It’s the Little Things is available!

The anthology is available on blurb as a physical book or here, as a PDF. Have a happy November!

Teetering on the edge of jumpiness and true fear, where shadows that whip at the corner of your eyes shift and change and those strange sounds that can’t be placed make themselves sinister. That thing you saw at the corner of your eye, might be a thing. Those strange sounds? Might be something to worry about. And there might actually be something in the dark. Take a gander at the unfortunate folks in this anthology that discover It’s the Little Things that hurt the most.

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Carylee

Carylee is a girl I once know.

She’s sweet, in a unique way, I suppose. I didn’t really speak to her before. I mostly saw her in passing. She always said Hi, I always said it back. My grandma told me it was good manners, saying “hello” to people.

As per usual, Carylee would be in the cafeteria by herself. I wasn’t one of the popular upperclassman, but I had a group of lunch buddies that sat at the same table near the windows. She’d sit a table over.

Today I thought I’d extend an invitation for her to sit with us. I don’t know why, but the feeling came over me. Grandma says I do those type of things because of  my big heart. I didn’t have to introduce us when she came with me to our table, everyone knew her. And she didn’t say much, just ate her lunch – that was good for her. It was good for me too, since I’m the only one who sees her.

Prelude to a Storm

He forgot the pilot blew out.

Kicking the habit proved more difficult than he anticipated, and at the stuffy party his parents had put on, he thought the basement to be his escape. An escape in his own home.

He plucked out the slender white tube from the inner lining of his jacket and twisted it in his fingers. Cold air and chemicals didn’t help his bronchitis, but it was a relief in his mind. Anything was a relief.

He forgot the pilot blew out during the sore weather earlier this night, along with hailstones and busting winds. He was about to light it back up with his long match when his solitude was disturbed by his forced party wagon and guests. He hadn’t gotten a chance to turn the knob back off.

His mother was fussing over the candles, calling for him to come up so they could sing to him. The lighter clicked in his father’s clumsy fingers. Anytime now the sparks would finally catch. It was a wonder no one noticed the smell.

He lit the slender tube up, drawing the smoke into his weary lungs, one final breath.

Penny

Mommy told me never to speak to strangers. Not even a little. But what do I do when they wave at me? Sometimes I wave back. They always look so friendly and I can’t help it. I don’t even think about it. My hand just lifts up and I wave. Mommy hasn’t seen me do it yet but I wonder if she will catch me all the time.

The last person I waved at was…Mr. Red. He was wearing a red shirt like the ones Daddy would wear to work. It has a short sleeve and collar. Mr. Red had his folded over, just like Daddy’s, but his shirt was all wrinkly. Mommy says that wrinkles are bad and shouldn’t be shown in public.

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Distractions

She was sure she heard it that time. A little rustle.

There was no one around, not a soul, stray bird, person or otherwise. It came from behind her, under the deck. In the tangle of weeds and who knows what else.  It would be foolish to look, no, dangerous yet she couldn’t shake the feeling. The curiosity.

She scooted off the bench, setting the novel she had finally gotten around to reading, on the bench. Another distraction, passed in her mind, but fled away at the urgency to focus. At a distance, she peeked under into the opening of the deck. It was open on one side but you could see to the other side of the cabin through the latticed wood.

It was a dusty haze under there. Particles swirling in the air and weeds growing on the legs of the structure. She stared harder if that was possible but resolved she saw nothing. Almost nothing. It looked to be eyes staring back at her, low to the ground. At first she thought maybe it was a raccoon or squirrel scavenging food, but the shapes were too large. Too pointy. Eyes weren’t shaped like that. Those were teeth, teeth bared in anticipation of sinking into her at any moment. She couldn’t tell in the shadows just how large of an animal or, thing, it was, but with rows of jagged teeth like that, size didn’t matter.

It didn’t move – and slowly the sharp shapes disappeared into the dusty dark under there.  She stood up, moving away in case it decided to grab at her ankles when her guard was down.  She sat on the bench and took her book up in her hands. Her heart wasn’t even racing. Perhaps the shock proved too much for her to react.

Or maybe it was something else. It wasn’t the time yet to be scared.

Her stomach dropped, rolled around, leaving her in a sudden panic. The realization rolled on her like thick fog. It wasn’t time yet. It wasn’t time for the animal or whatever it was to sink its teeth into her just yet. No, it was waiting. And, with another faint scuttle, one to her left, she knew that it wasn’t the only one.

The sun painted the sky in rose and orange colors, blending across in mottled spots. In less than an hour, it would be dark and everywhere would be a dusty dark haze, lit only by the light posts. Those terrible teeth were not sneering as a threat, but as a promise.

She settled comfortably on the bench and opened the book again, guessing she’d at least make it through half way. This was her time for no distractions.