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They smothered the earth, draining the red shutters and dirty white Even the most menial job, including mine - janitorial services - required rigorous education on emergency procedures, and that we be subjected I lived in a relatively small town where everyone knows everyone and everything about everybody. Honestly, I really liked my job Tiny in terms of population, not size—there were huge sprawling farms and wooded areas, but almost no people.

More cows than people, which is standard for Read Now. Average Rating : 7. Chapter One: The Dream I had a weird dream last night. July 3, Beings and Entities. Average Rating : 6. It used to be harmless. July 2, Body Horror , Torture and Cannibalism.

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Average Rating : 8. The dog ran away today. July 1, Strange and Unexplained. I lived next to this one kid who always had bandages wrapped around their whole head, even covering their face. June 30, Children and Childhood , Science and Experimentation. Part I The story I am about to tell you is rather confidential.

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Pistachio nuts littered the thin blue vinyl covering of the table. Publisher's Note: This story is a continuation of the author's Father Cooke series of interrelated stories, and will be more enjoyable if you read the earlier installments in the series first.

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There is a banana lady in every town. I first wore the AirPods to the Stop and Shop. It started as a joke. June 24, Strange and Unexplained. Average Rating : 5. Part 1 Mark sighed and looked out at the night sky. The last thing I remember hearing once I ran out of the school building were the excited shouts and screams of every student around me, trying to start their summer break right away. My girlfriend, Ruby, and I had been together for about a year before the dreaded question of visiting her parents reared its head.

Average Rating : 3. It was a clear night in a small community near San Francisco, California when a mysterious blue light was seen by several residents as it fell from the sky. I inherited Chandler's Candles from my pa, who had inherited it from his grandma, who inherited it I guess from her ma or pa. June 20, Strange and Unexplained. Average Rating : 4. I mean stop this before I fucking kill you, I yelled. I snatched the remote control from him and launched it at the screen so hard that it left an upside down rainbow.

As a child I asked for a Bluebird A La Carte kitchen for Christmas, , which came with replica branded boxes of food. Planned to throw it over one shoulder whilst I served brunch with Radio Trent playing anything Boney M. I was wearing a navy knitted dress with broderie anglaise detail on the chest and puffin character slippers when I unwrapped it. My shock tasted distinctly chemical when I discovered the food boxes were all empty. Ammonia flavoured with a touch of hard-boiled egg. Non-tin tins. A washing machine that was merely a picture of a washing machine. Ring the boss at Bluebird.

Ring the boss at Bluebird, I ordered my pale parents, before I really bruise this kitchen. They tried to talk me down whilst I ripped off the oven door but the betrayal was too global for diplomacy. What enraged me the most was that the digital clock on the oven was perpetually at and the kitchen window, which overlooked a pristine lawn, never showed the sun dropping low or the inky shadows of night fall.

The gross misrepresentation of time ate me up. Fourteen hours, it took. I refused all meals and clean forgot to use the toilet so that I had to write the conclusion sitting in my own hot wet gold. The head told my parents it was unheard of for a twelve year old to work with such intensity.

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More and more, adults were referring to me with a rising question rather than a sure-fire statement with a full stop. My hands shook opening the envelope at the awards assembly. The car door, a table corner, the Ikea beech bed. Bruises come and bruises go. Killer coined me The Buddhist because of the Zen garden that pebbles my shins and arms like wayward stepping stones.

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You should see the way Gabby crashes in to furniture without even registering it, he likes to boast down the pub. Following a car collision with a bus, I felt nothing.

All I cared about was turning off my in-car stereo. Not my trapped legs or that the car was now smoking in a shop foyer next to the National Lottery stand. It took three days for me to register the pain of the livid navy bruise, seatbelt-shaped, running from right shoulder to hip, and dividing me in two. A spectrum disorder. It was a shit hot sugar of a summer when he located me on the highest-functioning end of the rainbow and urged that tasting emotions was just another additional quirk; a buy-one-get-one-free bonus so to speak.

He had a compulsive nodding problem and a spiky Selleck moustache that I wanted to reach out and feel right at the very barbed tip of it, to push the spike deeply in to the soft pad of my forefinger. But I resisted. It was sensory urgencies like that which had driven me in to his little white room in the first place. Bring a person who has extensive knowledge of your childhood the letter had ordered. Mum wore her best for the occasion: a lace shawl thrown over a strapless fox print dress and patent peep-toe heels to present her fungal nail through a more forgiving window than her usual Birkenstocks.

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When we arrived, any passerby would have been forgiven for thinking I was Mr Loveday himself from the way my mother held my elbow to steer me up the hospital path. After the diagnosis, Selleck gave her a box of man-size tissues and ushered her off to the canteen for tea with extra sugar. I was left alone in the room holding a What Next?

It felt like when a loose tooth leaves its socket and the tongue has to worry away at the iron-flavoured gap until the brain has assimilated a proportion of the loss. Down went my wine glass hard on the table to reinforce my condemnation and when he turned to the blunt noise, his lips made a slack O as though he might be on the verge of articulation in his defence.

But he said nothing. He rarely does. Not when I call him on it. There was no answer. The silence felt live.