This is a really, really old story of mine I shared at the request of my good friend, Sarah, at Secret Art Expedition. This one’s for you..
Lucas Jackson eased the rust-splotched black Escort off the shoulder of the road and rolled into a pool of moon-shade beneath the drooping branches of an oak. He turned off the key and settled back onto the seat. And he waited, his fingers nervously tracing the outline of the snub-nosed .38 special in his coat pocket.
He had parked in the squat oak’s inky shadow every night for a week straight, sat there from ten pm until two in the morning. He had watched the sparse traffic crawl up Blessing Hills Drive, watched the Caddies and Mercedes and big obscene Hummers amble by, turn right and pass through the electronically controlled gates guarding Blessing Hills Estates. He had watched, invisible, as a black-and-white had climbed the hill every two hours or so and cruised through the gates that swung open in welcome. A quick circle and back out. Two hours later, another pass. Two hours. Plenty of time to get in, get the job done, and get out. Piece of cake. Continue reading
It was such a tiny thing, a speck of a thing, all alone in a soup of darkness. And it was hungry, so very hungry. All it had known in its short life had been this terrible, gnawing emptiness.
Emptiness inside. Emptiness outside.
All it knew was that it existed. Beyond that, nothing more.
It sensed something outside itself, and this something murmured: Open your mouth, little one.
And for the first time, it realized it had a mouth and what it was for. Continue reading
Beautiful painting created by my friend, Sarah at Secret Art Expedition, who was inspired by my story.
“Birds of a Feather” is the first story of mine published that I made money on–a whopping $10.00. It was published in Mindflights, an online magazine of speculative fiction (now defunct), under a different pen name than I use here. I think of all the short stories I have written, it remains my favorite.
My little sister was born with wings, or at least the beginnings of such. Little nubs on her sharp shoulder blades. When they reached any size, when from time to time tufts of white feathers dared blossomed out, Ma cut them off. I held Morphia down while she clipped them off with the cow dehorners. Morphia cried and carried on, but Ma said it didn’t hurt none, no more than snipping off a fingernail did, and if she didn’t cut them off, Morphia would fly away like Pa had.
Fact was, Ma had lost Pa to the winds, and she was bound and determined not to lose Morphia too. “Should’ve never let that bird-man in my bed, Henry,” she’d told me more times than I could count. Continue reading
Charlie Arbuckle woke up and was still alive; God hadn’t answered his prayers.
He raised a dirty hand, shading his sore eyeballs against the sickly rays that passed for sunlight, while his other hand scrabbled through the damp newspapers that made up his bed, searching for the cool, smooth feel of glass. Ah, there it was. He unscrewed the lid, thanking God–he could do that here: thank God–he’d put it back on before passing out the night before. Hadn’t lost a drop.
Charlie brought the quart jar to his chapped lips. The fiery liquid trickled into his mouth. He swished it around, killing the god-awful taste, and swallowed. Esophagus blistered, stomach scorched, his mind came fully awake.
He pushed up on his elbows, feeling the cans and bottles and garbage and Lord-knew-what-else shift beneath the padding of newspapers, and inched his way backward until he came in contact with the greasy side of the dumpster that had been his home for the past two weeks. A little more wallowing about and he was sitting up.
He took another small sip from the jar of homemade whiskey, then replaced the cap. Had to conserve it. Didn’t know where he’d get the money to pay John Graywolf to smuggle in another. Continue reading