Thursday, September 27, 2012


by Colleen Foley

Jimmy stared gape-mouthed at the Peter Rabbit cookie jar languishing in shards on the counter. He’d picked it up somewhere when we were kids. We’d loved that thing. It had helped us believe that monsters couldn’t destroy all the good in the world, in us. And I’d killed it, as my faith had been killed.

Noises behind made me turn, gun ready. Seth, hands raised and empty. I wanted to fire. One shot to blast away the symbol of his betrayal in a wash of blood and bone. Futile.

I clamped my eyes shut, lowered the gun, trusting in surrender.


Friday, September 21, 2012


Habit drew me to close Nate’s car window against coming rain. Inescapable fate revealed the book.

Red symbols writhed under gold-leaf, invisible to most, irresistible to me. Hand clamped on the leather spine, I fell into prayer. The answer slid through my wound, blood-ready, stirring long languished memory.

Down and down and down the rabbit hole, I followed the thread of knowledge lost, desperate to be found.

Gunshots wrenched me back. I shoved the book into my jacket and raced through Jimmy’s door.

Nate spun on me, shocked but gun-steady.

I raised my empty hands, trusting my life to surrender.



by Colleen Foley

I knew Jimmy had a cocked shotgun aimed at me under the table. I had no intention of shooting him. But he was going to pay penance for his sin of omission.

“What now, boy? Battle of wills? Mexican standoff, hunter style?”

Neither of us moved.

“Answer me, Jimmy. How long you been pullin’ the wool over my eyes about Seth? How long have you known my brother’s a damned witch?”

He glanced out the kitchen window, sighed, and whispered, “From the get go.”

My shot rang thunder through the tiny kitchen. On the counter, his favorite cookie jar exploded.



I called Uncle Jim. He didn’t answer.

The hunter’s car was fully stocked, not as well as ours – Nate’s now – but good enough for the battle I hoped to avoid. Reason had worked previously, but Nate’s eyes were covered by rage-colored wool. I’d seen him kill more calmly. He’s every monster’s nightmare.

So am I.

My palm itched, magic returning, pressing, eager. I resisted. If I used spell-craft against Nate, my penance would be a bullet. He’d take the head shot.

I parked before the bend in the drive and, heavily armed, crept forward.

No sound came from the house.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rest. Stop.

Stiff from riding, I stopped at a scenic overlook. Trees surrounded a deep gorge, running water a faint echo below. Clouds formed a mini-eclipse, only the outline of the full moon discernible.

Graveled footsteps prompted my turn. A man, his fist wrapped with rosary beads, cross dangling, muffed a punch while mouthing a useless exorcism. I knew his family.

“Not demon.” My fist connected. “Don’t make me hurt you.”

He drew a blade, probably dipped in holy water.

I sighed at necessity.

I left his unconscious body at the edge, hoping he’d roll over. But first, I took his keys.


Thou Shalt Not Lie

by Colleen Foley

I’d driven all night, breaking every speed limit for three states to arrive early. I felt as if I’d been chasing the carrot you dangle in front of racehorses.

It wasn’t what Jimmy had said – “That dumbass!”– it was the tone. Like he’d known.

I walked into Jimmy’s kitchen, stiff and aching from the drive. He was at the table, two shots of Jack already poured. He looked like fresh brewed hell. One glance cinched it, and rage geysered up my spine, threatening to eclipse me.

I ignored the liquor and aimed my gun at him.

“How damned long, Jimmy?”



Angus come across the moor, his stravaging done for the nonce.  Scandal gamboled to and fro, plumed tail waving like a flag – not surrender white  but sinful black. None kenned where the beast come frae. One Sunday, it was there by Angus’ bed, and he ne’er went to church again. He got taller, broader, too fast, and too fair for his own good, much less the lasses’. 

Mayhap his wandering takes him to other villages, where the women don’t know his wickedness – until they do. We keep our girls safe as best we can and pray someday he’ll move on.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Parade Rest

They rode in, prideful over havoc wreaked, saddles creaking, stiff. Weren’t the only thing needed a good rubbing. They called for any who’d polish their posts for a coin.

If 'twere only immoral, some might have gone. But money’s not so dear we’d risk touching those men. We kept our hands behind our backs, careful, smart.

Most of us did.

Sarah’s youngest stepped out, offering. The Night slid down and took her on his shield where we could watch her writhe… and wither.  He put the coin on her forehead, payment for sin, and left her mam to clean up.

Turn pike

Milepost numbers increased as I rode north on a bike I’d stolen from a kid too drunk to have survived the ride home. He’d consider me an immoral asshole who’d taken his substitute girlfriend. It was that kind of douche-rocket.

He might not be my blood, but I had to shield Uncle Jim from the worst of the fallout.

My palm throbbed as I cataloged the many ways Nate tries to cripple me. I always take the hit. My inevitable recovery infuriates him, but serves its purpose. He’s almost used to it.

Someday, he’s going to beg for my magic.