The first week of October signaled the end of hurricane season. Or at least it should have. We were passed over by nearly every storm before Hurricane Patty hit us. That’s what Hayden said it was called. I never saw the reports: I wasn’t allowed to watch the news. Only Hayden was allowed to use the TV. “She’s a big bitch,” she told me. “Bigger on the radar than the state of Texas. Shit, that’s almost as big as you, Emma-Jean!” “That’s very funny, hun,” I said as she laughed.
Part I by Norma Gacy I guess this all started with the flu … or at least that’s what I thought it was. I’m not so sure anymore. I’m hesitant to share this experience because you’re going to think I’m nuts. I woke up a little over a week ago with a fever. Every part of me hurt and the sun was blinding. It set the motes of dust that fell between my bed and the window on fire with light.
I could write you a book about cleaning. If I did, it could have an entire section devoted to getting out your stains. I clean houses. I’m sort of a maid, I guess. I’ve learned a lot about people while doing this and the most important thing I’ve learned is that they’re pretty horrible. Including you. The second most important thing I’ve learned is keeping my mouth shut. I could tell you how to get the bloodstains out of the curtains at 4829 Barren Drive, Apartment 7 — but I probably shouldn’t. Nobody will ask anyway. There wasn’t a spot on them after I left. I cleaned up your mess. I keep your secrets.
They shone in the moonlight, scattered all directions on the sand. Glistening with the borrowed shine of distant stars. Some came in their slippers. The majority forged their way through the howling dark in socks or the bare feet they rose with. Abandoning their beds in the quiet dead of after-midnight, the hordes of somnambulists shuffled through the drifts of New Mexican desert sand, painted black by dark. From every compass point, the masses shared one destination.
I got into an argument with my friend Wil on Facebook last week while I was supposed to be working overnight security at the zoo. It’s an easy job: nobody ever breaks in and the animals never break out. I literally get paid to spend my entire shift writing horror stories sometimes, and if I’m not doing that, I’m watching Netflix or porn on my phone. I wish what I was about to tell you was just more of my fiction. I wish it weren’t true.
Part I Dad’s Doll by Kyle Harrison My brothers and I grew up in the trailer park version of the Playboy Mansion. Our dad, or as he likes to be called even by us- Big Poppa- was not Hugh Hefner. Not even by a long shot. He was a twisted sick and perverted old man that died as he lived, fucking everything in sight. When he died Adam was the one to give me the call. He was dad’s favorite so that made a lot of sense.
I dug for what seemed like hours. Hours and hours of clawing through dirt that varied between hard clay and the sort of thinning sand that normally makes its home on river-bottoms. Silt that sifted through my hands down and away as I went. That voice: I kept hearing that voice within my head as it repeated those words to me. I tried my best to ignore it, but it was often unbearable.
Dear Jack, I’m not coming back. Please don’t try to find me. I had so many things that I wanted to say to you but I couldn’t for obvious reasons. I didn’t leave this note at the house, which was for obvious reasons also. I hope that one of your friends finds this somehow and gets it to you. I left because I’m afraid of you. I never thought I would say something like that. You are the best and worst thing that ever happened to me.
My brother is Officer Jake Swanson. He’d just graduated from the academy…only just earned his badge. He’d begun his first shift with his field training officer, when about an hour in they responded to a call from a pair of campers They went to that house in the woods. It was his first and last day on the job when he made the gruesome discovery that should be national news. It isn’t being reported. At least not in the way it should be.
I would like to start by saying, there are a lot of bad people in the world, but I am certainly not in their company. I am a good person. I recycle, I pay my taxes and I donate to the LGBTQ Youth shelter downtown. For Craig to call me a turd, if it weren’t so impossibly ironic, was audacious.