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Monday, November 27

Payback

"Payback"
Short Fiction - Crime
by Rod Drake

“Do you remember Scott Benson?”

“No, I don’t remember any Scott Jensen.”

Kirk, the young man asking the question, shot the older, frightened man in the thigh with a Smith & Wesson .22. “Benson, you murderer!”

“I didn’t murder nobody. Oh God, that hurts.” Tony held his leg which was bleeding only slightly. “Why are you doing this?”

“Think back, 26 years ago. You were a young man then, just 27. You were driving home drunk as you often did. But that day you hit and killed a little boy riding his bike on the sidewalk.” Kirk shot Tony in his other thigh.

Tony screamed and clutched the new wound. “Okay, okay, I remember now. It was an accident. The D.A. couldn’t prove I was drunk. So the court let me go.”

“And the mangled bike had ended up in the street, so your attorney said Scott, being only four-years-old, had ridden into your path. You couldn’t stop in time.”

“How do you know all this? There were no witnesses.”

Kirk stepped down hard on Tony’s wounded thigh, causing Tony to cry out and twist in agony. “Because I was Scott Benson.” Kirk extended his arm, shooting Tony in the right bicep.

Tony curled up in torment, grabbing his arm. “Please stop. Please. Scott Benson died 20 years ago. I was there. I saw the little boy’s body. It was horrible.”

Kirk smiled knowingly. “That’s right. Scott was killed by you, a drunk driver then, a drunk driver now. But sometimes the dead come back for revenge. Do you believe in reincarnation, Tony?”

“Wwwhat?”

“Six years after Scott was killed, his spirit, or soul, or whatever you want to call it, came back to earth again. This time Scott was reborn as me. When I was 12, I began to have dreams, terrible dreams, that took years before they made sense, and I could finally understand them. Dreams of you killing me on the sidewalk all those years ago. But not too long ago because you’re still alive. And unpunished.” Kirk leaned down and fired the .22 into Tony’s left bicep. The small caliber bullets wouldn’t kill Tony, but they hurt like hell.

Tony tried to focus through the pain. “You’re telling me you’re Scott. In a new body.”

“Bingo. And whatever cosmic force watches over everything let me remember what you did, who you were and where you still lived. After that, it was just a matter of finding you alone.”

“Alright, damn it, you’ve hurt me. Hurt me bad. I’ll limp the rest of my life, and I probably won’t be able to lift more than 25 pounds. I get it.”

Kirk put the .22 away and pulled out a Colt .45 automatic. He pressed it against Tony’s forehead. “No, you don’t get it. But you will. The .22 was just . . . foreplay.” He cocked the hammer of the gun. “You know the saying ‘an eye for an eye’?”

Rod Drake. Las Vegas. His name, his byline. He writes them like he sees them. Check out Rod’s other stories published in Flashing in the Gutters, Flashes of Speculation, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward, MicroHorror, Six Sentences and AcmeShorts.

Monday, November 13

The Photosynthesis

"The Photosynthesis"
Flash Fiction - Literary Parody
by Rod Drake

Gregor Samsa awoke one morning to discover that he had been transformed into a houseplant. A philodendron, he believed, judging by his leaves. Or maybe a big fern. Gregor didn’t know much about plants. Or insects, for that matter.

Something was wrong, however. Very wrong. He was in the wrong story that was for sure. But there was nothing to do but wait for Kafka to fix it. Kafka, unfortunately, was always slow and usually depressed.

Gregor wished his sister, Grete, would water him. And while she was at it, she could move him a bit more into the sunlight. She was gone most of the day at the university. He hoped she was studying horticulture.

Gregor decided that he needed a bigger flowerpot. His roots were crowded, and he was getting a cramp. Lots of them actually.

He hoped Kafka would revise this story soon; Gregor didn’t like how the family dog was sniffing him.

Rod Drake lives in Las Vegas and has taught Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Read Rod’s other stories published in Flashing in the Gutters, Flashes of Speculation, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward, MicroHorror, Six Sentences and AcmeShorts.

Monday, November 6

The Unconscious Apple

"The Unconscious Apple"
Short Fiction - Literary
by C.S. Nusbaum

The wind was just barely above a whisper now, but the cold was still biting hard on Apple’s cheeks. Her nose was like a cherry, and she was wrapped up in multiple jackets and scarves. Her breath came like swirls of fog. The sky was grayish and gloomy, as she stepped into the warm, cozy café.

There was a single empty booth in a corner of the room, and Apple slid herself into it. The table was hard and cold, and the seat stiff. Still, Apple was as comfortable as she would ever get, and she quickly took out her notebook. Sliding a pen from her pocket, she continued struggling with the first sentence of her new novel.

But, would one really call it a new novel? For many weeks, Apple had been living off her last book, which was not very good to begin with. The beginning was confusing, something about a little boy and an old woman. The middle was wishy-washy, and the end was just where her words had run dry.

Apple gave a little sigh and took the cap off her pen. She had been struggling to begin her novel for the past few days. A waitress with a lipstick smear on her cheek came to take her order. Apple barely moved her lips.

“Coffee. Black.”

The waitress rolled her thick fake eyelashes, and swiftly turned away. Annoyed at the interruption, Apple continued to delve into a world of mediocrity and endeavors. She chewed the cap and wrote a line. The man saw a snowflake falling. She stopped and reconsidered. The old man watched one snowflake fall to the ground.

The waitress returned, but Apple was too busy rewriting her sentence to take notice. The steam from the coffee steamed her glasses. The crippled old man wearily observed a single snowflake fall and melt into the earth. A car screeched outside, and a girl screamed. The air was filled with the sounds of incessant chatter. Apple took no part in it.

The crippled old man wearily observed a single snowflake fall and melt into the earth, as if he was watching his life flutter by. His life? Apple tapped her pen nervously. Perhaps it was a bit much. A light flashed by the café, and the waitress, who was waiting on four toddlers and a mother, interjected an “Oh my gosh!”

The crippled old man wearily observed a single snowflake fall and melt into the earth, as if his life was melting with it. Better. Apple ignored a small child’s wail, and the sound of sirens in the background. She had no time to see what all the fuss was about. She looked at her paper, covered with blotted out sentences. Her one line stood out among the ramble.

She imagined an old man watching a snowflake, then disappearing as it the ground.

“Beautiful!” she declared. “By George, It’s magnificent!”

The sound of glass suddenly attracted her attention. She stared out the window wearily. Outside, two police men, a flashing ambulance and two jarred vehicles lay in the road. A man in a grey trench coat was sitting on the curb with his hands on his head. In the white snow of the morning, Apple could just barely see a dash of red.

She tilted her head thinking. Then she ripped her paper off the pad and threw it to the side. Again, she tilted her head and watched that single, strip of red, melting even as she watched. Looking down at the blank pad, she wrote a few words.

The blood was red, so red it shone on that morning when, or so it seemed, anything was possible.

What the hell. It had potential.