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...

The midday sun stood at its zenith, bathing them in unforgiving heat. Brendan wiped sweat from his brow with the heel of his hand, then dried it on the edge of his shirt. “Christ, it’s hot,” Brendan said. “Remind me never to go to an amusement...

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...

My father has always been somewhat eccentric, prone to tall tales of his childhood, keeping collections of old knickknacks and assorted antiquities he’d find at auction, and strict adherence to bizarre house rules.  Growing up in his home, the same home he grew up in,...

“I’m not going to let you do this,” said Eugene. “You’re the closest thing I have to a brother and I don’t want you to die.” His eleven-year-old knees shook and buckled on the sidewalk of Mountain Road, that cold night in November. The bracing...

I have slept six hours in the past eight days. Time is beginning to slow to a crawl, dragging my perception behind it like an anchor that just won’t pull out from the mud. The more I try to organize my thoughts the more muddled...

Part I London, 1982 Like a dog come running at his master’s whistle, I RSVP’d yes on an invitation to Vernon Copeland’s Halloween party to view his latest acquisition. A lost piece of cinema from the early ’20s, a screen test hitherto undiscovered, et cetera, et cetera....

“So, you ready?” Will stands proudly at the bedroom door. His backpack is strapped on securely, but he still holds on to the straps, a ready and willing adventurer. His hoodie is zipped up to his neck but he keeps the hood down. He knows better...

For Elombe, at first, the night began like any other. Wakefulness came in a flash.  He sat upright in his straw mat, fingers clenched tight around his spear.  There had been a chui prowling through their village the last few weeks; it had already dragged away...

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