Giving into pain

I would always wonder how that could have been it for me, how that could have been my last day on earth, but I was never lucky enough to be beaten to death. God never listened to those prayers of mine, the prayers in which I asked every night to die.

            The worse part for me was the walk up the stairs to my apartment. With every step I took my heart began to beat faster and the closer I got to the seventh floor the more nervous I became and as I exited from the staircase onto the seventh floor, I could already taste the blood in my mouth. On the seventh floor standing in front of my apartment door, there was no turning back for me now. 

            I stick my key in the lock and slowly turn it unlocking the door. I crack the door slightly open and peak in. If my father was inside waiting for me, he would be waiting in the living room which was the first room into the apartment. When I open the door that day, I quickly notice that he was not in the living room, so I was convinced that he was not home. He must have still been at work.

            I headed straight to my room and sat on the edge of my bed and looked out my window. I was ready and willing to die, just like always. This wasn’t how life was supposed to be. This wasn’t normal, but it was my life so I just dealt with it. I would put up a front sometimes like I wasn’t scared, but I was. I just wanted to be a normal kid and have a normal life.

            I received a phone call from my father saying that he was on his way home and how I better be there when he arrived. I couldn’t say how long I would wait for him on average to come home, but it always felt like an eternity. The thing I would try and focus on the most were the birds on the tree outside my window and how beautiful I found them to be. But no matter how beautiful I found the birds to be, I still wanted to die.

            He’s home! I can hear his key unlocking the door. No sooner than the door flies open it slams shut. The front door to our apartment was on a straight line to my bedroom door. Sometimes I wouldn’t even bother to look back to acknowledge him, there was no point. Why look back and give him the satisfaction of me knowing that he was home. Why show him how scared I was. He already knew anyway. That’s why he did it. Sometimes I just kept to myself.

            He could clearly see me sitting on my bed. And now I can hear his footsteps. They get louder and louder and then it appears as if he is barreling down the hallway towards my bedroom. I could hear his blood boiling. I can hear him grunting. This was the part where I used to pray to God for help, but I had given up on that a long time ago.

            My door crashes against the wall and now he’s only a few feet behind me, but I still won’t look. FUCK IT! I just accept what’s about to happen. I take one last look at the birds and close my eyes. The sudden pain overcoming my body instantly numbs my mind.


            No resistance, only submission and silence.

Richard DeFino

Richard De Fino was born and raised in New York City but now calls Buffalo his home. His focus is on memoir, creative non-fiction and poetry. He has been published in Writers Digest, Two Cities Review, and the NewerYork.

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As I strolled down Pacific Avenue I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would meet a true pioneer of the streets, a back-alley troubadour uncovering the music of the spheres. But, of course, he didn’t realize what he was. He should have a name tag, the kind we’re forced to wear at those fecal studded conventions in Las Vegas: Homeless, Penniless, Disempowered, Not Quite Psychotic (but nibbling around the edges).
I followed him onto the bus. His name was Dexter Turntables. He must’ve made that up, but even that was good. Whatever he said was real, without a shred of self awareness, so how could it be wrong? I told him he reminded me of Saint Bernadette, one of those fragrant virgins who managed to steer that elusive course around the dark bits. But he said he only saw the dark bits. “Exactly!” I shouted it out Eureka!-style and the bus driver turned around to glower.
I told this beacon of unknowing that he needed to record his music and share it with the rest of the globe. The moment he became enthusiastic about my blaspheming suggestion he began to shimmer and fade. He slipped into distortions of crude desire. It was then that I got a whiff of him, a stinking, unwashed insult.
As I got off the bus I glanced back and saw him shrinking, shrinking, shrinking. Another floundering bipolar landing in the soft, wet mud of delusion.

Tod Connor

Tod Connor has published fiction, non-fiction and commercial music. His work has appeared in various publications, including Talon Magazine, Ohio Views, Raphael’s Village, Apropos Literary Journal, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Smashed Cat, Out of the Gutter, Christianity Today and others.

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“It’s not my fault”

It’s not my fault. She wouldn’t do a thing I told her to do. She knowed how I hate my scrambled eggs runny and there they were, runny, sittin’ right in front of me. I told her I wasn’t going to eat that shit. And she looked at me all cheeky-like and said eat it or don’t, she don’t give a damn. So what else could I do but slap that look right off her face. And the dumb bitch hit me back. Now no bitch hits me and gets away with it. So I took the skillit off the stove and gave her a good whop just to teach her how to act. It’s not my fault she can’t take a hit. I thought she was just out cold when I left. How was I supposed to know she was dead.”
The thing is, she wasn’t dead. She had a bad concussion and was bleeding inside her head. If you had taken the time to see that she was bad hurt and called a ambulance, they could have operated and saved her life. But you didn’t do that did you, you went to a bar and got drunk.”
Hey. It’s not my fault. How was I supposed to know. I ain’t no doc.”
It’s not your fault. None of this is your fault. Nothing is ever ‘your fault’. But I understand completely. I really do. However, you called my sister a bitch and that means that I now have to break both your elbows. It’s not my fault that I have to do it.”
Ow-w-w-w-w-w. Ow-w-w-w-w-w. Jeeeesus. It hurts. You got to call me a ambulance.”
OK, I’ll call, but before I do, I have to break your knee. You slapped my sister so there’s nothing else can I do. It’s not my fault. It’s just what I have to do.”
Ow-w-w-w-w-w. Please. It hurts really bad. Please. You got to call someone.”
Soon, but I still have to break your other knee. It’s not my fault you hit my sister with a skillet. So now what else can I do but break your knee. This is definitely not my fault.”
Ow-w-w-w-w. Please. Oh-h-h-h-h. Pleeeeze. Pleeeeeeeeze”
Sure. But before I call, I will have to break your face with this skillet. It’s not my fault. I just can’t do anything else. You killed my sister, so it’s something that I have to do. You understand that, don’t you. It’s not my fault–really. But of course, you know all about ‘it’s not my fault’.”

Lester L Weil

Ex professional bassoonist, ex professor, ex custom furniture builder, ex house builder. Retired in Arizona near the Mexico border and trying hard not to venture past the ranch gate.

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Mother, I want to move away from the old days, the bad memories, the darker times; but you draw me back.

You draw me back because you live there, you exist there.  For me they are the blurred childhood days, events shaped not by me but by you and by others.  For you they are the days of life: the joys and miseries, the dreams and deceptions.  For me they are rain-coloured, gloom-coloured days.  They are the days of working class this-is-all-we’ll-ever-be constraints.

Mother, I want to break away, run to colours and summers, chase aspirations and those dreams that whipped away on the wind.  But you draw me back to those forgotten days, those dark corners rank with cat piss and bitterness.

Mother, I will show you the colours and summers.  I will create new memories for you to live in, to exist in.  You are tangled up in those days long ago, those days you can’t escape.

But as I try to go forward, you pull on my arm: come back with me, son, come back.

Tim Jeffreys

Tim Jeffreys is the author of five collections of short stories, the most recent being 'From Elsewhere’, aswell of the first two books of his Thief saga. His short fiction has also appeared in various international anthologies and magazines. In his work he incorporates elements of horror, fantasy, absurdist humour, science-fiction and anything else he wants to toss into the pot to create his own brand of weird fiction. Originally from Manchester , UK , Tim now lives in the south west of England where he can be found either working at his day job, taking care of his daughters, haunting libraries, or sitting at his desk writing.

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The Malevolent Trampoline

FOR SALE LIKE NEW, read the sign taped to the trampoline that waited patient as a spider, in the dead yellow yard of a house with a big bay window from which my image stared back at me, until the shadow of a passing garbage truck eclipsed my reflection, and I saw that on the other side of the glass a young girl sat in a wheelchair, her head and neck encaged in a cervical collar.

Joshua Dobson

Joshua Dobson likes to make his own fun some of which can be seen at

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There will be no story posted today. We are busy with the launch of Beatdom #15.

David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of The Dog Farm and Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult'. In 2007 he founded Beatdom literary journal, and today he serves as the Editor-in-Chief. He currently lives in China with his wife and a number of cats.

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Louisa Quakes

“Oh, my God! It’s ending!” she screams.

“The news or the world?” I wonder as I begin to walk to the front room. Then, I feel it too. I trip as I run to be with her. I hear the front door open over the dishes rattling.

I am in slow motion. I can’t get to her quickly enough.

Then, I see her through the window.

She is running barefoot with arms raised through the fields with her pink housecoat flapping open in the wind.

And, I laugh.

First, it’s a chuckle, then a guffaw, then near hysterics.

Then, I am engulfed in the old sobs.

Veronica Fitzhugh

Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh is an author, activist and good friend keeping busy saving the world and sipping sweet tea on her front porch in Charlottesville, Virginia. She holds a BA in English from the University of Virginia. There, she won a Jefferson Cup for her story telling. She is a certified storyteller for nami’s In Our Own Voices project. She founded Peer Review, a literary and art magazine for the Charlottesville recovery community. Her work has appeared in 3.7, Piker Press Magazine, Gadfly, Best New Poems, Blognostics, and the women’s initiative’s Challenge into Change 2013 anthology. She blogs regularly at, a page featured in wordpress’ freshly pressed, and also guest blogs at other sites.

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Little Bird, Little Bird

You used to come every day. A headlong dive, into that bird-shaped hollow you’ve created in the loose earth underneath the juniper tree.

Hardly earth at all. More like dust. Your personal dust bath. Swoosh, you’d plunge in, wriggle a bit, turn around, ruffle your feathers, pick at something, and swoosh, out again. Every day.

And every evening, you’d sit on the edge of the roof, belting out an aria into the dusk. A serenade. A lullaby. Just for me.

I’m going to miss you, little bird.

But you sure tasted good.

Angelika Rust

Angelika Rust lives in Germany, with her husband, two children and a hyperactive dog. When she doesn't write books, she teaches English.

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The Problem With Being Downwind for Sue Ann

One day she turned bright yellow. The diagnosis is full of words with dead ends. Words that suck the wind out of us. Words from downwind. Advanced Stage. Aggressive. Inoperable. The first time I see her after the diagnosis is at her back door. I feel the winter wind come down on my neck as I hold her and bury my face in her short hair, soft like the feathers on the pullets she used to raise into chickens. All I can say is the hard truth. I’m going to miss you Sue Ann. I’m going to miss you too. This is the trouble with being down wind. The trouble with being Miss Junior Williams, Arizona Rodeo Queen 1956. The trouble with being Class of ’58 Flagstaff High School. The trouble with being the only female dump truck driver in town during the entire month of July of 1962 with your one year old son in a laundry basket on the truck floor beside you. 

Jesse Sensibar

Jesse Sensibar loves small furry animals and assault rifles with equal abandon and still has a soft spot in his heart for innocent strippers and jaded children. He retired in 2010. In 2014 he earned his MFA in creative writing while teaching Freshman Composition at a large southwestern state university in the mountain town where he has lived since the late 1980s.

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‎”let’s get this lead out of your guts first – then we’ll decide what to do about al.  ain’t that right, doc?”

jenny turned her blonde head away, so that she wouldn’t be blowing smoke right into dave’s blasted body.

she formed two perfectly round smoke rings which drifted across doc wilson’s little office and into his front parlor, and fixed the doctor with her cold green eyes.

but he ignored her and kept on probing dave’s stomach.

“kind of flabby aren’t you, dave?  i thought you desperadoes kept in a little better shape.”  he looked up quickly at dave.  “just kidding.”

‘”i don’t  get it, doc.  i just don’t get it.  me and al – we were partners for years – since we were kids.  why would he just turn on me all of a sudden, just like that?”

“hold still.  don’t excite yourself. still – still  – perfectly still.  well, there are usually one of two reasons or both.  the first of course is money.”

“but the deal was a bust.  there wasn’t any money.  we were just trying to get away.”

“take a breath.  hold it.  all right.  maybe he was mad about the deal not going down. maybe he blamed you.”

“nah.  it wasn’t my fault.”

“was it his?  maybe he figured you’d get mad so he got his lick in first.”

“it wasn’t anybody’s fault.  it was just bad luck.”

“there.  i think i got it all.”

“you think?” jenny interrupted.  “did you get it all or didn’t you?”

the doctor gave her an annoyed glance.  “i got it all.”

“then why did you say ‘i think’?”

“it was just a manner of speaking.  hold this on the wound,” he told dave, ” while i unwind this bandage.”  he took a long roll of white bandage out of a drawer under the table dave was sitting on.  he began to wind it around dave’s body below the gunshot wound just below his heart.

“as i was saying before i was so politely interrupted, there are two reasons for even the tightest partnerships to break up.  money of course – ” the doc looked over at jenny.  “and dames.”

“why you cheap gin-soaked back alley butcher, how dare you insult me -”

“easy baby, easy.”  dave laughed.  “doc, consider the specific situation.  jenny is here, ain’t she?  she’s not with al.  and she brought me here.  she dragged my bleeding carcass away with her brute strength -” he grabbed her arm and squeezed her bicep – “strong, ain’t she?”

“i’m strong for you. baby.”

“very touching,” doc observed.    “of course, what could i have been thinking?  here, let go.”

he slapped a pad right right over the bullet hole as dave flinched, then continued winding the bandage above it. “all set.  now, you just have to rest up.”

“can i light up a smoke now?”

“sure, why not?”

dave fished in his pockets.  “looks like i lost my smokes in all the fracas.”

“you can have one of mine,” jenny told him.

“they got filters.  doc, can i bother you for a smoke?”

“i smoke cigars.  parodis.  you want one?”

“i guess they will have to do.  thanks.”

“hold on, i’ll go get one.”

jenny scowled at doc wilson’s back as he left the room.  “can we trust this cheap chiseler?” she asked loud enough for him to hear.

“relax, will you?  being trusted is doc’s stock in trade.  he’s not going to win the nobel prize for medicine.  are you, doc?”  dave called after him.

“did you hear the way he insulted me?”

“he was making a general statement about human females.  don’t be so sensitive.”

“i’m a human female,  ain’t i?”

the doctor returned with a red and green pack of parodis he had taken from his jacket hanging in the front hall.

he extracted one of the crooked little cigars from the pack and gave it to dave, then lit it for him with a wooden match he struck across the sole of his scuffed brown shoe.

“no, if doc was a better doctor he’d be treating four star generals for indigestion at walter reed hospital, not stitching up the likes of us.”  dave blew some of the vile smoke into the air.  “this is awful.”

“you sure you don’t want one of mine?” jenny asked.

“jeez, i just might.”

the doctor cleared his throat.  “well, dave, after you’ve finished – enjoying your smoke, we can settle up and you can be on your way.”

“what?  what are you talking about?  we’re going to hole up here.”  dave laughed and waved the parodi in the air.  “have you gone out of the hole up business?  that’s the biggest part of your trade.”

“what about her?”

“i don’t know, what about her?  haven’t you ever holed up two people at once before?  why, just last year -”

“come on, you know what  i’m talking about.  i don’t trust her.  i don’t trust her not to shoot me when we both fall asleep.  i just have a bad feeling about her.”

“please.  i know we’re all under some stress here and harsh words have been spoken, but let’s act like adults. and what about your fee?”

the doc held up his hand. “dave, there will be no payment.  we’ve known each other for a long time and i hope we can do business again in the future.  but i just don’t trust this bitch.”

he leaned forward and in a stage whisper intoned – “are you sure she’s not in it with al?”  he straightened up.  “she can drive,  you can walk, those aren’t problems.  you’ll have to go.”

“but i’ve got the police of six states after me.”

“i’m sorry, dave.”

“this is totally ridiculous.”

“can you guarantee she won’t shoot me or both of us?”

“yeah.  yeah, i can guarantee it.”  dave reached behind his back and pulled a pistol from his waistband.  jenny laughed.  dave quickly checked the safety, released it, and shot jenny in the head.

“henry!  what’s going on down there?”

“nothing dear, go back to sleep.”

horace p sternwall

horace p sternwall was born in a log cabin in chicago illinois in 1919. his favorite authors are edgar guest, alfred noyes, erle stanley gardner, and margery allingham.

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