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Children and Childhood

smiles of fire to the night

Smiles of Fire to the Night

“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!” ― Bram Stoker, Dracula As if a mad carnival rolled into town, the leaf-strewn street of the quaint picturesque village seemed to transform overnight in ghoulish metamorphosis into a riotous necropolis with skulls grinning and witches cackling at …

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the hayloft

The Hayloft

I like mornin’ best in summer. Chet don’t, cuz he’s fifteen and likes his sleep, but I’d rather make my own breakfast, get chores done quick – enjoy the rest of the day if Mama gives me a choice. Let Chet take the afternoon. He thinks he’s winnin’, but he …

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they only take one

They Only Take One

Take in that fresh air girl! Damn it feels great to be back. Everything looks smaller though. “Yeah, because you were like three feet tall last time you were here, ya walnut.” Buddy “Bud” Jake looked at Gwen with a smile. The classic platonic boy-girl relationship where no sexual tension …

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the malice of mary marble

The Malice of Mary Marble

Have you ever known one of those people who made you feel truly unsettled? For me, it was Mary Marble. She was a pretty girl, all things considered. She had long, straight jet black hair, a fair complexion and spoke in a cute, squeaky voice. She was neither bigger nor …

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jerry southerland

Jerry Southerland

I have sat with the knowledge of that night for ever such a long time now. I have flirted with the idea of telling someone – maybe the police – or confiding in a counselor, but I know it will do little good. They would think me mad, even my …

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that is not the fire alarm

That is Not the Fire Alarm

Congratulations on your admission to Oak and Ash Academy, one of the most exclusive private academies in North America. You are part of the largest incoming class since our founding in 1763. Although this is a unique opportunity—consider that in any ordinary year, three out of four of you would …

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dr sammy

Dr. Sammy

I stare at the corpse in the mirror. How desperately the dry, clay-colored skin clings to its skull. Rubbery. How narrow its tired eyes are, weighed down by the dark satchels hanging from them. How many broken vessels I could count beneath its sullen cheeks. A nebula of spider veins. …

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cheesys world part 1

Cheesy’s World (Part 2)

Read part one here Weeks went by with absolutely nothing. We tried to keep in contact with the park and the police every day, but we always got the same response. They were ‘looking into it.’ From what we were being told, they were contacting people that had been at …

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forever and always

Forever and Always

Everybody loves the woods, until they follow you home. When my father came back from the military, we bought our first house—a boxy, two-story affair on the woodsy outskirts part of town. I was twelve, going on thirteen then. Our neighborhood was a little off the beaten path, nestled somewhere …

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the land where nothing grows

The Land Where Nothing Grows

I grew up on a small-town ranch in the Midwest region of the United States, on land that had been passed down in my family for several generations. It can be brutal out there, with hot dry summers that threaten to suck every last drop of moisture from you, and …

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cheesys world part 1

Cheesy’s World (Part 1)

‘Cheesy’s World, where a kid’s happiness is guaranteed!’ Well, that’s how the slogan went back when I was a teenager anyway. I know what you’re thinking. “Cheesy’s World? Isn’t that a rip off of…” And you would be right if it reminded you of several places. If you ever had …

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My Best Friend Became a Murderer

My buddy Gavin had always tried to be a superhero. Yes. You read that right. Not he always loved superheroes – not even that he always wanted to be a superhero. He made a costume and mask when we were in middle school and had been crusading around the neighborhood …

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Did you hear the Ice Cream Man last night?

I used to think of Hell as a faraway place. For those of you out there who still hold that belief, this piece of my life is for you. Don’t ask me why I’m doing this; I’m honestly not sure. My therapist says writing about our traumas can help our …

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a box of light among the stars

A Box of Light Among the Stars

It all started when I was a little girl. Christmas Eve, 2004. I was eight years old. “Santa, is that you?” Footfalls on the staircase echoed through the house as I jumped out of bed and ran past the doorframe to catch a glimpse of the man himself. CREAK CREAK …

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dna test

My DNA Genealogy Test Shattered Everything I Thought I Knew About My Life

I sat against the red and brown brick wall outside the police station, knees tucked into my chest. My heavy breaths clouded in front of me as the cold winter air bit at my skin, making my fingers numb, but I didn’t care. The cold air provided me with the …

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Those Deep, Dark Wells

The terrible thing happened at night—as most terrible things do. While I click-clicked away at my home job as a transcriptionist, I’d often watch the boys playing in the backyard. They’d be at it for hours, acting out some scene with foam swords and plastic guns, only stopping when the …

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I Investigate Disturbing Cases: Here Are My Stories – Watchers

When people think of police officers, I think there’s a disconnect between our image and the reality of who we are. A lot of people see us as the good guys. Real-life superheroes that jump in at the last moment with shining golden badges ready to stop the “bad guys” …

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I Investigate Disturbing Cases: Here Are My Stories – The Woman

They say that everyone has a case that haunts them. Personally, if it’s just one case, then clearly, whoever “they” are isn’t doing very good police work. Being a detective is gritty and bleak. You aren’t dealing with happy endings, you’re dealing with the cold hard truth. Sure, every now …

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