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Terrific Tales

by Gary Hoffman


Jacob was sweating and his stomach felt nauseated, but his Uncle Leo always made him nervous at these meetings. He watched as his uncle did his usual slow dance over his ledger books. The old man would run his finger down each row of columns and then look up at Jacob and give him a half-smile when he got to the bottom. He seemed to have a calculator in his head.

{ 3 comments }

by Amy Denton


Bride of the Rat God?” I asked Michael Beinecke, eying him across the low bookshelf that separated us.
“Absolutely,” Michael replied, disappearing from view for a few moments then reappearing with a handful of sodden paper that he stuffed in a trash bag. “This is disgusting.”

{ 7 comments }

by Tom Raber


“We’ll kill him July Fourth. Think, Dummy, think. All the firecrackers going off, a gunshot will blend right in. We kill him in plain sight, or I should say, plain sound.”

{ 6 comments }

by Gail Farrelly


Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.
That was more than two years ago. They haven’t been seen since.
Okay, okay, strictly speaking, the twins didn’t go to “fetch a pail of water.” It didn’t happen exactly like the nursery rhyme.

{ 7 comments }

by Margaret Mendel


Pop died suddenly. There were no warnings. He had slightly elevated blood pressure and the doctor said he was pre-diabetic, but with diet and standard meds there didn’t seem to be anything to worry about. I guess when your time’s up, there’s not much you can do about it.

{ 15 comments }

by Joan Leotta


John scanned the crowd. He stopped his survey when he noticed a tall, willowy redhead looking at him. Red was partially encircled by several of the conference’s mostly male attendees. They were obviously entranced by her smile and her form-fitting green wool dress. Her emerald gaze, however, looked beyond her coterie of admirers.

{ 2 comments }

by John M. Floyd


Catherine Munsen was less than thrilled about her job. In fact, until the day she met Frank Goodman, she thought it was downright boring.
Catherine was a part-time teller at the Marshlands Bank in Gulf Springs, Mississippi. Her actual position, though not recorded anywhere on her job description sheet, was a combination of teller and secretary and supply sergeant. The only thing she was not allowed to do was process loans.

{ 9 comments }

by Maddie Davidson


Jake swore loudly as he tripped over a rock and nearly fell. His legs felt like rubber, his back ached from carrying a fifty-pound backpack, and he had lost track of how many hours they had been hiking. Pausing to catch his breath, he watched Alicia bounding ahead of him on the path as assuredly as a mountain lion stalking her prey.

{ 1 comment }

by Alan Cook


When George pulled his beat-up Toyota into his mother’s driveway, there was a shiny new car already parked there he didn’t recognize. Then he saw the “T” logo and realized it must be a Tesla. His twin sister, Georgia, had to be here already. Teslas weren’t big in this town. She must have rented it when she flew in from the East Coast. Could you even rent a Tesla in Nowheresville?

{ 2 comments }

by Kate Fellowes


“What do you think happened here?” Officer Robert Packard asked, gesturing to the remains of a blaze, recently extinguished.
Fire hoses spread across the parking lot of Al’s Auto Parts. Smoke drifted into the air

{ 2 comments }

by Diana Hockley


The little beady-eyed creep irritated the hell out of me. If he hadn’t been one heck of a technician, I would have had him transferred to another department. Much as I liked to hear the figures on the monitors squeal, prolonged listening got old pretty quickly.

{ 2 comments }

by Nina Mansfield


The beach was so crowded it was hard for Alex to find a spot for her thighs. The debate played out in her head—sit closer to the parking lot or closer to the water. Where would the glare from her thighs be less blinding? She planted her beach chair on a patch of sand not far from her car, and regretted it later, when, after just a few minutes in the sun, she had overheated and needed to take a dip. She had to waddle on the rocky sand past the group of men, who she couldn’t quite decide if they were straight or gay.

{ 4 comments }

by Guy Belleranti


The writer’s dinner was in full swing when I leaned close to Chelsea Yates and told her I felt ill and had to leave.
“Oh, Amanda, must you?” Chelsea’s hazel eyes fastened on me, disappointment clouding her face.
Afraid so, Ms. Perfect Mystery Writer, I wanted to say, but didn’t. I had something better planned for her, something that would put a little crimp in her pocketbook, and a bulge in mine.

{ 3 comments }

by Will Zeilinger


The last thing I needed was to wake up to a yapping dog. Not on the morning after St. Patrick’s Day. I hadn’t thrown a party like that since my college days and the hangover I had was a killer. I managed to get both eyes open and drag my sorry ass out of bed to find out what was getting Lardass worked up.

{ 3 comments }

Old #32: Mystery Short Story

IN THE March 4 ISSUE

FROM THE 2017 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by Gary Hoffman


I got my job as a batboy with the Pine City Pinkies not because my old man was somebody important, but because I didn’t have one. Most batboys are hired because their old man knows someone or is an important person in the community. Mine left me and my mom when I was two years old. May 13, 1950, was the date he bailed out for “parts unknown to seek his fortune.” Mom still gets dumpy when that date rolls around every year.

{ 3 comments }

by Gail Farelly



He’s the worst, the absolute worst. I’ve always hated bullies, and he’s no exception. His name is Bob; to me, he’s Bully Bob. He’s in a bad mood tonight. So what’s new? When he’s in a bad mood, that’s bad news for me. I have to pay the price. He manhandles me, as he sees fit and really pushes my buttons. Hard. Much too hard. I’m amazed that all my parts are still in working order. I only wish that his weren’t.

{ 9 comments }

She Always Stopped: A Short Story

IN THE February 18 ISSUE

FROM THE 2017 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by Selika Maria Sweet


Gracie Lou crossed the Pearl River Bridge on the way from her hangout, the coffee shop in Jackson, Mississippi, across from the medical center. It occurred to her that the bridge separated more than just the cities of Jackson and Pearl; crossing it was like going across a racial twilight zone. Jackson was mostly African American and Pearl was mostly white.

{ 7 comments }

by Andrew Welsh-Huggins


He breezed into the restaurant fifteen minutes late with a rush of apologies, his cologne strong and his distraction stronger.
Traffic was such a bitch. I’m so sorry.” He made a show of crossing over to kiss her on the cheek even as she was still rising from her chair, as though oblivious to what people in the crowded restaurant thought. Out of the corner of her eye she saw more than one woman send an approving glance their way.

{ 6 comments }

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