“For Laura” Dark Drabble by Gary Thomson

Laura comforts her aged mother at the front door. The auctioneer has stripped the house  of furniture and function. She is grateful her mother has retained some personal treasures: reclining chair, reading lamp, worn photo album. 

            What keepsake for me, Laura wonders, to soften memories of lonely childhood among shadowy rooms bereft of easy affection?

            “Your bed at Sunny Vale is waiting, mom. You’ll sleep easier tonight.”

            Mrs. Gibson hands Laura a foggy, creased photo. A handsome man with lowered, haunted eyes. Her father: long departed, barely remembered. 

            “Do ghosts remain at home?” her mother says. “Or will they travel too?” 

Gary Thomson lives in Ontario, where he enjoys riffing Beatles and blues on his Hohner harmonica between writing projects. His flash has appeared in Molecule, fiftywordstories [4], Fairfield Scribes, among others; and longer fiction elsewhere. 

“Son” Flash Horror by K.A. Williams

I discarded the name tag. There was only one reason I was here. I wanted to see Craig.

“Doris, is that you?”


“You look well,” he lied.

“Can we talk in private?”

He reluctantly followed me into the elevator. When it stopped on the newly renovated hotel floor, Craig followed me out.  

He kicked aside a sheet of plastic and glared. “Your family moved while you were still pregnant, and you never even told me when you had the baby. What do you want from me now?”

“I’ve decided that it’s your turn to care for him. Come on out Tony, and meet your father.”

Our child appeared in the deserted hallway, his shadow dancing on the freshly painted walls. Craig gasped. It wasn’t the sunken eyes and frail body that frightened him, it was the slit in Tony’s face where a mouth should have been.

“He’s deformed,” Craig said with revulsion.

“Yes, and he’s been living off my blood since he was born. Now it’s your turn.”

A long thin tube flicked out of the slit in Tony’s face, attached itself to Craig’s wrist, and pierced the skin. Craig made a gurgling sound in his throat and slid down the wall, eyes glazed.

Now that I was free, what would I do next? Anything but return to that boring reunion.

First published in Black Petals in 2001.

K. A. Williams lives in North Carolina and writes speculative, mystery/crime, general fiction, and poetry. She has been published in many magazines including Mystery Tribune, Trembling With Fear, Theme of Absence, Altered Reality, Yellow Mama, and View From Atlantis. Apart from writing, she enjoys rock music and CYOA games.

“At the Museum of Art” and “Arriving at the Pearly Gates” Dark Flash Fiction by Karen Watts

At the Museum of Art

The top of her face is deeply lined and pasty, and the rest hidden beneath fabric. She looks old, and tired, and the crick in her spine gives her stance a defeated slouch.

The mob around her is restless and ragged. Their eyes are pale and searching, waiting, hoping, for a divine intervention, and some kind of meaning, to heal their wounds hidden and jagged.

They are the survivors of pestilence. A crowd of miserable souls, gathered to stare mindlessly at a world bathed in hellish fire and disease. They appear ready to move as one.

I move my gaze from the window pane to the Exhibition of Medieval Plague Art, and our tour group shuffles forward.

Arriving at the Pearly Gates

He’d fought the good fight. After many long years he was going to his reward. He was surrounded by his family, except for that whore of a granddaughter, and that son who could never stay clean and sober.

He’d always adhered to the right, quoting scripture for all to hear, sort of, when he could remember the words. His bible stayed in the glove compartment with his pistol, and some questionable beef jerky.

None of that mattered now, as the doctor signed on the dotted line, and the nurse shut down the machines.

There was no stately, robed saint guarding the door. A line of souls he almost remembered waited, and his chest began to burn as he saw their faces. Punches thrown to punish, spit hurled to degrade and shame, he didn’t know all their names, but he remembered their faces. Why were they here?

The woman from the clinic line, the gay guy he had fired, that bum he threw out of the church parking lot, his hippie neighbors, they sighed as one, turned and vanished in a cloud of yellow and blue light. The black and burning embers of his soul exploded, and a scream that would last for eternity began, as fiery angels feasted on his heart.

Karen Southall Watts teaches Humanities at Bellingham Technical College, and Business Soft Skills courses for Canadian College. Her flash fiction and poetry have been featured at Fairfield Scribes, Free Flash Fiction, The Drabble, 101Words, and soon at Sledgehammer Lit and Soren Lit. She is also the author of several business books and articles. Reach her at @askkaren on Twitter 

“And” Dark Flash Fiction by Grove Koger

He was an evil little boy and he did evil things. Everybody was afraid of him and nobody could stop him.

Once he brought a dead crow back to life, watched it bounce on the roadway and sweep backward on a gust of wind that only it felt, listened to it caw angrily as it vanished in the leaden sky. That should have been a good thing, bringing that bird back to life, but somehow it wasn’t. Another time he made it rain real hard on the last day of school. The picnic had to be canceled and the mother of one of his classmates died in a flash flood. She had the cancer, and her death could have been a good thing, a blessing. But it wasn’t. Another time—

But there had been a lot of other times.

Now he walked down the middle of the road, confident that any drivers from around there would know enough to steer around him. And they did. The other boys walked a few steps behind, afraid to anger him by getting too close or hanging too far back. Then he stopped, right about where that damn crow had been lying, and looked around.

“I can make all this go away,” he said.

They stopped too, looked around too. Had they heard him right? All what? All this? There were fields of stubble, shacks here and there, stands of black locust. Just those and the dusty road. It was that kind of place.

“I can make all this go away,” he said again, more thoughtfully this time, turning back to say it. It was a terrible sight, the little boy’s face screwed up in thought, and it made the others even more nervous than they were already.

He looked down at his right hand, moved his fingers this way and that, feeling his way … back. As if he were remembering something, something he had known a long time ago. But that was impossible, he hadn’t been here a long time ago. Had he?

He touched his thumb to one finger and then another, feeling his way. No, not that one. Not that one, not that one. That one.

The evil little boy grinned, and that was a terrible sight too. He set his thumb back against his middle finger—that one—and clenched them together, and—

Grove Koger is the author of When the Going Was Good: A Guide to the 99 Best Narratives of Travel, Exploration, and Adventure, Assistant Editor of Deus Loci: The Lawrence Durrell Journal, and former Assistant Editor of Art Patron.

“In Ruins” Horror Drabble by P.T. Corwin

The sun lurks red between the distant corpses of high-rises, like a blast waiting to happen. Again, the child scrambles through the ruins, searching for survivors. Anyone who can keep her alive.

Her eyes are slits against the sharp wind that pelts her naked arms and face with dust, but she spots him, on top of the rubble. Two rotten rebar teeth pierced through his stomach. Still breathing. Still reaching out a broken hand covered in dust. But blood leaks from his mouth, and he is too weak to stand.

It will be easy. She will not go hungry today.

Bonus Feature: “Reflections on a Wasted Life” Video by Phil Slattery

As a bonus today, I am posting a video I posted on YouTube on Tuesday. Let me know what you think of it.

I am experimenting with YouTube as a means to attract more readers, but I am not a filmmaker by any stretch of the imagination. Therefore I am experimenting with public domain videos, music, and inexpensive video editing software to develop short but poignant, moving films to feature on The Chamber’s YouTube channel to draw more readers. I have posted on YouTube only a few so far, most of which are experiments. The one above is the best I had made as of Tuesday. These are becoming easier the more I make of them. Soon, I hope to be able to create a a short story using public domain material. I made the one above as an experiment in emotional impact. It doesn’t have a plot per se, just a poignant je ne sait quois.

Let me know what you think of the video above and visit The Chamber’s YouTube channel and let me know what you think of those videos and how I might be able to improve.

Phil Slattery, Founder and Publisher