Charcoal Heart

According to the superstitious urban legend passed down by fish wives, it is said that when Death first approaches you, you feel it in your bones in the same manner arthritic joints can sense a change in the weather, but such was not the case for Millie Poole. She felt the arrival in her chest as if her heart was a charcoal briquette coated with lighter fluid anxiously awaiting the Grim Reaper’s fiery embrace.

Forever Faithful

“You’re the only person who never abandoned me.”

“I’m a memory. It’s my duty to stay where you left me.”

“And you always remain the same.”

“Not true. I change, slightly. I grow more sweet and innocent each time you remember me, the same way every good fantasy does.”

First Ever Kiss

Ricky’s first ever kiss was deftly delivered by Betty-Jo Kopecki, a camp counselor three years his senior, with enough body English to make his legs wobble. To her, it was a one-off thing, done on a dare but to him it was a torrid summer camp fling and her kiss would be the high-water mark all others were measured against.

Trading Places

Cornelius begins spouting gibberish like a madman and before I realize that it is some sort of incantation, my consciousness, everything I am, is wrenched from my body and dumped like rubble and detritus into the sickly form of my dying enemy and for a second my view of the world, now through his cataract eyes, shifts like a lenticular optical illusion of massive chaos and the last thing I see before my vision clouds over is his crooked smile on the face that used to belong to me as I try to claw my way free before this fleshy prison becomes a corpse.

The Dominant Species

Earth finally established communications with life from another world. Sadly, it had nothing to do with the efforts of humans.

The extraterrestrials eventually made the trek across the cosmos to our planet, arriving in peace and bearing gifts but they landed in the ocean and began negotiations to help terraform Earth to be perfect for the expansion of the dolphin species, whom were considered to be the dominant life form.

The Least of Her Habits

Ashley bummed a cigarette from the open pack without asking and steadied Roy’s hand on the match to light it.

“Bad habit, I know, but not the worst I’ve had by far. Once upon a time, I was addicted to 8 balls, booze and love but my body can’t handle any of that crap now,” she smiled wanly and let the smoke stream out in lazy snakes.

When It All Boils Down

None of the relationships in Dana’s life ever made sense and she was prepared to give up but before she could complete the act that would end all of her suffering, she stumbled upon the realization that despite intellect and education, breeding and sophistication, race, color, religious creed or gender identity, when it all boiled down, people were nothing more than children wrapped in grown-up complications. And somehow that simple revelation made things a little easier.

They Come At Night

They come at night during the Hour of the Wolf, that gap between night and dawn when most people perish, when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when nightmares become flesh, and when ghosts are at the zenith of their power.

When they were alive they were families and neighbors who came to each other’s aid and fought for peace and tragically lost the battle before that peace had been established.

Now, they step each pre-dawn from the void of the hereafter to remind us of how far we still must travel.

I Love The Bones of You

Luther said he loved Aretha and it was the truth. Only, it wasn’t the complete truth. He actually loved the bones of her, straight down to the marrow. Unfortunately, it was the only part he truly cared for. As for the rest of his dear, sweet wife? Well, he reduced that in a savory stew which his neighbors quite enjoyed.

The Impossible Knot

In the charred remains of a house, time crept at its petty pace around Wilhelmina without ever quite touching her for she was stuck in a moment, trying to unravel an impossible knot made from the ancient threads of musty eras and epochs long past in the vain attempt to reverse the clock and reknit a reality in which her family had not perished in the fire.