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Monday, May 25

Jurassic Leak

Jurassic Leak
Flash Fiction Humor
by Rod Drake

When I traveled forward through time, returning to my own present, things were . . . well, different somehow, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Of course now I only have four fingers. Eight if you count both hands. That doesn’t seem right.

I don’t remember having a tail either, although it’s rather nice swishing to and fro behind me. It is keeping the sparrow-sized flies away. Were there always gigantic palm trees and monstrous tropical ferns in downtown Chicago? And did Lake Michigan have a glacier as big as Wrigley Field (and where is the ballpark?) sitting in the middle of it . . . in the summer? Also, the sky is much pinker that I recall; I believe it used to be . . . blue?

I think I’m a little ‘jet-lagged’ from my recent 70-million-year time travel jaunt, but this definitely isn’t the place that I left just ten minutes ago. I was careful back there, of that I am very clear. I did not step on anything, no lizard, reptile, insect or god-forbid crush a butterfly. I did not harm a plant, move a rock, snap a twig or disturb a nest of dinosaur eggs.

Hmm, I wonder; do you think peeing in the river could have affected anything?

Rod Drake lives in mythic Las Vegas and finds inspiration for stories everywhere in the neon jungle. Check out Rod's other fiction in Six Sentences, Powder Burn Flash, Flashes of Speculation, Flash Forward, MicroHorror and AcmeShorts.

Shadow Man

Shadow Man
Short fiction - Crime
by Julie Morgan

‘It’s a sleeping disorder.’

‘What?’

‘That thing that’s been happening. You know, your shadow man thing. It’s a sleeping disorder.’

Jenny gave Michael a blank look. ‘It happened again last night,’ she said. ‘It didn’t feel like a sleeping disorder.’

‘Describe it.’

‘It was about two in the morning. I was wide awake, but the only thing I could move was my eyes. I was lying on my side and I knew there was someone behind me. Someone evil. I... could sense him.’

The fear had been intense. Jenny strained to move her body, desperate to see what it was that stood behind her. She could feel a brooding presence, eyes watching as she lay in her bed paralysed and terrified, able only to blink. There was a tall mirror on the wall at the foot of the bed. If she could just tip her head a little, the light from the bedside lamp should show her who, what, was there. Assuming it had a reflection. She struggled and fought, all to no avail. She sensed movement, detected a shifting of the air, felt a hand stroke her hair where it lay fanned out over her pillow, a dark stain on virgin snow.

Unable even to blink now, goggle-eyed with fear, she stared at the wall opposite while her hair was stroked by the shadow man, her heart leaping in her ribcage, thudding in her ears.

No matter what it was, no matter how terrifying, knowing could not be worse than this. She mustered all her strength for one last effort, willed her body to move, roared as she fought against the paralysis, the fear, the not knowing.

Suddenly, as if someone had flicked a switch, her body was once more under her control. It responded immediately and she flew out of bed, landing on the floor with a thump. No-one was there. No dark, menacing figure stood beside her bed, looking down at her with dead eyes and a black heart.

Stunned, Jenny had taken a minute to collect herself, then got to her feet. She turned on all the lights as she went through to the kitchen to make a cup of tea; ordinary tea, not the special blend Michael the pharmacist had given her to help her sleep when she had complained of insomnia. She ought to be fine now. It had never before happened more than once in one night.

‘It’s called “sleep paralysis”,’ Michael was saying. ‘I’ve been reading about it, it’s well-documented. Google it, you’ll see.’

‘Maybe.’ Jenny wasn’t convinced.

‘Honestly, Jen, there’s nothing to fear. We all experience it, it’s just that most people don’t know because we don’t wake up. You do, that’s why it’s scary.’

‘What about the shadow man?’

‘All in your mind. It’s all part of it.’

That night, Jenny made herself a cup of Michael’s special tea. ‘Just one cup per night,’ he’d instructed. ‘About an hour before bedtime.’ She smiled. She had looked up sleep paralysis on the web. He was so kind, helping her to understand her problem, taking away the fear. She went to bed, drifted off to sleep, his face in her mind’s eye. She would cook him dinner, she decided. Very, very soon.

At about two in the morning, Jenny awoke. She was paralysed, the only thing she could move was her eyes. She felt panic start to rise and fought to quell it. She chanted silently: ‘Nothing to fear, nothing to fear...’. She breathed deeply, calming herself, grateful to Michael for what he had told her.

A shadow slid across the tall mirror as the dark figure behind her moved toward her bed. Jenny sensed movement, detected a shifting of the air, felt a hand stroke her hair where it lay across her pillow. She closed her eyes and pictured Michael’s face, kept on chanting: nothing to fear.

Michael loved the silky feel of Jenny’s hair. He breathed in deeply as if he were trying to inhale her, then crept out of her flat as silently as he had entered. Soon, he was thinking to himself. Very, very soon.

Julie Morgan lives by the seaside in the north east of England. She has previously been published on A Twist of Noir, Powder Burn Flash and Darkest Before the Dawn and here on Fictional Musings, Flashes of Speculation and Flash Pan Alley.