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The White Nothing: Flash Fiction by Phil Temples
Carmelita: Flash Fiction by Zvi A. Sesling
The Horror of Hidden Pond: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Kim Philby: Flash Fiction by Henry Simpson
Fear: Flash Fiction by Cheryl Snell
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At the Funeral Lunch: Poem by Joan Leotta
Dreaming My Way Home: Poem by Joan Leotta
The Silence: Poem by John Grey
Pacing: Poem by John Grey
Elementary Classes: Poem by John C. Mannone
Rage: Poem by John C. Mannone
Comfort Zone: Poem by John C. Mannone
Serpentine Line: Poem by Charles Weld
William Calley's Apology: Poem by Charles Weld
Steve J: Poem by Charles Weld
Thief: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Sweet Pleasure: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Courtship: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Again, A Bike Left: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Short Cuts to Madness: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Ingrid Leaves Vegas: Poem by Rp Verlaine
A Necessary Poem: Poem by Rob Plath
Last Gesture: Poem by Rob Plath
Carpe Sanguinem: Poem by Rob Plath
The Antitesis: Poem by Rob Plath
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Phil Temples: The White Nothing

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Art by Henry Stanton 2023

The White Nothing

 

        by Phil Temples


I’m running as fast as I can along the heavily wooded ridge, dodging downed tree trunks and avoiding the depressions in the snow. My toe catches on a branch. I take a spill and topple to the ground. My heart is beating out of my chest. I can’t get the memory of what I just saw out of my head! I pick myself up out of the snow and turn to scan the tree line behind me before fleeing in the direction of the road.

 

#

 

Paulie and I were best friends. We attended the same schools, played the same sports. We even dated the same girl (but not at the same time) in high school. We had heard the legends since we were children. Folks would speak about “The White Nothing” in hushed tones—at least the ones who believed it. About the “thing with no shape that appears in the winter.” They’d talk about seeing the carcasses of dead animals ripped from limb to limb. Most would say the stories were hogwash—that it was only a mountain lion that roamed the land, although no one had seen a big cat in these parts for over thirty years. But that didn’t explain why the remains were found uneaten or why they bore no teeth marks. Old man Krugman said he found a large elk two winters ago completely torn apart. He said it would have taken superhuman strength to do that. It was like, “someone—or something—is hunting and killing its prey for sport.”

 

If I hadn’t gone off the trail some twenty yards away to take a dump behind a tree, I’d probably be like poor Paulie right now. I heard his screams, and I didn’t even stop to wipe myself. I pulled up my britches and ran back to where I’d left him. But there was no Paulie—only a trail of blood. I followed that trail for a few minutes until I found him—or rather, what was left of him: an arm on the left, his naked torso off to the right—and over there, a portion of his leg and buttock. His clothes were nowhere in sight. A rock face with blood trickling down caught my eye. Perched on that boulder was Paulie’s head! His eyes were open and his mouth was agape; I’m sure he was trying to yell out a final warning. 

 

#

 

 

I can see the road about fifty yards ahead now. For the first time, I’m beginning to feel hopeful that I might survive this terrible nightmare. I’ll come back here later with the sheriff and her deputies, and we’ll catch whoever did this—

 

An unseen hand catches my left leg and jerks me to the ground! I look back, and in my horror, I realize that there’s nothing there. Only, there is! The dull, gray tree line looks blurry, as though I’m observing the terrain through dirty eyeglasses. The blurry lines are moving, coming closer to me. I scream in terror, but I hear only silence as the blurry lines strike a blow to my head with great force. 

 

There’s no pain, only a curious numbness and a loud humming in my ears. For a few fleeting seconds, my eyes continue to see. I observe my headless body lying in the snow a few feet away. Time seems to come to a standstill. As my field of vision shrinks to an ever-closing circle, I watch, dispassionately, as The White Nothing has its way with my remains. 

              

"The White Nothing" first appeared in Darkness Within Ezine in 2017. 

 


Phil Temples resides in Watertown, Massachusetts. He's published five mystery-thriller novels, a novella, and four story anthologies, in addition to over 220 short stories online in: The London Independent Story PrizeWilderness House Literary ReviewBlink-Ink, Boston Literary Magazine; and Ariel Chart, to name but a few. Phil also likes to dabble in mobile photography. He is a member of GrubStreet and the Bagel Bards. You can learn more about Phil by visiting his website at:

https://temples.com/



Henry Stanton's fiction, poetry and paintings appear in 2River, The A3 Review, Avatar, The Baltimore City Paper, The Baltimore Sun Magazine, High Shelf Press, Kestrel, North of Oxford, Outlaw Poetry, PCC Inscape, Pindeldyboz, Rusty Truck, Salt & Syntax, SmokeLong Quarterly, The William and Mary Review, Word Riot, The Write Launch, and Yellow Mama, among other publications. 

His poetry was selected for the A3 Review Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Eyewear 9th Fortnight Prize for Poetry.  His fiction received an Honorable Mention acceptance for the Salt & Syntax Fiction Contest and was selected as a finalist for the Pen 2 Paper Annual Writing Contest.

A selection of Henry Stanton's paintings are currently on show at Atwater's Catonsville and can be viewed at the following website www.brightportfal.com.  A selection of Henry Stanton’s published fiction and poetry can be located for reading in the library at www.brightportfal.com.

Henry Stanton is the Founding & Managing Editor of The Raw Art Reviewwww.therawartreview.com.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2023