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Ralph E. Horner

Midnight Mist

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“Oh my God, Jeff!” Melody gasped. “What’s Alice doing to Helen?”

He cocked the gun and took Melody by the arm. She jerked away from him. “Please, not in there!”

Jeff whispered into her ear very softly. “I’ve got the gun. If you ever trusted me, trust me now.”

Melody placed her hand over her eyes. “Jeff, I don’t know if I can do it.”

Jeff felt terrible that he had to force her down the hall. He heard her taking some deep breaths, then she started to cry.

As they entered the kitchen, Jeff tried not to dwell on the fact he had never shot someone.

“Melody, step over to me, or your descendant dies.” Alice’s whispering tone was forceful.

“Let Helen go and she will,” Jeff returned, as Melody sobbed next to him.

“You’re being very cooperative, Jeff. Why are you giving up your sweetheart so easily?”

Is Alice becoming suspicious? “You’ve got the advantage; now let Helen go.”

“As soon as Melody is within my reach. And both of you men had better stay where you are.”

“Melody, start toward Alice.” Jeff’s heart was banging against his chest. “If she doesn’t let Helen go when you’re half way to her, stop until she does. Understand?”

“Just as you say, Jeff.” Melody replied, sobbing.

She slowly made her way toward her sister, crying harder. Jeff feared she might not have the nerve to continue. He folded his arms across his chest, tucking the barrel of the gun beneath his left armpit. With the room being so dark he had to take careful aim. He cringed at the thought of hitting Melody by mistake. Alice let Helen go and she dropped to the floor with a dull thud. Melody stopped.

“I’ve kept my part of the bargain, Melody. Now keep yours or I’ll kill her yet.”

 

 

 

Mark Morey

The Governess and the Stalker

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They stopped at Leuchars for some time. The wind was stronger and Michelle couldn’t even hear the whistle of the locomotive when they departed. They sped across the countryside with the little carriage rocking and swaying more with gusts of wind than the motion of the rails. Outside, clouds were driven by the ceaseless gale, alternating bright moonlight and intense darkness. Suddenly the countryside was bathed in moonlight and Michelle saw the most amazing sight. Ahead was a long, long bridge stretching into the distance high above the water. Girders of iron on slender posts, seemingly too flimsy to support such a structure. Restless waves on the Firth of Tay broke against the supports for the bridge, flinging spray high. The bridge was on two levels, higher in the centre and lower at the ends. Michelle watched, transfixed, while they approached the massive and yet fragile structure. All fell dark again and Michelle was alone except for the roar of the wind drowning the noise of the train. Every now and then the carriage shook violently from a particularly strong blast. It seemed strangely familiar and yet she had never been that way before. In fact, it was only the third time she had travelled by train. No, the fourth. Her first journey was long before. Not so long in time but a different life, a different person. The carriage swayed and as strange as it seemed, Michelle had been there before.

 

H. A. O'Connor

My Watcher's Eyes

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I make my way to the back door with the last of my things and my heart holds still when I pull it open. He is waiting, leaning against his car near the alley’s only streetlamp.

His hands are tucked loosely into his jeans’ pockets, his chin-length hair tumbles forward from behind his ears and the corner of his mouth toys with the prospect of a smile. HeHHhhh could almost pass for an ordinary—though excruciatingly handsome—twenty-something; yet his eyes defy normality: they glimmer at me deeply when I pause in the doorway to absorb his image. What a figure he cuts in all his magnificent ease.

“You’re still here,” I whisper.

“Of course I am.”

“You could have left while I was inside.”

“No I couldn’t. I’m not going anywhere without you.”

I step out the door, into the chilly night. But when I see his brow furrow, I stop.

“What about you, Tess?” he asks. “Are you sure about this?”

“About you or about leaving with you?”

“Both, really. I just wonder if you can know what you’re choosing.”

“I guess I can’t,” I admit, moving toward him again. “I seem to be running on instinct alone, right now, but I’m okay with it.”

Gabriel nods, though his expression doesn’t change. “Still, if you don’t want to go, we don’t have to.”

“You said we might be in danger.”

“Yes.”

“Then, that tells me one thing: run.”

 

 

Laura Rittenhouse

Life's Journeys

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Bernie meets me in the foyer, cheerily hands me my visitor’s badge, and helps me get a cup of coffee while discussing the weather. I respond just as cheerily and pretend that the vision of his retreating back leading me into East Bank’s dingiest conference room isn’t worrying me at all.

A cocky looking character springs out of his chair at the head of the table to shake my hand.

This might be a time where I could be accused of losing my objectivity. Could he really come across as cocky before he even opens his mouth? Is it the fact that he’s sitting at the head of the table that causes me to jump to this conclusion? Or is it the military style haircut and too trendy suit that put me off? If I had seen him walking down the street I wouldn’t have called him cocky, I would have called him a dork. You know the type—tall and lanky with a really big Adam’s apple. His hair is neither blond nor brown. His skin isn’t exactly fair, but you’d never call him swarthy. He is nondescript and probably compensates by over dressing and thrusting his hand out too aggressively and too early. He should be a non-entity.

Instead, he is about to become my arch-nemesis. I sense this in the core of my being.

 

 

 

Coming Next Month

 

Maiden of the Night by Mark Morey

The Vigil For Johnny's Mission by DB Dakota

Aadita by Palvi Sharma