Published

All You Can Drink $5.00

all you can drink
image : twofivesix256.blogspot.com

According to the character in this story “if you can find a refuge away from the world, where people know you, where you feel comfortable enough to be yourself, that can be family enough.” For him that might be a comforting statement, but the place where he finds it is anything but comfortable.

A toast to Yellow Mama, the webzine that first published the tale back in December 2018.

All You Can Drink $5.00

by DL Shirey

I did a double-take at the sign on the door, to make certain I’d read it correctly. Who could blame me for checking, given my lousy day so far? I’d lost a good account, my phone died and I was stuck in a strange town overnight with nothing but a cut-rate motel room in my immediate future. Cheap drinks sounded like a good way to end a bad business trip.

I reached for the door handle when a man crashed through. Clearly drunk, he staggered forward, trying not to lose his footing. He was dressed as I was, in a blue suit and tie; but that’s where the similarities ended. He looked twenty years my senior and his suit had scuffs and stains, the sleeves and cuffs worn to frays. He hadn’t shaved in days.

Wild eyes met mine and his mouth unhinged to speak. Then a bull of a man shouldered through the door and grabbed the man by the collar.

“I’ll show you how to finish what you started,” Bull snorted.

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Published

Faithful

Faithful
image : slickwraps.com

Horror Tree is a valuable resource for authors of speculative fiction, with news and information about publishers and markets. They also post writers’ stories in the editor’s weekly column, Trembling With Fear. In December 2018 they published my short story “Faithful,” a tale of technology being used in the wrongest way possible.

Faithful

by DL Shirey

The first blue of morning came before Lowell looked at the sky outside his window. The phone in his hand lit in azure, prompting the middle-aged man to get out of bed. His fingers were combing back the memory of hair when the white letters appeared on the blue background:

*faithful*

Lowell swept his legs out from under the sheet and placed his feet onto polished oak, feeling the cold wood floor. His new morning ritual was all about feeling, connecting to his emotions and embracing what the daily word truly meant. Be in the moment, the Master had said, feel this moment. But all Lowell could feel now was a scratching need for coffee and the chill of a bachelor’s bedroom before the heater kicked in.

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Published

Marine Corps Chow

poodle
image : today.com

Published by the Oregon-based journal Cascadia Rising Review, this story can be categorized as creative nonfiction because it’s written about actual events. Truth be told, though, liberties were taken to enhance the drama. Since these characters are based on my relatives, but not 100% pure, their names have been changed.

I must give a shout out to Alle Hall, whose editorial prowess helped shape the story. Even though I withdrew it from consideration for her journal, the rewrites she requested definitely made the piece better. Thanks Alle.

 

Published

Fivers

fivers
image : smithsonianmag.com

The publisher of this tale wrote a nice “dust jacket” description of the story: A young man is out spreading the word of the Lord, despite the heat and his own weariness. He comes across a strange couple at a strange house, and finds his faith faltering as their oddly calm demeanor and intimate knowledge of things catches him off guard. Determined, he redoubles his efforts, only for them to offer him a deal – they simply want to play a simple game…

A digital copy of FIVERS is available for purchase, so please support this small, independent publisher who provides opportunities for writers to get their stories out there.

 

Published

Gunslinger

gunslinger
image : biznews.com

Ever wake up not knowing where you are? The character in this story does and the good folks at Fiction On The Web brought you the tale, originally published in November 2018.

Gunslinger

by DL Shirey

I flinch awake. My shoulder blade sears, the afterburn from a dream. Everything but the pain evaporates, leaving half-remembered threads: a horse thief, face pressed in dirt, a boot on the back of his neck. My neck. Arm wrenched up an instant before feeling the red heat of metal; a branding iron hissing skin.

The dream is displaced by another unreality: I don’t know where I am. There’s a trail of ants on a bedside table converging on an ashtray and a half-sucked peppermint. Alongside it an empty Jäger bottle, a lighter and pack of smokes. The first inhale tells me this isn’t my brand. When I kick away the ratty blanket and curl my legs off the bed, the floor comes too quickly. The mattress and box spring have no frame beneath them. Between knees I see my nakedness, cement floor and a spent condom.

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