FEATURED SHORT STORIES
Jackson groaned, arm twitching from having fallen asleep, cursing that he’s somehow slept on his neck wrong. Muttering, he swore he would never again let Jed subject his Saturday mornings to the aftermath that inevitably occurs with just the right mixture of vermouth and mezcal over the course of one evening. Bracing himself for the bright light of day, Jackson attempted to raise his right hand to cover his eyes but couldn’t lift his arms.
Eyes snapping open, he winced and heart racing, began to hyperventilate as he realized he was tied to a wrought iron lawn chair surrounded by pink hydrangeas. Flaky white paint peeled off the chair as he tugged his arms frantically trying to get out of--were those Hermes scarves?! Jackson leaned down to get closer and inspect the material.
Leaves crunched behind him, and Jackson straightened and tried to remember how to breathe. He saw a young woman wearing sky blue Oxfords and bold red lipstick. Jackson waited for her to speak. She sighed quietly, “Just so you know, this is incredibly unusual for me to really meet people like, well, you face-to-face…”
They trudged along the overpass, burning their belongings as they went. Limping along with nothing but their children’s hands clutched in their own. The wreckage of satellites torn apart upon entrance back into the atmosphere scattered in sharp, twisted pieces, glinting in the sunlight. Several pieces were still glowing hot, smoking and giving the air a hazy sheen.
He heard children wailing, their tears running in clear tracks, muddying the dirt and soot on their faces. A man pulled a young girl along by the straps of her pink overalls, one of the ribbons holding her hair in pigtails trailing behind her. Her light up shoes scrabbled uselessly against the dirt as she screamed, words lost amongst the cacophony of grief and outrage.
They came from miles around, trudging along towards an unknown destination, just feeling the need to get away. To crawl into whatever shelter they could find further south along the interstate and lick their wounds. There would be no bodies to mourn. No possessions to clutch tight in comfort beyond their own flesh and blood. And some wouldn’t even have that…
Place Your Bets
Stevie gleefully made his way past the whirring slot machines and blinking lights. He was feeling lucky and it took no skill to perch in a chair and insert a coin here, pull a lever there. Utterly boring without a smidge of a real challenge. Cross your fingers for good luck and be done with it.
The poor sots who let themselves get entranced at the machines were easy prey. He scoffed at the foolish women muttering prayers to the godless chrome casino as he made his way towards the tables.
Knocking back his double shot of bourbon, Stevie slid into a plush seat and winked at the dealer. The dealer greeted him with a blank stare. Unfit for customer service that one. Not even a nod to acknowledge an honest gambler’s presence. Stevie glanced over at his fellow gambler three chairs over and rolled his eyes, but only received a suspicious glare from his beady eyed table-mate. The villainous little man looked him over and proceeded to aggressively stack ten chips and push them forward towards the middle of the table…