THE KNOWING – BRIT LUNDEN
She swung open the door, pushing him back as a blaze of torches lit the night sky. Slamming it shut, she turned to him. “You have to get out of here.”
He fell against the wall, breathing heavily.
Ellie put her hand on the doorknob. “Go out the back way. I’ll delay them,” she said urgently.
“No.” JB gripped her by both shoulders. I won’t let you do that.”
“Leave now, while you can. I’ll be alright. We’ll be alright.”
“I don’t want to leave you. I don’t want to live without you.”
“We’ll always be together.” She kissed him sweetly on the face. Her cheeks were wet with tears.
Ellie composed herself and opened the door, shouting to the strangers, “What do you want?”
JB stood there, frozen, unable to move. He heard a man’s voice.
“. . . know you’re hiding . . .”
Ellie’s strident denial was cut off by a gunshot.
“No!” JB dropped his crutch and swung open the door. Five shots went off at once, and he felt himself falling. He landed with a thud on the floorboards of the porch, his fingers linking with Ellie’s limp ones before everything vanished. She looked at him, her eyes sad. Her mouth opened, and he heard her whisper, “I love you.”
Peter’s thoughts were interrupted by screams of excitement from Terence as they were manhandled onto the horses they had been presented with. As he looked at Terence at the other end of the arena, he fought to do something, anything to stop the madness. He was presented with a lance. As he had suspected, it was heavy and unbalanced, and he had no desire to point it in Terence’s direction. But that was exactly what he did. Peter’s mind screamed fall off. All he managed was to close his eyes as the horses began to gallop.
THE CRAVING – R.L. JACKSON
A skateboarder barreled by her on the sidewalk, music blaring through his headphones and side swiped her, knocking her ass to the ground. She hit the damp grass with a thud, the duffel bag she carried on her shoulder with a weeks worth of clothes on top of her. She looked in the skateboarders direction and he had continued about his business. He didn’t even look back!
“Asshole!” Savannah screamed, still sprawled on the lawn. She sat up and started getting up when a hand reached down in front of her and the hairs on her arms stood up. She looked up at the man staring down at her and he wasn’t someone she knew or recognized. He was too young to be a teacher, but looked more mature than a student. She grabbed his hand, embarrassment washing over face.
“Are you OK?” he asked. His voice was deep and baritone, his eyes so gray they were almost white. Her head felt a little tingly, almost dizzying as she stared into the pools of his eyes.
“I’m fine,” Savannah replied, taking her hand back.
“You have to be careful out here at night,” he said. The tone of his voice sounded threatening and her anxiety went into overdrive.
“Thanks, again,” she replied, picking up her damp bag. She threw it on her shoulder and started walking fast towards the frat house, her eyes darting on either side of her. There was no one out on the quad now and the hairs on the back of her neck stood up straight. Instinctively, she turned around to see if he was still there, but the stranger was gone. She exhaled, her fear subsiding a bit. There’d been some students from the university who were reported missing a few weeks ago, and everyone on campus had been on edge ever since. Maybe it was all in her head. When she turned around though, he stood a few feet in front of her, a slight grin on his mouth. How the hell did he get there?
She picked up her binoculars and focused them on his back. As she did he turned his head in her direction, staring straight-faced back through the lenses of her binoculars and piercing her eyes with his. She dropped the binoculars and wheeled quickly back from the table. Her chest rose and fell sharply with her quickened breath. Fear settled deep in the pit of her stomach and flared to the ends of her fingers and toes. “He knows,” she whispered under her breath, “he knows what I have seen.”
THE MISSING BRANCH – KAY MACLEOD
The small gap was a gaping chasm, a sudden cutoff in the 1700s that refused to give up its secrets to her thorough research. Hours of Google searches and dozens of email requests for information hadn’t turned up anything. The family that moved from England to America had just disappeared.
Once Izzie filled the space in the mural, she would finally have the complete picture of herself – her history, and meaning, and purpose. Somehow, she knew this family was the most important part of her story.
“Spirits aren’t real,” I spit, not sure who I am trying to convince, her or me. I trudge through the forest, weaving through the trees. My breathing is harsh, like at the end of a long, bloody fight.
“Please, they claw at me. Please.”
The voice behind me pleads again, but I can already hear the defeat in her voice. And there’s something about it that stops me.
Maybe it’s because it sounds like the same thing that runs in my head day after day. Maybe it’s something in her tone that resonates with me. Or maybe I’m just batshit crazy.
THE BATTLE OF BULWARK – DEL HENDERSON, III
That morning I woke to the taps of the bugle and quickly dressed. It was a foggy morning as if death himself had breathed onto the battlefield from some island on the lake. I promptly joined the unit as we took our positions upon the hill. A few soldiers were keeping guard on the back of the hill, but the majority of us were placed upon the ridge facing the road. We stayed hunched against the stones and the small ditches we were able to dig into the rocky soil. I almost choked upon a cracker I was eating when Little Abe open fire upon some unseen enemy in the fog. Then all at once, as if the shots from the cannon popped off the cork of war, the enemy started firing at our position as their musket and cannon fire lit up the fog with an eerie golden glow.
THE DARKNESS -BRITTNEY LEIGH
To anybody else, you would think a town like Bulwark is just plain boring. It’s a small town, quiet, more like a village than a town. Our whole population is football crazy. The high school is the centerpiece of our home, and that makes football the center of our attention.