Daddy’s Girl

Daddy’s Girl

Thursdays were trash days. Elizabeth knew this the same way she knew the library closed at five and the community yard sale was the highlight of the fall. It was all in the letter.

“Dear New Resident,” it began. “Welcome to Harpeth Springs, Illinois, one of the safest cities in America.”

Safe. Would she ever feel safe again? Even in her garage, eight hundred miles from Paul Chandler and the nightmare of the past year, waves of panic rose inside her, ready to swallow her like water over a drowning castaway. A new city, a new address, and she’d yet to venture beyond the threshold of the small, one-story ranch she was now calling her “safe house.”

But she wasn’t safe. She was sequestered. The only way to be safe was to learn to live again — out there. Across the dark room, the garage door waited, outlined in a thin rectangle of light. Cold seeped through and crawled over her bare ankles. Before she lost her nerve, she closed her eyes and pushed the button. She waited a moment, then tried again. Finally, she opened her eyes.

“Come on, come on.” Fear turned to frustration as she struck the pad, first with her finger, then with her fist. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

The door mocked her. Are you sure?

“Yes, I’m sure,” she yelled at the door and the garage full of boxes. “Now open up, you stupid piece –”

With a jolt, the metal door climbed. Elizabeth’s eyes slowly adjusted to the light as she greeted the world for the first time in days. Fresh air brought the scent of memories, memories of a better time, of a safer time.

Inhale. Exhale. This time she would do it. It was time to take out the trash.

Continue Reading

The New Guy

The New Guy

Monday surveyed the room with suspicion as he sipped his morning coffee.

“Hey. Who’s that guy?”

“What guy?” Wednesday asked.

“Over there, the one everybody’s talking to.” Monday pointed across the room to a man in jeans and a t-shirt leaning against the water cooler.

“Oh, the new guy.”

“New guy? Why haven’t I seen him before?”

“I don’t know,” Wednesday said. “He’s not here much. Comes in late, leaves early. You know how it is.”

“No,” said Monday. “I don’t, actually. What’s his name?”


Read the full story on LitUp.

Digging Up Bones

Digging Up Bones



Normally, the stenciled warnings nailed to every other tree would have sent Nathan Shields walking away. Not tonight. Behind him, his Toyota stood guard on the shoulder of the road. Shouldn’t he hide it somewhere? He pulled his phone from his pocket and cursed. No time.

He was late, but that was hardly his fault.

“Hurry,” Kevin had said. “And bring a shovel.”

“Right now? It’s a four-hour drive.” After a long day of babysitting middle-school musicians, Nathan wanted to veg on his couch, maybe get lost in a little Bob Ross or “I Love Lucy.” No more true crime dramas, though. Those were starting to freak him out. He was convinced half the kids in his fifth-period ensemble were serial killers in a state of incubation. And not just the drummers and tuba players. That was the problem with serial killers, they were the ones you’d least expect.

“It’s more like four-and-a-half,” Kevin had said. “And take the back road. There’s a game tonight. Cops will be everywhere. Remember, you owe me.”

Read the full story at Mystery Weekly or pick up their November 2019 issue on Amazon.

Intelligent Life

Intelligent Life

Neil was coloring around the coffee stains on a worn manila folder when Harold shouted his name.

“Anderson. Get in here.”

Dropping the pen, Neil sighed and rose from his chair, not yet warm at 8:15 AM. He counted the floor tiles en route to the corner office. The number never changed, but the walk seemed longer each time he made it.

“Morning, Harold,” Neil said as he walked in.

“Where are we on P732?” a lanky man asked with a growl honed by years of cigarettes and chronic post-nasal drip. “Bill in Environmental just told me they finished their work on it two weeks ago.”

“I know,” Neil said. “I have their numbers.”

“So, what’s the problem?” Harold sneezed into a handkerchief, which he folded and drug across his nose once more before placing it back in his pocket. “I mean, it’s a simple assessment, Neil. I’m not asking you to cure syphilis.” He stood abruptly and began to pace.

The way Harold buried his hands in his pockets as he walked around the room, Neil wondered if his boss might actually need that cure. Eradicating an STD was probably easier than delivering that report. There was nothing simple about it.

Read the full story on Reesdy.