Short Story Sunday #002 by Jessica Ballerstein

“Its our anniversary today”

“Oh, is it? Surprised you remembered”

“How could I ever forget Ryan?!”

“I know I’m just teasing…what do you wanna do today” As he pulls a drag from his cigarette. I always hated how he would still smoke despite losing his loved ones to lung cancer. What did it matter to him he always thought….

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Short Story Sunday: #001 by Jessica Ballerstein

“Run! Run!” Amelia screamed as I stood there while my brain is trying to figure shit out. It wasn’t the first time this dark entity tried to attack us. The last time this happened I didn’t see it, but my cousin Amelia did. At first I didn’t believe her since she’s known to be a bit dramatic, like the time she swore she was having a heart attack. Turns out it was gas. This time I was questioning my own sanity as Amelia kept screaming in the background. I froze while staring at the moving shadow, barely breathing. Then I felt Amelia grabbing me, “Lets go!” she roared. Amelia made the decision for me. I ran behind her, damn near on her heels as we tried to lose the unexplainable being. I trip over Amelia’s heels while thinking: who wears heels in the snow? I refocused my attention to the pressing matter at hand, finding shelter. We ran past a bystander who then joined our race. Who can blame him with the frantic look we had as we sprinted past him. We all darted into O’Brian’s, a pub on Felicity Ave. That’s the pub my ex and I got drinks after Bible study and before we sinned on Thursday evenings. Comical, I know. We slammed the door behind us as we tussled our way in. We were among other patrons, some were confused, some were curious. Some were just too consumed with their company, they carried on laughing and drinking. As I stared with fear at the door I hear someone choking directly behind me. It was the bystander his eyes were begging for it to stop. Everyone else carried on like nothing was happening. We begged for help but everyone looked at us with disgust. “Toby! help us!” I screamed at the bartender who has known me from many happy hours, dates, therapy sessions, and other liquor involved events. He ignored us like we were peasants begging for a masters mercy. We headed towards the back where we found the closest exit. It felt we were either walking into liberation or our imminent death. All I know is that I was ready to shit my pants. I ran faster and harder than I ever ran to the local cathedral hoping to find reprieve. If not from the priest, but from God himself. I stormed into the candle filled cathedral and halted. There was men in red robes marching through the pews undisturbed by our disruption. We silently made our way towards the back of the church going through a door that strangely led us back to the front. It was like we were in a loop. We panicked. We opened the entrance door but it was no longer the street, instead the cathedral our back was facing. Breathing heavier and heavier. Hyperventilating by the second. We stood, we screamed. Pointless. We were crippled. Helpless. Gasp! I wake up in the cathedral next to Amelia who is casually reading a Bible. Confused, I look around trying to get a grasp of what the fuck is actually happening here. “Everything is normal, everyone is normal? Was it a bad dream?” I thought to myself. I gave myself some time to process what was happening, but, nothing was happening. I get up, walk out to the street to get some air. I start to relax while I removed my phone from my pocket. I then felt someone breathing in my face. I slowly look up. Amelia bruised post-mortem body less than an inch away from lips. I blinked. She vanished.