Special/Signature Issues » Chapter None

Impending Doom

Many of the stories were great because of the sudden stop at the end. The abundance of them makes us think these people know something we don't. Here are some of the best.

This Is the Way by Kate Simonsen

Like a heartbeat the last parade marches down Claremont Avenue.

People stand on their toes, peering over each other's heads, as the marching band stops, the drums falling silent, and the men and women in their smart red uniforms and bright brass buttons stare up at the sky in horror.

Poison by Kate Simonsen

Alice's mother had very old-fashioned ideas and quite an extensive collection of interesting-looking old bottles.

Alice never learned to read -- a tragic end.

Cursed Beat by Ray Bonis

The rancid meat juice was consumed by the drummer. His shackled mind barked out broken obscenities. We summoned the physician but the end arrived sudden.

Evening by Gayla Mills

We sat on the porch for a last look at the Priest. Its peak had taken on a bluish tint in the early evening light. The frogs had begun their chorus by the pond. The air still held the fragrance of the mountain laurel.

"I think it's time," he said, turning toward me with those deep liquid eyes. I nodded just a bit as my stomach seized. "We've had a good run of it, haven't we?"

He rose, banked the fire, and fetched the bottle from the bathroom. "What would be best, scotch or hot cocoa?" I pondered the question. I was more in the mood for the cocoa.

"Scotch," I said. "It ought to work quicker." He got out the glasses with the gold tips, a wedding gift from 40 years ago. The thought of that day made me smile.

First he measured the powder with a tablespoon, then splashed the whiskey on top. A quick stir, and with a gentle touch, he passed me one glass. Our eyes caught in a moist exchange.

We heard the screeching of many tires as they tore up the gravel. The raucous laughter sent a chill. "That's it, my love. One last drink." As we drank deep, the fading sunset cast a glow on the approaching mob.

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