Stingy Jack

Jack O’Lanterns were never part of my Halloween. Gran didn’t allow them. She didn’t approve much of any modern All Hallow’s Eve traditions, but especially not the carved pumpkins. “A Devil’s gift to a damned soul,” she’d say. Her Irish lilt was always thicker when she was was reproachful. “As long as I’m under this... Continue Reading →

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AFFY

I had friends. Kind of. Well, I had people that I could play video games with and talk to about the simple, fluffy parts of life; what I'd done that day, the kind of movies and music I liked, what I was going to do that weekend, that sort of thing. Going any deeper, trying... Continue Reading →

Last Requests

Mrs. Grady was the first to go. Then Mr. O’Toole and Mrs. Shafford. One after another, starting just after my night shift began at 10. I only knew because Bill, one of the nurses, came in with an abundance of bedding and towels. Being in the laundry room, I was usually one of the last... Continue Reading →

My Lucky Charm

I thought I knew what it was to be afraid. I thought I knew it when I was ten and realized I didn't like girls in the same way all the other little boys seemed to. I thought I knew it when I was fourteen and had my first kiss with Stacey Andrews behind the... Continue Reading →

The Bright Light Game

The bright light game was simple. All you had to do was draw a salt circle around a little homemade doll, usually nothing more than some cheap fabric stitched together in a vaguely human shape and filled with dry rice and a few strands of your hair, and recite the words of invitation. Nearby spirits,... Continue Reading →

Infestation

(Art: "Infestation" by Charlie Cody) I didn't want much from my last year of employment with the hospital; just to keep my head down, do my job, and get out with as little fuss as possible. Of course, for that to happen, I'd have to keep my mouth shut and ride out the wave of... Continue Reading →

Groundskeeper To A Ghost Town

Ghost towns aren't exactly uncommon out west. The massive population explosion of the gold rush era dotted the landscape with little pop-up mining camps that were abandoned when the riches ran out, leaving only the skeletons of their buildings behind. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll find small tools or other everyday artifacts that the miners... Continue Reading →

Lost

Marian walked out during dinner. We’d been eating quietly, a rare thing in our house, when she’d asked to borrow the car to go to a party later in the week. Mom said no. Marian was already grounded for sneaking out and coming home smelling like booze. The quiet was gone. Marian was shouting, so... Continue Reading →

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