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 …

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 …

Your Punching Privileges Have Been Revoked

Your Punching Privileges Have Been Revoked by Phillip McCollum Yeah, the vaseline helps a little, though that’s mainly so the skin don’t break when the guy gets in a lucky scrape, with his red leather glove rubbing against my almost equally leathered face. It seems to be happening more and more lately. The sweat always manages to get in the …

Out of the Picture

Out of the Picture by Phillip McCollum The tones were sepia, but Sylvia would have bet all of last year’s investment returns that the man’s eyes were a turquoise blue. Beneath the edges of his army side cap, she could see his coarse hair, cut short. Thin lips stretched around a toothy smile.  He also bore the familiar sliver of …

The Owl His Anthem

The Owl His Anthem by Phillip McCollum Ernie smiled at the pinhole patterns on the drop ceiling and if he squinted just right, he could see at least six faces smiling back. A hint of bluish moonlight streaming through the tiny barred window put all of the shadows in the right places. Two of the faces were long and gregarious, …