When My Daddy Found Me

J Hardy Carroll

She dreamed of this all her life and now, she’d found it. A burned out brick building next to a concrete bridge. Emily had searched photographic archives from all over the world before discovering the object of her nightmares in rural Ohio. She had to push the overgrown foliage aside just to get a look at it. She didn’t know how she remembered, but she put her foot on the edge of one of the lower windows. Then she heard a newborn baby cry. Her mother had abandoned her there. Her “Daddy” was the firefighter who found and adopted her.

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Running on Tuesday

train

PHOTO PROMPT – © Jennifer Pendergast

Fourteen-year-old Jerry Craft had shoved his mask deep into the back pocket of his dusty stained jeans five-hundred miles ago. He’d scurried into a boxcar at Denver and the inspectors hadn’t found him when they stopped in Salt Lake. Now somewhere in Nevada, August heat scorching him clean, he felt free. “No COVID’s gonna get me.” He suddenly coughed, doubling over and nearly falling from his perch just above the car coupling. Sitting down, his inner demon quieted and let him speak once more. “With Ma and Pa already dead, ain’t gonna let COVID get me before the cancer does.”

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My short story “Betrayal” accepted in Eleanor Merry’s horror anthology “Dark Solstice”

summer

Promotional image for Eleanor Merry’s anthology “Dark Solstice”

The submission call was for up to five short stories, each between 100 and 500 words long. I submitted two and one was accepted.

Here’s an excerpt. Warning: it’s a bit “spicy”:

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Dunia

mtn fog

Phillip Wyatt 2020 Cadillac Mountain Fog

“I never thought anything could be so beautiful.” Natori, the young shaman’s son staggered on the rough trail in the lush forest. The fog was a widow’s shroud on the land. Though he was warm in the unfamiliar clothes of the Qu’ullad people, he still shivered.

Vastusia, took his hand, his flesh slightly darker than hers, and smiled. “I told you there was a world beyond the savanna.”

He frowned. V’rovi traditions do not forbid us traveling to other places.”

“Only discourage it.”

“Our land, our traditions define us. We would cease to be a people without them.”

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“Dark Valentine Holiday Horror Collection” Available for Pre-Order Now!

valentine

Promotional image for the forthcoming anthology “Dark Valentine”.

As you know if you’re a regular reader, three of my stories were accepted in the Dark Valentine Holiday Horror Collection: A Flash Fiction Anthology. What you don’t know is that it’s available for pre-order right now, with auto-delivery to your kindle device on February 1, 2020.

The link above is universal to Amazon, but here’s more:

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Cloverdale

cloverdale

Cloverdale Picnic (www.midbarrach.com) date unknown

“Been coming here to Cloverdale for a while now, Taklishim.” Alan Tupper stood in front of the abandoned general store, almost all that was left of the ghost town in southern New Mexico.

“You have been my good friend since you were a boy.”

“I’m twenty-six now and getting ready to get out of the service.”

“I thought you liked the Army.”

“Talking to you every year since that last reunion changed me.”

“You have never taken life unjustly.”

“But ol’ Captain Tupper did.”

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Conquistador

Ships on the Paraguay River at Asunción, Paraguay © Ilkov Filimonov/Dreamstime.com

Juan’s flight from his native Briviesca to Asunción in Paraguay was grueling, especially after two layovers. He was grateful to find a cab to take him the sixteen miles into the city.

“Senor wants to be taken to the river? No particular place?” What passed for Spanish in this country seemed almost barbaric to Juan.

“Yes, it doesn’t matter.”

The cab driver thought it odd that the Spaniard had no luggage, but Juan wasn’t planning a lengthy stay, or not one the cabbie would understand. As his mind and existence was cast backward, the cab, the buildings, the city itself became increasingly alien.

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Onna-bugeisha

samurai

Found at fivedotoh.com. No image credit given.

Tomoe Gozen led her legion of female samurai across the wastelands south toward Edo Bay. It was there she heard of the slaughter that took place of the populations of Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Chiba Prefecture by the hated American Commodore Matthew Perry.

The great houses had been destroyed by so called “gunboat diplomacy.” She and her companions of long acquaintance were well aware of the “Unequal Treaties” that had been imposed upon China in the previous ten years since the Opium War. This would not happen in Nippon, or if it did, then she and her company, a thousand strong, would be dead and never witness the atrocity.

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Eleanor Merry Presents: “Dark X-Mas” Anthology Now Available for Pre-Order

dark xmas

Promotional image for the anthology of drabbles “Dark X-Mas.”

Not the news I had hoped to deliver by now, but I just found out that “Eleanor Merry Presents: Dark X-Mas is now available to pre-order both at Amazon US and Canada for delivery on your Kindle device December 1, 2019.

Here’s the “blurbs” again for the two drabbles I have featured within its virtual pages:

Christmas Feast

For centuries, the innocent belief of children breathed life into Santa Claus, bringing him into the homes of millions every December 24th, laden with gifts for precious cherubs. But the world changed and children changed, and finally there was too little faith left to keep the old elf going and he expired.

But this year, Santa’s chief servant Alabaster found ten wee ones he could spirit away from their cozy beds at the stroke of midnight in order to supplicate themselves at the grave of St. Nicholas. These children desperately want Santa back, but what horrible sacrifice will they be expected to make to resurrect a very different Santa from what the world has ever known?

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