It was the middle of the night when Megan heard the soft sounds. She clamped her hands over her ears and willed the sound to stop. If only she could fall asleep this way. She’d tried earplugs but the unnatural silence made her feel panicky. Her boyfriend Derek, asleep beside her, never heard anything in the night. He’d suggested she take a sleep aid, but Megan liked natural things and eschewed pharmaceuticals. Although after several weeks of night whispering she was ready to try anything.
She unclamped her ears and held her breath. Silence. Blessed quiet. She exhaled with relief. She was so tired. She could feel the gentle hands of sleep reaching up through the mattress for her.
“Sss sssh ssh-law sha-law.” The whispering went. “Sshh slee she slaw.”
Megan’s eyes flew open. No. No. Why wouldn’t it stop? They’d lived in the house two years before the whispering started. She looked at Derek and he was sound asleep, his lips slightly parted, peaceful. She felt a flash of anger towards him and sighed.
She was wide–awake now. She swung her bare feet out onto the cold floor. Continue reading
By Ben Van Dongen
The alarm on my watch buzzed and beeped. I had a fuzzy recollection of setting it the night before, but at six in the morning, I couldn’t figure out why. Another hour, or dozen, of sleep would have felt amazing, but I relented and got up. I had a cot in a little room of the space I’d rented a few months prior – another fuzzy decision. There weren’t any windows in the room, so I was shocked to see snow on my way to the bathroom.
The building was on a little side street – glorified alley – called Maiden Lane. The scene was undisturbed, picturesque, and unwelcome at such an early hour. I had originally thought of the space for the detective agency because it was sleazy and run down when I was a kid. I figured it would be perfect, but in the years since I’d been there, the area was transformed into a hipster’s paradise. It was a Mecca of fashionable cafes, art studios, independent designers, and boutiques. I had a year lease though, so I tried to make the best of it. Continue reading
When Leslie Eaton died her husband Derrick did not know what to do. They were young, both thirty-four and she had somehow been his connection to the world. After her death he went through the motions of daily existence without really being present. He was adrift.
Until he met the woman in the tree. Continue reading