Monsters and Dust

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“Funniest thing,” Loretta said to the coffee pot, “my girlfriend told me she hadda yeast infection.”

Brice cocked his head. He was sitting at the counter.

“Haven’t seen her in ten years and she tells me she’s got a yeast infection. Like it’s the first thing she tells me, ‘I’m coming to visit, but I gotta yeast infection.’”

“Did you tell her about the oil of tea tree?” Ollie offered from his stool across the room. He spent most days at the diner, from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon when he went to play bingo. He liked to talk to Loretta. He liked to talk with all the girls.

“What am I, a medicine woman?”


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Assuming a stoop, Brice took a step inside the shed. and He strained his eyes to see in the dark. He could make out the edge of his stereo system, but just the edge. His television screen reflected a small wink of the day behind him as it shone through the doorway. His silhouette blocked much of that light. He clenched his fist. Brice was stern.

“What is this, the void? This is bullshit,” his whine was shrill. His hand felt a different, unnatural wind pass nearby. Something moved in front of him. Something soft, something inconsistent with the edges of his furniture. The hair on his arms bristled. The darkness shuffled on its haunches. Something crashed behind the open door. “Get the hell out of my fucking house!” Brice’s voice cracked like a teenager: screeching, vulnerable, impotent. He grabbed the nearest book and slammed it into the farthest corner of the little shed: a diversion against this unknown enemy. Brice ran into the dark, to the other corner of the shed and switched the light on. He was shaking. He attributed it to the shed.

Afraid to turn around, he stared at the lamp, one arm on the wall to steady himself. He didn’t want to pass out. There was another crash behind him and then a growl. The growl grew into a high-pitched whine, more childish than his own.


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