Monday, 30 April 2012

BOTTLED IN CHICAGO by DB Cox

DB Cox returns to TKnC with this atmospheric tale of driftin'...

BOTTLED IN CHICAGO
--- For Rod Serling and Charles Beaumont


Robert Bro Brown stands in front of the Club Indigo, “windy-city” cold blowing into his bloodshot eyes. How long since he’s closed his eyes - months, maybe even years. He looks up and down the boulevard - not a car in sight. Quiet, except for the sound of a dog howling in the distance.

Mournful wailing. The baying of a hound tracking a scent.

A shiver tracks his spine. Bro reaches inside his overcoat pocket, pulls out a bottle, and downs the dregs. He wipes his lips with his sleeve and drops the empty into the gutter. The bottle does not break. It spins around on its side a couple of times and comes to a stop - bottleneck pointing in his direction. Mephisto Gin - Bottled in Chicago. Bro picks up his guitar and turns toward the club entrance.

*****
At a little past 9:30 P.M., Bro, carrying his ancient guitar case, walks through the front door of Club Indigo. The bald bouncer glances up from his chair and waves him through.

Robert Brown is dragging around a lot of history. He was once a sideman with the great Howlin’ Wolf, and in the 1950s, he recorded two solo albums, “A Minor Blues” and “Whiskey Talking.” Both of these albums were once considered to be blues classics. Now, mostly forgotten, he works as a bar musician playing a style of blues shaped by the great Mississippi Delta players like Charley Patton - one man with an acoustic guitar - nowhere to hide.

Bro walks slowly down the entranceway that leads into the club. He eyes the assorted old photos of renowned blues performers that line the wall to his right - familiar faces from a better time and a better place. On the opposite wall, Club Indigo jackets, t-shirts, and caps, in various colors, hang like masterpieces in a museum.

Inside, the bar is a fusion of neon beer signs, tinted lights, and cigarette smoke. The booths are like something from the 1950s.

As Bro makes his way through a group of people chatting in front of the bar, Shaky Jake, one of the club managers, is on stage with a microphone giving his usual pre-show pitch:

“Ladies and gentleman, I want to remind you to tip your waitresses and bartenders, who are working real hard for you. And don’t forget to pick up a blues souvenir! We have T-shirts, baseball caps, and jackets. We also have CDs by famous Chicago blues artists. In the meantime, sit tight, because the great bluesman, Robert Brown, will be out shortly!”

Bro walks past the stage and into the dressing room - a cheap panel and plaster hangout for the band during breaks. Almost every inch of wall-space is covered with graffiti left by the hundreds of unknown bar musicians that have passed through over the years. On the wall, somebody has scrawled:

“We’re still getting the blues and Clapton’s still getting the money.”

John Keyes, the club owner, is sitting at a small table in the middle of the room. He has an empty whiskey glass in his hand.

“Nice to see you, Mr. Brown,” says Keyes.

He gets up, walks over to where Bro is leaning on his guitar case, and says,

“Robert, you and I have to talk.”

“What about?” asks Bro.

“Business,” says Keyes, “We can’t afford to go on any longer, the way we’re going now. Times are bad. The crowd is down. The club has got to make a change.”

“And I’m the change,” says Bro.

“Listen Robert, you’re a great, old blues musician, but there’s no audience for traditional, black, blues guys. Hell, I couldn’t even sell Robert Johnson these days. The young audience wants to hear electric guitar slingers, like Stevie Ray. You know what I mean.”

Bro stares directly into John Keyes’ eyes and smiles. For a few seconds, everything in the room moves away. A white light breaks like a wave over Bro’s brain, and stops just behind his eyes - a blurred message. And then, just as quickly, it's gone.

“Yeah, John. I know what you mean.”

Bro props his guitar in the corner and walks out - headed for the bar.

*****

Bro tries to recall the bartender’s name, then gives up and calls out:

“Barkeep, what about another double?”

“Hey man, aren’t you Robert Brown, the blues musician?” someone says behind him.

Bro turns on his stool and looks into the face of a young black man. He has on a White Sox baseball cap twisted to one side. He’s certain that he’s never seen this man before.

“Yeah, I guess I am.”

“I’m Stick James,” the man says, as if the name might mean something, “You might have heard of me. I’m a RAP artist for Scratch Records.”

“Well Mr. James, there’s a goddamn artist on every street corner in every city, and I’ve never heard of you. So, how is it that you know me?”

“Oh, I recognize the face from your album cover. You’re a little gray around the edges, but I’d know you anywhere - your face is burned into my brain.”

“Bullshit, says Bro, “I didn’t make but two records, and you don’t look like you’re old enough to have owned either one.”

“I didn’t, but my father did. He had ’em both - loved ‘em madly. And when he took to the highway, those old records were all he left behind.”

Bro turns, stares into the bar-length mirror, and says nothing.

“You know, Mr. Brown, my mother played those two albums until the grooves were smooth as a baby’s butt - the perfect background music for an alcoholic junky to wallow in.”

When he gets no reply from Bro, he continues his rant.

“Yeah, ain’t nothing sets the proper mood like some good ol’ chicken-shack, chicken-shit, juke-joint slave music. Man, all that hard living you sing about, I’m surprised to see you’re still around.”

Bro feels something inside coming unraveled, and this time the message is plain.

“Kid, if I were you, I wouldn’t push it any further,” says Bro.

But Stick James, RAP artist, can’t stop talking.

“Fact is, I’ve never known who to hate more, my would-be father, or you and your blues crap. If my mother’s habit hadn’t finally killed her, she’d probably still be drinking, shootin’ up, and playing those sorry-ass records of yours.”

Bro moves inside himself - beyond the possibility of reason. He slides his right hand down to his boot, pulls up the leg of his pants, and finds the handle of a survival knife. He spins on the barstool and jams the blade all the way in and back out of Stick James’ chest.

The wounded man opens his mouth as if to scream, but instead begins to howl - lupine eyes burning yellow in the dark.

Bro drops the bloody knife on the barroom floor. Oblivious of the woeful sound, he closes his eyes and considers the meaning of eternity - ceaseless existence without a break. The jukebox in the corner plays:

I got to keep moving, I got to keep moving
Blues falling down like hail, blues falling down like hail
And the day keeps on remindin’ me
There’s a hellhound on my trail…


*****

Robert Bro Brown stands in front of the Club Indigo, “windy-city” cold blowing into his bloodshot eyes. How long since he’s closed his eyes - months, maybe even years. He looks up and down the boulevard - not a car in sight. Quiet, except for the sound of a dog howling in the distance.

Mournful wailing. The baying of a hound tracking a scent.

A shiver tracks his spine. Bro reaches inside his overcoat pocket, pulls out a bottle, and downs the dregs. He wipes his lips with his sleeve and drops the empty into the gutter. The bottle does not break. It spins around on its side a couple of times and comes to a stop - bottleneck pointing in his direction. Mephisto Gin - Bottled in Chicago. Bro picks up his guitar and turns toward the club entrance…..

________________________________

BIO: DB Cox is a blues musician/writer from South Carolina. His poems and short stories have been published extensively in the small press, in the US, and abroad. 

He has published five books of poetry: “Passing For Blue,” “Lowdown,” “Ordinary Sorrows,” “Nightwatch,” and “Empty Frames.” Rank Stranger Press recently published his new collection of short stories, called “Unaccustomed Mercy.” 

He has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

DOORWAYS by A.J. KIRBY


Let's all give Andy a warm welcome with this unmissable beaut of a d├ębut...



Doorways



The doorway smells phone-boxy. I see him wrinkle his nose and consider whether it is me who smells phone-boxy. On account of my charity shop coat I suppose. And the rather unbecoming beanie hat I’m wearing. I wrinkle my nose too, just to make sure he recognises I’m not, no matter how I’m dressed, comfortable in a place like this. That I’m making the best of it, just as he is.  Just as my son Robbie has been.

The rain is almost horizontal, angling into us, pushing us further back into the shop doorway to escape it. It’s windy too, it buffets against the station’s one, lonely sign, causing it to creak back and forth on its hinges. And if the wind is doing that to the rather permanent-looking sign, then I can only imagine what it will be doing to the ‘Welcome Home’ bunting which I’ve left above the front door. But that’s one thing to be thankful for, I reckon. The bunting was a terrible idea anyway. Doesn’t make sense; for one, here isn’t home, and for two, I’m not sure if Robbie will be especially welcome. Not yet.

The doorway man glances at me, offers a fleeting smile. Then his eyes flee to his watch. I try to peer over his shoulder, see exactly how late the train is this side. I can’t believe they’ve not got a big clock on the platform. They always have big clocks on platforms, I thought. But then, I thought platforms were supposed to have sheltered areas too. And there’s neither. Just the shop, in which I can see one of the sales assistants clearing up the day’s mess. Taking her time about it too, as though she’s waiting for the rain to slacken off a little.

He looks at his watch again. And once more I try to glance over his shoulder. He must feel my presence though, because he jerks his head round, and for a moment, there’s fire in his eyes, like I’ve distracted him from something. And then, quickly, he covers up the fire. Just like Robbie used to do.

‘Nice night to be out,’ he says. He doesn’t say it ironically or mournfully, just flat. And yet my heart leaps. How can he know? He must see my eyes widen in alarm, for he adds, ‘Only thing worse than the British weather is the British train system.’

Relax. Out can mean anything.

I nod out at the lashing rain. ‘My son used to ask me if rain like this was God crying.’ And for the life of me I don’t know why I said that, about Robbie. I don’t generally bring him up.

‘Oh yeah?’ says the man. ‘Suppose God could be too, day like this… ’ He shakes his head. A few drips of water fly off. ‘It’s siling though isn’t it?’

            And straight away I know this doorway man is from Hull. Siling’s a proper East Riding term. The thought he is from Hull doesn’t necessarily fill me with pleasure. I look at him with a little more interest now. And realise he was in the shop with me earlier as the assistant was trying to shepherd us out the door. Studying the evening edition of the paper, he was. It’s a long time since I’ve read a newspaper. It’s a long time since I’ve read anything apart from my romances. This doorway man though. Looks like he reads a lot. Maybe he’s a student. Few years younger than Robbie. Hard to tell. Certainly his eyes look… Well, in one of my romances, they’d have been described as dark pools into which one could plunge. They look full of knowledge. Most of the rest of him is covered. He has a cap pulled down low, the peak shadowing his forehead. A scarf rolled up over his chin. The scarf is steaming, it is that damp.

            It dawns on me we are waiting for the same train. ‘Where you headed?’

‘Nowhere in particular,’ he says, pulling a sodden Platform Ticket out of the back pocket of his jeans. ‘Waiting for someone.’

‘Snap,’ I say, pulling out my own. ‘I’m waiting for someone too.’ Have been a long time, I don’t add. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a conversation with anyone and I need to start re-learning boundaries again. What doorways I can and cannot cross. This is officially the longest chat since the estate agent showed me around the new place in the new town. Before that there was Denise at my old work, asking all those questions about Robbie being in the army and then, in the end starting that collection for him… Too much.

The doorway man awkwardly proffers a hand. ‘Clive,’ he says. ‘As in Sullivan. TheYorkshire cricketer.’

‘Kirst… Kirst-ie,’ I mumble, adding the last bit because Kirst sounds a little bit too close to the truth when I say it out loud. Not that I get to say it out loud much. Not that I haven’t been doing my own solitary. My husband never spoke at all after Robbie left. Clammed up. And then one day he left, and in his note, it said ‘I don’t know how you can live with it.’ Which meant with him. With the knowledge of what Robbie had done. And there was part of me which couldn’t comprehend how my son could have done such a thing. With those hands which used to fit round my little finger. With those hands which used to reach for me as though I was his whole world, or at least his doorway to the whole world. With those hands which later I’d try to drag away from the plug socket after a toaster fire. With those hands which then became skilled at finding the knives, even though I locked them away in one of the top cupboards. Oh but they were Robbie’s hands, that was the point. That was always the point. My husband, Robbie’s father, couldn’t grasp it. But men are like that. Men do not understand about ties that bind, about what it means for me to have incarcerated my son in the cell of my womb for a nine-month stretch. Son probably got Stockholm Syndrome for me, his warder. I got whatever the vice-versa of that is…

I know the next logical question will be, so who are you waiting for then? And I’m already rehearsing in my head those practiced lines. About Robbie having been away in the armed forces the past eight years. I’ve even done some research into Yorkshire regiments. Where they ‘do their time’. That sort of thing. Back in the old place, which in itself was a new place, I sometimes got a little carried away though. Inventing daring escapades for him and the like. Across the doorway, in my pretend world, there was talk of the Victoria Cross. Eventually, there was talk of an injury too, which would see him sent home at last. Hence the collection Denise got going. ‘Help for Heroes’. A thought which made me choke back my tea and leave the job as soon as I possibly could. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred pounds.

So the next question could have been a real taxer. But it isn’t. Instead, the doorway man, Clive – though he looks too young for a Clive really – says, ‘So do you live around here?’

And I heave a sigh of relief. ‘Temporarily.’

He nods, understands.

‘Are you a student then?’ I ask.

He sighs. Lowers his head a little as though the rain which is creating such a ruckus on top of the shop is actually beating down on his cap. ‘Was,’ he says. ‘I left. Other things became… more important.’

‘I know what you mean,’ I say.

He looks balefully at the ‘No Smoking’ sign on the wall, and then up at the CCTV camera up there on its eyrie hanging from one of the roof beams. ‘Weather like this, nobody’d even smell the smoke. I’m gasping. Must be the stress or something.’

I’m not sure what he’s driving at, but I tell him that if we kind of crook ourselves further into the doorway, standing back to back, then he can have his smoke and I’ll be blocking him from the camera.

‘Really?’ he says.

‘Sure, why not,’ I shrug.

And so now we’re stood back to back, him looking up the track, me looking back down it. Which feels strangely apt. It also feels weirdly like a confessional booth. We’re talking, but we can’t see, don’t hardly know the other person, and so we’re freer.

‘Where’s your son? I mean, what does he do?’ asks Clive, suddenly. ‘Apart from talk about God crying?’

In my moment’s pause, I hear the loud exhalation of his smoke. I open my mouth to trot out the rehearsed lines, but somehow, the door won’t open. He stabs men in bar-fights, like Hull’s the Wild West. He gets sent to prison. Man he stabbed has been in a coma ever since. Each in their own cells… Though Robbie’s finally being released. Tells me he’s changed, but he wouldn’t even let me come meet him at the gates.

‘He’s… he’s… I suppose you could say he’s at the doorway between things at the moment,’ I stutter.

‘Sounds like my older brother,’ says Clive. ‘He’s been… He was at a doorway like that for ten years. But we let him go yesterday. Let him pass through. And now I’m here. All I want to do is look in the face of the man who did it to him.’

I hear the train’s long off-key honk signaling its approach. Then I see its lights rainbowing through the downpour. Though it might be because my eyes are now misted with tears. And as the train starts to rattle into the station, I wonder if there is another doorway I can hide in now.

‘I’m sorry,’ I breathe. But the train is on the platform now and it is too loud for anyone to hear. 


BIO:
AJ Kirby is a sportswriter from Yorkshire. He was short-listed for the Ilkley Literature Festival Fiction Prize.

To find out more visit his website: www.andykirbythewriter.20m.com


Sunday, 15 April 2012

WHO'LL STOP THE RAIN? by Angela Sargenti

Quick. Read this short, sharp shocker from Angela Sargenti before it's too late...


WHO'LL STOP THE RAIN?



As soon as the raindrops hit the ground, they turn into evil scorpion men.

They splat and spread out and grow and grow, some of them six or eight feet tall within a day.

They always promised us zombies if it came down to a situation like this, and to tell you the truth, I’d trade one of those rot-bags any day for one of these ugly motherfuckers, with their hideously segmented bodies and their deadly pinchers and sharp, lethal stingers. 

You can’t get within twenty feet of these menacing bastards.

I was scared enough when they were the size of a quarter, but these sons of bitches grow and multiply and organize themselves into fiercely aggressive armies.

We stand no chance against them.  The government has bugged out already, overwhelmed days ago.

Why, oh why won’t it stop raining?

__________________________


Bio: Angie is the author of the zombie blog After Old Joe, and is currently working on her next novel. She's penned dozens of erotic and horror stories and has written for Leo DeGraunce, Every Night Erotica, Oysters & Chocolate, For The Girls, and others. Her most recent work, “Snow White,” was published in Best Bondage Erotica 2012 under her pen name, AR Shannon. 


You can find her zombie blog at www.afteroldjoe.wordpress.com and her erotica website at http://angiesargenti.blogspot.com/. She also invites followers on twitter, @angiesargenti

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

SONNY BLUE by William J Fedigan

Please welcome William J Fedigan to TKnC with this tragic and insane ride...

SONNY BLUE


His wife gave it to him straight: You should be locked up, strapped down, balls cut off, and fed to the pigs.

He moved toward her…

-Get away from me…

He reached out…

-Don’t touch me, motherfucker…

He touched her.

She screamed. She slapped. She scratched. She pushed him hard. He got mad. He saw red. He shot her two times. The gun wasn’t real; it was a water pistol, Sonny’s water pistol. It squirted her blouse.

She grabbed her chest. She fell down and she died. Just like that.

-Heart attack, he thought. Runs in her family. Father, mother, both brothers… all dropped like shit out of a donkey’s ass…

He looked down at her. Her face had turned blue. It stopped him dead. It was magical. It was spiritual. It was life-changing. It was a gift from God. It was perfect… the color was perfect… Perfect…

-It’s like the sky, the sea, my hydrangeas… It’s like the color of Sonny’s eyes… I can’t live without it… The color is perfect… Perfect.

He trembled. He kneeled. He kissed her blue nose. He kissed her blue ears. He wept. He looked for his camera to capture the moment in living color.

-I’ll take photos, he thought. I’ll shoot ten rolls. I’ll shoot twenty. I’ll put photos upstairs, downstairs, attic, basement, garage, in the bathroom above the toilet. I’ll surround myself, drown myself in it… in the color… The color is a gift from God… The color is perfect.

He aimed the camera. He zoomed. He was about to click when the smell stopped him…

Something came loose in her stomach and flowed onto the living room carpet. The carpet was green. She was leaking brown.

He dropped the camera. His stomach flipped. He gagged. He held his breath. He held his nose. The smell covered him, smothered him. It smelled like Sonny in the morning, dirty diapers in the morning. It smelled like death in the morning.

He opened a window. He took a deep breath. He cleared his head. He looked down at her. Her face had changed color. Her face had turned gray. His legs wobbled. He felt weak.

-No, no, no. I’ve lost it, he thought. I can’t live without it. It was perfect. The color was perfect… It’s like the sky, the sea, my hydrangeas… MY HYDRANGEAS…

He went outside to visit his hydrangeas, to pick them all, to arrange bouquets, to place them in the house, everywhere in the house, to surround himself, drown himself in it… in the color. The color was perfect… perfect… It was a gift from God.

His hydrangeas were dead. He had forgotten. The cops murdered them. The cops dug up the garden looking for Sonny. They didn’t find Sonny, but they killed his hydrangeas. They killed every one.

Now what? he thought. I’ve lost it. I can’t live without it. It was perfect. The color was perfect… like the color of Sonny’s eyes…

He hated playgrounds. At nite, shadows made the jungle gym look like bones, skeletons, Halloween shit. It spooked him, but he dug anyway. He knew the spot.

-Sonny, it’s Daddy. Where are you?

No answer. He dug deeper.

-Daddy can’t find you.

No answer. He dug deeper.

-Daddy needs something.

No answer. He dug deeper. Blisters popped on his hands.  

-Be a good boy, Sonny. Daddy needs something from you.

No answer.

-Daddy needs something from you… Just one little thing…

His hands hurt. He was desperate.  

-OK Sonny, let’s make a deal. Daddy will bring Mommy for a visit if Daddy can have one of your pretty blue peepers. Just one. Daddy will rip it out of your head so fast you’ll hardly feel a thing. How’s that sound, Sonny? 

Nothing.  

His hands bled. His spirits plunged. He was losing hope. He prayed: Please help me, God. You gave me a gift and I lost it. I can’t live without it. I don’t want to live without it. Please help me find it again. It was perfect… Perfect…

That nite, he dreamed blue. He dreamed blue sky, blue sea, blue hydrangeas, Sonny’s blue eyes… His wife’s blue nose, ears, face… blue  blue  BLUE…

He woke up with an idea. It was perfect.  

He found the water pistol, Sonny’s water pistol. He filled it to the top, ice-cold water.

-I’ll go to Mrs. Spleen’s house, he thought. She’s old. She’s sick. She looks like shit.  When she opens the door, I’ll hit her with a fucking tsunami. Fifty squirts. Ice-cold. With luck, she’ll drop like a bag of hammers, turn blue and I’ll be back in business.  If not, I’ll go to the next house, then the next, then the next…. I won’t give up… Never… I’ll find it again… It was  perfect… The color was perfect… Perfect… I can’t live without it, won’t live without it. It’s a gift from God… A gift…

He put the water pistol in his pocket… and he went shopping.  

____________________________

Copyright © 2012 by William J Fedigan

Bio: William J Fedigan writes about who he is, what he knows, where he’s been. 


Monday, 2 April 2012

DEAD MAN'S SWITCH by Liam Sweeny


TKnC welcomes New Yorker, Liam with this hardboiled offering... 


Dead Man’s Switch



Darius grew up on the wrong side of the tracks his father rode tirelessly as a train conductor. Long hours; he'd come home soot-coated and sweaty, those few times he could be home. He had forearms as big as the thighs of a lesser man, six-foot-four, with dark eyes framed with darker, bushy brows. Darius rarely saw him, but his father was a good man; worked so hard to get food on the table, get his mom the microwave ovens and him the latest toys - saved enough to put him through college, state college anyway. One day, when he was seven, Darius asked his dad about the trains.


"Papa, what if you get thrown off the train?" he asked, "Does it keep goin'?"


His father laughed. "Boy, that thing's got a dead man's switch."


"There's a dead man on the train?" Darius's eyes opened wide.


"No, no... it's called a 'dead man's switch'. It's in case..." He paused, "in case I get thrown off the train, or I hit my head."


"Oh." Darius said, scratching his head, "but why do they call it a 'dead man's switch'?"


"That's just what they call it." His father said. He put his arm around Darius. Their house overlooked the train-yard
"Those trains can be so heavy, and go so fast that if ya' can’t stop 'em, they can hurt a whole lot of folk." His father punched straight into the air. "So they have a switch, the dead man's switch that shuts them down if we can’t do what we're supposed to do."


"But you won't fail, will ya', papa?"


"No siree’…" He said. "Not on my watch."


*** 


Years later, Darius got a phone call in his dorm at SUNY Oneonta, drunk as dirt, stoned to shit. State Police. His mother and father were gunned down in that same house across from the train-yard. They caught the guy pawning his mother's gold bracelets, an anniversary gift he himself bought her with his work-study money. He had to have his room-mate drive him home to identify the bracelets. They never let him see them; it was best that he not, they said. The funeral consisted of two closed caskets.

Friends and family surrounded him during the funeral, but he was numb. He was surprised how many people came to the funeral. He expected family and a few of his friends, but the priest had a packed house as he walked the mourners through the valley of the shadow of death. It was the guys from the railroads that came, by the droves. Such a tight bunch, each having a story about how his dad saved their skin when this piece shit the bed or that train pulled into the rail-yard at the wrong time, how his granite grip pulled many a hapless soul from being crushed between a hundred tons of coal on each end. But it was the other stuff; the times that he was there for his guys during the trying times, times like that funeral. And they were all there for Darius, offering him so many phone numbers and twenties, fifties and hundreds “just to help get him by.” It was moving, and touching but Darius couldn’t feel touch, or be moved by anything through the image of mom’s anniversary bracelets.

Every primal, inconceivable nightmarish creature his mind could ever conceive held him captive once the blind shock wore off. He didn’t measure out his life with coffee-spoons like Prufrock, but with emaciated bottles of rotgut. Then came the trial of the man who murdered his parents.

He went to court every day of the trial sober, watched the testimony, the experts, claiming insanity, and Darius just wanted to give the court a real example of insanity, psychotic rage aimed at the defendant. The defendant had a name; he refused to recognize it. The man's first name was murder. His middle name was convict and his last name was lifer.

Until a technicality excluded enough evidence to hang the jury and a mistrial renamed him 'out on bail.'

Darius saw the man again... through the scope of a high-powered rifle. He had enough money from his inheritance to rent an office space in the building opposite the courthouse for one month, with enough left over to buy the rifle and join a gun club where an old hick taught him how to shoot a quarter at two-hundred and fifty yards.

He opened the window, backing up enough to keep the barrel inside, sighted in to dead center of the chest of the murderer, waiting patiently. The dirtbag stopped to light up a cigarette before going in to start another mistrial. Darius remembered his father punching straight into the air, could hear him say the words.. "...if ya can’t stop 'em, they can hurt a whole lot of folk..." The justice system got thrown off the train, hit its head, failed to do what it was supposed to do.

Darius looped his finger into the trigger guard, felt the cold steel of the hair-pin. He took a breath, let it out and pulled the dead man's switch.



Bio: Liam Sweeny was born and raised in upstate New York. His writing career began as a result of working in Louisiana with Hurricane Katrina evacuees in 2006. His crime and noir fiction has appeared in various sites, such as Flash Fiction Offensive, Pulp Metal Magazine, Powder Burn Flash, A Twist of Noir, Shotgun Honey and others. He has published three novels and an anthology of flash fiction. In his free time, he is heavily involved in disaster relief.


http://www.liamsweeny.com