Maternal Blinders

By Patrick Firth

On the night she saw the goblin, Valerie had decided she could no longer put up with her mother. She had been strangling an old doll, tears streaming down her face, mouthing slow down, slow down over and over again in a silent scream. That was until she noticed a small, wizened face, staring at her: needle teeth and thin lips, sunken eyes surrounded by deep, shadowy creases, warty nodules like tree knots on its hairless skull. Her fingers relaxed and the doll’s head flopped to the side. The pinched little face moved closer to hers, yellowy eyes not meeting hers, but rather following the path of her tears to where they collected on her chin. One rough finger reached out to catch one of the drops on a cracked nail. She shuddered at the contact. The goblin placed the drop on its tongue and its smile deepened, splitting its face. Eyes rolled back into its head, and then back down to her face again.

It tried to collect another, but this time she slapped away its hand. Continue reading

Douglas and the Snowball

by Patrick Firth

The troubles had began when James down the lane had lost his house, Douglas thought as he grabbed a cane from a small barrel by the door. James’s children had sold it right out from underneath him. Douglas spat on the welcome mat just inside the door, and then ground it out with his boot. James had worked his ass off his whole life, thirty something years at the factory, and his life was stolen by his family the minute he had trouble getting in the tub. Now he lived in some Home in Windsor. At their age, life was full of little deaths and losses. Lost friends, cars, wives. Freedom. But rest homes kill, Douglas thought. And James had received his death sentence.

Douglas had watched the new family move in. He used the binoculars that his wife, Margaret, had taken with her to Holiday Beach when she was birding, and he was not. The family, the Wheelwrights it said on their mailbox, seemed industrious enough. The mother and father anyways. They did not sit back and let the movers do it all. The boy, however, let it all pass by. Continue reading