Racetrack’s a funny place. People says they come here for entertainment, but there ain’t nothing they take more serious. It’s the gambling. They see themselves hitting the big one and taking it all home in a big bag. Course, that never happens, but it seems some always had that idea. Mind, there’s a few can come here and just spend a few dollars and leave, and it don’t bite them. But others, well, they get hooked the first time they’re here. I think it’s got something to do with the horses. Maybe they think they’re not really gambling cause it’s live animals.
I been here near forty year, ever since about 1955. Started out as a groom, then got a lucky break to start as a sulky driver in the races. Even got to travel around the state for a while. But then I got hurt in a bad pile-up and the boss offered me this job. I’m sort of a security guard now. It’s okay, but I sure do miss the horses. I’m not so close to them no more.
I remember this one young feller, back about thirty year ago. His daddy knew somebody and got him into the barns as a groom. That’s the starting point, where you learn everything. He wanted to be a driver and could have made it, too. He had a good touch with horses and was showing some real promise on the practice track. But then I start seeing him in the stands, and at the window, and I thought—well there goes another one. He’d caught the gambling bug. There’s a certain look they get in their eye when that happens, a kind of intense focus when they watch the horses or read the program. There’s despair when they lose, but it ain’t long before they’re looking at the next race. Continue reading
By Eddie D. Moore
Dale walked the city walls when he found it hard to sleep, and failure always left him up late into the night. The open air and the stars above usually helped settle his mind. Unfortunately, there were no stars on this night, and the thick fog felt oppressive. He heaved a sigh, deciding to return home and try to get a couple hours of rest. When he turned around he saw a small ball of light drifting on the wind. He stood watching it in wonder, until he heard one of the city guards approaching from behind.
“Good evening Dale. I see you have found one of our night visitors.”
Recognizing the voice of the man, Dale answered without taking his eyes off the light. “Hi Nairn, it is beautiful. What is it?”
Nairn stepped up beside Dale and shrugged. “I figure it is some type of firefly. Although, I have never saw one stay lit this long.”
The guard continued on his rounds leaving Dale to watch the ball of light. Dale grew excited as it drifted closer. Clasping both hands overhead, he caught the ball as it passed within his reach. He opened his hands a crack to see inside, and he shook his head when he saw nothing inside. He sighed, and said to himself softly, “I cannot even catch a bug.”
After the walk in the damp nighttime air, the smooth sheets and the warm covers felt wonderful. Within moments, his eyelids grew heavy, and he drifted off to peaceful dreams.
A beautiful woman stood before him, and when he looked at her, his heart burned with love and a longing he could not describe. She spoke with an alluring voice. “Oh Dale, I am so glad you have found me again.” Continue reading
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
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
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
No Light Tomorrow needs a book cover!
From June 17 – Aug 1, 2015, Authors Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen will be accepting submissions for the cover art for their newest book, No Light Tomorrow.
No Light Tomorrow is a collection of five speculative tales. Space travel, strange visitors, technological nightmares, unexplainable phenomenon and new worlds await within its pages.
- Create an original and interesting image built around the name and ideas of the book. The artwork must be the property of the submitter.
- Upload a clear picture of your cover art design and send to firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline date.
The winner will:
- Have their cover published.
- Receive explicit acknowledgement in the book.
- Receive complimentary copies of No Light Tomorrow
- Win $50 cash
By submitting any design for the cover of the book titled “No Light Tomorrow”, you automatically agree to the following. (Please don’t submit anything if you don’t agree).
- I acknowledge that there may be many cover designs submitted, and that the final choice may be similar to that which I submitted.
- I acknowledge that the final book cover may include concepts that appear similar to those that I submit.
- I acknowledge and accept that if my design is chosen, the authors can use the design in any way in the promotion and sales of the book.
- I acknowledge that my image (if selected) may be altered to better fit the needs of the cover.
- I acknowledge that even if my image is selected, it may not end up being used as the final cover for the book. In this instance, I will still receive the cash prize of $50
- I waive any claims that I may have against Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen with regard to the design I have submitted to illustrate the cover of the book “No Light Tomorrow”, including any claims of invasion of privacy, violation of right of publicity, libel or copyright infringement.
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
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
By Edele Winnie
Puker Peters held onto his beer cup too tightly and spilled half the contents. On another day he would have been angry, but today was different. Today everything was going to change for him.
He had bought the Pierre Angels National Basketball League Franchise for a paltry seven million dollars. It was all the money he had in the world combined with all he could borrow. It was the chance of a lifetime, an opportunity too good to be true.. And that turned out to be quite accurate- it was too good to be true. Pierre, capital city of South Dakota, had 15,000 people and only four of them liked basketball. At every game Puker Peters lost money that he didn’t have. He started drinking as his life and future withered, and that was how he’d gotten his nickname.
But today was going to be different, because he had done something extreme. He didn’t have a good team filled with skilled players. The Pierre Angels were in last place and the team were dregs of the dregs. Puker didn’t hate them- you had to start somewhere- and they were all he could afford at the time. Truthfully he couldn’t even afford them anymore. He’d mortgaged his house, his car, his children, he’d sold his dog for scientific experiments and removed one of his mother’s kidneys while she was sleeping and sold it on the internet. Continue reading
The office was quiet. Faint moonlight shone through the window marking a square on the floor that angled onto a corner of the desk. The building was too high for the glow of streetlights. Thomas considered adding a faux light source, but was rarely in the office late enough to bother.
The text on the digital file looked blurred and Thomas rubbed his eyes. He squinted in the dark office and looked for the old Union Station clock he’d bought at auction. It was past three. The excitement at having a case, that caused him to jump around the office and bounce in his seat when he started to work, had faded. Continue reading