All-You-Can-Eat Special

There’s dust on the ledges, but not on the tables, and definitely not on the gold dragon statue by the front door that almost no one remembers to rub for good luck. 

And neither of them have ever put their hands on it. No, instead they come in even before the buffet is fully set, look the Dragon straight in its opal eye and grimace, their heads thinking “here’s another day yet!”

“Still giving us plates, heh?” they say to Meng, whose name I know but they do not. He will be back to fill their coffee twice, sometimes three times, but they won’t speak again. Some things do not change, even in 20 years.

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Baths haven’t been allowed for a long time ‘cause there isn’t enough water. But I’ve been saving my rations a whole year for a real good cause.

My sister, Sana.

It’s not that she’s dirtier than the rest of us or anything. We’re all yucky and smelly and hungry. It’s more ‘cause the stuff she’s had to deal with from Mama now she’s 13.

I didn’t drink any of the water Mama gave us to celebrate that birthday. Not with Sana using her share for tears in the next room while Mama scraped.

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Nothing.

No…it didn’t start here. Not with the pissed man clutching a crushed beer can in fear on his knees. Not with the other over the wall…somewhere…split. 

After all, it’s only been how many hours? since I stopped staring at the blank wall of the TV. Only so many hours since I’d finally started listening to that other voice, like I should have been all along. I just walked out of the house and into the concrete cold, aiming for the usual trip to the WORLD’s BIGGEST MALL, or so it was once. That should have been the nothing of it. 

And then the surprises came.  

“M-mac…?”

Nothing much else comes out of him, the beer-piss puddle beneath the man growing as grows the effects of the adrenaline I know I can’t let go of now, no, not now. Not ever. There wasn’t a “going back”. I’d already let go. 

No, it didn’t start here. 

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Third Annual Face Your Fears Short Story Draw

What’s October without Spooky Stories?

About this time last year, over 50 contestants braved their worst fears by entering them into my Face Your Fears Short Story Draw. Now you, just like Rob (last year’s winner), have the chance to win a short story that leaves you at the mercy of your worst fear. He was most scared of fungus…what are you afraid of?

Whether privately or publicly, submit your name and worst fear by commenting below, or messaging directly via email, instagram, or twitter. All entries received by midnight on October 9, 2019 will be collected in a hat and drawn at random, with results posted the morning of October 10th, 2019.

Competition Closed: This Year’s Short Story Coming Soon!


Curious to read last year’s story?

Read “Devil’s Fingers” below.

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