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New Short Story: The Thanksgiving Purge

The Thanksgiving Purge Melissa R. Mendelson The dining room table was set for a party of eight.  The good China was laid out with sterling silverware.  The turkey steamed, and the stuffing called.  Cranberries jiggled.  Marshmallows melted into sweet potatoes.  The wine popped.  Laughter and conversation shined like the chandelier, but in the background, the grandfather clock counted down. My chair was at the end of the table next to the grandfather clock.  I was served first.  Then, everyone else ate, and as the hour was spent, the laughter and conversation began to die.  Glances fell my way.  Throats cleared.  No wine for me, and with a stomach full and a heavy heart, I pushed my seat away from the table. I promised myself that this would be the last year.  I could not bring myself to see the look of turmoil on my father’s face.  The tears running down my mother’s pale skin.  My brothers and sisters staring at their feet, trying to hold onto the holiday feel.  One day, they would become…

New Short Story: Lone Occupant

Lone Occupant by, Melissa R. Mendelson The night was near bitter cold, and the full moon wore half a dark cloud.  The wind stirred, and the grass bowed. Headlights flashed in the distance, fading into red and blue lights.  Sirens filled the air, and shadows lurked against pavement, mingled together, trying not to fade from the cold.  But no one was allowed back inside. The alarms barely rang before eleven p.m.  At that time, most occupants were ready for bed.  They were undressed and probably watching television, and some might have been already fast asleep.  The drills were never supposed to be held after six p.m., so we knew that this was the real thing.  And we knew who was probably responsible, but the police refused to confirm our suspicions, telling us to just step back.  We stepped back, and we watched and waited.  It was like nothing was happening, but we knew that he was inside.  What was taking them so long? “If only he was happy like us,” one man said. “They should never have le…

Short Story: Fear The Rain

Fear The Rain Melissa R. Mendelson It was the worst heatwave in record history.  Temperatures reached beyond a hundred degrees.  There were so many deaths, so many prayers for rain, but the skies remained dry.  No storms in the forecast, and July burned away into August.  Finally, the rain came, and we thought that it was over.  But we were wrong, and now we fear the rain.  We fear the water. It was after dark, and we ate our tuna fish in silence.  The candlelight burned, and the silverware was plastic.  So were the cups, and the plates were made of paper.  Nothing real was ever used now.  It was just better to use and discard.  It was safer that way, and after dinner, we gathered into the family room, huddled around the fireplace, hoping the fire would keep us safe. I was so dry.  I barely remembered what running water felt like.  If only I could dip my hands into the sink and feel the moisture, but that’s how they get in.  One drop.  They seep beneath the skin, and they suck you dry, tu…

Short Story: The Absence in The Silence

The Absence in The Silence Melissa R. Mendelson The angry, red numbers of eleven p.m. bit into the darkness.  It was going to be another long night.  Another night of lying in darkness, staring up at the ceiling.  My partner’s still as the dead, his mind a vacant parking lot, but my mind was a thunderous cloud boiling over with thoughts that could end me.  And I did not want to find myself in another therapist’s chair, drawing pictures of what I’m afraid to dream.  It would only up the meds, and I felt sick enough.  The meds were suffocating me, so I flushed them away.  And I’m still drowning. I gingerly tiptoed out of the bedroom and pulled the door shut behind me.  I glanced in the bedroom, where the twins slept.  They lied on their backs with their visors over their heads, dreaming the dreams that should fill their minds and silencing whatever demons lied inside.  My demons were quiet for a long time, and only maybe a year ago, they found their way out.  I used my lipstick and wrote f…