by Aline Carriere
I saw him from the living room window the morning Grandma took a turn for the worse. He was walking in the sun on the other side of the street toward our house, humming. The window was open to let in the warm June air. There were roses and peonies below, still in bud, wrapped in promise.
On that summer morning when I was 11, Death was coming to my house for my Grandma, and I could hear him humming. It was the only sound I heard. The birds and crickets were silent. Even the wind didn’t stir.
Ma had sent me downstairs to watch for the priest. She’d called him early in the morning, when Grandma coughed up blood and her breathing got heavy.
Continue reading The Deal
The Eye Has It
by Mark Rookyard
The bedroom was like new. It even had that new room smell: freshly opened linen, barely-dry paint, and fluffy carpet. Alice had to come back now.
Matthew finished screwing the last hook in the wall. Would all this effort mean anything to her? There was only one way to find out. He just had to hang the mirror and the room would be done.
He checked the hook as the stepladder rocked beneath his feet. He wasn’t aware of the movement that caught the corner of his eye until he found himself looking at the source of it, just below shoulder height.
A human eye in the wall blinked at him, returning his stare.
Continue reading The Eye Has It
by Sierra July
Mud clogs my nostrils as I sink deeper and deeper into the bog. Sputtering, I manage to regain my footing, planting my squeaky sneakers on a slippery log hiding beneath several layers of mud. Frogs chirp in the distance like thousands of heartbeats performing a symphony. Fireflies drift by, lazy lanterns perfectly complementing the stars.
Instead of the night noises, the words that started this venture resonate within me.
“Listen here, Patricia.” My dad slurred his words through pain. “I need you to journey across the swamp to get our winter supplies. The Council only leaves the jackets, frozen meat, and medicine out for 48 hours, and I can’t get there with this busted leg.”
My dad pointed to his leg, still harnessed in a sling. The only flesh visible was his swollen red foot, which he was lucky to still have after the gator took a chunk out of his calf.
Continue reading Swamplands
by A. P. Sessler
William Burke playfully gnashed at the air with his new plastic teeth as he unwrapped a peanut butter cup. He licked the chocolate from the wrapper, then dropped it into the white plastic bag his mother held before him.
“Thank you,” she said.
“Welcome,” he said, noticing the odd sound of clapping canines as his jaws met. He removed the green plastic teeth just long enough to eat the candy, then placed them back in.
“Easy, Count Chomperla. If you eat too much candy, you’ll get a tummy ache,” Mr. Burke teased him.
“I’m not a vampire. It’s a magician’s cape!” William reminded his father.
“He was just joking,” said his mother. “Now go play with the other children.”
“Do I have to?” he whined.
“Yes. This is your Halloween party, and they’re your new neighbors.”
Continue reading Plastic Teeth
Even though I’ve been writing and editing for a long time, I’ve only been running an online magazine for a couple of months now, and it’s a complicated learning experience still in progress. Yesterday, I had to acknowledge that although it would be awesome to continue publishing three new stories a week, it’s too ambitious.
Starting in November, I will only be publishing two stories a week, on Mondays and Fridays. This is just a schedule change; the submission and publication processes will stay the same.
If I were running Acidic Fiction as a full-time job, I would have no trouble publishing three new stories a week. Unfortunately, there are several other projects that require my attention, so I have to budget my time a bit more carefully. I’m still looking forward to reading and publishing more stories, and I encourage all new readers to check out all the excellent stories already available on the website.
So Hungry, So Deep
by Daniel Powell
The man from the county was supposed to arrive by nine o’clock.
Joe stood at the window at ten minutes past nine. He brushed the drapes aside and found the gravel drive empty. Out on the highway, a tanker rumbled by, but other than that, life was what it always was: still and silent.
“No common courtesy these days,” he grumbled, heading into the kitchen to warm up his coffee. “Guess time’s not worth as much out here in the country.”
The young man eventually showed up, some 50 minutes after their scheduled appointment.
Continue reading So Hungry, So Deep
by Jean Davis
Jillian breathed deep through her nose and focused on the young man on the hospital bed beside her. His breathing remained troubled, even after the two-hour healing session she’d just performed. Doctors and nurses hovered in the hallway, poking in their heads from time to time to check on her progress. The pleading eyes of the man’s wife on the other side of the bed, along with the photo of their two children on the bedside table, wouldn’t allow her to give up.
She took a few moments to focus on the room, giving her body time to regroup. The remaining session would drain her, but she was so close with Mike that she didn’t dare stop now. He needed her.
Someone always did. The next patients on her list would have to hold on another day.
The television was silent, but photos of missing children still appeared behind the newscaster. Jillian secretly wished someone would steal her away. To be free of obligation, guilt and constant fatigue … she sighed.
Continue reading Healer
by Jason Thomas
“What the heck is that?”
Doug Vickers’s wary eyes fixated on the thin, crescent-shaped strip of metal in front of him.
“Oh, this little beauty just arrived today.” Dr. Hunsitt wore a grin like a kid in a candy store as he held up his latest gadget. “It’s called a ‘Sound and Phonetic Electronic Amplification Kit,’ or ‘SPEAK’ for short.”
“What does it do? Does it hurt?” The whir of a tiny drill answered ominously from the adjacent office, followed by the wet sucking sound of water and spit being siphoned.
Continue reading The SPEAK
by James Davies
One hundred and eighteen men died when the Kursk submarine exploded on August 12th, 2000. There were no reported survivors. Then again, I have a pretty forgettable face.
In London, every winter is cold. And expensive. It’s hard to get a job here, especially if you don’t officially exist. Back in the Motherland, I could’ve gotten a job easily, but I wasn’t going back.
So I had to resort to robbery again.
I dodged a double-decker bus as I crossed through the roaring traffic. A cyclist swore at me as he shot past, barely missing me. I considered violence, but dismissed it. Bigger things were at hand.
Continue reading Forgettable
by Sean Moreland
The night was star-punctured; the snow, luminous. Despite this, the dark beyond the arc of the pickup’s headlights seemed as thick as tar to Adler. Armies of pine stood at shivering attention on both sides of the highway, their snow-laden shapes phosphoric in the glare of high beams.
His father had once told him that at the age of three, Adler had become upset that the snow at night was not black like the sky it fell from. The old man, now five years dead, had reassured him that the snow was the same white as the stars, because that’s where it actually came from.
Intergalactic snow. His father always was full of shit. He might even have made up the whole story, just to convince Adler what a chickenshit he had been as a rugrat. That definitely sounded like the old man.
Continue reading White-Out