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Phantom Pain-Fiction by Phillip Thompson
I'm a Fat Policeman-Fiction by William Kitcher
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Circle Quirk-Fiction by John J. Dillon
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The Invitation-Fiction by Michael Steven
Your Time is My Time-Fiction by Walter Giersbach
Charity Begins at Home-Fiction by David Hagerty
Stay on the Path-Flash Fiction by Daniel G. Snethen
Killer's E-Mail-Flash Fiction by Andrew Ricchiuti
The Family Business-Flash Fiction by James Blakey
Weird Reasons to Be Grateful-Flash Fiction by Dini Armstrong
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Cynthia Fawcett 2021

Killer’s E-Mail


by Andrew Ricchiuti



     “I’m here,” Neimiu said. “Okay to go in?”

     “Give me a minute,” Pira said. “He’s sitting there with an alarm on.”

     “Can you disable it?”

     “Of course I can,” Pira said. “You’re good to go.”

     Neimiu busted through the door. He didn’t care about a quiet entry. He wanted loud. He ran through the entry hallway and into the back room. Inside, surrounded by computers, sat his would-be killer.

     “Who the hell are you? What do you want?”                                                                                     

     Neimiu rushed over and slammed him on the head with a blackjack. The guy fell out of his chair and landed on the floor, dazed. Neimiu grabbed him under the arms and threw him back onto the chair. Within seconds, he zip-tied his hands and feet to the chair.


     “You’re Casper, right?” Neimiu said. No response came. He slapped him hard and asked again.

     He got a groggy answer. “Yeah. Who’re you?”

     “I’m the guy you sent an email to, about killing him,” Neimiu said. “You said I seemed nice. Didn’t deserve to die. For twenty thousand dollars, you wouldn’t kill me and give me enough info on who wanted me dead to bring to the authorities. That’s who.”

     Casper awoke quick from his grogginess.  “I didn’t do that. . . .”

     Neimiu punched him hard enough that Casper rocked back and fought to keep his tears hidden.

     “Don’t try to tell me that,” Neimiu said. “I’ve traced the email. I know it came from you. Who hired you?”

     “Nobody. It was a scam. I’m just trying to get money from you.”

     Neimiu hit the other side of his face this time. It turned red and would soon match the swelling of the other side. He spoke very slowly.

     “I want to know who wants me killed. Who is it? How did they contact you?”

     Casper shook his head. “I’m telling you,” he said. “It’s just a way of making some money. It’s not a real threat. No. Don’t hit me again. I’m just a hacker.”

     Neimiu stepped closer with his hands extended, ready to knock Casper and the chair to the floor. “One more time. Who wants me dead?”

     Casper didn’t get a chance to answer. Neimiu’s phone vibrated. He looked at the ID. Pira. He took the call.

     “I’m running through this guy’s records,” she said. “I think he’s running some type of operation. Over the last few months, he’s sent the same email to about twelve people. Exactly the same as what he sent you.”

     “He’s claiming he’s a hacker with a scam. Can you check that? And, can you remove any record of him sending me an email?”

     “Of course I can,” Pira said. “I’ll also remove some others, just in case.”

     Neimiu disconnected the call and turned back to Casper. “Tell me more about your scam. It is a scam? Nobody wants me dead? Is that right?”

     Casper nodded quickly before Neimiu could hit him again. “I just sent the email to you. I just picked you out of a list. If you untie me and let me go, I won’t do anything. I’ll forget all about it. Nobody’s after you. I’ve never killed anyone.”

     “I have. You didn’t answer my question. Tell me how it works.”

     “I hack people’s email and send a bunch of these out a week. You’d be surprised at how many people pay. I have untraceable accounts where they send the money. I could show you.”

     “Not necessary,” Neimiu said. He hit the speed dial on his phone for Pira and explained the scam. “Double-check what he said and get right back to me.”

     Casper watched Neimiu disconnect the call. “I can give you the twenty thousand I asked for,” Casper said. “In fact, I could double it. Forty thousand. What do you say?”

     Neimiu’s phone vibrated. Pira.

     “Everything is like he said,” Pira said.

     “Good. Refund the last six or seven people he scammed. He’s not going to need it,” Neimiu said. He pulled his gun and shot Casper in the heart and head.

     Neimiu set an explosive in the room that would go off two minutes after he shut the door. Still on the phone, he quickly left.

     “Set up something like this scam for me. Only, I’ll be for real. Find people who deserve to die. It should be a nice sideline in between contract kills. You can do that?

     “Of course I can.”


Andrew Ricchiuti lives in New Jersey and enjoys writing and reading all types of short fiction.

Cynthia Fawcett has been writing for fun or money since she was able to hold a pen. A Jersey Girl at heart, she got her journalism degree at Marquette University in Milwaukee and now writes mostly technical articles about hydraulics and an occasional short story or poem on any other subject.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2021