Tucker yawned, but he finished it with a smile. He had waited a long time for this day. It was his first Christmas with his new wife and stepdaughter, Tiffany. She hadn’t been hateful up to this point, but she hadn’t connected with him either....

My cousin AJ told me this story in 2006.  He was twenty-seven years old and would soon be on his deathbed.  AJ claims that he got sick because of what happened to him back in 1998.  He was nineteen then.  Now that he’s gone, I...

The lavish banquet that had been so expertly laid out on the long, elegant refractory table before me could only be described as perfect. Truly, utterly, perfect. It was the most sublimely archetypical Thanksgiving Dinner that I could imagine. The table was draped in a...

The painted gray metal door leading from the reception area to the mechanics’ bays banged open. “Hey … we got a hot one!” “Yeah?” Nigel asked. Larry nodded and winked, “Oh, yeah!” Nigel smiled. “Do we have some time?” “All day, Nige. Guy’s wife came in, rushing him around, nagging him...

Chapter 1 If you want to know just how unimportant you are, get a job at the biggest company you can. The bigger the outfit, the smaller the cog you’ll be in that cascading clockwork that makes the thing move. You’d be more significant as the sole...

Chapter 1: The Beginning Loretta could see two versions of the mockingbird in the tree outside her window. One with ugly gray and black feathers, the other with beautiful aqua feathers. The aqua bird was so much more pleasing to Loretta’s sight. The black and gray...

“I don’t know, man, the cabin is really far out there and you’d be alone until Sunday.” “Alright, If it’ll help you get over this thing with Sam you can stay at the cabin for the weekend.  Just, you know, you remember what it’s like.  Things...

I know he is there—the man who lives in the forest.  I am yet to see him directly, but I feel his presence nonetheless.  He flows as a shifting shadow between the boughs and branches of the trees — a dancer in the darkness unheard...

The Crocodile House stands alone in the scrubland; old, abandoned and overgrown.  And I use the term ‘stands’ in the loosest possible sense.  It must have been a grand place, once, but the building is now a dilapidated wreck. The council put some fences up around...

When there was a chill in the air and there were more jack-o-lanterns than plain pumpkins on every doorstep, I got called out to investigate a fresh crime scene. Somebody thought that it would be real cute to firebomb a Catholic church. Now this wasn’t one...

Like everyone else, the pandemic had me sitting inside, bored out of my mind.  My job was considered non-essential, so for a while I was just sitting on the couch watching videos or playing video games.  I think what makes those activities so enjoyable, though,...

I was always so afraid of the dark as a kid.  I used to think that there was something wrong with me, the way I would tense up when I could no longer distinguish my bedroom’s wall from the floor, when it all became a...

I am the one that the world left behind—at least until you finish reading this. It wasn’t that I was unremarkable.  Everyone has something about them that is uniquely their own.  It just so happened that my thing was floating through foster families, schools, and social...

I was skeptical when my online friends first linked me to the supposed “evil Kickstarter”  that was going viral on the less-than-wholesome forums we frequented.  We were an unmoderated haven for trolls, weirdos, and radicals, sure, but this Kickstarter was something else entirely.  It seemed...

Woodard Hall was empty.  All the university workers were gone for the day, but it didn’t matter whether the building was occupied or not; it always felt empty.  The long corridors sprinkled with muted orange lights drained all the energy out of the building, like...

Mr. Vanhin had a wonderful day.  He woke up at 5 am, said his morning prayers, and cooked himself a full breakfast, complete with fried eggs, sausages, and bacon.  At 10 am, after a short nap in his favorite armchair, he grabbed his cane, put...

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