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A Little While

“It’s only for a little while.”

The words echoed in Tom’s ears as he sprung out of bed, doused in sweat. He looked around and, seeing he was alone, collapsed back against the mattress, hoping to steal a few more minutes of sleep. But the second his eyes fell shut the alarm blared, bathing his micro-apartment in flashing red light.

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The Attic


The ladder clattered down. A few moments later it was followed by the all too familiar pitter-patter of feet skittering across the upper floor.

“Your turn Lil’,” I said, putting my pillow back over my head. But just like every other night this week she didn’t answer, didn’t even move. She was either suddenly sleeping a lot harder or getting a hell of a lot better at ignoring me. I sighed and hoisted myself up in resignation.

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Hank clicked away idly at his terminal, not wanting to return to the drab task of data entry a single second before his unpaid thirty minutes were up. He pulled up his fantasy football roster and sighed, disappointed yet again with how naively ambitious he’d been before the season started. Then in a blink, the roster disappeared. In it’s place was a notepad window with the words “Hi Hank” typed out in the upper left hand corner and before he could even process what might be going on another line appeared beneath it. “Are you ready to play?”

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“You gonna eat that?”

I looked around. Maybe this was it, maybe this was “too high.” But after the hair on the back of my neck settled back down, my attention shifted back to the level I’d been bruising my thumbs trying to beat. After four more inevitable failures I tossed the controller against the ground. “Dogshit!” I shouted, pulling at my hair.

“It’s not dogshit. You keep trying to go through the undead paladin, you need to go around it. I mean they practically spell it out for you.”

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Special Announcement

Today my short story, “The Laughing Ones”, is being featured in Flash Fiction Magazine. It is my first time being published and I’m very excited about it. Please stop by and give it a read. Also, a big thank you to all the people who helped me get to this point, it’s a big step on my journey and I couldn’t have done it without the lot of you.

– Hal Matthews

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The Cat

“Just what do you think you’re doing?” the old man said, waddling over to the sofa. “You know damn well what that much alcohol could do to you.”

The cat’s emerald eyes narrowed and she spat a sharp hiss that made the man step back. “Alcohol?” she said. “Are you really going to stand there and tell me that this is just an ordinary beer, Morgan?” She extended the nails of one claw and peeled back at the cap, popping it free of the glass bottle’s top.

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The girl blinked a few times and examined the drab faces of the rest of the children in the classroom. Then, wearing a curious scowl, she raised her hand.

I stumbled through the seating chart searching for her name, “Yes Miss…”

“Hamilton,” she finished for me. “But you can call me Maggie. I was just wondering, Mr. Andrews, if we were going to be covering anything about the planets today?” She sprouted a peevish grin, a knowing grin, and somehow I could tell that she had seen through my facade.

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