The Hand of God by edward j rathke

He tasted like ash, called himself Frank, hired me to look for his wife but a man was dead. A curiosity, how a man smiles so with the back of his head gone. Frank, all sweat and shake, vomit stinging his eyes, seized movements making me nervous. I lit a cigarette and gave it to him, but he dropped it, the blood hissed.

Digging through the dead man’s pockets: came empty.

‘I can’t believe you shot him,’ Frank’s voice creaking, worn and dry.

‘It wasn’t an accident.’

He shook his head, wiped his brow. Continue reading

Gateway by RICHARD THOMAS

The sun beats down on the innocent and guilty alike. It isn’t my job to sort them out, or judge them, just to track them down and do what is expected. My three weeks down here in Saint Louis have been spent on the wrong side of the tracks. East side. You don’t stop your car over here at the stoplights, the stop signs, unless you want an earful of lead or a gut relived of its organs. The air is so thick I can chew it and the AC in the foreign bitch I’m driving is turning the driver’s seat into the Mohave with every hot breath she pushes on me. I want a beer and someone to share it with but there’s work to be done today. Rollie. That’s all I know. And an address that leads me across the Mississippi and under the concrete overpasses that deposit me at a gingerbread crack house. Instead of a crackhead Rollie, I get a tall brunette. Out the front door, her legs glistening, her brown hair pulled up tight, micro-shorts and a t-shirt knotted in the front. Exactly my type. I can stay and take care of Rollie, or I can follow her. Continue reading