It started out as a perfectly normal camping trip. It was me, Rosie and Jonas, just like usual. The three of us have been friends since high school, and although there are often other people in our orbits, it’s always the three of us together...

When I was thirteen, I abandoned my best friend. It wasn’t intentional, not really.  I’d been the one that had been sure of what we had to do—telling our parents, convincing them to tell the police, and promising Virginia what no matter what, when it came...

It knows what you hate.  And it hates what you love. I originally heard about “Sack of Knives” in one of my medieval literature texts—the class had sounded interesting out of my options that quarter, but two weeks in I was already wishing I’d taken another...

Once a month, The Boneless arrives on the tide. It’s a force of nature—like quicksand. You can’t reason or argue with it. All you can do is barricade your home and stay indoors. We islanders know when it’s coming. We recognize the signs. Now and again,...

Part 1 The sharp click of a switch and a whirr of static on an old multi-band radio saturated a small Floridian claustrophobic one-bedroom apartment with a loud audio gradience – crawling from low to high back to low pitches of frequency. In a knee-jerk reaction,...

This is the story of how a novelty toaster ruined my life. First of all, I want to clarify that I’m not the kind of guy who buys a novelty toaster. I got it at a white elephant gift exchange a couple of years back. You...

He makes the walk from living room to bedroom as if approaching the scene of an accident, as loath to see what waits in the bed as he’d be to discover a mangled body in a smoking vehicle.  The bulges in the sheets are abstract...

When I drive, pell-mell, to the hospital for the birth of our first child, I never expect we’ll be leaving without the baby.  I certainly never anticipate making the trip home with a doll buckled into the infant carrier, all glass eyes and vinyl limbs. ...

A layperson might have found it off-putting, but to Dr. Ian Wessner, the sound was comforting, nostalgic.  It was like something from a Star Wars movie; a combination of R2-D2 passing on some critical message and the Millennium Falcon readying for takeoff.  Even a regenerative...

On what would have been our fiftieth anniversary, I bought you a marble headstone.  Stone is the recommended gift for ninety years of marriage, but my being around another forty is a gamble for which the odds are too long.  Gold is the traditional gift...

7:35 pm, November 28. Sheriff Ron Ball and Deputy Ernest Dingle: On-duty. Unit 1, we got a 10-70 at Royalty Deluxe Luxury Mobile Estates. I repeat, a 10-70. Unit One, do you copy? Sheriff Ball looked at Dingle. No more than five minutes after they’d parked for...

The shivering Cro-Magnon man shifted uncomfortably in the dark. His back across the hard rocky surface was certainly an untenable reality for any decent sleep. He grunted and moaned and awoke with a start. Another nightmare. He wiped the sweat from his forehead. His back...

Kept company by a lone streetlamp’s flickering cone of light, Donovan Clark and Ellen Cruz reviewed the facts. Unlike many of their cases, this one seemed positively packed with substance. The leads were strong, the accounts were corroborated, and the net of skepticism seemed to...

I’m alone now. They’re in the other room, eating. The dog. They’re eating the dog. They don’t even try to hide it from me.  I’m apparently so weak, I’m not a threat to them.  They hid it when the cops came by.  They broke out into smiles, acted personable...

The year was 1989.  The McCallisters had just moved to the small town of Northfield.  Todd McCallister had finally gotten his teaching license along with a job teaching history at the high school.  Maria was content to stay home with their two children: Alexis, a...

I was tucking my daughter into bed one night last week.  Normally, she’s a huge hassle to make go to bed, but that night she seemed actually eager to go to sleep.  I sat down in the chair beside her bed and asked her what...

The Chicago suburb of Englewood is no stranger to murder.  In 1893, it was home to Dr. H. H. Holmes, who built a hotel with the sole purpose of murdering his employees and patrons.  A good hundred or so died in his gas-rigged rooms, their...

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