It began with masked nobles contained within castle walls, like pigs in the slaughterhouse. The music was mostly ignored, but if they listened closely, they would’ve wondered how something so elegant and refined can speak of death and chaos so lightly.
It began with music and masquerade.
Then massacre followed.
Sol Ibañez is a writer and illustrator quietly residing on an archipelago in Southeast Asia.
High Noon; the Kid faces Sundance. Fingers twitching, onlookers gathering. Quickdraw! Boom! 1860, the irons virtually explode in their mitts. Smoke, lead, everywhere. Recoil flattens the Killers. Two Mexicana bystanders lie dead.
An old Comanche watches, already telling how the Killers pumped each other full of lead and miraculously survived.
Peter Li-ping continues to travel, work, and rest in an arc which stretches North-East to North-West. But he feels the Great Light shines from the South West.
The pistol tucked in my waistband is a constant reminder of my vulnerability, the reason that I can never feel safe.
Sometimes I forget it’s there. Sometimes everything feels normal. But then I remember all at once: the gun, the people I’ve hurt, and the retribution that’s sure to come.
Ethan Noll writes short stories and poems. He hopes to have as many published as possible.
We cheerleaders chanted to the helmeted heroes: “Kick ’em in the stomach, kick ’em in the head! We want blood, red, red, red!”
A year later my quarterback got shot through the helmet in Vietnam and I was chanting to LBJ, asking how many kids he had killed that day.
Tom Hazuka has published three novels and over sixty-five short stories in Chariton Review, Florida Review, Quarterly West, Puerto del Sol, etc. He has edited or co-edited seven anthologies, including Flash Fiction, Flash Fiction Funny, and Flash Nonfiction Funny. Tom teaches literature and fiction writing at Central Connecticut State University. See more at tomhazuka.com.
Let him die. The authorities will see. Can you carry the world’s weight with a back full of lead? I see you. Stranger. Will you overthrow them? You tend his wounds, and now you’re the dying one. But another comes. Stranger. Tending your wounds. Perhaps you have overthrown much more.
Michael Hilton lives in Irving, Texas, where he watches a lot of TV.
Beneath the majestic Tora Bora Mountains he pulled the trigger, then trailed his quarry into a nearby cave. He leaned over and peered into the man’s dying eyes, and was startled when the Arab’s bloody hand rose slowly and gently touched his cheek.
He decided this was his last kill.
Henry F. Tonn is a soon-to-be-retired psychologist who once wrote an excellent novel about a woman with multiple personality disorder who became a serial killer. It had all the qualities that the reading public would presumably like. He webs at henrytonn.com.
The gun shots ring out in the night.
There is nothing I can do but hide and wait for this hell to be over.
When the morning comes I’ll leave this place forever, become a refugee, someone trying to escape this carnage.
Maybe some day I’ll be free at last.
Scott Gambon is a student at Orion High School in Illinois. He is 17 years old, the youngest of 4 siblings.
The girl was sick of running, then sick of hiding once she’d run.
The only person she trusted was the man in the nearby box. She never asked for a name.
As she lay there, battered, bruised, and fighting for her life, she wished she knew his name after all.
Harriet Dyer is a comedian and writer based in the UK.
Sarah donned her sunglasses and meanest look.
As she rode the bus into town, she checked her bag. Knife, gun, capsicum spray—everything was ready.
Six hours later, she headed home. Her glasses were broken, her weapons lay at the bottom of the canal, but she wore a satisfied smile.
Mark Farley eats ice cream with a teaspoon. He once got run over by a horse.
Jogging. Madman followed lady. Knifed her.
Rushed to her.
I held her wounds.
Stay with me. Name?
No! Love you.
I love you, Carole. Stay.
Sirens. Who called?
Carole stayed. My wife of 1,827 days. Debilitated. In wheelchair.
Nick Armbrister wrote this story.