By Garth Upshaw
Read by Jacquie Duckworth
I set my feet and reached for the next rung of the ladder. The wind snatched at my clothes, whipping my bomber jacket against my thighs, and then pulling it outwards in a billow, tugging me sideways towards the scary drop.
I muttered three short Words, voice cracking on the last, and the wind’s grip slackened, leaving me in a fragile bubble of calm. I sagged against the wet, rusty ladder. Spots flickered at the edge of my vision, and I tried to catch my breath. The preparation for tonight had taken months, and electric anticipation warred with the exhaustion in my body.
I’d snared the rats with generous dollops of peanut butter in long rectangular, live-catch traps. Their fur was sleek and glossy. They were greedy, bright-eyed pests, always wanting more than they needed. Never satisfied.
By Jim Bihyeh
Read by Cayenne Chris Conroy of the Teknikal Diffikulties podcast
Her teachers never asked her to remove the headphones. What was the point? The girl earned a 100% on every quiz and exam, and when they called on her, Lynnette spat the answer back like a rifle ejecting a shell.
“The girl just has a way with tests,” her teachers repeated. “She knows how to prepare.”
But Lynette caught a lot of shit for her test grades. Part of the Navajo culture said that you weren’t supposed to stand out from the group. But Lynette already stood out.
“Lynette, Lyn-Ette! Teacher’s Pet!” went the usual recess refrain. “Lynette, Lyn-Ette! Teacher’s Pet! About as tall as a jumbo jet!”
And Lynette was tall. She towered past six feet by the time she reached eighth grade. And her long black hair that she rarely brushed only made her seem taller when it fell down over her wide shoulders; she was heavy-set, truly big-boned, more muscle than fat. And she put that muscle to use during the “Lynette Incidents,” as they came to be called.
For further Coyote Tales, please check out:
“Love Like Thunder”
and “The Shooting Way” in “The Trio Of Terror”
By Richard Marsden
Read by Mike Bennett
The wind bit into his skin like daggers into flesh. The cold was like no other he had felt, and he knew it was only going to get worse, day by day. Never mind the night; even people such as himself had to find shelter by night or end up a victim of his own trade by dawn. Gregorie’s eyes panned out across the vast, empty, bleak Russian landscape. It reminded him of looking out to sea from the docks at Cherbourg, with its long piers and obstacle strewn harbor to keep His enemies at bay. The steppes of Russia, much like the waters outside the port city.
Here and there he could spy a single tree, or what looked to be a hill or solitary steeple. White land, white skies, and cold wind made Gregorie curse Him again. Why had they marched so far? What was the point of Borodino and the thousands dead they had to leave unburied, and only a week ago had to trample upon as they retreated? There was no point, beyond the vainglory visions of a man. Of Him!
A groan redirected Gregorie’s thoughts. He looked at the makeshift path the Grand Army had carved through the snow. While Russia might be near-featureless, His army was leaving behind plenty of markers.
By Barrie Darke
Read by Ben Phillips
It occurred to me later that week that maybe, just perhaps, it was happening to the other family men in the office, that they were also noticing these things about their families –- Thomas Malone, only in his early 20s but with two young boys, looked harried a lot of the time, and I thought about taking him out for a drink after work one day. But how do you go about broaching that subject? How many drinks would you need in you to mention you thought your family had been…? And what would happen to you if you got back looks that moved from the merely quizzical to the horribly worried? The whole idea of it happening elsewhere to other people was still hazy at that point anyway, so I thought I’d better let him come to me. I was an approachable boss, after all.
At home, it was how I imagine living in a haunted house must be. You moved in dread of every little awry sign, trying to convince yourself that the gaps between them were widening rather than shortening, accelerating. And that if the signs were there, then they really weren’t growing any more significant, they really weren’t becoming bone-rattlingly critical.