Friday, February 18, 2011

Will You Walk With Me A Way?

"WILL YOU WALK WITH ME A WAY?" - Dorothy Davies

Will you walk with me a way?
Not far, just to the end of this road. 

I am...empty inside and need a few moments of interaction with someone.  Oh my, that sounds so formal, doesn’t it? In truth, though, to ask you for a few moments of idle chatter, or gossip would be nonsensical.  Especially with what I have in mind.

You look wet, is it raining? Oh I see, it’s that fine drizzle that no umbrella can ward off, so you didn’t bother.  Me? No, I don’t get wet. Call it a shield if you like, rain tends to avoid me.

Tell me, how are things at the nursing home these days?  Does the garden bloom as fine in spring and summer as it used to? I recall the days of sitting out there, listening to the birds that would be singing as if their lives depended on it, the insects buzzing and flitting hither and thither as if their lives depended on it … come to think of it, they did.  But us, the static ones, we stayed where we were, in our wheelchairs or sun loungers or wherever the staff had put us, there to bake in the heat until they took us back into the coolness of the home once more.  Not a word of complaint from any of us, you know that, but oh the longing at times for shadow, cool water and rest from unremitting sunshine was overwhelming.   But it was life and despite its many, many drawbacks, we clung to it tenaciously.  Why?  I wonder now why I did not just give up and drift away.

The big problem really, for all of us, is memories.
They hurt.

‘Sometimes memories walk a little hard.’ The wisest words I ever heard, from the most wonderful person I ever knew, my maternal grandmother.  Oh she was right! How hard do the memories walk when your means of perambulation is either wheels or a walker? You recall the times when three strides would take you to the door, the cupboard, the TV, whatever/wherever. You recall the way you could walk freely down the road, wander round the shops, visit restaurants and museums, libraries and stately homes.  Can you even begin to imagine not walking?

Of course not.
It doesn’t come to all of us but enough … oh yes, enough.

But look at me now. Do I not walk well? Proud, tall and easy?  Not so much as an ache in the hip joints or knees, the ankles flex and move as they should. Ah, the joy of it.

You? You are too young still, in terms of experience, to fully understand the joy I feel at being free to walk again.

I have to ask … do you not remember me?  The old cantankerous lady who sat in her wheelchair in the garden and demanded cool drinks and ice cream and got neither?  Do you not recall how I asked for shade and had none offered to me?  Do you not know the suffering you put me through, you who were paid to care and didn’t?

Well, I got you to walk with me a way.  And look, here we are, right by the cemetery which is now my home. Oh, you will not escape me this time!  Now I see the horror on your face as I cast off the mask of humanity and show you what I am.  A skeleton.

Bony hands can grip harder than flesh covered ones, can’t they?

Will you walk with me a way? Let me show you where I lie, here in the cold earth, with not so much as a snowdrop to lighten the darkness of the earth. No one cared, did they … and you, you were one of the worst.  Did I not see you laughing behind closed doors at those who pleaded for respite from sun and thirst and were ignored?

Oh, you did not know, did you, that after I left your side of life I returned, over and over again, to watch, to record, to – all right, stalk you if you like.

Here we are. This is my narrow bed.
Will you share it with me for a while?
Like, eternity?

BIO: Dorothy Davies is a writer, medium and editor who lives on the Isle of Wight.  Her horror output has increased tenfold since a horror writer decided to come and work with her from the other side of life.


"FLOATER" - David S. Pointer

The lowering
device straps
left behind
post funeral
allowed the
vaporite to
climb into
the night
wind faster
than prep
room plastic,
to rewrite
his memorial
service prayer
cards, to don
an autopsy
face mask
waiting for
a reason
to claw or
bubble calm

BIO: David S. Pointer has recent acceptances at "House of Horror, "Sound of the Night," "Theory Train," and elsewhere. He currently lives in Murfreesboro, TN.

Control of the Bomb

"CONTROL OF THE BOMB" - Willie Smith

Watch this middleaged beerbelly in his kitchen watching on tv a lady in her living room watching on tv the Rams play the Packers. Deep into the pocket the quarterback fades. Uncorks the bomb. The telephoto closeups on the spiraling pigskin.

Like a bad splice jumping a film gate, the ball pops outside the lady’s tv. She catches it in selfdefense. This has never happened. All the tiny men on her tv are scrambling to find the ball.

She stares down at the inflated ovoid in her lap. Runs chipped-polish fingers over the rawhide stitching. You are not privy to her thoughts. She gets up off the sofa. Kneels in front of the tv. Pats her palm over the entire surface of the perfectly unbroken glass screen.

Filtered through the various electronics, you detect the announcer howl above the roar of the astonished crowd. He speculates on the historic precedent: the first ball in the annals of the game utterly to disappear.

The guy in his kitchen cracks a beer. Has the feeling he has seen this one before. A phone rings. You squelch the temptation to look around. The guy looks around – where’s the phone?

She shuffles in Mickey Mouse mules over to an end table. Picks up the phone. Presumably says hello? In the confusion, and with the remoteness, you can’t quite tell. Her eyes roll.

Receiver cupped to jowl, she peers through what the camera earlier showed to be her picture window. Her eyes saucer. She drops the phone. Grabs the ball from the shag carpet. Heaves it at the camera’s eye.

Soundlessly, without so much as a tinkle, the man in the kitchen now holds the ball. This is too weird. Heart racing, scared of he doesn’t know what, he kills the tv.

Puts the regulation Wilson on the drainboard. Finishes in one pull the Budweiser. Crumples and tosses the can under the sink into the trash. Trying to keep eyes off the ball, he notices nonetheless, out of the corner of his eye, a jagged fleck of pink nail polish stuck to a stitch.

The phone rings. He doesn’t look around.

He considers opening the fridge. Fishing out another Bud. The phone keeps ringing. He wonders if it isn’t time to reach into the cabinet above the stove; get down the Jim Beam. The phone doesn’t stop ringing.

For one crazy instant you verge on looking around.

As if he read your mind, he lunges over to the wall. Snares the phone. Shouts into the mouthpiece, “Yeah – what?”

On the other end… heavy breathing. Behind the breathing the same announcer continues to amaze over the football not yet turned up. Coaches and referees are gathered mid-field hotly debating how to rule on the pass that vanished.

You sense he wants to hang up. But that’s the last thing you want. You want to hear the game’s outcome. The twist is unique. In a trance of indecision, the Bud drinker lowers the receiver. Leaves it scratching, squawking – lying on its side on top of the table.

He gazes out the window above the sink. Every perspective in the room is visible to you. From ceiling, floor, walls, he is monitored. But only he can look outside. Something about incidence and reflection. Your ear strains toward the breathing phone that continues dimly to convey the invisible action.

Only every third or fourth word reaches. The Rams want to run the play again. The Packers want the down to count. The announcer isn’t sure himself, but he seems to be saying that he thinks the referees are arguing for the novelty of a free first down with a ten yard penalty attached. Something also about members of the crowd surging onto the field. Police crops up. The voice of a ref over a mike unintelligibles.

Possibly because a cloud swipes the sun, the kitchen darkens.

The shouting announcer can no longer be distinguished over the crowd frenzy. A siren keens. Another. More. A stampede of sirens.

Without looking away from the window, he cradles the ball. His teeth clench. The jaw quivers. You feel him strive to shield his intent from telepathic leaks. He ignores what he lusts to protect. Acts – like the history of all aggression (which is fundamentally all history) – spasmodically.

The window doesn’t break. Not that you hear. What football? you realize he thinks.

The ball bulges under your Dartmouth windbreaker. Giving you a beerbelly look that isn’t quite right. The cops have just discovered this on their monitor. Any minute they expect to see themselves mirrored in your sunglasses. The pager on your belt beeps.

Where are you? How can you ever hope to hide?

BIO: WS is deeply ashamed of being human. His work celebrates this horror. To see him further embarrass himself, please visit: 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Unanswered Echoes


A lifetime crashed past him as he opened the door, each memory an enraged commuter in rush hour traffic. Escape was on his mind but his luck was out. The door closed behind him.

Once inside he was surprised to feel so at home. The old place seemed larger to him now. Then he realised she’d knocked through the dividing wall. New wallpaper cleverly concealed any wounds that the demolition must have exposed.

His boyhood nursery was gone. She’d probably mentioned it in one of the unopened letters piled up in his locked study drawer that collected dust and animosity over the years. They were unanswered echoes.

He stepped tentatively toward the bed. Even in this furnace of a room he felt cold and clammy. The sharp outline of her face and her striking features had melted into a Picasso in his mind over the two decades since he had last seen her. He was worried that he may not recognise his own mother.

Charles had two teenage sons of his own and a wonderful wife. Yet here in the presence of this frail woman who was rapidly spiriting away he felt abandoned.

“Hey dad, okay for me and Mike to grab a bite?” His youngest son called through the door. Craig was essentially a good kid, nearly thirteen and already taking a ride on the hormonal-coaster that is teenage life. Earlier that day he'd come downstairs wearing a tee shirt that read “CHOOSE DEATH” which he thought ironic, but his dad found tasteless under the circumstances. Now he wore one with the slogan “My Other T-shirt’s A Strait Jacket.” emblazoned across the chest.

“I’ll take your silence as a no.” Charles turned to the door ready to apologise to his son but the fading footsteps told him it was futile.

He recalled the last time he’d walked away down that beech-floored hallway outside his mother’s bedroom. His footsteps had faded into the decades, echoed across the years. Family disputes can fester for a generation like an open wound and amputation of pride is sometimes the only answer. Now he found himself standing at the foot of her bed about to do just that.

Then he noticed something in the corner of his eye. Somebody sat in the shadows in the far reaches of the room. He tried to place him. Doctor Alexander wasn’t due to arrive until eleven so it couldn’t be him. Besides this was a small person, a young boy perhaps.

“Excuse me,” he spoke softly. The room was silent save for the beeps and hums of the surgical machinery. There were so many wires and tubes stuck into his mother that she resembled an archaic cow, her life slowly milked away. “Who are you?”

The boy’s head bowed toward the floor. Charles began to walk across the room toward the corner hoping to gain a better sight of the lad. He remained seated and stoic, a youthful sentry half hidden in the shadows guarding the dying woman.

One of the machines discharged a sharp warning. Charles stopped. His mother opened her eyes. A tiny explosion detonated inside his chest. His heart pounded so hard he was sure it must audible in the room and loud enough to shake dust from the coving that ran around three quarters of the ceiling.

He dare not look into those eyes. The job that lay ahead filled him with too much terror to allow that. This thing of duty, from a loving son to his dying mother, was hypocrisy, yet he had to execute that obligation. Until then he wished to remain invisible to her.

The machine clicked and the sound abated. His mother closed her cloudy grey eyes and slept again. Charles let out a sigh weighted equally with relief and shame. Then he remembered the boy in the chair. He was gone. Well almost, he seemed to be more of the shadows than of child now. Outside a car door slammed.

He looked at his watch, five off eleven. Dr. Alexander had arrived and the clock ticked ever closer. Suddenly he felt exhausted. His legs threatened to give way beneath him. He sat on the edge of the bed as he had done so often as a child, long before the trouble. He found his mother’s hand in his. There were no apologies. This was not a time of forgiveness, just a time to forget. It all seemed so pointless now, half remembered disagreements that grew like weeds in the cracks and flowered into hatred over the years.

The machines clicked and hummed.

“Charles, good to see you here again,” the doctor had appeared like an apparition “So, are we in agreement?”

Charles gazed up at him, almost lost. This elderly doctor he had known all his life, had brought him into the world, seemed so alien to him now. He stood from the bed and nodded. Nothing more needed, a son’s duty done.

He witnessed a smile pass across his mother’s face; faint but there nonetheless. Then she was gone. The room fell silent, the machines shut down. The doctor stepped from the room lending a comforting hand upon his shoulder as he passed.
He placed the daily newspapers on the silk spread. They would remain as unread as her letters. He noticed white lilies on the side cabinet, her favourite. He was shocked to discover his mother had so many cards from well-wishers too.

A tear formed but never fell. He took his mother’s hand for the final time and kissed it. A screech from the shadows broke the silence as the chair legs scraped along the floorboards and fell with a crash. The boy walked toward the space where the wall had once been and where the coving ended. He stopped, still halfway in the darkness but no longer disguised, and turned toward the dead woman. His face seemed so familiar to Charles, a face from the past. He turned an invisible handle and stepped into the long gone nursery, fading as he did so.

Charles froze. He realised that he knew that boy, had known him all his life. He went downstairs and held his two sons tightly to him, still the tears hung in his eyes. As drove away he looked in the rear-view and knew he'd said goodbye to much more than just his mother in that room upstairs, in the house he had once called home.

BIO: Anthony Cowin writes horror, dark tales and eclectic poetry. He's had work published in print anthologies, magazines and several ezines. He's currently working on his début novel with the working title, 'The Futurist. Follow his progress, find unique content and keep updated here at:

The Mirror

"THE MIRROR" - Clifton Bush Jnr.

It was an ugly mirror by today's standards. It was supported by heavy wooden claws for feet, and was oval in shape. It was a full body mirror and when Sherry looked into it she had to wipe away several layers of dust that had accrued over the years. The one thing that did intrigue her about it was the hand-carved design on top, that of a pharoah. It was unusual for a mirror to have that kind of a carving on it, but she decided that she wanted it anyway. She hollered down to her husband Mike to come up and take it down for her. As usual, he complained all the way up the stairs about it.

Mike hated these Saturday rummage sale trips. He was usually the one that had to haul stuff around, watching his wife blow good money on old junk that didn't mean anything to anyone but he usually kept his cool and didn't say anything. However, as heavy as this mirror was, he decided the time was right to give her an earful once he got it into the truck, and that's after he caught his breath. By God, that thing was heavy. And ugly, full of dust, in bad need of re-varnishing, and it needed to be re-silvered, too. All for the measly sum of $200. He almost lost it at that.

"Two hundred dollars for an old junk mirror? Are you insane?" he barked at her after they got into the cab. "Do you know what we could do with two hundred dollars?"

As usual, she just sat there and took it. She'd heard all his arguments before, but she felt something special with this particular piece. She didn't know why, but it had attracted her like a fly is attracted to honey.

"Yes, I know what we could've done with two hundred dollars, but something about this made me want it, bad," she tried to argue the point with her husband. He fretted and fumed all the way home.

"Yeah, but when I want something I get the third degree," he said. She just looked at him, and knew that today was going to be a bad day. She did know that she didn't want to spend it arguing with him, for they rarely had time together anymore, and she thought that these weekly rummage sale forays would bring them closer together. Maybe she was wrong.

They got home and Mike backed the truck up into the garage to unload the mirror. He had it covered with a blanket and he grunted and groaned all the way into the house. At least, he thought, she held the door for him this time.

"Just set it in the living room, and I'll find a spot for it," she called after him. He grunted in acknowledgement, and walked back to her, brushing the dust off his clothes. "Damn thing is heavy enough," he complained.

"Oh, hon, thank you," she said, trying to soothe his anger. He only grunted and went to the fridge to grab a beer. He popped the top, and took a long swallow. She went past him to examine her treasure.

She took off the blanket, and the first thing she did was get some paper towel and some windex to clean the silver off. After that, she grabbed a bucket with some warm water and soap and proceeded to clean the wooden part of the frame, especially the engraved pharoah's head. When she rubbed it, a strange feeling came over her, kind of like being in the desert, a hot wind blowing at her back. She was so engrossed in her cleaning that she didn't hear Mike telling her he was going next door to have a few drinks with Bernie, their neighbor.

She closed her eyes, and could almost imagine being in Ancient Egypt. She could feel the hot wind blowing, the smell of the oasis under her feet, and the swishing of palm fronds. She opened her eyes, and the Great Pyramids stood before her; she sucked in her breath in amazement.

The stark beauty of the desert struck her full force, like being hit with lightning. How did she get here? What had happened to her house? And why was she dressed in the full regalia of an Egyptian Queen? She looked around in amazement.

Her house had become a palace, with servants fanning her with palm fronds and offering her grapes, wine, and fruits. She looked at her hands; her fingernails had been painted with some kind of strange ink. She walked inside the palace, and saw golden statues everywhere, busts of Ra and other gods scattered about. She walked through the palace in a daze, unbelieving of the wealth she saw. It was unreal.

Suddenly, she heard her husband's voice calling out to her, as if very far away. "Sherry! Sherry! I need another beer!" came the disembodied voice. She closed her eyes again, and was soon surrounded by her own house, with the plain white paint and sparse pictures on the walls, and her annoying husband hollering at her. What had just happened to her?

She looked at the mirror and just smiled.....

BIO: Clifton lives in Michigan and has wanted to write stories all of his life. He is happily engaged to a wonderful woman and raising his 10 year old son. He enjoys writing, astronomy, NASCAR, football and the outdoors in general.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Open Letter

"AN OPEN LETTER" - Z. J. Woods

It's the smell of your hair: soap, weak coffee with too much sugar, damp earth and crushed flowers. I spent the night at a breakfast place, once, to get away from it. It followed me, or the memory of it did, which is the same.

Maybe it's selfish to wish you were a poltergeist.

Remember – we met in line at the little burrito shop on the corner, mutually hungry. I liked your cold-weather hat with the little mammal ears. You went all red and redder until you glowed. You were sick; you hurt.

You said, “Kill me” – you said, “bury me under the violets out front.”

They would know; they wouldn't understand; they'd pull you up by the roots and punish me.

You said, “It doesn't matter anymore.”

So I put you under the flowerbed. I took care not to kill the violets, as you would've liked. I more than half expected them to go red and black as they ate you. They didn't.

Once I plucked a violet petal, set it on my tongue, chewed and swallowed. It tasted like a violet petal. Maybe that's what did it.

It's the smell of your hair, and it fills the place at night. As if there were ten or a hundred of you here all scratching at their scalps. Why don't you move things? Turn lights off and on? Open and close doors? Come at midnight and leave long ragged scratches across my back? Why don't you appear? It's the smell of your hair and it's my favorite thing about you and I can't endure it.

BIO: Z. J. Woods writes stories instead of working on his M.A. thesis. He fails to maintain a preliminary web presence here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Fireplace

"THE FIREPLACE" - Mark Tomlinson

There was nothing else but the fireplace in
that vast and empty room,
As tall as a door and as wide as three and as cold as a Viking’s tomb,
I stood against the farthest wall and I gazed at its gaping maw,
And I told myself that I had not seen the things I know I saw.

I told myself that I had not heard the things I know I heard,
That there had not been a strangled cry and a single shouted word,
I shook my head and I hugged myself and I said I did not care,
While the echoes of those phantom sounds still shivered in the air.

While the echoes of those phantom sounds still shivered in the air,
I shrank against that peeling wall and stammered through a prayer,
And then again I saw the scene that chilled me to the bone,
An endless loop of captured time in that empty room alone.

An endless loop of captured time in that empty room alone,
Two figures from another age, their lives to me unknown,
But I saw the fate of a ragged child in the chimney’s ancient gloom,
As a cruel master urged him on to a dark and awful doom.

There was nothing else but the fireplace in that vast and empty room,
As dark as death and as deep as time and as sure as the Fate’s own loom,
I fled the sights and I fled the sounds but the terror held me tight,

And I know I’ll live it all again when I close my eyes at night.

BIO: Mark is a father of four from the North West who doesn't write as much as he'd like to. He's had work published on EDF, Fantastic Horror, EDP, Bewildering Stories and Millionstories.

Ghost Story

"Ghost Story" - Lily Childs

I am the Narrator.

I speak to you on our behalf, elected by the masses. 

Don’t bend our words with pseudo-channellings. Don’t lay claim to speak with us, through us.

We hear you. We do not want to be you.

Leave your séances to the Victorian parlour. Why reach out for us? Why drag us back when we do not want to return? Use your time better to expose the clever fakes and frauds in your midst who claw in your money; who feed on your vulnerable despair, your loneliness.

Why do you seek so? Let be. Let go of those you have loved, who have left. Invest not in angels. Believe not in totems from other races, and other places.

‘But we hear you,’ you cry. Of course. When we have something to say or convey, we make ourselves known. The isolated, heady-scent of Damask Rose in a single spot in your house; water tumbling from washer-tight taps; a freezing cold finger at the nape of your neck in the heatwave of summer.

You talk of crossing over, of passing, of reaching the light. There perhaps you do not err. But you and your television stars, your phone lines and your churches – you do not own the process. You do not, can not even begin to comprehend what you will experience when death takes you. The heavens or hells of which you dream or fear… they have no place here. All is one.

Our shadows; we leave them as reminders. Walking through walls, falling from nooses. These are but echoes of our lives, memories imprinted on the atmosphere; we do not reside there.

Neither does the Cleopatra you so desperately seek dwell in our realm. She is of The Goddess; she is not available to you. Even if she did roam our halls of spirit, you are arrogant to expect that she would deign to parlay with you, or to reincarnate into the thousands of you who claim to recall her life. You are deluded. You remember what your museums and your history books and your TV and your internet tell you; the Lady’s soul laid bare in the public eye. Understand me now – you are not she.

You, with your tarot cards and crystal ball. You reach dangerously into the veil, seeking out futures for those afraid to leave the past, or live in the present.

You surround yourselves with crystals; with precious stones sparkling and beauteous. They speak to you of healing and love, of unreal benediction. In your perfect world of spiritual ecstasy, are you really so blind, so ignorant? Across the oceans children are forced into caves and chasms to retrieve your pretty gems. Is your ego soothed? Do you not hear the Earth scream as she is raped again and again? How do you reconcile your sweet rose quartz with the death of an innocent? How does your amethyst feel in your hand when I tell you that explosions roar through Gaia’s core to get to that purple jewel? She is the Gaia you claim to love.

I come at the behest of all souls who have trodden this Earth, who still roam her surface unseen – overlapping by the millions – to give you fair warning.

Time matters not to us. But you, who live your lives by it, your time, is running out. While populations live longer and longer in an age where men can become women and women can conceive without man; in an era when your scientists are making copies of every one of you so that they can replace your organs, or limbs or synapses when they fail – it seems as though you could live forever.

Take heed. We do not want to delay your arrival. Neither do we want to greet you sooner than expected. But you are destroying the Great Mother who keeps you alive. You drive, you smoke, you heat the air with your microwaves and your energies and your smog and your world-traversing networks and your rotting food and your chemicals and your plastics. You can not, you will not survive.

I am telling you now, as The Narrator of our lives and yours, that we will soon be amongst you. We are coming to ease the transcendence into our realm.

When you see me peering round your door out of the corner of your eye, turn and face me. Reach out and take my hand. I will bring you home.

If you hear me in the static, white noise of technology – your television, radio, computer, hearing aid, telephone…bid me welcome. I will help you on your journey.

When lights flicker before your eyes; when your reflection in the mirror fades; when I appear – solid – in front of you, then join me. I will ease the way.

You call us ghosts. Perhaps we are. But hear this. Tomorrow, you will be ghosts too.

BIO: Lily Childs is a writer of dark fiction and horror. Her stories have been published in several small press anthologies including Their Dark Masters; Extreme Vampire Horror, Daily Bites of Flesh 2011 and Caught By Darkness. You can read more dark fiction and poetry on her blog Lily Childs' Feardom, where her demons dance in tutus.

A few minutes past the end of time


It was at a baseball game when it first happened. Terry Thorus, first baseman for the New York Yankees who was leading the league in home runs
and doubles, suddenly vanished into thin air. He had been about to receive a throw from the third baseman but instead, the ball just sailed into the opposing team’s dugout. 

For a few seconds all was quiet. Forty thousand people completely silent. I swore you could have heard a pin drop. Then pandemonium broke out. Screams mingled with disbelief as hundreds were injured in the ensuing scramble to the exits and several were even killed.

I however, sat calmly in my seat. I had had an excellent view of the playing field and had seen the entire occurrence. Mr. Thorus had been there one minute and simply gone the next. His uniform, his thick trademark mustache, his forty-eight homeruns…all gone. I found myself entertaining a rather tasteless thought…would he still get the MVP award?

People were bustling all around me. They cursed. They screamed. They cried. All of them trying to escape what their minds could not grasp. People do tend to do that, react to tragedy or unexplained phenomena in irrational ways.

The news that day was filled with Policemen, scientists and family members of the victim. Mr. Thorus’ wife, a very attractive blonde woman, held a vigil. I felt great relief that they had no children.

After two days, every corner of the civilized world was very well acquainted with the incident. Within another week, three more people had vanished. Art Brandish, an accomplished author of, appropriately enough, mystery novels, disappeared while giving a lecture at Stanford University. Jeremy Thak, a partner in a small law firm in Dallas, vanished in the midst of a meeting with his colleagues. And just to prove there was no gender discrimination, Beth Ann Houfferin ceased to exist while engaged in intimacies with her husband.

The papers screamed foul play. The scientists countered with varied complicated theories rooted in overlapping dimensions. Some blamed aliens. Some said it was a form of time travel. And the religious community reasoned it was God’s doing…judgment day.

I, however, did not know what to believe. Each theory had its plausible facts and yet all seemed based in beliefs instead of fact. Foul play seemed the easiest thing to believe had I not seen Mr. Thorus vanish myself. Surely no one could have caused it. Dimensional overlapping was far fetched at best and time travel seemed impossible. Aliens…I doubt it. Not that I don’t believe in them, I just think it highly unlikely that any would visit this tiny lump of rock that we live on.

And then there’s religion. Although I’m a God fearing individual, I still find it difficult to believe that he would pluck innocent people out of existence. What had these people done to deserve such a fate? And why did their demise need to be so abrupt and heartless?

And what if it was not God at all? What if it was Satan? But I firmly believe that God would not allow Lucifer such direct power and control over such matters. God simply loves man too much…or at least I hope so.

Which maroons me on an island of ignorance. I can’t help but wonder how many people are gone by now. There were the four we heard about but I’m reluctantly confident there are many, many more. People living alone. People without jobs. People without homes or relatives. People nobody would miss right away.

I have tried desperately to reach my parents in Albany…no answer. No answer for two days now. The police have found no trace of their whereabouts, which leads me to accept the inevitable…they are gone.

After that, people started to vanish quickly. Hundreds at a time, at least in the United States. In Europe, they disappeared by the thousands and in Australia more than two thirds of the entire population was there one minute and gone the next.

The whole world was gripped in intense fear. People stopped working which caused economic collapse. The President declared a state of national emergency and then promptly vanished. Riots, looting, murder, they reigned supreme. Most people stayed indoors, too afraid to venture out into the streets and eventually succumbed to starvation or disease.

By Christmas morning, most people were gone.

Major cities; New York, Los Angeles, Moscow, Mexico City sat like huge empty vacant lots. Phones, electricity, gas, all were down simply because there was no one left to run or monitor the systems.

I sit here in my small two-bedroom apartment, alone, cold and afraid. Afraid of what would undoubtedly claim me. But I am now far more afraid that it won’t claim me. To be left alone on a barren shell of a planet with nothing but memories to keep me company. That would be worse than whatever awaited me in the void of uncertainty that had taken all those before me.

I was startled when the television popped on. A church leader filled the screen and babbled on incoherently about the end of time. He said his time was near so he had to be brief. He said he had received a vision from an angel the previous night and that an angel had told him that mankind’s time on Earth was about to expire. God had decreed that man had failed to prove itself worthy of life. Satan had demanded his fair share so God was forced to remove people while others remained, thereby allowing Satan to enjoy the pain of losing loved ones. When the man had asked the simple question of why, the angel had told him that man had progressed impressively but still suffered at the hands of hatred and prejudice, of fear and arrogance, of greed and jealously. The man on the screen then began to weep. He was truly afraid but he regained his composure and managed to say one last thing before he vanished.

“Friends,” he uttered in a soft tone punctuated by weak smiles. “Those of us who are just and trusting in God will find solace in his lands.” And then he was gone and the screen went blank.

I decided to gather up what supplies I could and head out into the wasteland that was once Earth. I would walk and walk and walk until my time came. My faith in God had waned to the point of nonexistence but I still prayed that what the man on the television had said was true and that thought alone gave me enough strength to carry on.

The cold wind bites at my face and seeps in through my jacket. Many miles have passed without a living creature in sight. I fear I am the last occupant left on the…

BIO:  Rick has had well over 200 publications in over 120 different magazines so far, and is currently working on his second novel. He is a guest author at Memphis Junior High School each year and has written four anthology books and one book of novellas. He also edited and contributed to "Michigan Madmen"( an antholgy of Michigan authors).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Senyru #1

"SENYRU #1" - Marion Clarke

wardrobe gapes...

BIO: Originally from Northern Ireland, Marion Clarke has had many non-fiction articles published in the UK trade press. When she moved back to Ireland after thirteen years, winning first prize in a short story competition prompted her to return to fiction and poetry writing. Last year she had another short story published in an anthology for young adults. While still a student, one of Marion’s poems 'Written at 10.35pm while looking over Carlingford Lough' was highly commended by Frank Ormsby, Northern Irish poet. Marion began studying and writing senyru and haiku two years ago and has become passionate about the form.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Crossroads Blues

"CROSSROADS BLUES" - Dorothy Davies


Hey, thanks! Been walking that road forever, breathing everyone’s fumes and not one cared to stop for me. Damn thumb near enough aching from being stuck out so long and being ignored, too!

This is one fine car, I have to say. Nice. What’s the music ... oh, OK, never mind. I can live with it.

What? What do I like? Blues. Old style blues. Let me tell you a story, then, how I got to be where I was when you picked me up, you being a damn fine person and all, let me tell you. You up for that?

Well, like I said, I like the blues and I had this ambition, you know? Man, did I ever want to sing the blues! You know, like the old ‘uns, none of this wailing guitars and sobbing violins and screaming keyboards … anyone can make a blues song outta that. No, me and the old guitar, a voice and a song and a heartbreak, that’s what I wanna do. Like Robert Johnson, like Blind Lemon Jefferson, like the Reverend Gary Davis … they didn’t need no backing, did they?

So there I was, sat in the park – ‘cos the family done got sick of me plucking the same chords over and over and I got jokes like ‘I didn’t wake up this morning’ and stuff like that – crooning to myself about lost loves and too much drink and roads that go on forever especially when you’re walking them, when this guy strolls up to me. Smooth like, slicked back hair, slicked back clothes come to think on it, and shiny shoes like they just came out of the box but he walked like they were slippers. That shouted money to me; you gotta spend a lot of money to get new shoes that soft and well fitting. I just drooled over the shoes.

Yeah, I know, supposed to be the females who are shoeaholics, but I do like a good pair of shoes and I had ambitions, oh yes, to go buy me handmade soft leather shoes one of these days, when the right person finds me and promotes me and I sell records by the million …

You gotta have a dream, aintcha?

And here he was, the dream, right in front of me.

‘Cos this here guy says, in a voice as slicked back as his hair, ‘You got something there, son, I’d like to hear more.’ Before I could answer he snaps open a silver box like you’d keep smokes in, but thinner, you know what I mean? And out comes a smart piece of card, embossed with silver and all, wouldn’cha know. Record Producer it said. His name? Don’t ask, I didn’t see. When you want a recording more than you want the next breath, well, sort of, who sees names? You see what you wants to see. I saw Record Producer. My heart near enough stopped in its rhythm, that it did.

The funny thing is, now I think on it, he never got impatient, no shuffling of feet in those fine leather shoes, no sigh of impatience as I stilled my heart and my thinking and my sudden desire to gush madly all over the place which wouldn’t have been good, now would it? Who wants sycophantic gushing, I ask you...?

So I got myself together and I said, calmly and quietly, like, ‘Thank you, sir. I would really appreciate a chance to show the world what I can do.’

‘Oh you will,’ he said, so quiet like I wasn’t sure I heard him. Even more slicked back than before. I started to think he was all oil inside, he was that smooth, that liquid, that – do you know, the word gloopy comes to mind? Now why would that be, I wonder?

So we goes for a drink, like, he ordering some fancy cocktail the like of which I’d never heard nor seen before, and man, having seen how it looked in the glass, all sort of fiery and wild and dark and menacing – now there’s another odd thing, menacing? A drink? well, it was, and right glad I was I asked for a straight pint. I know where I am with beer. You can keep the fancy stuff. He tossed the drink back and went and got another. Then I got to look at him proper like for the first time.

You know how some people’s eyes are so black they show nothing? No? Well, that was how his looked to me. Couldn’t read a thing in them, not a thing. Worried me a bit but I kept thinking ‘record producer’ and tried to overlook the almost blank face, the expressionless eyes, the cut of a mouth – hardly any lips, you see – and concentrated on the oily slicked back voice, which was talking of demo discs, of expensive recording time for free, of introductions to top people, of air play and of money.

‘What do you want of me?’ I asked eventually. Nothing comes free, there’s always a price.

‘Ha, about time you asked that.’ There was an edge to the voice that hadn’t been there before. I sat up a bit and wondered why the change.

‘Well ... nothing is free, is it, not really...’

‘A wise person, for a change. You’re right, friend, nothing is free. I don’t want much of you, actually. I would ask that the first recording we make be out in the open, is all, with a hand held recorder, we can clean it up later, be assured of that, but I want real blues, dirty down low and gutsy blues, I want – you to come to the crossroads at midnight and sing for me.’

Do you know, I fell for it? How stupid is that? You can ask yourself that question as I did and get no answer. It was the oily voice, you see, which held glittering promises in its depth, bit like oil that’s spilled shows up as a rainbow. That kind of thing.

Damn me if I didn’t go. The crossroads he specified were miles from anywhere, my beat up old car only just made it before it coughed its last and expired in a heap of rust right there on the side of the road. I had just pulled over in time. I got out, guitar rescued from the back seat, song in my head and my mouth, and went over to the crossroads – where he was waiting.

I still didn’t fall in with knowledge, you know. Even though I had his card in my pocket and wondered why he spelled Damon as Daemon.

He had this fancy recording thing in his hand. I felt pretty damn stupid, standing at a crossroads singing a blues about standing at a crossroads, a sort of interpretation of Robert Johnson’s which I rather liked, but then I got into the spirit of it, sang my heart out and all but made my fingers bleed on the guitar strings.

He said I did just fine, it was exactly what he wanted. He said he would get in touch with me. I said thanks, don’t you want to write down my name and address and stuff? No, he said, I know where you live and he reeled off my address, my phone number, my mobile number, my security information ... man it were scary, I tell you.

I ain’t been the same since. Something’s gone out of me. Now I don’t believe in this soul thing, but there might be a grain of truth in it, since I sang that song and stood on that crossroads, I feel different.


Did I hear from him again? No.

What am I doing hitching? Trying to get back to the crossroads to see if I can get it back, whatever ‘it’ is.

Not holding out a lot of hope, but hey, thanks for the ride. This is one lonely old road when you have to walk it.

The crossroads are right here.

Don’t fancy staying with me, do you?

Thought not.

BIO: Dorothy Davies is a writer, medium and editor who lives on the Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England which is said to be the most haunted place in the UK. There she channels books from spirit authors and stories from a horror writer who says he isn’t done telling stories yet. She is a proud member of the Fictioneers and has appeared in many Static Movement anthologies, as well as editing one of her own. She is the author of ‘Death Be Pardoner To Me’, the life of George, duke of Clarence, given to her by the duke himself.


"WHISPER" - Faith Telford

“Like I said, I feel real bad you’ve wasted your
time comin’ all the way out here, Officer. My daughter has quite an imagination I’m afraid, and it tends to run away with her at times. I apologize for the concern and I’ll definitely monitor all outgoin’ phone calls in the future.”

“No worries, and folks just call me Len when I’m off duty.” 

“It was good of you to call in and check on the situation and all, Len, but you know what children can be like. Sorry she’s put you to the trouble,” Dave said. “ I don’t know what to do. She’s always telling me, 'Mama said this' or 'Mama said that. Mama said I should wear the blue dress today. Mama says she likes my hair in braids best.' I ground her and send her to bed early for lying ‘cause it’s kinda unnervin’ but ‘til today I figured it was a fantasy of hers, childish imaginary friend stuff, that was pretty much harmless.”

“I heard a whisper that Jordyn’s mother up and left not long after y’all moved in?”

“Lori-anne was...well I guess you could say she was kinda on the flighty side. Withdrawn, too. I thought bein’ out here in a small community might help her to settle in and meet some folks, make a friend or two, y’know? Guess I was wrong. Fickle. I got a letter a week or so ago from her promisin' to phone Jordy and me when she got settled somewheres but knowin' Lori-anne that might take some time. I didn't see the point in tellin' Jordyn. Didn't want her to get her hopes up. Anyways, me and Jordy, we’re doin’ just fine on our own, thanks.”

“Except for the tall tales.”

“Yeah, ‘cepting for that.”

“It's all right, we didn’t think too much of it; figured it was just local youngsters pranking us as a dare but when someone phones in a report, even an imaginative kid like Jordyn, well we’ve got to check it out. You understand how it is,” Len said. Dave sighed and looked towards the heavens. “You’re not too far out of my way so I thought I’d stop by on my way home; a courtesy call more than anything. I ordinarily like to do the meet and greet thing when new folk move into the area but I’ve been a bit tied up for the past couple of months. It's been hectic.”

“Yeah, heard all about it. Got quite a clean up on your hands,” nodded Dave.

“We were lucky the tornado veered away from this part of the county,” Len said looking out at the rutted dirt road running beside the isolated property. “Folks south of Crickson’s Rock didn’t get off as lightly. The boys and I have been lending a hand as best we can. Still, it’s no excuse for not dropping by. Jordyn’s a cute kid.”

Dave’s eyebrows furrowed. “You’ve two have met?”

“My wife’s her teacher,” explained Len.

“Ah.” Dave wiped the back of his hand across his forehead. “Small town.”

Len chuckled, his gaze catching a flash of movement on the other side of the rickety picket fence. “Yeah, a little too small sometimes but we’re close-knit enough to rally around when it’s required. Speaking of which, how are you finding it out here? If you need any help just you say the word.”

“Thanks, but we’re doin’ okay. Really.”

“Sure.” Dave was covering up. Len’s cop instincts hadn’t let him down yet. The poor guy looked battle weary and thin, obviously missing his wife and struggling to bring up his daughter alone. “Jordyn’s not around now, I don’t suppose? I wouldn’t mind having a quiet word with her.”

Dave swallowed and brushed away a sticky fly that was annoying him. “She usually jumps off the school bus and runs into the house like a little whirlwind, grabs a bite to eat then heads straight down to the dried creek bed ‘til I call her up for supper. She’s got herself some sort of makeshift fort down there,” he said. “But I guess this afternoon when I was out fixin' the tractor she put in a phone call to you and then took off. But don’t you worry none, I’ll be sure to speak to her this evenin' about makin' nuisance calls and startlin’ folks.”

Len focused on the expanse of dirt that was supposed to be Dave’s crop. If it wasn’t sudden downpours and tornados it was drought and dust. Hard enough to cope with when you’d grown up in farming territory; must be damn near impossible for a city fella who’d recently been abandoned by his partner and left sole carer of his kid. “Don’t go too hard on her, will you? Poor little tike’s just missing her mother. My wife tells me Jordy and her were real close.”

“Really? Her teacher picked that up in only a couple of months at school?”

“Women,” he said, leaving the rest unsaid. When it became clear Dave wasn’t going to add any more to the conversation, Len tipped his hat and said his goodbyes. “Now if ever you’re out and about, Dave, and you feel the need for a chat just call in, y’hear?”

“Thanks, but I don’t get into town much. I got enough work out here to keep me off the streets.”

Dave closed the wire screen door and stepped back inside as the visitor made his way down the splintered wooden steps and out to his pickup.

“Well, well if it isn’t little Jordyn Bamford hiding in the shadows. Howdy there Missy. I thought I spied you checkin’ out my old truck when I was up on the porch with your dad.”

“No, ” she said quietly looking up at him from beneath long lashes. “I’m just sitting here out of the sun talking to Mama.”

He cleared his throat. “Your Mama, is it now?” Len crouched down in the shade of the vehicle to look the little girl in the eye. “Listen, your mama loves you, Jordy, and I know it’s tough without her but she’s gone away for a while and you’re going to have to do the best you can without her.”

“No, she’s here with me all the time, Mr. Williams. She’s the one told me to put in a call to your office.”

“Yeah look, about that, can’t go phoning folks up – ‘specially not the police – and making up stories when you’re bored or lonely. Why not catch up with a playmate after school instead then get your dad to pick you up later on? Or have a sleepover once in a while or something? I’m sure Mrs. Williams would be happy to organize it for you through the school with someone if your dad’s too busy.”

The little girl looked away and started to draw in the dirt. “Mama says for you to come out to the old well and bring her up. She says she’s at the bottom where Papa flung her and her leg’s all bent up and she can’t climb out. Aint that right, Mama?” she said, looking at the nothingness beside her.

“Jordyn, this is what I mean, honey. You shouldn’t say things like this. You really gave the poor call centre operator a fright this afternoon. Your mama wouldn’t want you telling fibs to people. She’d want you to be happy.”

“Yessir, that’s right. She wants me to be happy but I want her to be happy, too, and she can’t be while she’s all twisted up and alone in that dark hole the way she is.”

“Okay, tell you what we’ll do, Jordy. How’s about I pop you up on the front seat and you can pretend you’re driving my truck while I take a look around the back and check out the well with my flashlight, hey? Then you’ve got to promise me that’s the end of the tall tales, all right?”

“Yessir. Oh, and Mama says you’ll find daddy’s gun under the floorboards in the kitchen. She says you’re gonna be needin’ that for edivence.”

When Len appeared back at the vehicle he radioed for backup and while he waited for reinforcements to arrive, he kept one eye trained on the porch for Dave and another on Jordyn who couldn’t stop smiling at the empty space beside her on the car seat.

BIO: Faith is relatively new to the writing game but a couple of minor successes with competitions in her local area have given her the bug to keep going. She has always read extensively but is yet to find a genre to settle into so until she does, Faith is trying her hand at a little of everything. She hopes you enjoy this, her first attempt at paranormal.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Scent of Lilac

"THE SCENT OF LILAC" - Patsy Collins

“Mum, what was Grandma’s full name?”
As Primrose spoke, a heavy perfume filled the room.

“Agatha Myrtle Galbraith, why love?”

“If we’re going to apologise we should get things right.”

"Primrose, are you sure you want to do this?”

“What can you smell?”


“What can you hear?”

“Your sisters, crying.”

“Then what choice do I have?”

“You’re sure Grandma is really haunting the twins? Perhaps they’re just frightened because they saw her die.”

“She’s been dead for almost a year and they’re getting worse, not better. And the scent hasn’t faded, it gets stronger each time she’s mentioned, I’m sure that’s why we’ve all got sore throats.”

Rose helped her daughter find a brooch and shawl of Agatha’s. As they handled the shawl, the scent increased. Primrose and her sisters walked to the hall.

“Will Grandma really be there?”

“Yes, Chloe. Then you and Louise can apologise for frightening her. I’ll say sorry too, because I think she’s angry with all of us.”

“Then she’ll leave us alone?”

"I hope so.”

Inside the hall, Primrose marked out a five pointed star. She placed a candle in every segment, then ushered her sisters into place. Her Grandmother’s shawl and brooch were placed in the empty places. Primrose lit each candle.

“Now we must all think about her.”

“It won’t really work will it?”

“Just saying sorry won’t, but I’m going to call her back from the dead. We’ll make her go away.”

“That’s not what you told Mum.”

“She wouldn’t let us do this if I’d told the whole truth.”

“What if it doesn’t work? Will Grandma never leave us alone?” asked Louise.

“Are you going to do this? It won’t work if we don’t all do it.”

“We will Primrose,” chorused the twins.

“As I was saying, when she comes we’ll tell her we’re sorry.”

They each thought of the dead woman. Primrose remembered how her Grandma spread nasty rumours about her father, suggesting an unhealthy attachment to his daughters. She remembered too, everything she'd heard of her mother’s awful childhood. The twins remembered their grandmother calling them close and then giving painful pinches. She said nasty things about their mother and tried turning them against their sister. They remembered too that afternoon, exactly a year ago. They had listened to their teacher talking about bullies.

“Bullies are really cowards,” Miss said. “You should always report them, and if you can, stand up to them, it sometimes frightens them off.”

They told their sister, who agreed Grandma was a bully.

The twins decided to frighten her away. They hid in this hall and waited for her to come for piano practise. They appeared under a sheet, wailing. She hadn’t died of fright because she realised who they were. She became angry. She’d screamed and chased them, walking stick raised. She fell down the steps, broken her neck and died.

The family thought they’d lost the bully until the funeral. The sweet sickly scent was so strong the guests quickly left and her angry presence was felt. A year later, the sisters still smelt the lilac fragrance.

“Agatha Myrtle Galbraith we call you to us. Agatha Myrtle Galbraith we call you to us,” Primrose whispered. Her voice became louder each time she repeated the incantation. Her sisters joined in the chant.

Slowly the shawl and brooch stirred and rose. The shawl draped as if supported by a body. The brooch hung as if pinned onto it. The candles flickered and dimmed.

The light regained its strength to reveal a figure wrapped in the shawl. It was faint, barely the shadow of a reflection. They recognised Agatha.

“Sorry we frightened you Grandma,” said Louise. “We didn’t want you to die, just to see what it’s like to be scared.”

“They are sorry Grandma, and I’m sorry too. I should have known what they were planning and stopped them,” Primrose said.

The girls repeated their apologies and each in turn begged Agatha to leave them in peace. As they spoke the lilac scent increased. Through their streaming eyes, they saw the figure growing taller and stronger.

Agatha was now more substantial than she’d been in life. She looked bright and strong. They screamed.

“Well I’m not sorry,” shouted Rose from the doorway. “You were cruel to me and you were cruel to the children.” Rose hugged the girls. “When Ralph died you said you wanted us to come home. I thought you’d changed. I was wrong. You just wanted to share your misery.”

As Rose shouted, the figure began to spin, sending sparks and clouds of perfume at every turn. She became paler, smaller.

“Agatha Myrtle Galbraith we called you to us, now we send you back. Agatha Myrtle Galbraith we send you back,” said Primrose.

All four of them repeated the phrase. Agatha spun faster and faster. Then with a hiss, she cast off the shawl and flew about the hall wailing and thrashing. Lilac scent choked them and the unearthly sounds throbbed through their bodies.

Then silence. Agatha was gone.

They never smell Lilac now, except in the spring when the flowers bloom.

BIO: Patsy Collins writes short stories for magazines including, Woman's Weekly, Fiction Feast, Candis, Ireland's Own, My Weekly and That's Life. To read more about her and her writing, please visit:

The Cemetery

"THE CEMETERY" - Clifton Bush Jnr.

The cemetery was a lonely place at night.
Even the birds that sang during the day avoided this place. There was an entity here, one that someone just couldn't put his finger on. It gave one that creepy feeling, making the hairs stand up on the back of one's neck, and the heart to pump just a little bit faster.

Corey didn't care. He had at least twelve beers in him and he was ten feet tall, invincible. He'd go in there and show those chickens. He even bet with Mark that he'd spend the night in the mausoleum that was off in the farthest corner of the old graveyard. He had fifty bucks riding on this, along with bragging rights, and a little thing like a ghost wasn't going to make him run away.

They dropped him off at the front gate and he soon clambered over the rusty wrought-iron fence. He turned around to face his friends, and something hit him in the forehead.

“What the hell...?” he said. He glanced at the package that had hit him, and bent down to retrieve his pack of smokes. He'd need them in here. A bag was thrust at him through the bars.

“For our unsung hero,” said Brooke, laughing. “A little more liquid courage to keep you up all night.”

“Gee, thanks,” he said, grabbing the sack and putting his smokes in his pocket. “Now for all you non-believers, let the great one begin his mystical journey into the underworld!” He started laughing.

“Okay, pick me up in the morning. I'll be waiting right here!” he shouted to them, watching them leave. Soon he was alone among the headstones, and switched the flashlight on that Amber had handed to him.

He weaved his way between headstones and slowly made his way to the far corner of the cemetery. He soon found his target, the old mausoleum that stood like a silent sentinel watching over everything here. He reached the door and saw that Mark had indeed cut the chain locking the door. He pulled out what was left of it through the handles and opened the door. It gave off a high-pitched shriek on its rusted hinges and he was momentarily taken aback by the creepy noise.

He entered, and walked down the steps. One, two, three...six in all. Here was another door, a wooden one, and he gently pushed it. It opened noiselessly, unlike the one above. He walked in and set his package on the floor, noticing that there were two caskets in here. One was newer than the other and he could still read the nameplate. THOMAS WILLIAM SR. The other was a woman's name, obviously his wife's.

“So,” he said out loud, “I get to spend the night with the Williamses.” Corey reached into the bag and withdrew a can of beer. He popped the top and took a long swallow, burping as he gurgled the alcohol down. He then lit a smoke, and headed back up into the night air so he didn't choke himself out with the fumes. He looked around, and although it was June, the night air still had a chill in it so he pulled his jacket tighter around him. Sure its just the chill air - or are you scared?

He quickly pushed that thought aside. Corey had some real money riding on this bet, and he'd be damned if he was going to chicken out.

He finished smoking and flicked the butt over the fence before going back down into the crypt to finish off his beer, sitting on his behind up against the wall staring at the two coffins. It was going to be a long night, he thought, and reached for another can. He drank half of that one before the alcohol took effect and he passed out.

He woke up freezing. He looked around and saw nothing but headstones and mist, a chill foggy mist like in the horror movies. He pulled his jacket tighter, his breath coming out in a vapor. What's going on? He wasn't in the crypt anymore. 

He wandered around the graveyard, finally coming up to the gated entrance. He could hear his friends' voices, but couldn't see them. They were calling his name and laughing that he didn't stay the night.

"I'm right here!" he tried to scream, but nothing would come out of his mouth. "I'm here!"

He finally spotted them through a hole in the mist getting back in the car. He hollered for them, but they didn't seem to hear him. What was going on? They drove off, and he tried to jump over the fence but found that he couldn't. Something kept tugging at the back of his jacket when he tried to get over it. He got down, turned around and saw all the empty, cold faces staring at him. One of them looked him straight in the eye and said, “Welcome to our world!”

BIO: Clifton lives in Michigan and has wanted to write stories all of his life. He is happily engaged to a wonderful woman and raising his 10 year old son. He enjoys writing, astronomy, NASCAR, football and the outdoors in general.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Stop the Presses - A reason to celebrate.


Exciting news just in from the Critters Workshop 'Preditors and Editors 2010 Reader Poll'.  We were stoked to see that Anthony Cowin's story, "What doesn't kill you" made it into the top ten.

Of the 70 contenders in the short story Horror section, Anthony's tale (published here on Spook City) came in at a very impressive 8th!

Congratulations, Anthony. We're setting off the fireworks and popping champagne in your honour.