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The Unfortunate Life of Jamie Robert Mitchum

My mother always told me to stay away from Jamie Robert Mitchum. Maybe I should have listened to her. I guess I didn’t really understand why at the time. I guess children are more trusting. Sure, he was strange. Anybody could see that. Jamie was the type of kid to play with a magnifying glass …

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The Portal in the Woods

“Dad, you said you’d play catch with me!” I yelled as my father walked past me to his office, where he spent most of his days when he wasn’t at work. “I’m sorry, bud, I’ve gotta get these documents done for tomorrow’s big meeting. We’ll do it another day, okay?” I frowned. That was the …

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They Just Won’t Move

There’s three of them outside, hikers probably. Older maps usually show a route over the motorway behind my house but there isn’t one anymore. I don’t mind them usually, they just walk down and then walk back up a few minutes later and I go and explain the situation to them. I saw these three …

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Box Fort

Alright, we all remember those cardboard castles of our youth, the ones that were better than any Fisher-Price playhouse precisely because they had been painstakingly cut out, taped together, and decorated with our own hands. And unlike the fancy plastic cottages your parents spent a fortune on, these ones could be altered and added on …

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My Students Are Disappearing

My name is Oliver Stricc. I’m a 52-year-old biology teacher from a small town in northeastern Nebraska, and I have been for almost 14 years. I’ll be the first to admit that lecturing to a bunch of uninterested high school students wasn’t what I had planned to do after getting my master’s degree in medical …

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There’s Something Seriously Messed Up With My New TV

There’s no interesting backstory here; I didn’t buy this thing from some, like, creepy garage sale. I didn’t get it as a gift from some estranged relative that doubled as a cultist or anything. The TV was bought at the mall, for fuck’s sake. It was sitting on a shelf, ordinary as anything. It’s a …

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I Never Should Have Cured My Tinnitus

Tinnitus: a nightmare of a disease affecting millions of people, myself included. How could I best describe this condition? An incessant, nail on a chalkboard screeching that goes on for every minute of every day. Just imagine never experiencing the true bliss of utter silence. Maybe it’s not too uncommon to hear a vague ringing, …

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At 4 AM a Weird SUV Started Following Us

The night was young. In our world at least. 2:14 AM, and me and my husband Ricky were standing out in the open shed behind The Post Searchlight. Stanwyck, Georgia’s local newspaper. Like nocturnal detectives, Ricky and I were wired for the graveyard shift. You had to be when you did a paper route. Every night, …

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Stay Inside the Car

The sun began to set over the horizon. The sky had been consumed by a bright orange tint with a touch of pink. That was the countryside for you. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been absolutely fascinated by nature. It was beautiful. From the amazing views of mountain tops, to the wonders …

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Jesus 2.0

This story is part of the author’s Heavensville series of interrelated stories. If you enjoy it, the author invites you to click here to read the other tales in the series. The first thing I noticed about him was his shaggy, champagne-colored hair that reached down to his shoulders and how it contrasted against his dark, …

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The reCAPTCHA Was Wrong

Have you ever seen a photo reCAPTCHA? Instead of a checkbox, it’s a low-quality photo split into 16 square sections. It’ll say something like: “SELECT ALL SQUARES WITH STREET SIGNS,” and you have to click every square that contains a street sign. At 11 PM on Sunday night, I got one while downloading free stock images. It …

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Heavensville

This story is part of the author’s Heavensville series of interrelated stories. If you enjoy it, the author invites you to click here to read the other tales in the series. Heavensville was stunning to look at, with tall and lush trees lining the sidewalks, beautiful forests and lakes surrounding almost every corner, and gorgeous, low-priced …

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Obey the Pattern

I’m writing this while I still have control of my body. There needs to be a record of what’s happening to me, so if it happens to you, at least you’ll know—you’re not alone. I can’t explain what’s going on. I can’t offer any answers. But I can give you this warning—OBEY THE PATTERN. If it comes, whatever the pattern tells you—do it. Or you’ll end up like me.