September Shocks #11 – Andrew Paul Grell

Voting is now open via a poll on our Facebook page. Deadline for votes is the end of September 13th.


By Andrew Paul Grell

“Some submission call, ey? Usually they just want email or Submittable, maybe post.  Never had ta shows up me own self,” the Newfoundlander observed.

“Consider the medium, sailor.  Otherwise people would just photoshop.

“Nice ink, by the way.  Sure you had enough room for a story?”

“No problem.  Girls have more skin to play with.  So to speak.  Imelda,” the athletic-looking woman stated, extending her hand.

“Willet Shea, Seaman, in that and all t’other things first class.  Pleasin’ t’meetcha, Miladyship. Gobsmacked there’s nay more here could use two thousand greenbacks.”

Imelda flashed a brief look of disbelief at her interlocutor’s name, deciding it must be a coincidence; Queens, New York might not be the only place with a Willet.

“The call had some pretty strict rules.  How many people have photos of themselves, naked, pre-ink?  Maybe the five of us are it.”

“I’s the one’d bet narry a one save me, never been known fer me smarts.  But what else ta’ do on such a mausey day, good bein’ inside.  But gutfounded I am, one’d think they’d a knacked some o’ yer New York bagels, maybe with smoked fish I mighta caught me own self.”

They were in a non-descript space in a midtown building known for short term rentals of such spaces.  Holiday Inn paintings, plastic flowers.  The receptionist called the submitters up one by one to collect photos and cover letters.  Two men wheeled in what looked like strip club pole-dance platforms.  Each author was asked to strip sufficiently to display their literary merit.  Every writer was put in B&D cuffs.  Finally, the Editor made an appearance, followed by three cloaked submission committee members, and began judging the submissions.

“Let’s see.  H. H. Fallon.”  The micro-flash writer presented his butt.  “I am Taylor Meade. This is my ass.  Andy Warhol can kiss it,” the editor read out loud.  “Derivative,” he observed, turning to the committee.  “Hmm.  They like it.”

“Rhonda Montaigne. I’m ridden hard and – put up wet again again – Enough for this horse.  Very nice.  You’re in.”  The men released her, and the receptionist handed her a check.

“Willet Shea.  Let’s see.  Out on the rioling sea, arctic char come to me. Quinaniche and cod, this fishing’s much too odd.  Typo.” A committee member power-sanded the offending word, correcting it much too close to a vital external part. “Thank you, you may go.“  Imelda and the remaining hopeful shared a worried look.

“Elinor White?  Really? My little horse must think it queer between the woods.  No! Redaction! Poems!”  Imelda watched in horror while a committee member flayed the entirety of Elinor’s flesh containing the monstrosity.

She steeled herself.  The editor got five words into “Ode to a Real Pretzel” before a man uncloaked revealing a Tom Seaver uniform.

“Gary, what the fuck are you doing here?”

Imelda’s ex-husband seared the cheese steak and square pretzel poem from her back and tarred the Philly Phanatic tattoo.  Then pulled a rope, causing $2,000 in coins to bury his disloyal wife.

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September Shocks #10 – Darlene Holt

Voting is now open via a poll on our Facebook page. Deadline for votes is the end of September 13th.


24 Hours

by Darlene Holt

24 hours.

That’s how much time we had. Do what you please, they said. Make the most of it.

So I did.

I slashed my husband’s throat for the affair he had two years ago with the nanny.

My newspaper-stealing bastard neighbor never saw my Glock 26 coming.

My creepy, womanizing landlord took six blows to the head with my Brooklyn Crusher.

The fire’s still raging at the lavish estate of my greedy, embezzling boss.

24 hours.

That’s how long I’ve been in police custody.

But I wouldn’t have done it, had I known.

Because the damn meteor never hit.

September Shocks #9 – Gemma Paul

Voting is now open via a poll on our Facebook page. Deadline for votes is the end of September 13th.


By Gemma Paul

I hear this thumping. Faint, but there. This dum dum, dum dum, dum dum. It’s even, rhythmic, steady.

This isn’t my room.

I’m staying at a Motel, one of those off-the-beaten tracks ones in the middle of nowhere. Not my choice. The company I work for booked it for me. Cheapest they could get I guess.

I lie in bed listening to the thump. The noise becoming as irritating as a ticking clock. No matter how much I close my eyes and try to block it out… I can’t. It seems the deeper the night becomes the louder it gets.

I get out of bed intent on finding the noise. I reach for the light switch. Darkness still. The lights on the bedside clock are out too. I reach for my phone. Its screen lights up brightly, 1:58AM. I throw the covers back, shivering slightly as the cold room air hits me. I move towards the wardrobe, the one right by the door. The nearer I get the louder the noise.

I grab the handle of the wardrobe. The noise almost deafening as the thumping echos around my ears. I yank it open quick, it rocks on its hinges with the force. I move my phone inside to light up the space. It’s empty, only a small chest in the bottom.

I pull the chest out, it’s old with ornate carvings over the wooden casing. I lift the latch and slowly open the lid. The thumping gets faster, its verging on erratic now as I lift the lid higher. Light shines inside. There’s something there. It’s hard to tell just what in the dark with only my phone for light. It something roundish wrapped in paper, big enough to fit inside my palm. It’s soft with a handwritten note tied to it with brown string.

“Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

The girl this belongs to is dead,

And soon you will be too.”

Putting my phone down the light illuminating the room, I open the package pulling tentatively on the string. The note falls away landing on the duvet. The paper sticks to the object. It’s damp, sticky. I peel the paper away.

There’s a screaming, high-pitched, pain ridden. The thumping beating loud in my ears. The screaming stops, replaced by a gurgle.

I’m struggling to breathe. Blood trickles down my chin. I look down to see a large butchers knife sticking out of my chest and a heart in my hand beneath the paper. The thumping I can now feel against my ear as someone holds me up against their chest. Their heart is beating wildly. Fast, chaotic. I can feel it. Just as I can feel mine slowing. Dum….. dum……….dum……….

“Roses are red.” My eyes open wide as a deep gruff voice whispers, his hot breathe against my ear. “Violets are blue, You’re about to join the dead, And I’ll take your heart too.”

September Shocks #8 – Sheryl Anne Sanchez Lugtu

Voting is now open via a poll on our Facebook page. Deadline for votes is the end of September 13th.


Sheryl Anne Sanchez Lugtu

The darkness of the night lurks into the dewy atmosphere of the woods. It was 11 o’ clock in the evening and we are on our way home from the wake of Ka (Sister) Ibyang, a close family friend. We decided to pass by their house in hope to sip a single cup of coffee that they offer to the visitors. This would suffice to cover our hunger since we haven’t sold any of our kalakal (loots) today. I held tightly into the arms of Kuyang (Brother) as the cold wind blew.

He gave me a reassuring look. “Don’t be afraid. The aswang (Philippine Mythical Creature) is not true at all. I’ve been going home late since I started my new part time job. See, I am still alive,” he said as we continued walking.

“But, Kuyang, how can you explain the bodies of teenagers that were found around the Barrio lately. Kapitan (Town Officer) Lukas said that only an aswang could do such a horrible act, ” I argued.

Kuyang stopped walking. He put our kalakal down and faced me. He held my shoulders and looked at my eyes intently.

Buknoy, do not be afraid of the aswang for they are not your real enemies. Be afraid of an empty stomach for it will eventually kill you even before the aswang could.” I shrugged but did not argue with him at all.

We continued walking. My hands were wet and my heart was beating rapidly. I could sense that I was shaking but I ignored it. The rustling waters indicated that we were near the river bank. On the other side was our small cottage where our sick mother was waiting for us.

We were about to cross the river when we heard a noise. Chills went to my spine as a big shadow approached us. I stepped back, trembling and panting.

“Run as fast as you can, Buknoy. Call Kapitan! Hide and don’t look back,” Kuyang told me. His voice was filled with fear.

I ran as fast as I could in the opposite direction, trying to follow Kuyang‘s instruction.

My whole body was shaking and I could sense that I wet my pants. I stopped.

“Sorry, Kuyang,” I uttered. I cannot fight my curiosity anymore.

Gasping for air, I looked back and saw how the aswang pushed Kuyang to kneel, took the kalakal and pointed a gun into his head.

September Shocks #7 – Brian Mahon

Voting is now open via a poll on our Facebook page. Deadline for votes is the end of September 13th.


Brian C. Mahon

            Jacob anxiously stirred at his soggy, sugary cereal. Looking up, he quietly slipped off his stool when he caught his Mommy’s look and froze. She looked nice with her dark brown hair curled. She spent all morning working on it. Jacob didn’t know or care why. His attention was past the window above the sink, to the beautiful world.

            “I want to go outside, Mom,” he whined.

            She dried her hands, briskly stacked the cleaned salad plates to put them in the cupboard. Finished, she replied, “Are you done with breakfast, hon? You might just need that energy today.”

            “I’m not that hungry, but I promise to finish when I get back inside!” 

            She pursed her lips and walked over to him, putting an arm around his shoulder to kiss the top his head. Jacob could not see her close her eyes as she smelled his freshly washed hair. “Your cereal will taste awful by then. I’ll have some fruit ready for you. Go outside and say hello to the neighbors if you see them.”

            “I will!” he said hurriedly before bouncing off his chair and running out their townhome’s back door into a small, fenced in yard. Jacob ran to the corner post where he left his adventurer’s pack with all his prized possessions: plastic binoculars, magnifying glass, Swiss army knife, compass, and a small notepad with pencil. He quickly thumbed through to make sure they were all there. Smiling with just a bit of satisfaction, he threw the canvas bag’s strap over his shoulder and put his hands on his hips as heroically as the action movie heroes he loved. He walked around the yard and paused to run his hands across the grass blades, to feel the tender way they bent and shifted under his fingertips. He plucked a dandelion and three purple flowers from the yard. Jacob put them into his bag. No one else in their complex was outside. It was quiet outside. Jacob shrugged and look at the sky. It was different than yesterday. The red ball was closer, a lot closer than last night. Mommy said it was though, and she never smiled when she talked about it. Jacob grabbed the toy triceratops he left under their little patio grill and ran inside, hollering, “Mommy!”

            “Yes dear?” She was at the sink, leaning against the counter, looking through the window.

            “I got these for you, Mommy.” He handed her the flowers, and she hugged him, kissed his little cheek, tussled his hair.

            “Don’t forget to finish your breakfast, honey. Today could be a big day for us.”

            “I’ll finish it, Mommy. Love you,” Jacob said happily, returning her hug.

            “I love you too.” Jacob sat to finish his breakfast. Mommy watched the window. The big red ball continued to descend.

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