Staring down at my bloody teeth, I vowed this would be the last I had this nightmare.
Dr. Lawson called them stress dreams and suggested I examine where my anxiety was coming from. Only I knew their true source. I wasn’t going to share it with my therapist.
I tried washing my hands, but soap and water couldn’t cure the corruption. My soul had turned, many years ago, and the only way to end its blight was to take my own life. Or to kill again.
Dr. Lawson was the next victim to pay the price for my own cowardice.
“If I ever see you here again, I’ll kill you.”
So began their game of cat and mouse. Every night, Owen skirted past the Clover Patch, careful never to show his face where O’Riley might see him. O’Riley kept his shotgun under the bar, hoping for the day Owen crossed the bar’s threshold.
Owen lamented he’d never again be able to sip of the island’s best stout. It seemed especially unfair, with him being the bar’s owner and its chief brewer, while O’Riley was just a bartender. Hiring a belligerent alcoholic to tend bar was in hindsight a poor decision.
I received a cancellation letter in the mail last week. My cable subscription had been halted. I found myself spending the entire afternoon staring at a black screen.
That evening, while out shopping, I discovered that all my credit cards had been stopped. I wasn’t hungry anyway, but I was beginning to spot a disturbing trend.
One by one, every relevant account, identification, and social network deleted me from their databases. I was suddenly cast adrift, avatarless in a digital world.
It soon became clear that I had died. I didn’t mind. What was the point of life without cable.
Jumbo jets are supposed to be safer, the new Airbus A380 the safest.
An unusual, annoying sound distracts me from the terrific in-flight entertainment system.
What is that sound? Where the hell is it coming from?
Running water? Yes, it’s the sound of running water. No one seems alarmed…yet.
Now water is cascading from the ceiling of this A380.
Water begins to pool in the carpet. The water rises, continues to rise. Frighteningly, water now laps at my sneakers. I can feel my socks becoming damp.
Suddenly any fear of flying turns to fear of drowning…at 35,000 feet.
From Guest Contributor Barry O’Farrell
Barry is an actor living in Brisbane, Australia. The acting experience has inspired a latent desire to write. Barry is enjoying the challenge of writing in 100 words.
Finnegan wasn’t the first to discover the cat. His dog was, as Finnegan was pulled forcefully to the brush where the grimalkin was huddled. Close to death it seemed.
His dog didn’t know any better. If it hadn’t been for the leash, Sam would have mangled the old cat. Dogs only understand their instinct.
Finnegan could see that this was no ordinary cat. This was one of the elders. There had been a time when his kind had ruled this land. That time was no more, however, and now they were mostly refugees.
Finnegan unclasped the leash and walked away.
The second time that John came out of prison, he decided that enough was enough. It took a while but John’s parole officer found him a factory job at the docks hauling animal carcasses from trucks to meat lockers.
John worked fifty-hour weeks at the factory for twenty years before he died of the lung cancer that had gradually crept into his body. John’s obese daughter was his lone blood relative at what could only be described as a modest funeral. She left tired yellow flowers on John’s grave before going back to a factory job of her own.
From Guest Contributor, Horrorshow
The boy, prescient and wise, child of a dove, knew this day was coming, when the neighborhood man would tear into his school and wave his weapon and laugh like a hyena and cut down everything that stood in his path. The man yearned to be young but lived encaged in the zoo of lost innocence, and given arms and a rare safari he had to take lives, lives that betrayed his by existing where he could no longer be. So the boy absented himself on the dreaded day, warned the principal, who wouldn’t listen, watched the news, and cried.
From Guest Contributor, Curt Klinghoffer
Miranda stood alone in a field of colorful wildflowers, carefully examining each one, searching for an explanation of why they were not actually alive, but rather were made of plastic. She had never encountered anything like it in her thirty years of botanical study.
She eventually capitulated and returned to her car. It also was made of plastic. So was the park entrance and the sign next to it. When she arrived back at the lab, her assistants had turned to plastic as well.
She would always consider her younger days, before everything became plastic, as the ‘Good ‘ol days.’
Lisa found a pallid yellow seed on her pillow. She rolled it between her finger and thumb, speculating that if planted, a good husband would grow. One that didn’t drink or stay out all night. One that wouldn’t smoke, swear, shout and scold. Her man would come, different to the others.
The seed cracked and an ocher fluid seeped onto Lisa’s fingers. She licked at it as the crack repaired itself. The fluid was hot on her tongue. It erased all the thoughts she had of the perfect spouse and replaced them with images of sleeping pills and razor blades.
From Guest Contributor, Horrorshow
The sound startles me from my dreams. Instead of the toasty, glowing sands succumbing to the fall of my weight, I hear the dry pricks of teensy feet against the cool tile on which my bed rests.
“What is that noise?” my wife asks.
“It’s those damned worms,” I retort, covering my ears with my damp pillow.
“Aren’t you going to kill them?” She rolls over.
I unwrap myself and step down to search for the culprits. I don’t even take a step when I hear the wet crunches. Too tired to clean my foot, I crawl back in bed.
From Guest Contributor, Bradley Sides
Bradley Sides holds an M.A. in English. His fiction appears (and is forthcoming) in Belle Rêve Literary Journal, Birmingham Arts Journal, Boston Literary Magazine, Freedom Fiction Journal, Inwood Indiana, Literary Orphans and Used Gravitrons. He is a staff writer for Bookkaholic. He resides in Florence, Alabama, with his wife, and he is working on his debut novel.