By John L. Malone
You hear a noise. It’s past midnight.
So what do you do?
You hop up, turn on a few lights, tramp down the passageway. open and close cupboards, bang doors, make a lot of noise.
Then you stop and listen.
There it is again.
Those bloody mice, you say, though you’ve seen no evidence of any.
It’s nothing, you decide, nothing. House noises.
You head back to the bedroom, turn off the lights.
Someone taps you on the shoulder.
John is a South Australian writer of poetry, flash fiction and the occasional short story.
By Camila Lopez-Passapera
Last night I dreamt I was stuck
in a time warp for hours
and by the time I got back
to the regular world, no one
I knew was alive, and I was alone
in a place I knew nothing about.
My eyes opened in an instant
and the hairs on my arms stood up
as I searched around the room
for any sign I was back in my regular life
stare ricocheting from corner to corner
always falling short of my targets.
For a moment, I forgot I wasn’t home
I forgot we weren’t together anymore
and you were the first person I looked for.
Camila Lopez-Passapera is a psychology student who writes to stay sane in a beautiful, ill world.
By G.B. Burgess
When I was little, bumps in the night terrified me. But as I grew older, my fear shrank, and I stopped noticing those subtle sounds.
Until, packing for college, I discovered a boogieman in my closet. His shadowy frame, horns and glowing eyes should have startled me, but he looked so sad with his head hung, clawed fingers twiddling.
“I’m bored,” he sighed. “It’s been no fun since you stopped reacting to my scares.”
“Sorry. Growing up is a little boring. But hey …” One last childish, fun idea filled me. “I have a little brother.”
The boogieman smiled, revealing fangs.
GB Burgess is a writer from Tasmania. Her aim: to take readers down unexpected paths.
By J.T. Morse
I knew what he’d become. But I didn’t care. To me, he was still Nick deep down. My Nick.
Crossing the trench into the Z-zone was tough. But I did it. For him anyway.
Fighting off the ravenous creatures, for days, sucked. But I had to reach him. To find my soulmate.
Seeing his rotting flesh and the carcass he’d become broke my heart. But I’d come this far. I couldn’t back out now.
Letting him sink his jagged teeth into my arm took guts that I didn’t know I possessed. But for him, my Nick, I did it anyway.
J.T. Morse writes to “explore the mysterious and empathetic connection to fellow humans.”
By Belinda Brady
All I’d hear was laughter. Laughter as I crossed the playground, laughter when I tried to join in and make friends, laughter as I walked away rejected. I wasn’t invited to the sleepover, but I heard them talking about it in class, the laughter as I looked their way ever present.
Arriving uninvited, they laugh as they tell me to leave, the laughter quickly turning to screams as I change in front of them, muscles tearing through my skin, sharp fangs dripping.
In a matter of seconds, the only laughter I can hear is my own.
By Serena Jayne
Sebastian rubbed the shiny lamp.
Genie appeared. “Last wish.”
“Immortality,” Sebastian said. “’Sunshine Serenade’ went platinum in ’65, but the dawn of disco doomed my song to obscurity. Success doesn’t last forever, but I can.”
“Granted,” Genie dissipated into blue mist.
Sebastian’s mouth ached. “How very underwhelming.” Newly pointed teeth sliced his tongue.
His late night snack of garlic-heavy pasta burned his belly. He craved blood.
The sunrise lit up his panoramic million-dollar view. On cue, ‘Sunshine Serenade’ played in surround sound.
He yelped, skin smoking. Darted away from the sunlight.
Lack of specificity would be the death of him.
By F. J. Bergmann
Zombies retain vestiges of self-preservation instinct; they didn’t follow me when I leapt from the cliff as a last, desperate measure. I’d rather die than become a zombie. Badly injured by the fall, I could only crawl. Pain-filled hours later, a cabin came into view. Its windows glowed through the dusk; help was near! Muddy, bloody, but with renewed hope, I dragged myself to my feet and shambled along the fence. Through my smashed mouth, I called for help but could only moan indistinctly. The door opened. “Here comes one of ’em!” A gun muzzle poked out, became a zero.
F. J. Bergmann looks forward to becoming independently wealthy via sustainable energy practices by recycling zombies as biofuel in the post-apocalypse.
By J.R. Night
The late hour had come and all were released from their graves. The first thing she always did was head home.
Only one window burned yellow. It went out, the window opened, and two legs edged out. Her son landed not two feet away from her.
“No sweater? In this cold?” she shouted as he passed through her, unaware.
By Paul Thompson
Our new home. Every evening the same routine – switching off the downstairs lights in sequence, pausing at the last.
Waiting in the dark is the ghostly child, the cliché, the best my imagination can muster.
When I run upstairs it is two steps at a time, our bedroom illuminated and safe.
One evening I share this with my wife, my laughable childhood fear of the dark still chasing me up the stairs
“You can see her also?” she responds, putting down her book.
We agree to leave the lights on, and resolve to find a new home in the morning.
By Alison Lock
Light refracts as she rolls a glass ball in her palm. Images gather, exhibits take flight, magnified. She places the ball into the bowl with the other spheres – every shade of iris. She considers their original containers, those bony orifices, the unabashed stares.
The museum is empty. She is in a room of Victorian medical implements, of obstetrics, forensics, and eyes. Now they are glinting, their pupils turning, toward her. She rubs her eyes to clear her vision. A glass globe falls from her face, tinkling into the bowl.