-latticed safety glass leaving a smear like a squashed grasshopper on a windshield. The zombie finished with a strangled moan.

“Was that a double-double?” I returned the undead creature’s vapid gaze with one of my own and pushed the metal lever beside me. A Plexiglas window slid open revealing a small box. “Swag first. You know the rules.” Continue reading

“Rain Gods” by Jeff Barr

Abraham whistled home at dusk. Crickets sang in the brush, sagebrush sang in his breath. It was a mile from the grid road, where the school-bus dropped him, to the trailer he shared with his father.

His lunch pail banged his thigh with each step, heavy with collected stones and the carcass of the prairie falcon he had found in the schoolyard. It was past decomposition, the delicate bones exposed in a dusty framework seen through a nest of crumbling feathers. Continue reading

“Ascending” by F.J. Bergmann

If the good dreams were about soaring down the bright sky, borne on a warm breeze, the bad ones were the opposite: a cold, dark hole like a mouth gaping from above to devour him, just as he slipped into sleep. He’d had nightmares about the tunnel as long as he could remember. But the sun had been veiled in clouds for days, each morning the air was chillier, and now his house had collapsed again under the weight of cold rain. He crouched, shivering, just inside the tunnel’s vast, tubular length, watching leaf fragments swirl past in the gushing water. He had never dared to explore beyond the area visible from the entrance. If he could find the courage to go up, would the tunnel take him to the light above the clouds? Continue reading

“A Little Piece of Heaven” by Rik Hoskin

A lynch mob had surrounded one of the locals out near the east fence, Jake could see, and were now endeavouring to hold him still for long enough to wrap a noose around his neck. The noose was made from an old rope, worn and frayed–like the mob, it had been hastily adapted from something found lying idly on one of the farms that dotted this region. The mob, made up of less than a dozen of the local farmhands, taunted and teased the naked intruder who stood in their midst, cowering before them. Behind them loomed the twelve foot high, electrified fence which protected the settlement. A mound of soil beside the fence showed where something had burrowed beneath it, invading the territory here. Continue reading

“Amy” by K.T. Bryski

Like so many applicants, Amy discovered the job through someone else. A friend of her mother’s co-worker sent a link: Summer Position at Rosewood Historic Park. Candidates required a background in history, strong verbal skills, and a sense of loyalty, all of which Amy felt she possessed. During her interview, she told the story breathlessly: the flurry of emails (though I don’t pretend to understand such things), the way she’d circled the interview date twice on her calendar. Continue reading

“Rattlesnake Eyes” by Josh Reynolds

“How dead is he?” John Bass said around a mouthful of sunflower seeds. “Is he sort of dead or real dead?”

“He ain’t dancing, if that’s what you’re asking,” Cestus Clay said. Clay looked at Bass from the corner of his eye, taking in the lean, bent shape that sat on the hood of the battered Ford pick-up. Bass was old, but like a tree he just got harder with age and tougher. Short-clipped iron-gray hair and round shoulders that strained at the flannel shirt he wore beneath his suspenders. Scarred fingers dug into the bag of sunflower seeds as he spat out the chewed hulls. Continue reading