Seven Deadly Swans – (day 7)

Seven Deadly Swans

 by

 Cecilia Dominic

I am the puppet master.

 

“J.B., you in here?”

 

I am the mastermind.

“Hey, J.B.?” 

I do not like being interrupted.

“J.B.?  Wake up!  Where do you want the swans?”

J.B., his eyes forced open by the question, lost the movement algorithms he’d imagined and bit his tongue – literally – so he wouldn’t snap at his new “assistant” Tally.  She’d not figured out yet that when he was in his creative mode, he was not to be disturbed, something she should understand as an artist.  But shoulds didn’t apply to Tally, whom he couldn’t even fire because she was his boss’ niece.  Like, she should shave her armpits so he didn’t imagine a “mew!” coming from them every time she lifted her arms and the tank tops she shouldn’t wear revealed the balls of fuzz hiding under there.

He squinted against the light she’d flicked on and saw she’ (Read More)

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Swan’s Act – (day 7)

Swan’s Act

by

A.M. Harte

 The swans are dying, and they are singing. Beautiful songs, with notes that ripple across the water and leave London silent in their wake. The sky is grey and cloudless, the wind caresses the docked boats with damp fingertips.

On the bank of the Thames is a young couple in their mid-twenties, him a blond, rugged, Yorkshire lad, her dark-featured and city-slick, delicate beside him. She’s cold, he isn’t, and they huddle together listening to the swansong.

The next eight minutes change everything.

The woman’s heels click-clack on the cobblestones as she walks towards the edge of the water, lured forward by the singing, leaning against her man for support. All that separates the couple from the river is a waist-high metal fence and a steep drop. They could easily jump over that fence but they won’t: the water is contaminated. (Read More)

Six Geese-a-layin’ – (day 6)

by

Jack Roth           

 Six geese-a-layin’…

            That’s what we called the first batch of them.  Mindless fuckers walking the streets.  Staggering like two in the morning drunks looking for a cheap fuck or a fight.  And that’s what we thought they were at first, just drunks.  But trust me, they weren’t looking for fucking, they were looking for flesh.  Human flesh.  Fresh flesh.  And they weren’t afraid to try and get it.

           (Read More)

The Winter of Yesteryear – (day 6)

by
Laura Eno


The trouble started with the Christmas music. There I was, trying on swimsuits in Dumfrey’s Department Store and minding my own business, when The Twelve Days of Christmas blared out of their sound system. By the time the song got to six geese a-laying, my jaw hurt from grinding my teeth together. (Read More)

Five Rings – (day 5)

by

Paul Anderson

You ask me what the five rings are? By asking you have begun to seek them, so may whatever gods you pray to protect you. I would take pity on you, though pity is far beyond me now.

They are a gift, a prize, a curse. They test the will of those who seek them. For the successful, the rings grant a boon; they shall free you from all the ills that men suffer.

  (Read More)

The Fifth Ring – (day 5)

by

Kil Conor

I met Cameron in Gehenna. We’d been set about to locate the clandestine graves, as forensic students do at times. The six of us gathered for a sermon undoubtedly to be delivered regarding proper digging techniques. Cameron, with fierce green eyes and tattooed skin; “LOVE” inked across his fingers like a prison inmate, stole my attention.
It was a gleaming Thursday afternoon when the first shout was heard at the head of the camp. Cameron and I stood side-by-side, somber as a memorial service as the first finger was unearthed. The doctor held it up for all to see, brushing away at the crumbled dirt that clung to the mummified ligaments, giving the entire structure a curve, and therefore a come-hither gesture. His voice traveled past my ears, droning on as I tried to study Cameron instead. (Read More)

Four Little Birds – (day 4)

by

Lori Titus   

     Chloe fantasized about killing herself. There were so many ways that she could do it.  Any  number of household items would do the trick nicely.  Six years earlier, when she was seventeen years old, she’d attempted suicide . Despite the pain and the blood loss, the cut she made across her wrist was too shallow to kill her. Now, she knew better, knew just how to make the cut that would open her artery.

    Standing alone in the kitchen, she took a knife from the cabinet and held it up to the light. She could see her reflection in the blade. For a moment, she thought of fairy tales, the stories she read as a child. Swords and daggers were always the key to some great mystery, the symbol of faith and sacrifice.

     Chloe blinked. She h (Read More)

Up North – (day 4)

by

 Tony Noland

            Mitch pulled back the cuff of his glove to check his watch; stinging cold air snaked up his sleeve as he held his wrist up long enough for the compass to get a bearing. After keeping it motionless and level for the manufacturer’s recommended fifteen seconds, he brought it down and peered at it. After a moment, he stripped off his right-hand glove so he could push the illuminator button. South by south-west.

            He put his glove back on and shifted the rifle slung across his back. There was no need to read the watch’s built-in ther (Read More)

Tough Decision – (day 3)

by

Sarah Hendrix

Crissy stood with her kids as they waited for the bus.  Her oldest, dressed in second-hand jeans and a pink shirt with a few ketchup stains, swung their clasped hands and sang half a line from one of the songs her music teacher sung to the class the day before. The youngest looked up at her from under thick lashes. (Read More)

Vivaldi’s French Hen – (day 3)

by

Susan May James

Alone, penniless and desperate to stay warm Fleche wanders the winding streets of the Left Bank.  Every few moments she tucks her chin into her thick scarf, her breath warming her nose and cheeks.  Heedless of time, she eventually finds herself in the Latin Quarter; its lanes brimming with restaurants and tourists.  The atmosphere is vibrant but instead of it lifting her spirits Fleche’s mood plummets.  All the hope and excitement, peaking after months of planning, has been doused over the course of a single day.  Years of dreaming have come to nothing and now she feels like a fool. (Read More)

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