Games with the mind

I woke, with a start, acknowledging the sensation of rain and small hail pelting my skin. I stood up, while shielding my eyes, only to find dizziness drove me back to my knees. My head was pounding and the surrounding corn stalks seemed to mock me, as I touched the open wound on the back of my head. The downpour of rain mixed with hail and pain was almost too much to endure.

Since I couldn’t stand, I began crawling in the mud. The corn stalks hindered my progress, and I knocked them down as I moved forward. After about twenty yards, I attempted to stand again. This time I succeeded in remaining on my feet, stumbled forward and tripped on a large obstacle in my path. I looked down and saw the mangled body of a young woman lying in the mud. Her long blonde hair was tangled, mud-spattered and her body was twisted in a grotesque position. Large chunks of flesh had been torn from her arms and legs. I bent down and put my finger on her neck, finding no pulse. She wore only torn panties and a mud spattered bra.

I kept moving as the rain intensified, overpowering the hail. As I pushed my way through the cornfield, I saw a large brown object about ten feet in front of me. I made my way to the spot and gasped upon discovering a dead horse. The animal’s legs were broken and twisted to one side. There were bite marks on the legs and a large caliber bullet hole just above its left eye. Continue reading “Games with the mind”

Excuse me

She belched, and not for the first time that evening.

It began as a low rumble and as she tried to contain it her cheeks inflated to the point where they looked quite like the testicles of a bull.

The rumble became a raucous roar as, against her will, it erupted and exploded with a great, rasping croak that reminded Betty of the sound that an enormous toad might make if it were run over by a cement lorry.

When the belch had run its course, Monica smiled the same innocent, demure smile that she always smiles when what she really wants is for everyone to forget what she just did and get back to talking about horticulture or whatever it was that Philip had been discussing before she belched.

No one in the room particularly liked Monica so it proved to be easy for everyone to ignore her, with or without the smile.

“Speaking of castor seeds,” chimed Betty, “when ground up and scattered on the lawn they serve as a marvelous deterrent to gophers and moles.”

“That’s good to know,” Philip replied. “Isn’t it Susan?” he added as an aside to his wife who, unfortunately had fallen asleep on the adjacent love seat.

The conversation was cut short yet again as Betty stood to make an announcement. Continue reading “Excuse me”

Corona ghosts crash the party

The president of the corona ghost union

Was not amused when he heard

That the Department of State

Was having a big party


He called upon his 2,750,000 members

To crash the diplomatic party

The ghosts all descended

on the party


The party goers sensed

There was something wrong

Then the ghosts became appearing

Slowly their forms took shape


The ghosts looked at the party goers

And the party ended

The guests fled


With the corona ghosts

Fading into the evening wind



By Jake Cosmos Aller


The encounter

Lying in the hospital bed, I still had no control over my nervous system. I felt a twinge in my chest, and I knew something was terribly wrong. My heart began racing wildly. Even though I couldn’t see with my eyes, a dark cloud engulfed my mind as it began floating into the never-ending darkness.

Suddenly, I felt a strange sense of peace and love. I had never felt so comfortable and peaceful in my life. A warm cloud of harmony engulfed me. I felt like I was smiling and floating.

It was then that I first saw it. It was a strange feeling looking at something so brilliant, since my eyes were closed, but it was there and it was warm and welcoming. What I perceived was the brightest light I’ve ever seen in my life. It totally overwhelmed me and penetrated my senses like a piercing dagger of lightning throughout my consciousness. I felt myself being pulled into the light, and it was the most beautiful and calming feeling I’ve ever experienced. I felt as if I was peacefully floating and that all the troubles of the world had been eliminated.

 I opened my eyes or opened my consciousness, which one I really don’t know. Immediately I noticed that I was hovering near the ceiling of the hospital room. I looked down and saw my body lying motionless on the bed. My skin was white, and I looked dead. Continue reading “The encounter”

A drop of water

The dripping faucet is driving Sylvia crazy.

“Marshall,” she says to her husband who is flipping channels on the TV with the remote.  “The faucet is dripping.  Can’t you fix it?”  He nods his head, but does nothing.  It is the kitchen faucet, so she hears it all day, but it seems to her that she also hears it at night: a constant thrum in her head, like a ticking clock. It disturbs her sleep, and she tosses in their bed, heating up, winding the sheet around her legs, sticking her toes out and turning the pillow over so the cool side is against her cheek.

The next evening, she says again, “Marshall, please fix the faucet.” He gets up from the sagging sofa, and she thinks he will get his toolbox, but he is only going to the fruit bowl. She feels her heart hammering in something that reminds her of rage, but she can’t yet acknowledge her anger at him; it is too unfair, she thinks, so she says nothing.

Instead, she complains to her sister Lillian, who nods sagely.  “Think of what it’s like for him.” Continue reading “A drop of water”


The flames in George’s hip jumped, entrails devouring the tissue below. He limped to Lora’s bed and stretched his bad leg across it.

“Alright,” he said. “Alright. I’m here.”

“Pop Pop!” Lora said. “I’m on the last level!”

Lora always begged George to watch her play video games. Sometimes, her tone was just perfect.

The screen flashed logos and went black.

Are you ready to make history?” a voice said. “To become immor–

“This’s the loading screen,” Lora said from the floor, legs crossed, neck folded back.

A dial appeared in the corner, counting to one hundred.

George went to his leg. He rubbed it. The pain wasn’t new, nor was its timing — he always chased Lora around during her visits. But he believed sight guarded against the pain’s advance.

An explosion burst. He ducked, folding into his leg. Fire scorched his right side. He shrieked.

“Pop Pop!” Lora said. She laughed her high giggle. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” George said. “I’m fine.”

He rubbed his forehead, air hot through his nose.

Patterson,” the voice said. “Get your ass out there.Continue reading “Immortality”


Helene carefully washed, rinsed and dried her plate, knife, fork, water glass, and the Teflon pan.  An omelet with mushrooms and fines herbes, fava beans, thin-sliced artisan bread from the new bakery made a satisfying meal: appetizing, nutritious, balanced and harming no living creature.

Assuring herself that her kitchen was spotless, she drew an upright chair to the broad living-room table for the evening’s project.  Mixing three decks of cards was a tedious but necessary preliminary, like jointing a chicken in the days when she’d eaten the things.

She took up half the stack and dealt the first rows of the layout: thirteen cards face down, overlapping them with thirteen face up.  A promising start: she moved cards, faced those exposed as a result.

Hobbes’ Patience, it was called, nothing to do with the philosopher-cynic.  ‘Patience’ was what they called Solitaire in England, where The Paragon Compendium of Card Games was published in 1875: a date she remembered because she found the book, tucked into a back stack, on its centenary.  An appropriate name for a game she’d played for decades but never succeeded in completing.  Didn’t the rubric say, ‘Some authorities assert that this Patience is impossible of solution; others only that a man’s lifetime is scarcely long enough.’? Continue reading “Solitaire”