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The Last Meal of Laughing Boy Reilly-Fiction by Jason Butkowski
Miss Pearl-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Vegas, Napalm Strike-Fiction by j. brooke
Favorites-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Salton Sea-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
We Must Never Find Out-Fiction by Sam Graham
Collateral Damage-Fiction by Jim Farren
Radiant Night-Fiction byPauline Duchesneau
Late Returns-Fiction by P. K. Augustyn
Bad Influences-Fiction by Marci McKim
Where My Fathers-Fiction by Willie Smith
Nothing I Could Do-Fiction by Brian J. Smith
The Magician-Flash Fiction by Jon Park
Sky Toucher-Falsh Fiction by Jerry Vilhotti
Dark Morning-Flash Fiction by M. G. Allen
What Might Happen in Vegas-Flash Fiction by Bill Baber
San Mateo County Easter Egg Hunt-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Doing Some Resaearch-Poem by Roy Dorman
A Lack of Rain-Poem by Michael Keshigian
In Traffic-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Distinguished Souls-Poem by J. J. Campbell
The Ghosts of Murdered Children-Poem by J. J. Campbell
Digging Season-Poem by Christopher Hivner
Sometimes the Light is My Enemy-Poem by Christopher Hivner
Char-Poem by Robert Beveridge
Gone Feral-Poem by Robert Beveridge
Rat Tamer-Poem by Robert Beveridge
Imaginary Hedgehogs-Poem by Michelle Hartman
I Knew Him when He was Six-Poem by Michelle Hartman
A Reason for Everything-Poem by Michelle Hartman
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
The Gazing Ball
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

darkmorning.jpg
Art by Steve Cartwright 2018

Dark Morning

by M.G. Allen

 

I wait and wait and wait.

It’s been a running joke in my head. I keep asking myself: Is it morning yet?

There aren’t any working clocks here. I use my mental Timex to judge that time froze for me around five or six o’clock. The sky beyond the dusty window remains a turgid black seeping into gray. I remember looking at Melanie’s watch, the only thing she had been wearing at the time under the sheets of that huge worn-out bed.

I can’t think about Melanie now. Or what she had become. It just scares me cold. I’m already cold enough. The old house is fucking freezing. The former proprietor of this house, long since dead, left lots of firewood by the fireplace and stacks of yellowed newspapers to burn. Try as I might, no matter how thick I get the flames in that sooty old fireplace, I cannot get warm.

I sit in silence and freeze.

And wait. I wait for a morning that will never come.

I try to imagine that Melanie is just asleep in that huge musty smelling bedroom upstairs. But then I remember her face right after she was kissed by the sandpaper person: her gray complexion, her saucer eyes and wide angular smile, the kind of smile unnatural to a human face.

That’s what I call them: sandpaper people. You can’t see them if you try to look at them directly. Melanie and I had been seeing them all night, in the corner of our eyes. Mostly, we would hear them. They walk with dry, papery movements. Scritch, scritch, scritch. If you turn around in their direction, the sound goes away.

Sure, we should have left right then. But what would Steve, Adam, and Jessy say? They’d be pissed and say we ditched them. We all knew the house was supposedly haunted. That’s why we chose to meet up here. Jessy found out about this house on some internet website. Scary shit happened here at one time.

I’m so cold. Who the hell am I talking to anyway? Sitting alone in the endless night, I assume that my friends are dead; Steve, Adam and Jessy didn’t make it down that long snaky driveway to the house. They are now sandpaper people going scritch, scritch, scritch, through the woods outside.

Everything is dry. The air is dry, my bare feet feel dry, and my throat is so very dry. I sit immobile as if frozen into stone, kneeling on that hard wooden floor, trying to decode the message in the flames. Maybe they can tell me what I am supposed to be waiting for.

Then, Melanie’s parchment fingers slip over mine which is tightly clutching the fire poker. I wonder how I didn’t hear her. It doesn’t matter now anyway. It doesn’t looks like a hand. It looks like a bunch of sticks and feels rough like tree bark. When her lips pass over mine, new level of cold overtakes me.

I feel my heart stop.

Morning finally arrives, pallid sunlight spreads through the house like fog. The front door bangs open. Laughter pours in. Steve says, “Yoo hoo? Anybody home?” Jessy is giddy, laughing and babbling away.

They are coming in my direction. I glide towards the door. I feel like I’m floating. My body goes scritch, scritch, scritch.

I raise the fire poker over my head.

I wait.

 

 

M.G. Allen has been published in Yellow Mama twice. His work has also been published in Mysterical E, Dark Moon Digest, and the now-defunct Flashes in the Dark.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2018