It hit magazines and newspapers around the world which, for weeks and months prior, had printed fewer and fewer pages until none went to print that day at all. It hit television stations which, for years, played fewer and fewer new shows until prime time was nothing more than reruns. Family discussions around the dinner table had become so infrequent it was almost unnoticed when everyone finally fell silent. Blogging ceased. Tweeting stopped.
THE TEXAS WIFE by Margaret Donsbach Tomlinson
Theo sat facing backward on a crate in the ox-wagon, feeling not liberated, as he had expected, but snared within the boundless landscape that receded around him. Scratching his two-month beard, which would be gone blessedly soon now, he tried to appreciate the music of Texas, so different from the flapping of sails and whining of passengers aboard ship. Oxen snorted. Wagon wheels creaked. The drover snapped his whip and bawled curses. Theo supposed they were curses.
THE SPOT HE HIDES IN by Christopher Cassavella
Admittedly, it was a shame it took so long before we knew my father had gone missing, since he was the brave one who always put in the effort to get us all together. We were all huddled in the living room, right near the tree, drinking lousy beer, when one of my cousins finally noticed my old man wasn’t in the room with us. Nobody else had known this until my cousin, not even me who was arguably his favorite son.
HOME INVASION by Sean Ealy
He was late. Always late. Seth looked at his watch and sighed. He pulled into the driveway and killed the engine, then sat there considering his excuse. The problem was he didn’t have one. He was late because he wanted to be late.
THE EVIL SCARECROW AND THE BONE PIT by Christian Riley
My name is Sami-Jo Whittaker, and I’m a believer. I believe in miracles and God, and all things holy. I believe in truth and justice, and that a bit of kindness lives in every person’s heart. I also believe in the Boogieman, the Devil, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and that there really are things that go bump in the night. But above all, I believe that my Mema’s homemade apple-pie is the cure-all for just about anything.
CAMERON OBSCURA by M. C. Tuggle
Cam Taylor slowly, slowly pulled his right hand toward his side. The rope slipped through his fingers, letting him drop backward into the abandoned well, spinning. He thrust his hand behind his back and he stopped, though he continued to spin in the dark shaft, dangling from the rope.
CAVEAT EMPTOR / CAVEAT VENDITOR by Edward Ahern
As warlocks go, Harald was a failure. Even though his curses were vigorously evil, and his pitches quite logical, he almost always lost the business. Harald partly blamed his sex. Most internet advertising for spells and curses came from witches. Those seeking vengeance or unfair advantage picked the repugnant hags rather than Harald, who was merely homely and middle-aged. Harald had given himself mental hernias trying to increase sales.
THE JAZZMEN by Rhuar Dean
What had started out as an occasional trip to my local record store on a Saturday morning had turned into a regular slot. I’d given up on women after a ten-year relationship had spectacularly failed. My parents were dead, and my girlfriend had succeeded in killing off the few friends that I’d had when we met. So I fell backwards, into jazz, as you can.