By Micki Peluso
On a balmy summer night something awoke Vera. The lighted digital clock read 4 AM. She jabbed her husband sharply in the ribs.
” Hank, do you hear that heavy breathing sound? Think it might be the black bear planning on a snack from the garbage cans?”
“No, he mumbled. It’s just the house breathing.”
“I don’t believe you just said that.”
“I’ve told you it’s an evil house. It often breathes during the night.” He rolled over and went back to sleep.
Their five kids, all teenagers, swore there were ghosts in the house, but Vera figured it was just poltergeist activity from raging teenage hormones. She felt so protected and peaceful in her lovely old home.
“The house wants Mom”, the kids insisted.
Nonsense, their mother told them. Vera did not notice that she rarely left the confines of the house, and was developing agoraphobia–fear of leaving the house. Hank’s new job in another state changed that, relieving the kids and breaking Vera’s heart.
On moving day, the house was emptied; truck loaded. Vera went back one last time to bid farewell and make sure everything was gone. She ventured up into the attic where most of the kids had slept. The attic door, which always stuck, swung shut, locking her in. Vera ran to the window to call out to Hank. There was no sign of her family; the countryside was set in another time or dimension. Vera stifled a scream. The old house breathed in deep contentment. It had waited centuries to get Vera back. No one would ever take her away again. Vera turned to see antiquated furniture surrounding her. She smiled; sat in an old rocking chair and rocked. The house breathed one last sigh . . . relieved. Vera was home at last.
Micki Peluso started writing as a response to grief. . . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG, which won the Nesta CBC silver award for writing that makes a change in the world, shares the story of her daughter’s death and the family’s movement towards recovery. Since then Micki has written humor, horror, and much more. Read more about her at (Add a URL)
DECISION ON THE EVENGELINE
By Delinda McCann
Captain Hera opened a com-channel to A’Damirea. “Hera, captain of the Evengeline to His Excellency Martar. We achieved orbit, Sir.” As she waited for a gravi-connection, she debated for the thousandth time should she follow orders or should she follow her own instincts?
Finally, a voice came over the gravi-com system. Even distorted with static, she recognized Marta’s warm voice. “The prisoners, their condition is what?”
Captain Hera fought to keep contempt for her charges out of her words. “The passengers are fit for transport to the surface.”
“Did you have any trouble?”
She refused to tell this gentle soul that the brutal rebels had kept the medic team busy repairing broken bones, split skulls and internal injuries until engineering devised a system for confining the prisoners to quarters. “Nothing of significance, Sir. The landing pods are prepared whenever you issue the command to commence transport.”
“Another option I wish we found, but peace is essential to continued existence. Commence transport.”
Finally, the time came for Hera to decide. Should she send the whole lot of murderous renegades down to form one colony per orders, or should she set them down in small groups separated by thousands of miles, or oceans, or mountains. She knew in her gut that they faced a greater chance of survival where they couldn’t get at each other.
Captain Hera inspected each readied pod. Procrastination ceased to be an option. She took a deep breath and ordered, “Deploy the pods in a scattered pattern encompassing the whole planet.”
Before each pod launched, she offered her blessing by kissing her fingers and touching the code that identified the pod belonging to the A’Damirea system and the ship Evengeline–A’Dam-Eve.
Delinda McCann is a social psychologist with years of working with at risk individuals in the field. She also runs a small flower farm and is an avid if inaccurate musician. She started writing when she got her second cancer diagnosis. Her work with at-risk populations has inspired her writing. Currently she has published four books. They can be found on her web site: http://delindalmccann.weebly.com/index.html
LOOKING FOR PEACE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES
By Sal Butacci
The question we spend our lives asking is “Who am I?” In our search we do our best to piece the puzzle together so the final answer –– if it can be learned at all –– will bring much needed peace in our lives.
Baptized when I was weeks young, I spent the better part of my years a nominal Christian, the kind who offers lip service to the church but in his heart lurk doubts or at least uncertainties. I not only wanted to know the deepest me, the individual beyond name and profession, but what would become of me at the end of my earthly tenure. In other words, would I lie in my grave, dead and forgotten, or would the soul I was taught lived inside me move on to a continuation of who I am?
Like many seekers who have lost loved ones, I wanted to reconnect with them, even for a few minutes, so that I could be reassured they still existed somewhere beyond the life from which they had so sadly departed.
I read whatever books and articles I could get my hands on that offered what their authors insisted was truth. Looking back now, I realize I ventured into dangerous territory because I summoned spirits and twice they came: a sinister old woman in black; a boy-faced dog growling at the foot of my bed. I believe Satan sent them to me.
My mother’s prayers brought me back to God. I began reading the Bible, relying solely on the promises of Christ. For certain there is another life after this, and if I live as Christ taught, the who I am will spend eternity with the angels and saints, praising Him there forever.
Salvatore Buttaci is a retired teacher and professor whose work has appeared in The Writer, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere here and abroad. He was the 2007 recipient of the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award.
Buttaci’s recent flash-fiction collection, 200 Shorts, published by All Things That Matter Press, is available at http://www.amazon.com/200-Shorts-ebook/dp/B004YWKI8O/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369920397&sr=1-2&keywords=200+Shorts
He lives with his loving wife Sharon in West Virginia.
FLASH BULLETIN: Today’ s the perfect day to order copies:
FLASHING MY SHORTS
A FAMILY OF SICILIANS…
IF ROOSTERS DON’T CROW…
THE DAY BEFORE
By Bryan Murphy
“I’m getting out of here for a day. Want to come?”
It was natural for Cardinal Healy to have struck up a friendship with Cardinal Varela. Not only were they by far the youngest at the Conclave, they were also both from the New World.
Cardinal Varela coughed, then answered, “I am with you. But how?”
“I know some hidden passages.” Healy’s eyes gleamed with more than the slight fever he had picked up.
“They will miss us, no?”
“No. There’s nothing on today. Just the Chamberlain droning on about procedure.”
And so they went.
However, the Chamberlain, Cardinal Grugliasco, did not drone on about procedure. He was brief and to the point.
“I am joyful to announce my conversion to the one true, true faith. Islam. For which I shall be a martyr. I have taken on a virus that will soon kill me. We are taking this rare opportunity to eliminate the foremost members of our main rival. Most of you already have the virus, and it will kill you, too. All of you. It dies with its host, so it will spread no further; we are not mass murderers. I urge you to convert, to turn your pointless deaths into meaningful martyrdoms. If you do, you will receive the martyrs’ rewards in Paradise.”
While the few Cardinals who still had the strength were slowly beating Grugliasco to death, Healy and Varela were tucking into rich Italian cuisine in a crowded Roman restaurant.
“Sure, it’s good to be alive at a time like this.”
“Indeed.” Varela reached for his handkerchief yet again. “Life is wonderful!”
Bryan Murphy is a man of Kent who lives in Italy. Since retiring from his most recent job, as a translator within the United Nations system, he has concentrated on his own words, publishing many poems and several e-books. He welcomes visitors at http://www.bryanmurphy.eu . You can find his books here: http://bit.ly/19vt7Ts .
A MATTER OF LAW
By R.L. Cherry
Rik rested his cheek against the cold stock of his rifle, looking through the scope watching the predator warily edging through the trees in the glen below. It stopped and drank from the stream and Rik rested his finger on the trigger.
Kal shook his head. He had been watching the animal of prey through his riflescope as well, but never put his finger on the trigger. “You’re insane. That’s an endangered species. We’d be in a lot of trouble if you get caught, you know.”
“Caught?” Rik let out a short laugh and glanced around before putting his eye back to the scope. “We’re out in the middle of the Rockies in January. No game warden is out here. Besides, that whole ‘endangered species’ bit is insane, not me. I’m saving the innocent animals it’ll kill.”
The crack of the .300 magnum rifle echoed like a sonic boom as the heavy gun bucked against Rik’s shoulder. The bullet hit the beast of prey, the impact slamming it to the ground.
Rik sat up and rested the butt of his rifle on the granite. “Damn thing moved just as I fired.” He glanced at the sun, just descending behind a mountain. “Too late to go after it now.”
“That was a gut shot. You’re going to just let it bleed to death? It could take hours.” Kal stood. “That’s even worse than shooting it. We’ve got to go down and finish it off.”
“Is that another one of your laws?” Rik sneered.
“No, that’s the right thing to do.”
As Paul Harvey would stay, stay tuned for the Rest of the Story. R.L. Cherry gives us the chilling ending to his story at http://www.rlcherry.com/brevity-is-the-soul-of-wit-short-stories/matter-law/
As a native Californian, R.L. Cherry spent most of his life in the Golden State. However, the five years he lived on the Isle of Man in the British Isles not only gave him many ideas for his writing, but also a less Americentric perspective. He now resides in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, Gold Rush country.
(Rhody’s in bloom)
He began writing fiction when he was in high school in the form of short stories. Most were of a futuristic/sci-fi theme. Although he never actively pursued having them published at the time, he has had several in ezines lately. Under his “Ron Cherry” byline, he has written a column on classic cars and hot rods for The Union newspaper in Grass Valley, CA, for over six years.
He has two books available, Christmas Crackerhttp://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Cracker-ebook/dp/B008LY2N8Y/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369503152&sr=1-2), which has SoCal P.I. Morg Mahoney solving a case of kidnapping and murder in Northern England, and Foul Shot (http://www.amazon.com/Foul-Shot-ebook/dp/B00CZ1PEZI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369503054&sr=1-1&keywords=foul+shot), the story of Chicago Police detective Vince Bonelli and the woman who rips through his life with passion and issues that threaten to destroy him and all he holds dear.
Read more about R.L. Cherry and his writing at www.rlcherry.co