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All Serials

Aug 14, 2018

The Paths We Take #26: Pain

        Luke   I watched the couple walk past my car as I pretended to look for something in the glove compartment. As they traipsed down the sidewalk, the white fog of their breaths collided against the backdrop of the noir sky. I scanned the alley again, waited until the lovers turned […]

Aug 07, 2018

The Paths We Take #25: Open Your Eyes

      Claire   Open your eyes . . .   I blinked. I was alive — whether I wanted to be or not. The warm tears trickled down the sides of my face as I thawed in the sunlight. The soft fleece itched my bare skin as I tried to lift my arms, […]

Jul 31, 2018

The Paths We Take #24: Bleed

          Detective Townsend   The call from Molly came in while Luke was asleep in the back room. I let him stay at the cabin for the rest of the day; it wasn’t safe for him to go home — it wasn’t safe for him anywhere. “You screwed me. I gave […]

Jul 24, 2018

The Paths We Take #23: Too Young

        Luke   They said we were too young; we didn’t care. We were ready – ready to destroy each other. “That’s my favorite,” were the first words that melted off her tongue and dripped into my ears. I was three bites into my mint chocolate-chip ice cream when I shifted my […]

Jul 19, 2018

The Paths We Take #22: New Girl

        Claire   I sat across from New Girl – perky, wild, loquacious New Girl. She introduced herself before pouring a glass of Girard Zinfandel. She told me to call her Rae; I wasn’t sure if that was her real name, but it didn’t really matter. She was sixteen, I learned later, […]

Jul 10, 2018

The Paths We Take #21: Burn

      Michael   I imagined her dangling from the rocks below… reaching, calling out to me, her fingernails clawing at the stone as her hands slipped further towards the edge. I stretched out my arms to her and she gripped my hands, her red nails slicing into my wrists. The frantic, wide-eyed fear […]

Jul 03, 2018

The Paths We Take #20: Get Out Now

        Luke   Jennifer was no stranger to bodies ripped open from hot metal, so when she opened the door to find me standing there with my sweatshirt soaked in blood, the first thing that she said was, “Couldn’t you have called first?” She motioned me inside like she was hurrying a […]

Jun 26, 2018

The Paths We Take #19: Falling Apart

        Detective Townsend   The hardest part about seeing a lifeless body isn’t the grotesqueness of the blood or bone fragments, it’s thinking about the life that was still left to live and the people who remain behind to suffer. A young girl would never walk down the aisle into the arms […]

Jun 12, 2018

The Paths We Take #18: Fly Away

        Claire   The cool metal circled my skin as Donnelly caressed my temple with the barrel of the gun. He told me, “You try to take away something of mine again and I won’t be so gentle.” They blamed me for what happened to Ariel. I just sat there, stone-like. Silent… […]

Jun 05, 2018

The Paths We Take #17: Die Soon Enough

      Luke   When I left The Dollhouse, I decided to drop into Phil’s Diner. Phil wasn’t anything like I had imagined; I pictured the stereotypical grandpa wearing some type of sweater and khaki combo. Phil was in his early forties, and his “happy” belly was the result of years of consuming syrupy […]

May 29, 2018

The Paths We Take #16: Officer Down

        Detective Townsend   The call came in around 5:45 AM. Lieutenant Mason’s rough voice roared even when he whispered, and the words “it’s one of our own,” gave me that sick feeling that starts at the bottom of your stomach and works its way up into your mouth until you can […]

May 22, 2018

The Paths We Take #15: Ghosts by Morning

        Claire   I hesitated to open the door, as if the door were protecting me from the outside instead of keeping me there. I was another forgotten girl. Sometimes the damsel must save herself, I thought. The first step was like daring myself to stick my foot in smoldering lava, but […]

May 15, 2018

The Paths We Take #14: The Dollhouse

          Luke   The “XXX” blinked in fluorescent magnificence against the obsidian sky. It was a red beacon of hope for the sex-starved, downtrodden, and desperate men who needed to escape into an X-rated fantasy. The Dollhouse was partially hidden from Route 15 by the trees and might have been disregarded […]

May 08, 2018

The Paths We Take #13: So Beautiful

        Claire   I had never felt so hollow. I was furious at myself for not fighting back, for just allowing them to enslave me to this world that smelled of latex and rose petals. After Michael, a handful of clients came to see Nikki. Most of them the business types, balding […]

May 01, 2018

The Paths We Take #12: The Witness

          Detective Townsend   Molly was late. We had agreed to meet, 7:00 AM, at the Adams Library on campus. I sat at a small rectangular table on the second level that overlooked the front half of the first floor. From where I was sitting, I could see anyone coming up […]

Apr 24, 2018

The Paths We Take #11: The Warning

        Michael   I’m in love, I thought to myself as I shut the oak door behind me. The older guy who met me at the gate when I arrived, was lounging on a brown leather armchair in the sitting room, leering at the door as it shut, and then looked at […]

Apr 17, 2018

The Paths We Take #10: Wolf Creek Lanes

      Luke   Nancy walked out of the store just before 7:00 PM. I had been sitting in my truck for fifteen minutes, tucked between the east side of the building and the dumpsters, contemplating going back into the store that I had, according to an anonymous witness, robbed earlier that morning. This […]

Apr 10, 2018

The Paths We Take #9: Meet Nikki

        Claire   Good things will soon come into your life. That is what the single sliver of prophetic white paper read after I removed it from among the crushed bits of cookie. That was my fortune when I ordered take-out the day before I was abducted. I was curled up on […]

Apr 03, 2018

The Paths We Take #8: Skittles & Rumors

        Detective Townsend   “Am I seriously going to jail for this?” the doe-eyed twenty-something asked as she sat in the plastic chair biting her lip and picking at her amethyst colored nails. She was yet another Covington University student picked up by a uniform for simple possession of Schedule VI after […]

Mar 27, 2018

The Paths We Take #7: Serene Violence

      Luke   Hollinger Park was colder than it had been the day before. The bleakness of the day washed over the place, giving it a Chernobyl-like feel, devoid of life except for the flow of the river. My eyes pored over the photograph, imagining how the last twenty-four hours would’ve been if […]

Mar 20, 2018

The Paths We Take #6: The Best Place in the World

        Michael   When I hit the frigid water, the air fled from my lungs and I kicked in a panic to reach the surface. I thrashed my arms searching for the nearest rock to climb on while the sun taunted me from above. My hands found the jagged edge of a […]

Mar 13, 2018

The Paths We Take #5: Wooden Palace

      Claire   When the van came to a stop, Bert grabbed my shoulders and slid me over to the side doors. He untied the rag that covered my mouth as the doors opened, letting in the smell of fresh pines and the chill of the morning air. Gramps took hold of my […]

Mar 06, 2018

The Paths We Take #4: The Interview

    Luke The light poured down on me, almost blinding, as it reflected off the white windowless walls. I sat there, hands cuffed behind my back, cut off from the outside world. The only thing I could do was watch the uniforms pass by the narrow window in the door. The room was cramped, […]

Feb 27, 2018

The Paths We Take #3: Violent Men

Claire The one they called Bert stood above me as I struggled on the cold floor of the van while I took in the bleak air. I could taste the gas and steel in the air through the damp tattered rag they tied around my mouth. Plastic bit into my wrists with each bump and […]