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Eudon by Sean Eads

October 22, 2013 Fantasy, Horror 2 Comments
Eudon by Sean Eads

Eudon
by Sean Eads

On a spring day in May of 1351, in the village of Castrum Saint Jean, two brothers named Adelard and Henriot saw a boy no older than twelve come from the woods that marked their farmland’s northern border. Henriot saw him first when he stood up to knock dirt clumps from his spade. He rubbed his eyes, because the boy was naked and appeared to be underfed and exhausted.

Such occurrences were not unknown in those hopeful months following the Black Death’s decline. Entire villages had disappeared. One might have encountered the sick, beggared orphan anywhere. Nevertheless Henriot was stunned by what he saw, and without a word he cast down his spade and ran.

Adelard looked up, saw his brother hurrying toward the boy, and followed. At twenty-three, Adelard was older by two years, though more often than not he bowed to Henriot’s judgment.

“You, boy!” Henriot said. “What is your name?”

The brothers stopped within a few feet of the lad, who teetered and fell to his knees. They bent over him in alarm and rested him on the ground. The boy’s breathing was very shallow and his shrunken stomach made a steep slope down from his prominent ribcage.

“He has not eaten in at least a week,” Adelard said.

“Let us bring him into the house.”

Adelard stripped his shirt and wrapped it about the boy, whom Henriot carefully managed over his broad right shoulder. They ran the quarter-mile to their farmhouse, which had belonged to their mother and father before the plague took them the previous year. The boy moaned as if very ill but he ate the bread they gave him and drank several glasses of water. Then he smiled and looked up at them. *** Read on! ***

Guarding the Henhouse by Mike Manolakes

Guarding the Henhouse by Mike Manolakes

Guarding the Henhouse
by Mike Manolakes

I was having a most wonderful dream when I was awakened by what must rank as the most chilling combination of words in the English language.

“Get up! I think my husband’s home!”

So great was my disbelief that she had to repeat the words again. On the second iteration, cold realization struck home, and immediately I bolted from the lady’s comfortable bed and began gathering my discarded clothes.

“No time!” she said. “Quick, in there!” She pointed toward the large wardrobe that stood in the corner of her bedchamber.

“I thought he was in Baltimore?”

“He was! Quickly! He’ll kill you if he finds you here!”

I could tell, from the urgency in Hattie’s voice, that she was not exaggerating the seriousness of the situation in the least. Trousers and boots in hand, I fairly dove into the depths of her wardrobe and shut the doors behind me. I decided that my life just may depend on how silent and motionless I could be in the next few minutes, for almost at once I heard the heavy tread of a man’s footsteps entering the room. *** Read on! ***

Long Time Gone by Gary Carter

October 31, 2010 Literary 2 Comments
Long Time Gone by Gary Carter

Long Time Gone

By Gary Carter

One sunny morning in 1969, dressed for his job at Randall’s Business Supplies, Alfred Burns—just plain Al to most folks—pecked his wife of nine years on the cheek, walked out the door and disappeared. He was thirty-one, in good health and had given no signs of anything that would prompt him to evaporate from a life about which he had never complained or even hinted at discontent. There were no indications of foul play, and a missing person report yielded nothing.

He was not seen or heard from again until a slightly overcast afternoon in 1973 when he opened the screen door and strolled into the kitchen, walked past his wife, who froze at the sink, and the man at the table, whose arm hovered between a bowl of soup and his open mouth. Al nodded to both as he passed into the living room, where he stood and slowly rotated as if examining the elements of life within. There was a slight, seemingly pleased smile angled across his lips that were partially hidden beneath a scraggly mustache. His hair hung below his shoulders, its dark brown now streaked light by the sun. His pants appeared to be the same pale chinos he had worn the morning he disappeared, though the edges of the cuffs and pockets were frayed. Instead of the short-sleeved white shirt, which Evelyn had starched and ironed that long-ago morning, Al’s upper body now was covered by a loose-fitting blouse with billowing sleeves that was trimmed in intricate embroidery that seemed vaguely Mexican.

At least it was nothing that Evelyn could pinpoint as she followed Al into the room, stopping a few feet away to watch him spin slowly as if reacquainting himself with the place and what was in it. He came around to face her, giving her a quizzical look. ** Read on! **

The Tale of Rauðúlfr by Lisa Farrell

February 18, 2010 Fantasy, Literary 3 Comments
The Tale of Rauðúlfr by Lisa Farrell

The Tale of Rauðúlfr
By Lisa Farrell

Hulda watched the flames dance until her dim eyes saw only light. She listened to the snapping and popping of the twigs, and ignored the sound of women’s voices through the wall. A bird was screeching outside, and she wondered how it could bear to open its beak and call out in such cold.

She had not thought she would survive this winter, but the children told her that the signs of Harpa-month were already here. Well, she could not yet feel it. Her bones still felt like the twigs in the fire, though under siege by ice rather than heat. She could barely move, but spent her hours trying to fold herself up small, keeping her face in the glow, until they teased her that the bristles on her chin would singe. They did not respect her, these young women whose bellies still waxed and waned like the moon. They had continually knocked into her as they prepared the day meal around her, as though she were an unwelcome guest. Yet this was her seat, her place, and she had earned her spot by the hearth-fire, having cooked on it for so many years. At least Rauðúlfr had made the women promise not to let the fire die. He was a good boy; he took care of his mother, as a son should. ** Read on! **

The Man Who Shot Stonewall Jackson by Gary Beck

February 4, 2010 Literary 4 Comments
The Man Who Shot Stonewall Jackson by Gary Beck

The Man Who Shot Stonewall Jackson

By Gary Beck

It happened once before, when I was a young man. The newspapers clamored for war, self-appointed know-it-alls told us why we had to fight and everyone believed them, especially the youngsters like me who got all fired up to join the army. So now, when those big headlines screamed ‘Remember The Maine,’ there wasn’t any more doubt that there would be war with Spain. And off they went to enlist, just like they were going to a picnic, as irreverent and ignorant as we were back in 1861. My eldest son told me he had to join up and I tried to discourage him. I told him how crazy it was for two groups of men to stand and blaze away at each other, but he wouldn’t listen. All he said was: “War’s not fought that way anymore, Pa.”

So I held my peace and watched him go, like my pa watched me go. When he died of yellow fever, before he even fought in a battle, it was another terrible affliction that I had to accept. But I guess he was right about it being a new kind of war, because it was over pretty quick and we got all these new places; Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Philippines and Guam. I never even heard of Guam. So I kept on farming and doing my chores but I was pretty much empty inside. I had been that way ever since the surrender at Appomattox, which ended my daily suffering, but left me a hollow man. I went through all the motions of the living and tried my best to be a good husband and father, and I never told anyone how I felt. How could anyone who hadn’t been there understand? Sometimes, when I went to town and saw the few old hands who survived the entire war, like me, there was nothing we could say. We just looked at each other for a moment, nodded in recognition that we were still alive and moved on. ** Read on! **

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