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AN ATTENDED DEATH

Fifteen Tales of Horror and Suspense

 The Rest Stop
A throaty growl cut into the crisp, night air.  It scaled upward in pitch, climaxing in a hysterical shrieking then dwindled back to a thin crying, sounding like the whimper of a child.   It came again, deeper now and warbling like the purr of a stalking tiger. Steve’s heart felt like a sledgehammer pounding against his sternum. He tried to slow his breathing, drawing air into the panicked thoughts he knew were useless. 
 The animal’s noises mutated into an aggressive snarling.  They drew closer and Steve’s hand blurred, drawing the .38 in a controlled and silent arc.
He stood in a defensive posture, waiting to see what would come.
A loud report of popping metal shot across the parking lot and Steve went into motion, moving fast and quiet beneath the foliage.  He sidled up to a large tree, edging slowly around it’s trunk until he could see past its curve. The detective peered with one eye beneath a protruding branch and gasped at what he saw.
The Rest Stop Anthony James Mazza Narration by Steven Osarczuk
00:00 / 33:43
An Attended Death

 Her body was in the bedroom, and Officer Steve Allen was relieved.  Too many times they died in the bathroom, victims of that deadly foe of the elderly, the mighty Number Two and he would find them upside down in front of the toilet, their bare asses high to the wind and their blood pooled faces stuck to the floor.

 

An Attended Death Anthony James Mazza Narration by Steven Osarczuk
00:00 / 32:33
The Chain Gang

“Most of the guys in this work detail are doing it as a prison job, get me?” Terry said.  “They’re still inside and working this deal to finish up.  The OTHER guys, guys like you, come from the real world.  Once in a while, back in the real world, somebody smacks their wife or runs their car into a pole after a bender and the judge throws them here as a slap on the wrist.  But those guys don’t belong in here, get me?  You don’t belong in here.  Not with us.” 

 

The Chain Gang Part 1 Anthony James Mazza Narration by Steven Osarczuk
00:00 / 24:11
The Chain Gang Part 2 Anthony James Mazza Narration by Steven Osarczuk
00:00 / 24:36

It Sounds Pretty Funny

  

Doug Stevens sat on the bench and watched his team, the Pittsford Panthers, move the soccer ball down the field.  They were playing The Rush Dragons, for the second time that season; all of them, that is, but Doug, who’d been benched. The last time his team played the Dragons, Doug had been caught off guard for two reasons:  first, by the size of the school, (who knew there were that many deaf kids in the world – much less the same county!) and second by near-complete silence of the place.

 

It Sounds Pretty Funny Anthony James Mazza Narration by Steven Osarczuk
00:00 / 04:39
Take Out Order

“God made you big for a reason and slow for a reason.  You’ll find out why in God’s time.”  She paused and pointed at him.  “Remember this Tom; the big can help the little.  So help the helpless.   But the big can also hurt the little even if they don’t mean to.  Never put your hand in anger on another person, Tom.  Let the Almighty handle the rest and everything else will work out. You hear?”  

 

Take Out Order Anthony James Mazza Narration by Steven Osarczuk
00:00 / 24:52

More Stories Coming in Book II

THE KILLING TREE

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The Killing Tree

 

Once there was a tree. 

And she loved a little boy. 

The boy hiked to her every day, leaving behind the pain of his father’s passing and his mother’s distant eyes. She looked like all of the trees in the forest save for an eye-shaped scar that cratered her trunk in a sudden interruption of bark.  Creepers hung from her branches and met one another on the ground where they intertwined and rose again, building a leafy cave that encircled the tree.

 

The Killing TreeAnthony James Mazza Narration by Steven Osarczuk
00:00 / 10:38
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The Sea Wall

 

He was a man always holding a phone.  Each day you found him squinting into his computer screen reading, assessing, selecting.  He wrote company names on a board and jotted percentages next to each.  He met quotas, filled pipelines and brought home a thousand deals.  Occasionally, a wistful look hinted at an idea that wandered away from business and at night he explored these imaginings writing stories on that same computer screen.

And then…

“Anthony,” said the world.  “Where are you?”

 

The Sea WallAnthony James Mazza Narration by Steven Osarczuk
00:00 / 03:49

MoM

I hate my mother.

There.

I said it.

And I don’t mean it in that irritated, temporary, she really got to me this time, sort of way.

I mean, I really hate her, deep down where it counts.

I’ve got reasons.

Well, maybe just one.

She gave me life and that’s all.

 

Night Sound

             It was a hollow reverberation, like a racquetball bouncing against the court wall, or a huge plastic cup turned upside down and clacked against the floor.  The sound was coming from the kitchen directly beneath his bedroom.  Matthew listened intently.  His mind raced to solve the problem.  Was it the recent cold snap?  Pipes expanding or contracting?   Maybe a water leak? 

 

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The Last Ride

 

            Overhead, dark clouds shrouded the sky like a widow’s veil and I squinted into it, as if I might find something on the horizon to attribute it to. The wind kicked up a little, rustling through the pines making the crackling, seesaw noise I knew well and often lulled me to sleep. There was a difference to the sound this time, harsh and swelling, like an angry swarm of bees.


 

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The Lift

It happened so fast, that Clayton had no time to understand it.  Everything went into motion, accelerating like a car speeding downhill without brakes.

He was taking a walk, his constant go-to after a long week of flying when the sidewalk in front of him opened and vomited-up the body of a woman.  She was covered in soil and clearly dead.  Clayton leaned in for a closer look then jerked back, gagging at the smell of putrescence and shit.

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Pablo's Taqueria

Pablo’s Taqueria overlooks highway 74, a zillion miles of Texas cracked concrete that runs as straight as the crow flies, north and south, through the endless, empty prairie. A cherry, metallic blue '76 Lincoln Continental signals for the turnoff and begins its spiraling climb to the restaurant as its 385 horsepower V8 stock engine growls at the effort. A deep vibrating bass moves ahead of it. Thud, Thud, Thud the angry giant belts out, stomping up the street.

Days of Bacchus

Lee panned the large space.  The bar was covered in heavy dust, but he saw the strings of colored lights that hung over its’ edges, pulsing discordantly to the music that played from the juke box across the room.  He looked there now.  An empty sideboard stood in its’ place but Barry could hear it clearly and even recognized the song.

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