I was seven years old when my brother Frank died in a fire. He was nineteen and a fireman and everything I ever wanted to be in the world. My parents told me that he’d died a hero, that he’d been inside a house saving...

The days all started with the briefing room—a wall-to-wall palette of aged pastels and stark, hospital grayness. In the center of our little room, an oval-shaped table dominated the space with every seat filled with a tired nurse. From one of the windows, a bar of morning...

I am going to tell you a story. This isn’t a pleasant tale yet it does contain elements of happiness and love. However, it is mostly and most unfortunately permeated with an abundance of terror and hopelessness. I do hope that you are not faint-hearted...

When children wish to go into the corn-fields to pluck ears or gather the blue corn-flowers, they are warned not to do so, for “the big Dog sits in the corn.”— The Golden Bough by James Frazer The detective stood leaning against the wall in the...

Part One Work from the comfort of your schedule while being paid well.  Apply for a census job. A website was printed on the bottom of the yellow sign sticking out of the ground as I drove by.  I’ve seen a lot of them lately.  You know...

I still get flashes before I open my eyes in the morning. The air was cold; it carried with it a moisture that seemed to settle right into your lungs with each breath.  At times, a strong gust of wind could feel like ice crystals settling...

It was all I could do not to vomit when my mother-in-law proudly set the roast down in front of us, its meat glistening brown on the kitchen table.  “Doug, are you alright?” my wife Maxine whispered, making sure her parents couldn’t hear.  She hadn’t...

I really, really hate Legos.  Their little nubs and sharp corners fit perfectly right into the center of the bottom of your foot, causing a stabbing agony that lingers for the rest of the day with every step.  I’d hoped I was done with them...

Karen woke in a sweat, the peripheral of her dream slowly dissipating.  Again, that smell.  She took a long deep breath and groggily massaged her nose though it did not help; it never did.  In fact, the nauseous stench of putrid flesh seemed to linger...

It was a late July night, and I once again found myself basking in the glow of my TV screen, a controller in one hand and a beer in the other. Empty pizza boxes, chip bags, and various other discarded remnants surrounded me as I...

I wasn’t sure what I was more surprised to discover: the ragged hole in my backyard, or the man stuck in it. The hole was a crack about eight feet long and maybe two feet thick at its widest point. It looked as if the...

It was an incredibly hot day when I heard the knock on my door.  One of those days where you close the blinds and crank the AC, trying to find relief in darkness.  It had been like that all week, each day growing more and...

I flipped through the channels, eyes glazed over, not really seeing what was on the screen.  I was tired, a long workday behind me and an even longer one in front of me.  I considered going to bed, but didn’t want to bring on a...

I awake in the darkness, and where I might have otherwise thought myself blind, there is a thin shaft of light piercing the solid curtain of black around me. The light is reflected through a rounded patch of glass above my head, matched with the...

It wasn’t like I was snooping. I was just out for an evening walk, and my neighbor Raul had his curtains wide open. There was light, there was movement, and I looked. Anyone would have. I wasn’t sticking my nose where it didn’t belong. Raul was...

My name is Duke. This is the story of what happened between me and Colin. We were business partners for a while; I won’t say exactly what kind of business, but yeah, it wasn’t legal, but we never killed anyone. For a while we made...

My Dearest, I hope this letter finds you doing well. I've found myself stuck in a morose languish. I hope writing to you will release its hold upon me incrementally as I've become unable to muster the energy to step outside this accursed hotel room. I...

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