Special thanks to Jessica Standifird for her editorial assistance. This week’s artwork is by Marc D. Regan.
Free at Last
by Marc D. Regan
Newman heard it again, the steady slap-slap-slapping footfalls that only stopped when his did. That bloodthirsty kid. Down sidewalks, corridors, inside Newman’s flat, this desperate young stalker followed—for years. The kid was forever eighteen, unkempt, angry. Newman had aged from thirty to forty.
“No,” Newman screamed. “It’s over!”
Hunting knife seized, he dashed outside. Footsteps echoed. Newman spun, blade slashing, gouging eyes, ears. Newman collapsed, blind and deaf. Alone. Hot blood pulsed onto the pavement. The kid was gone. At last.
Newman saw himself thirty again, stomping on the brakes too late as the kid crossed the street.
Girl’s Best Friend
by Eric Robert Nolan
I’ve been trying to kill that damn dog for over a week. It’s loyal to a fault. It digs.
It’s a mutt. A dumb one. Mid-sized, with mottled brown and white fur. Nothing to distinguish it except for an unusually vacant expression.
And it digs.
Fiona used to call it “Skipper.”
I was questioned in the disappearance of my eight-year-old daughter, but never really suspected in it.
It brought me Fiona’s femur yesterday, panting and wide-eyed. Right to the back door. My hammer missed its skull by inches.
It returns to that narrow space behind the shed. And it digs.
Discarded but Not Gone
by Peggy Christie
It had been months since they left her here to die. Did they think it would be that easy? The ceiling crumbled and drywall dust coated her porcelain face. Her glass eyes, unaffected by the swirling debris of the collapsing home, could see the bulldozer as it crawled toward the main support beam. When the entire structure finally fell, bringing two stories of mortar, brick, glass, and metal down on top of her, the doll body would shatter, and she would be free.
by Edward Vaughn
My sweet Jezebelle begins to cry as I lay her in the center of the pentagram. She knows what is happening, I think. From my underwear drawer I pull the knife I snuck from Grandmother’s kitchen. I kneel before my baby. She lay on her back, helpless. I cut her. I cut myself. The wood inside the pentagram drinks our blood. A crack in the air like thunder and I see him in the shadows. The horn-headed man. “Jezebelle,” I say. She stops crying and smiles. “Daddy’s home.”
by Jessica Standifird
“Bloody handprints are so cliché, you got anything better than that?” Tess smirked at the sticky handprint on her sheet.
There was a groan from the attic.
“Really?” she sighed, “You gonna’ rattle some chains, now, too?”
A chill shook her body. From the gelatinous mess pooled on the bed between her legs a child’s voice reached up, “No, Mommy, but you could have been less predictable, yourself.”
Her husband lifted her gently, whispered in her ear, “Come on, hon. I’m taking you to the hospital.”