Who are the real monsters?The boy's room was dark, the only saviour from it was the little nightlight on the other side of the room. He closed his eyes in an attempt to scare the darkness, force it to recede and switch to daylight. He did everything he could to forget about the dark, because that's where it was.
Under the boy's bed there was a monster, one with a balding scalp and matted grey hair on its arms, chest, and face. Its smile was crooked, its teeth rotten. It was an ugly thing- the boy had seen it once when he dared a peak- and it frightened the boy terribly; what a shame his mother thought it was all a fabricated lie, blamed it on the little boy's wild imagination. She had said that, too, just this evening when she put the boy to bed at the usual time- she was a very punctual lady, there was no extending bedtime with her. But that was beside the point.
The boy closed his eyes tighter, trying to sleep and dream of a huge metropolis of a city, but the thing under the bed giggled loudly, distrac
Stitched Together"Police refused to comment on their progress in the Stein murders, but we have an eyewitness here who is going to describe the killer to us." The perfect blonde moved her microphone towards the redneck standing next to her.Stitched Together5 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Well, he was bald, and he had this-" the man smirked and stifled a laugh. "-white lab coat on, and there was this hunchbacked guy with him! Said his name was Igor!" the redneck lost his composure and released an obnoxious laugh that shook his partially exposed stomach. The blonde shook her head and waved the man away.
I shut off the TV. Those stupid pigs were lucky that I didn't start taking them out. Laura looked up at me from the couch that I was standing behind. I tossed the remote next to her and walked through the room to the garage. Laura followed me from behind and stood in the doorway as I approached my cooler. I pulled back the tarp which covered it, then opened the lid. Inside were the fruits of my labors. The hands of a surgeon, the legs of a gymnast, th
Bitter SeedsIt had all started when Jeremy failed his exams. He had never gotten top marks, but this was the first time he had actually done so badly. His mother was very angry. She had stormed into his room and opened all his cabinets a created the mess he was sitting on right now. His dad simply locked himself in his study and let her do as she wished.Bitter Seeds6 months ago in Sketches More Like This
Next she brought in some boxes and made him throw all his books and games that were unrelated to his studies. It was his own fault too. He had made the fatal mistake of telling them that he didn't want to be a lawyer. He wanted to help people. As a volunteer, if he could. Or maybe study nursing?
It had gone very badly, with his parents deciding for him that he was distracted and clearly wasn't thinking intelligibly. His mother had taken it upon herself to clear his life of this distraction and set him back on the ideal future they had planned out for him. Everything they were doing now was all for Jeremy's sake. He would know that when he was olde
The Red RoomIt was the custom to hold seances in the parlour – a delightfully old-fashioned room full of blood-red, velvet antimacassars, cushion covers and curtains, as could usually be viewed in some sort of Victorian museum. The red contrasted with the pale faces of six people clustered round the largish square table (its legs draped with the same red velvet, to preserve its modesty, as was the custom of the aforementioned era). Yet this was 2014.The Red Room5 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
Perhaps the ambience was important; the darkened room and candles added to it, as did the fear on the faces of those present waiting to contact someone from ‘beyond’. Expectation added to it even more, for six of those present had sat in similar seances. Yet there was a seventh, one who was a disbeliever. Why was she here then? Lottie thought it a huge joke and basically was curious as to how these things were conducted – she was just fifteen and had begged her aunt to be allowed to join in the ‘fun
What's eating you?"Hey man, what's eating you?" I asked.What's eating you?1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Nothing," Barry replied solemnly with a shrug of his shoulders. I didn't believe him for a second; there was obviously something bothering him, could no one else see it?
"Are you sure, man? I mean... You don't really... Look yourself."
"I'm fine." It started to leap and snap at his fingers. I watched it for a moment until it latched on, clamping down on his hand.
I winced. "I know there's something eating you, just tell me bro- it'll be alright."
Barry looked at me like I had offended him; could he not feel the thing working its way up his arm, swallowing him whole? "Kyle, I'm fine, there's nothing wrong with me."
He was entirely oblivious. How could this be happening? The thing was up to his shoulder now, still going. Was its belly endless? I couldn't find it in myself to swat it off, I was honestly scared stiff. What if his arm was nothing but a bloody stump at the elbow now? I didn't want to see that.
"Barry I'm serious, stop playing around, w
Hey, StrangerI stood on my tiptoes as I peered down at the rushing rapids. The black water splashed upward while its bubbling currents roared over the distant honks and shouts of traffic. Great gray walls entombed the raging river, keeping it on a steady, never changing path. The river looked lonely to me- so very lonely... and controlled.Hey, Stranger6 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
I leaned over the railing, my diaphragm tight as the metal bar pressed against my stomach. My hair whipped across my face as I stared down at the raging water. The wind stirred and carried the river's spray, freezing my cheeks as it hit my face. It was a cold night, so hardly anyone was out.
I watched the water, wondering if it could take me away from where I was. It traveled out of the city... perhaps even out of the county. It could take me away from this life... This disgusting, lonely, trivial life.
I leaned farther over the railing, entertaining the thought of falling into the river. Would it b
What I Lost“I lost a finger,” Dolph proclaimed in a manner of startling, distant normality to his father, who had just ghosted by him into the kitchen to find something. His father paused like a clogged clock and spun suddenly on a hinge to see and confirm, and Dolph held up his hand to reveal his organic matter’s metallic replacement. “It’s just the pinky one.”What I Lost9 months ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
His father sluggishly pulled up a chair and printed sentences and fragments streamed from the printing compartment on his patchwork-junk face which Dolph had labored so fiercely to build and jumpstart over three years ago. Dolph reached for the receipt paper as it started to curl over and still it came in waves of questions and random echoing thoughts from his father’s scattered processor. The processor was a work in progress still, and one which Dolph was hesitant to change, because unlike a brain it sometimes sputtered with the a
PowerlessEvery morning, Dorothy was woken by her caregiver, whom she affectionately called Edward. He would play a song to greet her and increase the room’s light in steady increments as she opened her eyes. One morning, this did not happen.Powerless9 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
Dorothy screamed and awoke to darkness.
“Oh gods, what is that? Edward, identify!”
Something buzzed and fizzled.
A blue spark flashed, sharp and hot. She blinked the tears away and strained to find Edward’s shape or hear his voice. Another spark flashed and threw the shadow of her jittering robot against the wall. Misery drowned away the fear.
“Edward, are you dead?”
Edward spluttered a few more sparks. Not yet, Mistress, he seemed to say. But soon.
“Oh, no no no. Don’t worry, my dear. I’ll get you fixed.”
She leaned over and pressed the emergency call button on her bedside table. While she waited (with eyes shielded from poor Edward’s dea
A Place to Belong Dylan had finally made it. As the teen trudged through the blinding snow, he could see the entrance only fifty feet away. In his heart, he knew that this was where he belonged. No one else accepted him. Even his own family had chased him away. Why? It was because something made him different. To them, different was bad; different was wrong; different was evil.A Place to Belong7 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
Well, he told himself as the cold wind bit his face, that doesn’t matter anymore. Dylan had known for a long time that, although he wasn’t sure what was wrong with him, he was not a normal kid and he did not have normal problems. He had watched his family’s anger and hatred towards him slowly grow. Then one day when he had found himself on the stranger side of the Internet, he discovered that there were others like him. People with problems that no one could explain. Not only that, but there was a place for them to go. It was some place called the Institute, a safe
headsmeni am a satyr:headsmen1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
i am drowning in Styx &
melting my mind into divinity.
The Story of the BenchA couple who shared their first “I love you.” A husband who found out his wife was free of cancer. An actor who finally got the big break he was waiting for.The Story of the Bench9 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
These were the people who had sat on this bench, whose lives had been altered here, at this very spot. These were the people I had come across while sitting on the bench, and now it was… gone.
“What—what is this?” The words dripped with distaste as I spat them out.
“It’s a bench. Just like there’s always been one here,” Nick replied, his arm looped around mine as we made our way to the bus stop.
No, no it wasn’t. This was some kind of joke, a grotesque display of abstract art that would have been fine at a museum but had no place, in my mind, in the spot where the bench had sat just a week ago. My bench, old and wooden and creaky, but full of memories.
And they had pulled it out of the ground as if it meant nothing, replacing it with a row of plastic pipes o
The Price of Opting OutShe woke up not in a pool of her own blood, but in the alley behind her house with one wrist healed new and pink. As light filtered down through the trees, she slapped her hand across her eyes and bolted the last few meters into her suite. Diane woke up with the sun. Slamming the door, she closed the blinds in the living room and blinked in the darkness. Making a small sound, she examined the scar on her wrist. Only the smallest traces of blood remained over what had obviously been a twisted wound. It tapered off in the impression of teeth, and she walked into the bathroom and closed the door.The Price of Opting Out1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
The phone she had left on the sink sat dead, and she checked for her pulse.
“One, two, three...” she muttered numbers and patted her still sore wrist for a pulse. Her neck was next. Prodding, she found nothing. She tried with her other hand, and still found nothing. Looking up, she saw her reflection hover like a ghost in the mirror. Her eyes were a wide, milky white that turned sharp
I Love You Once upon a time, there was a beautiful fiddler. He loved to fiddle and spent his days underneath fruit trees creating different worlds composed entirely of notes. He played always. Even on the rare occasion when he was seen without an instrument, he would be swaying, ever so slightly to an unheard song, or tapping out rhythms on tree trunks. He had eyes that hinted at a sadness few saw.I Love You8 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
She walked past him every day for a year and never noticed his existence, until one day, she went out to the orchard to pick fruit. He didn't notice she was there, for he was not himself, he was millions of miles away, a different person, in a different world, with different worries and cares.
Inexplicably, she found herself pulled towards the drama he was performing, for though the causes of pain were different, though the terrain of his performance was new and exotic, she recognized the pain.
She cried. It sounds silly, b
Pianist FingersThey say he has pianist fingers, you know; long, delicate, and slim. They once played beautiful notes as they swept along the keys of a piano. Those days were behind those pianist fingers of his, for he preferred to keep them merely as decoration.Pianist Fingers1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
It was a queer thing to say, and a stranger thing to think, but he kept his hands in good shape. Made sure the nails stayed at his preferred length, that he rubbed a generous helping of hand cream into them, and that he massaged each and every strip of muscle. This whole process took at least an hour. The work was more than worth it in his cavernous eyes. He didn't want to risk losing his beautiful fingers, so he fought off Mother Nature with a broom, tried to shoo her out the back door. He wouldn't let anything happen to his fingers, his gorgeous, silky smooth pianist fingers.
He loved his fingers, cherished them, worshiped them. They were so beautiful, so crisp, so clean- so what if they weren't even his?
A month ago today, he had freed tho
EntropyI’ve got this personal theory that all couples tend toward a breakup. It’s science, you know; not that I ever paid much attention in that class. I did learn about entropy, though, how everything is in a gradual decline toward chaos. Well, if being in a relationship represents order, being single is most chaotic.Entropy1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
Take my parents, for example: they were happily married for thirteen years until my mom stopped talking to my dad, started sleeping on the couch, and finally left him. And then, chaos: angry phone calls, fights, lawyers, all while I switched between parents like a disoriented particle.
It all turned out okay, though; a few years later, my mom even found someone new, and I believe that my parents are much happier apart than they ever were together. She and her new boyfriend have a lot more in common: they both like living in the city, TV dramas, and Steinbeck novels, whereas my dad is more of an action movie-watching, suburbs-living kind of a guy.
Only, my mom has re
Heaven - Day #2 FFM 2014There was a reminder on the refrigerator door that day, left for me by my brother sayingHeaven - Day #2 FFM 20147 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
“Let out the dog”
This he wrote in bleedy purple ink that made a frost-like border around the letters. I let out the dog and went upstairs. In my bedroom, there was a strong smell of fake lemon from this morning when I had cleaned off that spot of hardened slobber the dog left there last week. Right next the patch of lemony scent (which had replaced the slobber as equally gunky), there was a paper that detailed the reason for my “unfortunate” term three English grade.
It said I was doing well. It said I was intelligent. It said I had an obvious insight into the world around me and that I was sure to be a phenomenal speaker if only I would participate outside of class. It also said I couldn’t stop writing. That’s what was bad, that I couldn’t stop writing.
They all told me I was a bad writer. They said I rarely used punctuation. They said I wasn’t focu
The Hunter, The Scholar, and The Thief"Well now look who we’ve got here."The Hunter, The Scholar, and The Thief9 months ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Kalder glanced up from his tankard of mead. A group of warriors had just entered the tavern, presumably seeking refuge from the storm outside - bandits, from the looks of their foul-smelling wet hide armour and flimsy iron swords. One of them stood apart from the others with his steel plate armour complete with a full-face helmet, a great battleaxe strapped to his back. He hung at the back of the group, his helmet covering his face, watching as the bandits sneered at a lone cloaked figure sitting at a nearby table.
The thief returned to his mead. There was no reason for him to get involved. Kalder liked it best when people paid no attention to him, and there was enough on his plate already without having to go and interfere with some braggart bandits stirring up trouble. As Kalder contemplated the idea of getting another tankard, the cloaked figure at the table spoke.
"Do we have business with each other?" The figure’s voice was rough and
The Great RaceI crack my knuckles and touch the ground, stretching my calves the way Olympic runners do before a race. The gravel spikes at my palms; my muscles burn from the stretching. Jogging in place, I breathe in short bursts that form into clouds in the chilly air.The Great Race9 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
Max paces back and forth next to me, holding a clipboard and waving his pen like a conductor. My body is so full of electricity from the anticipation that I want to slap him as hard as I can just for the sake of letting go of the tension. Instead, I crack my knuckles again, making Max cringe in a satisfying way.
Shaking it off, Max checks his watch before pushing his glasses to the top of his head. “Four minutes,” he says, reading off the clipboard. “The race starts at the fifth period bell. That way, you won’t meet any teachers in the hallways who are running late, but there might be some girls still rushing to class after lunch.” He looks up, scrunching his eyebrows together. “Although I really
train problems and solutionsProblem one.train problems and solutions1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
You're nowhere near your room.
The girl next to you is incessant in her chatter of 'Oh my god, so like-'.
You quickly drown this out, and fish around the various objects in your purse for your headphones, hoping that you didn't leave them on your desk this morning.
You feel an urge to roll your eyes and sink further into your seat in the corner, forcing enough control on yourself to not slap her silly.
You were cranky.
You're pretty sure that guy in the corner was staring at you a moment ago. To make matters worse, it was through your reflection on the window next to you.
This became horribly apparent when you saw him repeating the motions when you reached the beginning of the tunnel, the sound of your music being drowned out by the noise of the train.
You picture yourself shooing him away, finding the glances all too uncomfortable.
A little creepy too.
There were no other problems, but you were hoping t
HomeMy parents bought the house on April Fools Day. It was something of a running joke: should have known, Dad would say, tightening yet another leaking faucet. It was a sign, Mom said, staring down a nest of carpenter wasps. In truth, they were never lucky with dates. Got married on D-Day, had a kid on Thanksgiving. JFK was assassinated on my Dad’s birthday; Brenda Ann Spencer went on her killing spree on my Mom’s. Holidays were always a touchy thing.Home1 year ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
My second birthday was spent in the new house—a gorgeous, rambling affair in the heart of what had been a boom town during the years of the Erie Canal, and was now just a sleepy commuter village. They’d lived in consistently horrible neighborhoods up to that point. Dad had been mugged a block from their first apartment. A neighbor had been brutally beaten and robbed near their second. My Mom would recall with wonder the first week they moved int
This Is RealityShe lay on her back, looking up at the sky. The wind ran its fingers through her hair, softly whispering of the joys of flight. This was nothing new. She'd always dreamt of flying, of being whisked away, spinning wherever the wind blew.This Is Reality7 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She knew she couldn't, of course. Humans didn't fly. They didn't have wings, and they were too heavy to simply float on the very air they breathed. Her shoulders, aching from the cold that seeped through the hard, immovable, earthbound stone reminded her of that. She had no wings, and she was too heavy to fly.
She did so want to fly.
She thought about the old, rotting, ivy-wreathed roof upon which she lay. The building that had been abandoned like a children's toy, left to rust in the night. She would not go like that, she vowed. She would not become nothing more than a decaying, crumbling wreck. She didn't want to become nothing more than a wizened pebble that dreamed it was a bird.
No, not that. Never that.
She might not be able to fly, but the wind p
A Guide On How To Shop In The Pias UndergrowthSo, ye need some groceries and things from the shops. But ye live in the undergrowth of Pias, so it ain’t a case of just popping to some omni-mall. What are ye going to do? Ye can’t farm cos’ the ground here ain’t gonna get enough sun, and there’s nae way in hell ye can just experiment with all the fruits of the jungle, cos’ ye value your life too much. Whatcha gonna do?A Guide On How To Shop In The Pias Undergrowth1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
Well, good ol’ Cygno here can help ye wi’ this trusty guide! Available in all the shady places over the Kairos galaxy. This guide here’ll tell ye all about how to find the best markets in Pias and how tae not get scammed by some scoundrel.
First off, terribly sorry for ye bein’ here. I dunno if ye were forced tae run from the gangs or police in Canopy City or whatever other tragedy befell ye, but sorry. Pias ain’t a holiday site once yer under the leaves, I can tell ye that fer sure.
By the time yer readin’ this, y’l
700I read a story once about a man who had six PhD's in six different fields. I don't remember what fields they were, but I was impressed - that much I remember. As I read on, it became clear that the reason he found so much success was his severe OCD. He was so consumed by the disorder that he read each page of each textbook hundreds of times. And I remember thinking it was crazy, insane, psychotic. But I guess it worked for him. So I forgot about the man with the six PhD's and the torturous perfectionism that some call "disorder."7002 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Until I Met Candyce Karolyn Ethanson.
It was fourth grade and I called her names behind her back because she had to get on the swings so many times in a row that she never even swung. Before she could get on the swing well enough, recess was over. She cried when our teacher pried her from the swing-set, not allowing the repetition to continue. Then we went back inside for class and I remember seeing blood on her fingernails from where they were buried in her l
Nonessential ProsthesisNonessential ProsthesisNonessential Prosthesis9 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
By Aaron C. Richards
The pain comes in waves like a hole in the head. A hole in the head. A hole in the head. And as each wave comes I wish I was dead. I wish I was dead. I wish it was dead.
Then the overlord comes around and everything changes. It’s all “Hail Spectrum”, and “Song of Ages” and “Whose thrum is loudest to please the queen?” I’ve been waiting a long time for my chance to please the queen. But my thrum is weak. The prettiest sounds I make are inside my head: the one place that the hive doesn’t seem to be able to get to. Because the only place darker and more twisted than the hive around me is the inside of my fucking brain. So the queen gets no pleasure from me. My DNA does not make a contribution to the hive. And my thrum doesn’t join their song.
My days are darkness, stillness, and pain. The darkness threatens to put me to sleep, and the pain wakes me back up. My food is the