With a flick William Sharpe struck the match against the phosphorus striking pad. Accompanied by the shearing sound of fire coming to life, yellow blossomed from the match head. It faded as quickly as it bloomed. William nurtured it, protecting the fragile flame by cupping his other hand near it while he touched it to a candle wick.

Hesitant at first, the wick took the flame, which grew as large as it was during that initial burst when the match first ignited. William flicked his wrist again, rapidly this time, depriving the flaming match of oxygen. Smoke streamed from the…


Esther Lewis marched through the quiet streets of Concrete, head high despite a mild drizzle. Grateful it was the soft perpetual kind that eventually soaked through if you were out in it long enough, rather than the kind that saturated every layer before you could open an umbrella. Esther didn’t mind the mist. It was a trifle. A minor inconvenience. She didn’t let it impede her from doing her work — the Lord’s work.

Esther Lewis wrote a petition. Angry at the federal government for rejecting God and ending the prohibition of alcohol, she walked door to door in Concrete…


Concrete Terror — Chapter 3

His foot hurt. It wasn’t anything new. It always hurt. Used to be he thought he could learn to live with the pain. He was wrong. It shot through him like a fire alarm. It demanded notice, puling his engagement away from all lesser distractions.

At this point, Eddy Colt was sure he read the same sentence in his book at least ten times and was no closer to processing the author’s intent than the first time. The piercing ache of his foot eclipsed every thought, feeling, impression, or notion.

“‘Most prominent landmark in modernist…


“Evelene, these cakes are the cat’s whiskers.” Natalie plunged her fork into the short stack of pancakes. Saturated with butter, two pieces stuck on the tines dripped syrup onto Natalie’s threadbare corduroy pants. Oblivious to the spill, she shovelled the forkful of pancakes into her mouth.

“No one makes ’em like Mort, and we’re the only place in town serves breakfast all day.” Evelene’s blue uniform skirt swished as she danced behind the counter to the tune of the Andrews Sisters’ “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.” The song played from a brand-new Emerson radio that sat on the counter next…


He turned the knob. There was a slight delay, then the chaos of radio static filled the air. Peppered by tinny human voices, the noise went in and out. Harrison Treadwell fiddled with the tuner knob until the static receded and the chatter clarified. Crystal clear. Like he was on the telephone with them. Static spiked again. Harrison swore, and clicked the radio off.

It was these damn hills, he thought, and this weather. Typical Washington. Never got great reception this deep in the Skagit Valley, anyway. Even if it wasn’t pissing cats and dogs. The wipers of the Chevy…

Ken Carlson

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