Heartlands: Moment of Clarity

By: Mark Figueroa | Twitter: @anthony_abyss The Heartland, a large county in North Western Jersey, is composed of several small suburbs and tranquil towns, like the illustrious snow-covered Thatcher Township, and peaceful Harwaven. Rich in culture and diversity, and best known for its oddities, the Heartlands are also home to the "Nànan Wàbi", or the … Continue reading Heartlands: Moment of Clarity

Heartlands: Virtual Insanity

Lars fogs up his silver, rock-shaped flask. He polishes the chromatic surface and sighs. "First the godsdamned bottle I left in Scotland, then the laddie with nay a constitution. Oy, I reckon kids ta'day're as complicated as human will ever be, I s'pose. En't it so, Teppin?" Lars asks, shoving the flask into his tunic … Continue reading Heartlands: Virtual Insanity

The Turning Tide of Tilda Làvois

Related: No Need to Write You a Love Song | HP: High Value Target | Dinner with Friends Matilda Làvois, or Tilda, as she was called, ran through another urine-soaked, vomit-scented, fluid-stained alley on a broken, brick road in Paris. Born in winter 1692, a few days shy of the new year, and going on … Continue reading The Turning Tide of Tilda Làvois

No Need to Write You A love Song

High beams passed along the Riverside highway, shimmering in brilliant beauty, illuminating the pavement. Waves crashing under the evening sky created a steady rhythm resembling soft chatter. Kalcyphir leaned over the rail, staring into the Hudson. He examined the abyss for his own reflection, incapable of seeing nothing but the shimmering darkness that will eventually … Continue reading No Need to Write You A love Song

The Apparition in the Cellar

For months, the mice, roaches and rats have kept me company. I've learned to floss with an amalgamation of rodent hair and critter legs in order to keep them from chewing through my face at night. It was on the eve of Hallowed Saints that I parlayed with a harlot of the sin-stained town whose … Continue reading The Apparition in the Cellar

The Kiln of Knavili

[Dinner with Friends | HP: High Value Target] "Dammit, Aldguin, you always do this," Kalcyphir shouts, pounding on door. "It's 1985. You can cancel plans with a phone call." He leans against the door and presses his ear below the peephole. Nothing. Kalcyphir knocks again. Still nothing. His shrugs his aggravation off and pulls a … Continue reading The Kiln of Knavili

Heartlands: The Adhesion Coefficient (μ)

The ratio between vertical load (weight/mass) and adhesion force (the point at which to unlike things attract). It's Valentine's Day afternoon. Marianne and Walter Sr. visit Walter's childhood friend, Jason Pannetti. They have a nice brunch courtesy of Erin. The couples discuss the goings on with their lives, work and everything in-between. The women split … Continue reading Heartlands: The Adhesion Coefficient (μ)

Heartlands: Picking Up the Tracks

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Walter Schreren Jr.'s (or Junior as his family calls him) screams wakes his parents. Another evening of consoling him before sunrise. For the past 2 years, every 3 days he's had the same dream at 4 am sharp. At first, there was no rhyme, reason … Continue reading Heartlands: Picking Up the Tracks

HP: High Value Target

( Dinner with Friends ) Philip fumbles with his tie clasp, while Howard slouches over the rickety, wooden table, eating what could quite possibly be considered the worst hamburger ever made. Howard never asked for a partner, much less one so dull-witted and painfully unimaginative. Bureaucracy doesn't speak the language of comfort however. It only … Continue reading HP: High Value Target

The Little Ones

By Mark Figueroa For years, the house on the edge of town has sat vacant. If you pass by it at night or early in the morning, you can hear the wind weep through its dilapidated, crumbling frame. Many years ago, the home belonged to a talented dollmaker. He lived with wife, children and his … Continue reading The Little Ones

Heartlands: Harwaven Roe

Wes sits on the docks, enjoying his crispy chicken cutlet sandwich. For decades, this would never have been possible in July, since winter used to begin in late April. It's been just over a month since Harwaven Grove, a small town near Thatcher Township, has experienced any snowfall or temperatures below the high 70s. With … Continue reading Heartlands: Harwaven Roe

Dinner with friends

By Mark Figueroa Under the light blue sky, Aldguin strums his guitar at the bench by the fountain. Children giggle and chase each other through the trees, screaming "You're it!" Clouds crawl through and around the bright sun. Leaning on Aldguin's shoulder, Elles tosses seeds from a bag on to the concrete. Birds chirp and … Continue reading Dinner with friends

Heartlands: Snow in the Summer

By Mark Figueroa As schools prepare for summer, Professor Claudio Pannetti paces around his classroom. He stops at window overlooking the main road to the town. His crestfallen eyes skip over the snow-covered trees and the overcast horizon. He watches the snow drift along the breeze, clinging to the grass, concrete and asphalt, leaving thin … Continue reading Heartlands: Snow in the Summer

Cat, Brush, Bottle

As the sun set on the horizon, Marnie brushed her hair while gazing at herself in the mirror. Since high school, Marnie had a morbid curiosity with death, the macabre and conspiracy. Her first blog was called "The Gael Gal". She wrote about clandestine groups, conspiracies and other general oddities from around Caithness county, or … Continue reading Cat, Brush, Bottle

The Lord of Cinder

by Mark Figueroa Her fingers brazenly smashed each key, until the silence receded into the corner of my mind. Darkness illuminated my soul as the scarlet path tore through the floor. Ash and sinew rode the explosive winds, enveloping the atmosphere.She smiled at me. "He's coming," she said. Her frail fingers quivered under the flickering … Continue reading The Lord of Cinder

A Short Survey

by Mark Figueroa Franklin sits up on his therapist's familiar leather couch. Despite years of use, its firm, sepia cushions appear brand new. The scent of honey and mothballs fills the air.  “We don’t have to keep doing this, Dr. Franklin,” Dr. Spruce says. She pushes her glasses up the bridge of her nose and … Continue reading A Short Survey

The Mythical Treaty (relevant excerpts)

(Condensed version) ... for any creatures who cannot not pass as a human or surface dwelling creature. Those who can, under the Mythical Treaty as agreed upon by mankind and the Mantleans, upon entry to the surface, are required to posses a verifiable, valid symbol of citizenship to a specific nation designated within the treaty. … Continue reading The Mythical Treaty (relevant excerpts)

Mantlean History (Condensed)

When Earthen Man and Mantleans existed in a parent-child harmony, the Mantleans aided the evolution of man, gave the species speech, art, war, and concepts of governing. Mantleans freely traversed the planet and were welcome among the Earthen Men. Unfortunately, as man became more conscious of itself and its inherent limitations, whole governments united over … Continue reading Mantlean History (Condensed)

By the Lake

“You’re late, Lars!” Earnest slams a heavy potato sack into the still waters of the lake. His dry, sunken eyes are red at the edges. “I—I didn’t think—” “Aye, laddy, you don't think at all, did’ya?” Lars removes his horned, iron helm and runs his gnomish hands through his mane. He takes a deep breath, … Continue reading By the Lake

The Fountain of Truth

by Mark Figueroa “So what happened next, dad?” The children asked in unison, clutching their sheets in anticipation. “Well, kids,” Antalaus said, resuming his story. “Lars nodded at me. ‘Then, we crush the heads an’ scoop the remainin’ soft meat from the bone,’ he said. His little eyes barely sticking out from underneath his large … Continue reading The Fountain of Truth

The Smoking Gun

by Mark Figueroa A twisted creature with backwards arms stretches its mouth open. Its head quivers as it stretches his face wider and wider. Cackles project from its throat like a witch circling victims on Halloween Night. The monster’s jaw cracks, snaps and breaks as the laughter from its throat continues. After a loud pop, … Continue reading The Smoking Gun

The Man on the Tracks

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen There’s a platform at the edge of my quiet, little town.  The train shows up at 2:34 AM on peculiar nights, or so they say. To date, several people have gone missing, but no one seems to remember them very well, beyond a name and an … Continue reading The Man on the Tracks

The Birth of Ted

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Have you heard of the little man?  He's a little, mischievous old man who likes to cause innocent mayhem. He likes to find lonely people, especially children, and become their friend. Forever. When I was young, Gran-Gran used to tell me it’s so they never have … Continue reading The Birth of Ted

The Tank

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen “The container with her food is sealed in a box next to her tank,” Ernst said, putting on his jacket. “Just pour like five of them in. They’ll hop around, scurry about and try to climb out. Don’t worry, they can’t make it out though.”  “Sounds … Continue reading The Tank

Hands

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen The following are sound clips from a voice diary found by Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (or the Montreal Police Force). The victim was a woman suffering from night terrors, emotional and psychological issues. Her roommate said she had been acting weird ever … Continue reading Hands