Aldous Woolfe was a man of means.  He was a doer and never procrastinated at anything.  If he was supposed to do something, you could depend on him to do it.  He prized his job as an accountant.  He always loved numbers because numbers do...

On Gallows Hill, that overlooked Witches Valley where the verdant Whispering Forest spanned the horizon, Delbert Denton lived alone in a very modest house in a cul-de-sac called Snake Den Road.  Delbert was a bachelor, never married and seldom, if ever, dated.  No woman had...

Evan Burr found himself out late sauntering down the sidewalk on a night where the weather couldn’t make up its mind if it wanted to rain or not.  A light drizzle just made being outside without an umbrella an unpleasant stroll.  He spotted a bar...

No matter where I go, there is always fright.  Like an alcohol burn in my throat, like an acid that burns like hell.  No matter where I run, I race into the cold iron bars of a closed prison gate.  I am then isolated, segregated,...

Business was slow at the Tavern last night. Now, that wasn’t REALLY anything new (especially with this past month). Unfortunately, that didn’t keep my nerves from essentially spiking all night. Of all nights, this was the worst one to have no patrons – bar none!...

“We got a serious unnerstandin’ gap here.”  Joe shook his head, fishing out a Marlboro from his shirt pocket.  “I don’t need th’ money that bad.” The shiny quarter gleamed in the late morning sun, “I give you quarter,” the Asian man insisted. “Nope,” Joe lit his...

Peace can be found even in times of war, thought Hershel Güterbach. Hunched before his rustic kitchen’s sole window, he placed his liver-spotted hands on the rim of a deep basin sink as his pupils reflected the picture-perfect spring day. A cloudless sky of radiant...

Chapter 1 Eli was startled by the sound of a key in the front door. He had been resting in the upstairs bedroom. He couldn’t sleep anymore and hadn’t been able to do so in weeks. He missed it. He hadn’t left the house in weeks...

My hands were wet and clammy as I looked through the binoculars (field glasses, my mother used to call them), making the subtly curved view of my house jump and shift as I tried to hold on.  It was inside with them, watching TV in...

The night was quiet until we got the call that three men were beating a homeless person to death. Dispatch called two patrol units along with EMS, and when the first deputy got there, they phoned me as the investigator on call.  I went to the...

Every group of friends has a tradition. If you hang around a specific set of people for long enough, in-jokes will sprout from next to nothing.  Routines will manifest out of thin air.  Sometimes they’re clever; most of the time, they’re obnoxious, pointless, and asinine. Ours was...

I used to go hiking to clear my mind. It was nothing extraordinary.  No backpack, no walking stick, no geo-locator app on my phone - just casual walks through White Leaf park.  It wasn’t so much a hobby for me as it was a way to...

Leonard Skye was a bit of a local celebrity in the absurdly small town where I grew up. Hunter, survivalist, general “man’s man,” Leonard was both respected and feared.  You would never catch him wearing anything other than jeans, a t-shirt, and flannel.  The silver ring...

I first heard the name “Gravity Sphere” uttered at an awards ceremony for my seven-year-old son Joey. The assistant principal, a hefty forty-something woman named Huffner, was rifling through a jar that had small shreds of paper with children’s names on it so she could randomly...

Lee was proud of his first apartment.  He would have been more proud had he been able to share it with Alyssa, but she wasn’t ready for that yet.  He hoped it would come in time if he was patient.  They had been dating since...

Wes didn’t care that it was dark.  He didn’t care that it was cold.  He didn’t care that he was miles from home.  He just cared about getting away, about clearing his head.  He wanted to be free under the stars for a while.  He...

Corey was at the bar getting himself another old-fashioned with an Irish stout chaser when he stopped to look towards the back of the bar.  He saw someone on his way up from the outside smoking patio, someone that looked familiar, but he couldn’t place...

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