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Better Than Nightmares-Fiction by Doug Hawley
Page One Four One-Fiction by A. F. Knott
The Devil You Know-Fiction by Gary Lovisi
Cabin Fever-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Ramona's House-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Visitation-Fiction by Henry Simpson
The Night Driver and the Injured Man-Fiction by Roy Dorman
They Both had Guns-Fiction by Jeremiah Minihan
The Earl of Redcrest-Fiction by Ashley Bailey
Black Cat-Fiction by Stephen Tillman
A Place for Grandpa-Fiction by Paul Smith
Away from Home-Fiction by Bruce Costello
Dolls-Fiction by R. Peralaz
Bright Eyes-Flash Fiction by Jon Park
Heart Attack-Flash Fiction by Rick McQuiston
A Turn for the Worse-Flash Fiction by Maria Espinosa
Rain-Flash Fiction by J. Brooke
Specter-Poem by Chad Haskins
Blue Ghost-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Unfathomable Rhapsody of Psychosis-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Late, Late-Poem by J. L. Hoy
One for the Road, I Guess-Poem by Jennifer Lemming
Edge of Nowhere-Poem by Robert Beveridge
Summit-Poem by Robert Beveridge
Three Tenses-Poem by Meg Baird
Caution-Poem by Meg Baird
Honeysuckle Breeze-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
Old Crow and I-Peom by ayaz daryl nielsen
Moments-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
Developing Land-Poem by Alan Catlin
Sideshow Freaks-Poem by Alan Catlin
Insomnia-Poem by Alan Catlin
Without-Poem by John Grey
Graveyard Stroll-Poem by John Grey
The Two of Us-Poem by John Grey
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
The Gazing Ball
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Cindy Rosmus 2018

Heart Attack


 by Rick McQuiston


          I squirmed in my seat as I watched Mr. Chrzan, my Social Studies teacher, suddenly grasp his chest, turn pale, and pitch forward, slamming face-first onto his desk. Papers flew into the air (one of which was my yet-to-be-graded essay), and a stack of textbooks fell to the floor, causing a terrible noise that echoed off the shocked faces of every student in the class.

          Immediately, a few kids ran out of the room to find help and came back with two adults, a man and a woman. The woman used her cell phone to call 911 as the man began CPR. But Mr. Chrzan didn't seem to respond. I could see him struggling for breath as he convulsed on his desk.

 Diverting my attention from the crisis, I looked around the classroom at the other kids and saw that everyone was terrified. Obviously we had never seen someone die before, much less our teacher. However, I did notice someone who didn't look scared. His name was Tommy Bant, and he was a real troublemaker. Twice before, he was suspended for beating other kids up, and just a week earlier, he got caught in the bathroom trying to sell cigarettes. I heard he even posted online that he was going to a build a pipe bomb and bring it to school.

I watched Tommy from the corner of my eye. I didn't want him to notice me looking at him, so I was discreet about it. He wore an awkward smirk, an expression that was hiding something, and it made me think he might have poisoned Mr. Chrzan. But I couldn't be sure, so I looked away. After all, you can't accuse somebody of a crime just because they're acting weird.

          Then I heard an awful sound that cut through my soul. Mr. Chrzan made one last gasp for breath and died. His body spasmed a few times and then went limp. The man doing CPR frantically tried to revive him, pounding on his chest and blowing air into his mouth, but it was no good. He was dead.

Again, I looked over at Tommy.

He was smiling.

I decided to tell on him so I stood up and calmly walked out of the classroom. I knew I had to tell someone about my suspicions before somebody else got hurt. I reached the door and spun around for a last look at Tommy to make sure he wasn't following me, and saw that he was still in his seat. But instead of smiling, he wore a blank expression, like some sort of zombie. His face was an empty slate, void of emotion or intelligence. He just sat there, not moving at all.

It was then that I understood. It was at that moment that I realized what was really happening.

It wasn't Tommy at all. It was Velma Lucei, the new student who had transferred to our school just a few weeks earlier. She was an odd one, keeping to herself and wearing strange-looking charms and jewelry. During class she would mumble to herself while playing with her jewelry, causing some of the other kids to call her a witch. She withdrew even further into her own little world then, and before too long, was totally shunned. No one talked to her and she talked to no one.

But now as I stand in the doorway to Mr. Chrzan's classroom, I see Velma sitting in her seat, smiling, and her grin chills my blood. It speaks volumes about what she is thinking and is capable of, about what she has done.

And then Tommy falls out of his chair, landing face-down on the cold tile floor.

He's dead before he hits the ground.

I see Velma stifle a chuckle, her petite hand struggling to cover her giggling, and as I watch, she turns her attention to me, her piercing blue eyes cutting into my soul. Then she whispers something to herself, and I feel my chest constrict and my left arm go numb as I struggle for breath.



Rick McQuiston is a fifty-year-old father of two who loves anything horror-related. He’s had nearly 400 publications so far, and written six novels, nine anthologies, one book of novellas, and edited an anthology of Michigan authors. He’s also a guest author each year at Memphis Junior High School.  Currently, he’s working on his sixth novel.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2018