THIS IS THE SECOND PART OF A TWO-PART STORY. FOR THE FIRST PART OF THIS STORY, CLICK HERE.  It was gearing up to be a long night. The place was packed two-deep with thirsty patrons, and our barback was nowhere in sight.  I wouldn’t know it until...

I arrived at the Kotirc Outpost at approximately 3:30 in the afternoon alongside three senior officers from HQ. We had been told nothing about the facility’s state or its staff, simply that we had lost all communication with them about three days before our arrival. Russell, the...

Flashes of lightning illuminated torrents of rain as they ran down our bedroom window like tiny waterfalls, lulling my wife Meryl and I into a contented slumber. We always seemed to sleep our best during the muffled maelstrom of a Florida storm. But no amount...

“Are we there yet?” Nicole asked sleepily, her eyes still closed. The car bumped along the unlit two-lane country road, its motion answering her question before Corso could reply. “Welcome back to the land of the living,” he teased gently. “Thought I might have to carry...

I’ve lived in Michigan my entire life. It’s a beautiful place with endless wonder on land and in the depths beneath the water. I live in a small town, and I’ve never for a second considered leaving. I never honestly understood that phase people growing...

At one point in time, it was said Putt Putt Mini-Golf and Used Cars was among the top hotspots in Splittail. At some point in time, Sheriff Ron Ball figured, each of us gets a chance to be our very best. Now, however, seemed uniquely...

“Tell me how it ends.” Again, the demand. Into the cherished sanctuary of her small ivy-covered cottage had come this monstrous trio, breaking through the door — locks and laws be damned! — clad in costumes of pantyhose masks and black outfits, bringing mean eyes, the...

My name is John Gray. I was once chief evidence analyst with the Oregon State Police. A half-hour past sunset on September 7th of 2013, a volunteer at the visitor’s center inside the Qualls Nature Education Park on the edge of the Columbia River Gorge...

“This doesn’t look safe.”  I looked into the cave that cut into the side of the massive round hill.  Above it, a tree had grown roots downward trying to fill up the void, but it had instead simply created a fanciful framing, like something out...

Jerold was sitting in the same chair, at the same window, staring outside, waiting. The first snow was falling, and he remembered the time when he’d played out there with the neighborhood kids all those years ago.  He remembered it so vividly that afternoon. The sun had...

I hated Ms. Granger’s collection from the moment I laid eyes on it. The old lady was the latest in my long line of patients.  I’m a caregiver, the live-in type. I’d been working in the field for a decade when I got to know Ms. Granger. She...

If I could’ve said one thing to covid-19, had one opportunity to deliver a message that the virus could understand, it would’ve been: please don’t destroy my life. No posturing, no tough-guy stuff from me. Just a plea. Not that I think it would have...

Plummeting through the sky in freefall as fire licks up around you, trying its damnedest to erase you from existence, never gets easier. I was old enough to have forgotten more drops than I remembered, but that feeling of your stomach trying to crawl up...

Brent was killed by a slice of toast fired at high velocity from an evil, sentient toaster.  It blasted a hole right through his chest and took a huge piece out of the wall behind him.  We didn’t know what was happening at that point,...

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