“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...

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...

Daniel’s life was going nowhere. Not dramatically nowhere; he wasn’t failing, crashing or burning. Even a negative direction would have at least been going somewhere. He was just plodding along on a perfectly flat trajectory. No gains. No losses. No change. His siblings, meanwhile, were soaring....

I can’t touch people who are almost dead. It’s not a phobia, a religious thing or even a preference. I just literally can’t do it. My hands pass through them like they’re already gone. It’s horribly unnerving. You ever walk up a flight of stairs, but...

I recently bought a house in the country.  I wouldn’t quite call it a country estate, but if someone else did, I wouldn’t disagree with them, either.  The house covers a few thousand square feet, and it’s on 25 acres of land.  Honestly, it’s a...

Until recently, I was the head of the psychology department at a small, unassuming university.  To protect the privacy of those still working there, I will not tell you which university it is, though I suspect you can find it in the papers.  It depends...

“Tell me about the first time you remember being scared.” Duane hesitated.  “It’s stupid, you know?” “Nothing’s stupid, Duane,” Dr. Earles gently admonished.  Earles was a balding man in his early sixties, with thin glasses and a neatly-trimmed, mostly white beard.  He very much looked the part...

“And I looked, and beheld a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.” – Book of Revelation 6:8 “Alert: traffic ahead.  Estimated travel time has increased by 15 minutes.” Simon sighed and drummed his fingers on his steering wheel....

911 gets three kinds of calls.  There’s the “someone needs help” call, obviously.  That’s the sort that most of our training deals with, and it’s the kind that everyone pictures first when they think of 911.  You could, if you wanted, subdivide these calls into...

I’m here to make a confession.  I don’t know if it’ll help, if anything’ll help at this point, but I’m out of ideas and out of time.  So here goes. A year ago, I was at a party, a decent-sized shindig, bunch of working folks letting...

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...

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 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...

New Orleans is a city alive with death. Things have a way of coming back from beyond. There’s something about the city that gives everything an extra spark. That sort of force can interact with the world in strange ways. One of those ways was the...

(This story is part of the Grey Michael series. For the first part in the series, entitled Grey Michael, click the preceding story's title) Let me set the scene for you. The room is dark, enclosed, underground. The floor is smooth stone, chalked with a dizzying array...

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...

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...

I don’t know exactly how this story started. It was already in motion well before I became aware of it. My involvement in it began with Christian and Philip: Christian, who was always late, and Philip, who was always early. Those two were part of our...

It started out like any other work day. I had houses to sell and people who wanted to buy them. Honestly, I’ve always found being a realtor embarrassingly easy. People seek you out and ask you to sell them incredibly high-ticket items. I’ve done other...

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