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

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…

fivers-coverA 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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Published

Dental Casting

dental
image : ortodoncia.ws

There’s something inherently creepy about dental castings, but this story is not scary. What drew me to writing this was where the tale takes place and trying to integrate some of the tools a technician uses to make castings. The story was published by Scarlet Leaf Review in October 2018. Hope it makes you smile.

Dental Casting

by DL Shirey

“You right-handed or left?”

The woman jumped at the voice behind her. She had been concentrating on her work and would have been as easily startled had it been Ray or Yvonne, but the other technicians had left promptly at five. She took a deep breath and did a slow spin on the stool to face the man.

Why is he dressed like he works here? What is he up to? she thought. Her eyes darted from side to side as if in her mind she was flicking through a playbook, trying to decide how to handle this.

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Published

Told By Clouds

clouds
image : pinterest.com

This flash fiction was originally published by formercactus in November 2018. It is about one possible future of our planet. Quite a few of my stories have this theme, in one form or another. Hard to avoid the subject given the news reports about how we harm the environment.

Told By Clouds

by DL Shirey

From here the neat rows of apple trees look like corduroy covering the roll of hills. You can’t tell the leaves are lifeless from this altitude, only gray-brown. It’s January, but not winter. There are no seasons any more, no storms or snow or wind. Not since the low clouds formed three years ago and never dissipated. Our daylight world is now perpetually dim, the sky covered in thick frosting. The only observable change is told by clouds: day or night, dully backlit or dead dark.

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