By Shane Jiraiya Cummings
Read by Damaris Mannering
Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.
The plaque gleamed, caught on the cusp of shadows and fluorescent light.
Burnished copper letters. Stark Roman font.
“This is the place where death delights to help the living.” Parrish’s
recital of the phrase was now ritual as he donned the second pair of latex
gloves. They snapped into place with a satisfying echo that hung in the air.
Smells of rubber and disinfectants clung to the place, thinly masking the
stench of decay.
The plaque had been there for as long as he could remember, even before the
tenure of crazy old Doc Kaufmann, who once famously ate a cadaver’s eyeball,
and perversely, taught him everything he knew about forensic pathology.
“Doctor Parrish?” The diener said, throwing his concentration into turmoil.
“What is it, err… Greg, wasn’t it?”
“Gary. The body’s been prepped.”
By Steve Cooper
Read by Alasdair Stuart
Six months ago, it was all sugar and no shit. Six months ago, in a
private Istanbul club called Imshi, I’d snorted coke out of the
shallow belly button of an ex-Soviet farmer’s girl, reared on Georgian
corn, marinated in Belorussian vodka, garnished in best Turkish
blow. Say what you want about the Eastern Orthodox Church, the college
of bishops really knows how to throw a party.
The fat commission on that job, though, was running low, and now I was
in Leeds, in a filthy hole of a club called Tiggers, leaning back
against the bar with a little plastic bottle of water and watching the
crowd. The boys were thin hungry jackals and the girls were
glittering, animated sausage-meat. The place was
I’d come to meet a man on borrowed time. Horton had been borrowing
time since 1673, and I had come to loan him a little more.
By Kevin Carey
Read by Rich Sigfrit
“Promise me,” she says.
“I mean it, Eddie. Blow this and it’s over.”
“Come here,” I say and put my arm around her. “It’s all going to be cool. Trust me.” I slide a finger over the two small welts on her neck. “Still hurt?”
“See, I told you, a couple of days.”
For a moment her face softness, then she snaps, “Eleven o’clock. He’s coming right from the airport.”
“Eleven sharp,” I say with a salute. Then I kiss her. A long, lip-locked, eyes closed, reassuring, don’t-sweat-it-kid-kiss. I feel the tiny tips of her teeth against my lips.
She flashes a quick smile. “Where are you going?”
“I may go down for the double, stay a few races.”
“The dogs, Eddie?”
“Just to kill some time, before I have to deal with the Gestapo.”
“He’s not that bad. He just thinks he is.”
I kiss her on the cheek and head for the door.
“Please don’t screw this up Eddie.”
“You have my word,” I say.
(Happy Father’s Day.)
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By David Barr Kirtley
Read by Ralph Walters
He turned his eyes back to the road, and in the light of the high beams he saw a
man stumble into the path of the car. Without thinking, Jack swerved.
The car bounced violently, and then its left front side smashed into a tree. The
steering column surged forward, like an ocean wave, and crushed Jack’s stomach.
Dustin wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. He flew face-first through the windshield,
rolled across the hood, and tumbled off onto the ground.
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By Patrick Samphire
Read by Cheyenne Wright
The dead, he had discovered, had mouths and could
speak, but they could not be heard.
Or, they could not be heard by the living: the dead
talked among themselves with voices of sand and dust.
Amenemhet did not wish to talk to the dead. A man who
has been murdered wishes to speak to those still
living, to lay testament before them, to give warning.
The dead, in their crowded voices, said that Re no
longer travelled through the underworld each night.
They said that his face was now no more than a ball of
fire in the sky. There were no more demons in the
underworld, no Apep the serpent, no Amemet the
great devourer, no gates, no judges, no scales. There
was no Land of Reeds.
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