The Witch of the Narrows

The Witch of the Narrows by Phillip McCollum You wouldn’t believe me if I told you it was all hearsay and legend. But I know you, Pat, and you’re gonna be stuck in one of your funks, unable to let it go, completely useless to me as a client and a friend. So, I may as well tell you what …

Our Modern Hope

Our Modern Hope by Phillip McCollum Embarrassingly, it didn’t take much for Mitchell Lacombe to overcome his inclination to vertigo two years ago and sign up for the Spaceketeers. His mother nagged him to put away the video games, get off the couch, and do something worth a damn. The world needed somebody to step up, she had said, so …

Be Kind

Be Kind by Phillip McCollum Be kind. Tenet number one in the Book of Stanton. For ten years, it had been etched into the pathways running between Ernie Bowen’s amygdala and hippocampus. He’d spent the better part of two decades bouncing at bars and nightclubs all over the Western Confederation, finding success and salvation in the commandments set forth by …

Branded

Branded by Phillip McCollum Though his belly touched the sand, his face was turned slightly up, facing west–the direction of home. Yellow pus streamed from the corner of his left eye onto the bridge of his narrow nose, leaving a noxious stench. Flies buzzed in circles over his open mouth. And then there was the maroon-stained hole punched clean between …

Hello, Nice to Destroy You

Hello, Nice to Destroy You by Phillip McCollum December 23, 1964 Pamban Island, India It was eleven p.m. on the last train to Dhanushkodi. For the past twenty hours, I had done everything but sleep during the long ride, despite spending most of what was left of my money on a compartment of my own. My mind refused the luxury …

Halfway

Halfway by Phillip McCollum Detective Marty Quinn’s job is a lot like dipping your face in a pool or the ocean, where you leave your ears floating halfway between one world and the other. The above and the below. You get a hint of the diluted, swirling side, but you’re still anchored in what you know. Then comes the pull. …

Swan Song

Swan Song by Phillip McCollum The drums lacked punch. The bass guitar was fuzzy and thin. And the vocals? Meh. Barely the growl she was looking for. Still, seventy-one-year-old Hazel McAllister sat in the driver’s seat of her nine-year-old Ford Focus, whipping her thinning silver hair back and forth to the newest release from Satan’s Seed. Any metal was good …

Captain Coffee

Captain Coffee by Phillip McCollum Captain Coffee preferred a French roast. Lighter brews would seem more the Captain’s speed, but they lacked the complex, chocolatey undertones that made life worth living. Undertones that gave him purpose. The light-reflecting puddles of oil floating on the coffee’s surface represented islands of refuge from the surrounding darkness. Islands the Captain felt an obligation …

My Little Girl

My Little Girl by Phillip McCollum My little girl has all the potential. All of it. I see it so clearly, the way the razor-straight strands of her auburn hair hang on the wind as she runs with resolve, chasing her younger brother, Lucas, beneath the slides. The shine in her green eyes as she narrows in on a potential …

Slab Lords

Slab Lords by Phillip McCollum Her skin was as black as freshly poured asphalt and her tall, thin legs resembled those of a roadrunner. Then there were her lips. They had a natural pucker that would make a goldfish cry. A pair of oversized sunglasses covered her eyes with thick aqua-blue frames and lenses resembling the peepers of a giant …