Better than One – Part 1

By Edele Winnie

Sheila found the shrunken head after her aunt passed away. The poor old woman had been a miserable crank pot. Even though Sheila was young, she had done her best to make Auntie comfortable in these last months, but the shrivelled old woman had only been angry and full of complaints. Her habits were extremely odd- she hoarded empty tin cans and set out hundreds and hundreds of unbaited but ready to snap mouse traps. As far as Sheila could tell there were no mice in the house.

When it was announced from the hospital that Auntie had passed, Sheila got to work. She’d bundled her short dark hair under a kerchief and rolled up her sleeves.

There had to be thousands of empty tin cans in the house and Auntie had removed all the labels. Sheila loaded them into boxes and dragged them outside. She didn’t know if the recycle truck would take so many. It would probably require more than one truck.

At first the cans had seemed fairly new- still shiny. But deeper into the piles and stacks the empty cans were rusted and discoloured. At the very centre the cans were blackened with mould or age or something. In the centre of the blackest cans she found the head. Continue reading

Trick or Treat

By Edele Winnie

“You’re going to have contact.” Marge swirled her pale hands over the crystal ball one more time. “Tomorrow.” She looked up at Loretta. “Halloween.”

Loretta’s legs began to quiver and she swallowed hard. “Thank you Marge.”

Marge smiled. She was not some artful gypsy but rather the stretch and strength exercise class instructor for the senior’s home where they both lived.

I’m going to have contact. Lortetta could not stop thinking about it at dinner that night, about her beloved husband Leroy, dead twenty-two years now. How she’d missed him. She’d been in a strange state of late- feeling isolated and alone, even though she’d lived in the senior’s home for the past seven years. She was no longer connecting with the others, staying in her room more, listening to sad music and remembering. The nurses had decided it was depression and added a little something to her daily barrel of drugs but it hadn’t changed anything. So Marge and the cane gang had decided to take matters into their own hands and cheer Loretta up. Continue reading

Pretty Shoes

By Eddie D. Moore

Gavin’s head pounded and he could see nothing but the floorboards when he cracked open his eyes. He had hoped to catch the thief that had been sporadically working the area for months. Unfortunately, the thief had caught him instead. The underbrush at the edge of the property had offered a perfect place to hide and watch the house. The last thing he remembered was the soft shuffle of leaves behind him, a moment of panic, and a stinging pain as something struck him on the back of the head. He should have guessed that the thief would use the same vantage point.

He dared not give any sign of consciousness as quick paced footsteps passed. The board under his cheek gave a slight creek and a breeze stirred his hair as the thief passed into the adjacent room. Other footsteps and rummaging could be heard above him. The steps had too short a stride and were too light to be produced by adults. He began to wonder if the robberies were the work of a group of children. His ears burned with embarrassment at the thought of admitting that a scrawny miscreant had caught him unaware and knocked him senseless.

Gavin slowly surveyed the room, got to his feet and moved to a corner. Through the doorway, a couple feet away, he could barely make out a whispered voice in the adjacent room. The voice seemed too deep for a child and sounded odd, almost unnatural. Continue reading

The Fifth Monday Two – Hard On’s Curse – Part 3

By Edele Winnie

The long flight to Quebec City was torturous. Cardinal Molson, nearly eighty years old and fortified by a glass of angel semen in water, was a constant attraction on the aircraft.  Women hovered around him like flies on dead meat. Three of the male flight attendants offered to give him a tour of the private areas of the aircraft- or maybe it was their private areas in the aircraft? It required a lot of forgiving, but Molson was up to it. It also helped distract him from his travelling companion. They were flying first class so Mr. T was already over-filled on complimentary beer and little packages of crackers. He was sweating profusely- the skanky smell of beer cold filtered through a human body with a bushy layer of greasy black body hair. The cardinal was named Molson but Mr. T was Molson inside and out. He was so drunk he was eating the crackers without taking the plastic wrappers off.

When he heard the commotion near the back of the plane the cardinal suspected the flight attendants were scrapping over him. Angel semen seemed to be some kind of crazy aphrodisiac.   But this time he was wrong.

“In the name of Allah!” a bearded man shouted. “American Imperialists and crusaders will pay the price!” He had some kind of button thing in his hand, with his thumb poised ready to press.

People were screaming and swooning. Cardinal Molson heard some praying to a Christian God and that snapped him out of his reverie. He raised his right hand- he wasn’t sure why at the time- and a bolt of white light came out and zoomed towards the bomber. And then the light was gone and so was the man. People blinked and rubbed at their eyes. The trouble maker had vanished. Cardinal Molson wiped the tingly palm of his hand on his black pant leg.   Angel semen indeed.

Far below a man with a beard hit the metal roof of a snowy barn and slid off, bones smashed after a freefall from thirteen thousand feet. Fourteen year old farm girl Ashley Bloomfield looked up just in time to be crushed by the falling pulverized body, killing her instantly.   One virgin, anyway. Continue reading

Dime Store Detective – Part Seven (Conclusion)

Ben Van Dongen

The elevator doors opened onto a dim city street. Streetlights were on to compensate for the deep shadows and setting sun, which was almost gone over the horizon. Groups and couples walked down the sidewalks or hailed cabs. Thomas took a moment to look for a cab without a group of people standing around it, trying to make their claim, but they were all taken, leaving dozens of people waiting. He turn and ran, dodging pedestrians and excusing himself.

At the first intersection, he went right then darted across the street through a gap in the traffic. Horns honked at him, but he ducked left into an alley, leaving them behind.

Coming out at another street, he followed it to the next intersection, ran left through traffic again

Thomas ran along the street, next to parked cars, but he was tiring and slowed. Plodding down the sidewalk as quickly as he could, he ran into a woman who walked out of a store without looking. Continue reading

Dime Store Detective – Part Six

Ben Van Dongen

The office was quiet. It was usually quiet, but after his first case, Thomas could feel it. He sat at his desk, thinking over the events at the school, looking for what he did wrong. Letting his target get away was eating at him, but not as much as Diaz not caring.

A knock at his inner office door made him jump. He saw the shadow of Rachel in the window before she walked in.

“I brought you a cup of coffee.” Rachel walked over to the desk and gingerly put down a brimming mug.

“Do I look that pathetic?”

She put her hands on her hips. “I just trying to do something nice.”

Thomas rubbed his chin. “Sorry. It’s that phone call. I can’t shake it.” He picked up the mug and sipped. “The only thing I can come up with is Diaz knew more than he was telling me.”

“Don’t tell me you’re shocked by that?”

He waved her off. “No. They’re a big company, bound to protect their interests. But if they already knew, why did they need me?” Continue reading

Duck Duck Goose

By Edele, Winnie

She did not notice the man following her until it was too late.

She saw the duck first. Seeing a duck downtown was unusual. It was standing by a bike rack, unperturbed, as if it were waiting for someone. It looked up at Cathy as she passed. Surprised, she stopped and stared at the bird. But she was going to be late for work so she continued on. The next duck was standing in the middle of the sidewalk, unconcerned about all of the people passing. It was obviously not the same duck. It was coloured differently and had a scrunched up foot.

Cathy shook her head in disbelief. Two downtown ducks in one day? Perhaps there had been some kind of a storm that had stranded them in the city?

She did not even see the goose. It was a big Canada goose, standing quite tall and waddling along the sidewalk. She was almost at the office, where she worked as an accountant, and she was checking herself in the window of the bakery nearby. Her short brown hair was tastefully arranged and her makeup completely natural. She was wearing her blue business suit, which made her frown because she had never liked the cut of the jacket. And then the goose pinched her bum. She jumped angrily, intending to shout down whoever had dared poach her derrière but there was only the goose behind her. No one else. It had to have been the goose. Continue reading

Dime Store Detective – Part Five

By Ben Van Dongen

The door closed behind the fleeing woman and Thomas slammed into it in pursuit. He lunged forward, running right into the back of the waiting officer, pushing him. The tall man turned on Thomas, red faced and furious. He tried to get hold of Thomas, but momentum was against him. Thomas spun, ducking the reaching arms, and sprinted in the direction the guard had been looking.

At the next junction, he paused, listening for the principal’s clacking footsteps. Hearing the sound, Thomas ran after it, further into the building, back towards the records room.  He had to force the smile from his face as he ran.

The woman was fast and far enough ahead that he hadn’t caught a glimpse of her. He was determined though, and manage to follow the footsteps echoing down the empty hallways. He heard the click and slam of a door closing and traced it to a stairwell. He pulled open the door and chased the principal up the stairs. Continue reading

Dime Store Detective – Part Four

While walking back to the train station, Thomas called Rachel. The day was wearing into the afternoon and he figured she would be at work by then.

She answered on the third ring. “Thomas Holliday Private Investigations; how may I direct your call?”

“It’s me.” Thomas smiled hearing her nasally voice.

“Oh, well you better not have messed this case up already. You haven’t had one in months.”

“I need a warrant to access the student records.” He stopped walking, bursting with excitement. “She was actually going to throw me out!”

“I’ve already applied for the warrant, it should be in the records by now. I’ll upload it to your file and send one to the school.”

“You’re the best.”

“Don’t forget it come bonus time.” She hung up on him. Continue reading

Dime Store Detective – Part Three

Ben Van Dongen

A cool breeze blew through the open ends of the train station. Thomas turned to it, relishing the feeling on his face as it eased the fatigue from the late night. He kept an eye out for the man he had seen the night before, but the only people there were three young men dressed in casual clothes. They sat at a table eating food from the vending machines and watched a music video, projected over the center of the table by one of their phones. The music, something Thomas didn’t recognize, boomed and twittered across the platform. One of them pointed at him and encouraged the other two to laugh.

The feeder car arrived and Thomas got in, ignoring the taunts he was used to hearing. He sat in a seat across from the doors and adjusted the collar on his tan trench coat. The empty car whooshed into the open and caught up to the train, connecting long enough for him to enter and find another seat. He huffed as he sat, and stretched his neck, cracking it. A woman with a baby carriage made a sour face at the sound and went back to cooing her child. Continue reading