Sickness overcame Emily without warning. While we strode, arms linked, through downtown after a late movie, taking turns trashing it—Emily became silent, and stopped walking. I thought maybe she’d stepped in gum, or forgot something at the theatre, but on her face grew an expression signaling...

When I first saw him standing out there on the sidewalk, I thought nothing of it. I certainly didn’t think he’d still be out there come September. I lingered at the window for just a moment, decided that the night-bound silhouette across the street was...

I don’t have a gambling problem. That’s the first thing I want known. It’s also what they all say, right? No, I’m not addicted to gambling, but I have a co-dependency issue with someone who is. I’m not the coolest guy on the block, and I’m...

Is Doctor Disrespect one of your heroes? I know he was one of mine. Yes, was. I guess I still respect the guy. But he went down one motherfucker of a rabbit hole and dragged me down with him. I’m seventeen and I wash windows. That’s why...

It was a cloudless, sapphire-blue sky that day. We had the camping trip planned for a month, and it took even longer than that for us to coordinate our vacations, so that we could all be there together. It was a reunion I had dreamed...

Nestled just off the Appalachian Trail, near the border of Virginia and West Virginia, where forests grew thick and pressed in on all sides, sat a small region known as Dry Branch.  Barely more than a collection of campgrounds, Dry Branch rarely received visitors, save...

Tommy Ihlman was only seven years old when his parents bought the house on Tamara Lane. Though it was no mansion by any stretch of the imagination, the five-bedroom raised-ranch style home seemed like a palace compared to the one-bedroom studio apartment he and his...

I didn’t plan on staying at a motel that night.  My apartment is normally a perfectly nice, pleasant, and comfortable place to stay.  Unfortunately, the notice on the door of the building said we had to make other arrangements for the next two days.  Why,...

It had started with a word. Ensorcell. Pollyanna had first overheard it when she was a child, playing with her Barbies in the spacious parlor as her mother prattled away on the phone to one pageant organizer or another. “She’ll absolutely ensorcell everybody, she’s a natural!”...

My sister Heather meant the world to me. She always seemed to have everything growing up. She was the homecoming queen in our small town. She graduated valedictorian of her class. She was voted Most Likely to Succeed her senior year. She was captain of...

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