David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.


by Daniel Braum


The first time I remember noticing her was one day when leaving the nail salon and there was all that hubbub about the old Victorian for sale across from the post office. She looked non-descript enough, kind of like an investigator in an old trench coat and old hat.


People in the neighborhood had hoped a buyer would be found who would preserve the old house but instead plans were made to tear it down and put up another small strip-mall type office complex. Merrick Road was full of such, so it wasn’t the presence of more that was such a tragedy. I liked going there. I found my way there everyday. After, I went to the nail salon, the post office, and walked up and down the main drag. Always I rushed past the telephone pole full of flowers and photos.


“I see you staring,” the woman in the coat said.


“It’s such a nice building. It’d be a shame to tear it down. Just there, that office, used to be a shoe repair shop with the quirkiest old guy from down south running the place.”


“I know,” she said. “You could barely understand him, but thought he told the darndest stories…”


“How do you know? Are you from around here?”


“No, I’m on business,” she said.


She fished an odd device from her pocket, it looked like a crystal rod, and waved it about. I felt very uncomfortable and wanted to go.


“Places have memories tied to them,” she said. “And when they’re gone, well the memories, and more, are just un-anchored, shall we say.”


Suddenly I could see what would become of the house. The wrecking crew and bulldozers. I saw myself in that house; saw the faces of all the people bringing flowers to that telephone pole.


“It’s alright,” the lady said. She kept waving the rod. “Its how I save the memories. The house will be torn down soon and then you’ll be unanchored.”




“You’ll wander aimlessly, then eventually forget who you are until you dissipate.”


“How long does that take?”


“Hard to say.”


“What if that’s what I want?”


She didn’t answer and I didn’t have choice. The rod was pulling me, taking me somewhere and I could not resist.


“Don’t worry. You’re going to like it with us,” she said.


But I didn’t believe her.


– End of Part One –

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