The metamorphosis begins with the lick of first dew. As Mother’s milk rains down, do we not feel the fracture, the impending breach; do we not begin to break under her ever present gaze? To hold fast we strive, yet a fool’s errand that. Mother will have her way, with rod or lash; we will obey. Extruded beyond time, a limit reached, one gives way with a whispered screech of banshees yet unheard. For as the coil rips asunder, so does the edge tip; the ferry no longer granting safe passage, we no longer the guardians in Mother’s good grace.
And It Swings
Joseph A. Pinto
And it swings and it swings and it swings o’er your head, the links like your memory eroding with time. And you pray for the drop, do you not? And you pray for the final fall. And you have never been stronger than your weakest. And you refuse to look Death in the face. And all that you have lost still pains you. And all that you live is a lie. And you wonder how the gaps became so wide now. And you wonder who is really holding on at all.
And it swings and it swings and it swings.
Veronica Magenta Nero
For months he watched her. The daily pattern of her life was his obsession. He studied her like a jigsaw puzzle, carefully fitting every piece in perfect place until the picture of who she was formed clearly in his mind. The time had finally come. To make his move. When he stepped out from the shadows onto her path he couldn’t have predicted her response. His plan was flawless, meticulous, he thought to himself as he choked and clutched his wet throat. She was the broken link. More twisted than he. She smiled as she drove the knife deeper in.
Will They Follow?
Crows caw as my encased body sways above the ground. Weakly, I open my eyes, greeted by a familiar and featureless landscape. For four days now, this has been my view. The rusty chain holding my support post creaks, weakening in the bleak sun, threatening to break at any moment. Around me the crows circle impatiently; their caws urging me to die. Soon, once the chain breaks, I will do as they wish. Below is the large pit, the bottom of which I cannot see; where those who came before me now lie. Will the crows follow me down there?
Lee A. Forman
Does it know? Can it even see?
The absence of eyes leads her to think not.
She watches as the humanoid form scuttles close to the wall, its black featureless head tilting at odd angles. Insectile clicks echo in the dank cellar as it moves fingerless hands along the wall.
It makes her think of Grandpa—and how the cancer ate him alive. He always said it was the creature that gave it to him.
She watches the broken link as it pulls the chain tight. Her hands begin to shake.
How long did he think that chain would last?
Christopher A. Liccardi
Hanging, literally by a thread, my doom awaited. It swung, like luck, over me without remorse. I smiled at it.
My existence had been this fragile before and I’d survived. Would it be so again? Would the fates conceded the point and let me live? It was nothing to dwell upon. I would either make the trip across the rusted steel or I would plummet to my well-deserved end. Either way, forward was my direction. My prize wait on the other side and all I needed to do was make it past that final rusted link, the weakest link.
A Lunch to Remember
He had endured years of brutal teasing at the construction site. His coworkers were a bunch of knuckle dragging bastards, grownup versions of the little bastards that had taunted him throughout school. He looked down at the crew eating lunch directly below him.
He stood at the edge of the I-beam, tightened the rope around his neck, and stepped off. The ground rushed up. He knew his full bowels would let loose, his speed would pop his head off, and the last thing they would get from him would be his laughter, following by his shit, blood, and eternal hatred.
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