Just Another Day
by Jim Harrington
Mom’s black pants are in the trash again. I don’t know why and never will. Her mind functions unattended these days. I give her the single rose and card. She says it’s not her birthday. I tell her I know. She reads the card and places it on her bed without comment. I help her to the window hand in hand, and we watch the trees struggle to stay erect in the strong wind. Life hasn’t knocked her over yet, but it will. I think she still knows that.
by Richard Jennis
Antoine desperately wanted to walk on the moon, but there were holes in his faded jeans and his teeth weren’t straight and his right eye danced during interviews. So they accepted Edmond Gray, who had a panic attack shortly after takeoff, compromising the entire mission. Now an engineering professor at MIT, Antoine forgoes the traditional suit and tie. Students find him relatable, funny, and endearing. Last Friday, he talked about the previous launch, and his right eye flickered like candle lights. The casual observer assumes amblyopia, but his students know he’s penetrating the ceiling, sweeping the skies for moon landers.
The Dog Died Yesterday
by Ronald J. Friedman
The dog died yesterday and so did my mother-in-law. My wife wanted to bury her in the back yard under the plum tree, but the kids and I had always planned to put the dog to rest there so we’re going to bury Helen’s mother over in Coffeeville next to the church. We ordered a laser-engraved plaque for the grave. It says, “Ruffles Forever”.
by Nathan Hystad
He is closer to the edge today than yesterday. The ground looms way down the cliff face, and he pictures how it will look when he finally jumps. Today is the day, he tells himself.
His toes touch the air, then the arch of his bare feet feel the rock edge press against them. For the first time in years, the ache in his heart is gone, replaced by calm.
The wind blows lightly against his back, urging him forward. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, as his phone rings. It’s her again.
There’s always tomorrow.
by Mattie Blake
I dreamed I was driving and stopped at a crosswalk. As the pedestrians crossed, they all met in the middle, embracing each other. Soon they all looked at me, sensing my impatience.
“Don’t you have love for people?” a man said.
I told him, “I do feel love, but it is buried with other things I feel.”
“Every place is a place for love in this world,” he said.
“Some places are meant for cars. You cheapen love with what you do.”
“You are sadly blind,” he said.
“And yet I see the road better than you.”
This week’s artwork is by Kyle Hemmings.
Tired of Jewels
by Justin Willoughby
He was tired of her holding his hand while he drove. So he bound bracelets on her wrists. He was tired of her foot on the dashboard blocking his view. So he tied anklets around her feet. He was tired of her asking if they were lost. So he shoved a tongue ring in her mouth. He was tired of hearing her muffled voice in his ears. So he wrapped a locket around her neck. He dug a bed for her and tossed Jewels in with a dirt blanket. He was not tired anymore. So he left her to sleep.
by Brittanie Drinosky
John’s hands were huge and hard. They were used to fight, to crush, and to feed his dog, Penny, who was almost as mean and ugly as him. She howled all night, that dog, and Tim’s mama would open her window and yell curses and make threats. When John found Penny with a screwdriver through her eyeball, he didn’t make no threats. He howled all night.
by Richard Jennis
I miss the taste of you in the early morning. I miss dangling from the rooftops like turtles flipped over on railroads, staring unsuspectingly at tropical skies. I miss watching the passersby pass by. And the fluteman whistling tunes with notes that curled into the air forming tunnels so black. I miss the way the dandelions lingered years after we breathed them into multiplicity. Coming home is like the moon landing. I plant my flag but all this was never mine. I know my memory will soon be bleached white by lurid winds that don’t understand the meaning of nostalgia.
In The Beginning
by J.G. McClure
In The Beginning the warrior and the dragon are fighting. Rip off one dragonhead and another dragon buds from it. Same goes for warrior heads. Soon the world is one roiling sea of tearing and birth. The gods, horrified, shatter it with lightning—a new world sprouts from each rocky chunk. They argue ethics, and in their rage start blasting one another; more and more gods bloom. Weeping and laughter fill the abyss. The universe grows and breaks and grows and breaks and all is born: love, cigarettes, the post office. The melon we’re eating. The seeds we spit out.
by Heather Valenti
Living in a hole dug sixty feet in the ground, within an endless cavern, gets to you. Not in the, oh well, isn’t that interesting, sort of way… more, nails uselessly clawing stone, you’re going to die and you know it sort of way. “My husband will come for me, you know,” Ethel whispered. He imagined her hands digging into her head, her graying hair being tugged mercilessly, as she said this. Her chains clanked as she readjusted herself. He tried to make his voice sound confident. Reassuring. “I know.” Chains rattled. Numbering the lies they told each other.
by David Galef
At a one-woman show in a downtown gallery, I saw a dozen sculptures of women with Buddha bellies, arms big as thighs, thighs thick as waists. Intrigued, I tracked down the sculptor to see what she looked like. She was completely ordinary, regulation size, and seemed expectant yet annoyed at my curiosity about her. “I know your type,” she said as she shut the door against me. “Get a life!” I stood there for a moment, unsure of what to do. Back at the gallery, I bought her entire catalogue.
by Ashlie Allen
I took a walk around the reservation to get in touch with my land. It had been two years since my feet touched the earth. On my way down the road, I saw an old friend and said hello. He told me he’d been dead a week now. When I asked where he was buried he answered he wasn’t.
The Man and the Strangler
by Matthew Konkel
His throat was dry so he hired a strangler to choke him.
Before the man died the strangler asked: you are surrounded by water, why did you not have a drink?
There is too much, said the man, I couldn’t possibly drink it all.
Having pity, the strangler helped the man dispose of the water until only a tiny swallow remained. Now you can take a drink, said the strangler. The man did so and his throat was no longer dry.
Then the strangler choked the man dead. Because that’s what the strangler was paid to do.
Microfiction Monday Magazine is proud to bring you the first set of micros in our month-long horror series. We are still actively seeking more horror submissions and artwork as well. Just click the submissions tab above to send your work our way.
Special thanks to Jessica Standifird for her editorial assistance.
by Jessica Shoemaker
Amongst the granite cliffs and redwoods, she was a tiny speck leaving tiny footprints on a path beside the river.
After three days, she was happy to spot another pair of prints. They sat and spoke of sunsets, stars, and solitude. She shared cashews. He offered her some tea.
While she gathered her gear, he pushed on ahead. She copied his gait along the trail, leaving tiny shoe prints inside of his until his tracks abruptly stopped. The feeling of being steeped in lead rapidly spread. Unable to move. Unable to scream. She watched him step slowly from the trees.
by Richard Jennis
The metal monster breathed poison. Slept in refuse, contended paws curling rhythmically, dagger-claws scraping the hard metal floor.
“It’s time, boy,” said the sad little man, nudging his favorite abomination lovingly and gesturing to the open door. The little metal man had himself been a hunter long ago, but grew disheartened from years of being eluded and dodged. His blade hand was slow, rusty like the underside of an old, cheap car. He was weak.
Now the metal monster did his bidding, dragged in rats and cats and street orphans. Lay panting excitedly, waiting for its loving master’s praise.
What Waits in the Shadows
by Joyce Frank
The candle burns low. The claw of the living dead scrapes the bowl, scooping a fun-sized Reese’s cup. Still they come, dragging their crosses and hatchets, adjusting their Hogwarts gowns.
Mom’s off for more candy.
“Leave the bowl and take the trash out back.”
In the amber fog of the floodlight, a shadow groans behind the dumpster, but Bobby won’t be frightened by a schoolmate.
“You don’t scare me Max,” he blusters, rushing the shadow. A wall of matted fur rears up on thick, muddy stumps. He inhales the fetid breath of a garbage-eating grizzly.
by Tyler Jones
When I fall asleep the walls of the house shift and change. When I wake up the rooms are different sizes. Framed pictures from the hallway now hang in the attic. The windows have all disappeared. Doors open up to other rooms but never lead outside. I’ve spent days wandering through this maze. Sometimes I can’t find a bed and I fall asleep on the floor. I hear the sound of an approaching storm. One hand on the wall, scraping my toes on the floor. I feel so weak each step leaves me exhausted. I still can’t find the kitchen.
A Thumping in the Night
by Marc D. Regan
Honey. Please get up. I need you. It’s too hard. Alone.
She stares at the ceiling. Two weeks. Catatonia, they say. Though you hate leaving her, when your baby’s been stolen, action is required. But you’re home.
And what’s banging?
You go to the basement door, hear a steady thumping. The dryer?
Baffled, cellar bulb burnt out, a flashlight finds the dryer. What’s in there, a basketball? Body tingling, you yank. A wretched stench gags you. No dryer light. Flashlight illuminating, you scream—because the sight is unimaginable, this horribly annihilated baby son.
And your wife stands behind you.
Special thanks to Jessica Standifird for her editorial assistance. This week’s artwork by Marylea M. Quintana Madiman.
by Richard Jennis
Mr. Lemieux showed me a flimsy little photograph, black and white, stained with tear marks, crinkled into sixty-fourths from years of folding and unfolding into increasingly smaller wallets. “It just gets bigger,” he explained. “It can’t fit anywhere anymore, it simply consumes everything.” The first girl was soft and yellow like a balloon that might just float away, and the other was bright and musical like a walking serenade. “She died, her sister survived,” Mr. Lemieux explained. I held him for three hours and waited for him to tell me which one, but he only muttered, “My baby. My beautiful baby.”
by Tammy Lynne Stoner
Winter came quickly with a sudden frost. Electrical lines snapped. Olive trees died. And the albino alligators in the zoo froze. She watched them float down the river that curved through the zoo, wondering why their hard bodies didn’t sink. It wasn’t a bad way to go, she thought, they probably fell asleep first. Maybe that’s how I’ll do it. The woman tucked her chin into her scarf and looked down at the green water. The dead alligators drifted on top. She wanted to touch them but instead let them pass by, a parade of ghosts headed for the sun.
by Jessica Standifird
The dishes are growing in number, and there are whispered clinks and rattles every time I walk by the kitchen sink. I fear a coup if I am unable to meet their demands. “Would you want to be covered in three-day-old grease?” One plate spat at me this morning as I was on my way to shower. I waved my oily ponytail at him in response, my lips pulled tight and eyebrows raised. The plate spun around and settled deeper into the crowd of teacups and silverware with a grumble. I am afraid. The knives are in there.
by Tessa Mission
She replaced the sand in the hourglass with dried, dead spiders. Every time her mother made her stand in the corner for sulking, bad posture, or speaking out of turn, the spider bodies would sift through the narrow hole in the hourglass, breaking apart finer and finer as they measured her punishment. Soon they were nearly powder. In the middle of the night she snuck into the kitchen and poured them into the pepper shaker. The following evening over dinner as her parents berated her about her grades, they shook pepper onto their potatoes and ate them all up.
The Ewok and the Orc
by Anne Pem
The ewok was sobbing. Thick brown makeup ran down his face like a mudslide as he sat leaned against the wall at the comicon. Androids passed him, pretending not to notice. Pikachu pointed and whispered to Wonder Woman. Ultimately it was an orc who finally sat beside him.
“Mok’ra,” said the orc.
“Lurd,” the ewok patted his chest. “Lurdo.”
The orc tore a rag from his costume and offered it. The ewok wiped his face as the orc scratched him behind his brown ears and tried not to crush him with a hug.
Special thanks to Jessica Standifird for her editorial assistance. This week’s artwork is by Marc D. Regan.
by Richard Jennis
Robbie’s mind is a labyrinth where rabbits come to play, until cobras devour those rabbits in their glistening venom mouths. Somewhere in the labyrinth is Rachel Ellison’s bra from the time they got frisky while studying chemistry. Beyond that, in the most hidden and cavernous realm, is a small copy of “The Great Gatsby.” One day, Dr. Babylon tried to gain entry, and his life was never the same. Had he gone further, he would have met Rachel Ellison herself, and everything would have been illuminated. Unfortunately, he was scared off by the flickering symbols dancing on the serpentine walls.
by Nathan Hystad
I press my back against the cold, brick wall. The spirit hovers in front of me, her face inches from mine. I can see the anguish in her eyes as she stretches her ethereal hands towards my neck. I know I was wrong to come here again. Through it all, she still loves me. I can see it in her eyes as she chokes me; her wispy white hands clamp around my throat. I’m too far gone to care; I only want to be with her again. As all breath leaves my lungs I croak out two last words. “I’m sorry.”
The Sudden Obliteration of Things
by Marc D. Regan
Things were going well. Interpret things as you choose. For me things represented my band, my relationship. I was finally happy. Things, of course, stood as irrefutable evidence that butt-ugly truth wielded the hatpin to burst my bubble. The call came early, I was asleep: They’d ODed. Kevin—best friend, band guitarist, and fix when life had me jonesing—and Annie—Bonnie to my Clyde, were both dead… but together? Now-exposed lies copulated frantically in my mind; the shared drugs, sex. Dead were concrete walls in a shrinking cell—on Pluto! Suddenly alone, I shivered, cried. Suddenly, things were obliterated.
by Tina Tocco
“Oh, you just pay him no mind, now, honeybun.” Momma leaned over the fence into the new neighbor. “Boy’s just lookin’ for attention.”
She dragged on her Pall Mall, and the man coughed, like little Shirlee with her asthma. I guess that’s why Momma didn’t hear me, see me pointing to the pool’s still surface, as she slid one finger down her own buttons.
Trash in the Garden
by Dakota Taylor
Her skin is cold, the stars faded from her eyes. Burnt lips, and scarred knees. Too young to sing the blues, did you know that money beats freedom? The Hollywood Dream. Drunks howl at the moon, grunting and sweaty. Lean, mean, and seventeen. The city is a neon forest. The camera is rolling, the mattress is vile. Leave the lights on when you leave.