NINETY-SIX

Mickey’s fingertips were bleeding, but that’s how he knew it’d been a good night. Even watching the janitor sweep up the remnants of his guitar gave Mickey a pleasurable chill, the kind of sensation he hadn’t felt in years on the road.

He looked around at the straggling clientele at Stubbs’, the trickle of drunk Baby Boomers stumbling out, waving at him, thanking him with incoherent yells.

Mickey wanted to weep, but instead gulped the beer in his hand, despite the pain in his wrist.

He was back, and couldn’t wait to sing it to the world.

NINETY-FIVE, 2.0

Dara set aside the drill and put the towel to her head. She looked at the flakes of white bone and gray residue now scattered across the mirror. A warm feeling and the taste of vomit, crept into the back of her mouth, but she managed to hold it down. Now would not be a good time to lose her lunch, not with this hole in her head.

She lowered the towel, now only lightly stained with blood and…residue. Risking another look in the mirror, Dara nodded at her handy work: the quarter-inch hole just below her hairline — or, where her hairline used to be before shaving her head — glared at her, a third eye that would show the world her brain. And allow her brain to see the world. Continue reading

NINETY-FIVE

The coin wasn’t small, wasn’t large. It was exactly the size it was supposed to be. Jordan flipped it as though it were boiling, and when it landed on heads she recoiled in fright. “This is wrong,” she cried. “It’s all wrong. Who brought this?”

“You insisted,” the priests all shouted. “There were no stipulations. You cannot back down from this. It is finished.”

Jordan collapsed and they carried her out, toward the volcano. The heat was unbearable, but would not last long.

On the way down, she whispered, “Should’ve asked for the trick quarter.”

NINETY-FOUR, 2.0

Stella woke up on the evening of her twelfth birthday yelling back at the sound of her father’s footsteps. “Dad, quiet!  I’m tired!”

Connor knew the noise would wake her, but still stomped as loud as he could when he came home from work. He liked to hear her voice, the young squeak of a child’s mind vocalized always gave him a chuckle. He laughed as she rubbed sleep from her eyes, and still chuckled at her pouting her way through breakfast. He watched with love as she dozed, dropping her spoon into the cereal bowl.

But his laughing stopped when the door burst open and the Readers stormed in. Continue reading