It’s Tradition

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Unless you’re hundreds of miles away from home with no nearby friends and family. Then it’s just kind of depressing. I hadn’t even been thinking about the holidays when I’d accepted my new job in early December. I was too caught up in the stress and... Continue Reading →

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Red String

In movies, right before a traumatic accident happens, the screen cuts to black. When it reopens again, it’s in The After. There’s no hospital with all the tubes and machinery, no physical therapy, no one holding up the attractively scuffed main character while he tries to remember how to pee straight. They’re just home. Sometimes... Continue Reading →

Take Me Home

The first hour after the school day ended was my favorite. Both of my parents worked so I’d have the whole house to myself to watch cartoons, sneak snacks, and put off homework. I raced home on my bike along the same route every day. Schoolyard, up Greeden, over to Maplewood, down Magnolia, and then... Continue Reading →

No Place In Peace

Dudley’s not such a great name, huh? I’ve never thought so and I’m one of the sad sacks saddled with it. Dudley Stephen Smith. Technically the second, I think, but I’m not well versed enough in generational naming semantics to be sure. What I do know, however, was that the guy I’m named for, my... Continue Reading →

Auntie Bells

Auntie Bells wasn't really my auntie, or anyone else's for that matter. I'm not sure she even had any real family at all. It was just what everyone called her. She'd been a fixture in the neighborhood since long before I was born and there wasn't a single person who didn't at least know of... Continue Reading →

The Drainage Ditch Dahlia

Before she was the drainage ditch Dahlia, she was someone’s daughter, a friend, maybe a sister or a wife. A person somebody had to have known. She’d been found in a ditch off a rural road a few days before by a trucker who’d pulled over to relieve himself. Naked, severed in two at the... Continue Reading →

House of Spiders

I was being watched. At least, that's what it felt like, which was ridiculous, because I lived alone in a townhouse with my blinds closed and deadbolts on all my doors. Still, that didn't stop that cold, slow tingle from oozing across the back of my neck; the one you get when you're subconsciously certain... Continue Reading →

Everyone’s Invited

It wasn’t a surprise when Kaylyn started handing out invitations to her Halloween party before homeroom. What was a surprise was that I received one. I stared at the orange envelope she was holding out toward me and then up at her. “For me?” I asked uncertainly. Kaylyn and I had never been friends. Acquaintances,... Continue Reading →

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