My short story "Mark the Days" is featured on Mysterion Magazine today!
Here's a taste...
Denver blinked against the sunlight blaring through his bedroom window, resisting the urge to pull the thick comforter over his face. Moments later, the sunlight shut off. He blinked more, seeing nothing but pitch black for several seconds. As his eyes adjusted to the dark, the furniture in his room appearing as deeper shadows, he noticed the hum of an engine coming from outside.
Blast it, Jerry. Denver groaned and flipped over on his stomach, scrunching his eyes shut again. Why could his housemate never remember to park on the other side when he came home at this time of morning? His headlights lined up exactly with Denver’s window, sending blinding light through the curtains.
The engine cut off, and soon the front lock clicked, followed by the slam of the door against the wall. Then the clomp of Jerry’s boots down the hardwood floor of the hallway that led to Jerry’s room on the other side of the house.
Denver lifted his head and glanced over at the clock. Three-thirty. He exhaled, glad he at least wouldn’t have to deal with Jerry in the morning. Jerry would sleep in, not rising until long after Denver headed to the office. Then he’d be gone again when Denver got home. Jerry working nights meant Denver had the house to himself most evenings. Simple blessings…
The alarm blasted Denver from a heavy sleep, and he grunted as he slammed the off button. Shoving the comforter aside, he dragged himself over to the edge of the bed. When his feet hit the floor, he let out a sigh. Mornings sucked. Even more so with lack of sleep.
When he reached the kitchen, the barest hint of sunrise lit the window, enough to see the coffee maker. He switched it on, listening to the gurgle of heating water with anticipation. While he waited, he snagged a marker from the mug on the counter and marked off the day on the calendar.
Jerry’s snicker startled him, and he spun around to find Jerry slouched over the breakfast bar, coffee in hand. Denver’s own cup sat steaming on the countertop. The room was brighter than five-thirty would allow.
Denver rubbed his forehead. Had he dozed off standing there?
“Dude,” Jerry said, “you okay?” His blond hair flopped over one eye, and he brushed it back, only to have it flop again.
“What? Yeah. Fine.” But Denver didn’t feel fine. He looked at the calendar he’d just marked. May fifteenth. That wasn’t right. He’d skipped a day.
Jerry snickered again. “I know, I know. You’re fine as long as your little ritual is done. Mark each day, every day. Perfect little X over the number…” He shook his head, eye peeking intermittently from behind his swinging bangs.
Denver stared at the calendar, the number 14 clearly visible with no perfect little X. “You see everything marked through today?” he asked, hoping the alarm didn’t show in his voice.
“Of course.” Jerry slid from the barstool and dumped his mug into the sink. As he walked past, he elbowed Denver’s arm. “What’s wro—I mean…” His voice dropped. “Never mind.” He didn’t say anything more and ducked through the door that led from the kitchen to the back porch. Which would make sense if it were May fifteenth because the fifteenth was Wednesday, Jerry’s day off. He only slept in on the days he had to work.
How was it May fifteenth, though?
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