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Introduction

A glimpse into the world proves that horror is nothing other than reality. ~ Alfred Hitchcock

Here at Tell-Tale Press, we hope to entertain you with quality stories from talented writers around the world. Some stories may include graphic violence, erotica, or both. They have been indicated as such before the story begins. Thank you for joining us, and happy reading!

Songs of Tinnitus by W. T. Paterson

Eli couldn’t sleep. A doctor explained tinnitus was to blame, a high-pitched ping that lived in his ears like a miniature bumblebee. He was told to listen to sounds while winding down. Not music. Sounds. Waves, rain, thunder. Things from nature to help kill the bee.
Eli settled on crickets.
Spotify had hundreds of albums worth of crickets for sleep, but Eli always fell back on the same one. “Songs for Tinnitus”. The low pulsing drones were a perfect counterbalance to the high-pitched shriek. He referred to it as Songs of Tinnitus, until one sleepless night listening to the repetition over and over, he heard faintly in the distance of the last track a woman begging for her life.
***
“Do you think this shit hurts our ears?” Frankie asked. He was pulling away from the buzz saw, long fuzzy sideburns and mop-top fashioned after the fab four. Sweat soaked through the pale green work jumpers of the factory. They were fabricating industrial pipes for Disney theme parks, an extension of the local…

Cathedral by J. C. Alegria

Six years in juvenile detention. Psychiatric evaluations twice a month, wearing a smelly straight jacket while I was in the doctor’s office. That was for our mutual protection, they said. Guard with a billy club posted right outside the door. All that may sound like the judge went easy on me, considering that I murdered my two best friends.
Problem was, I didn’t kill them. The angels did. I explained that to the judge and anyone who would listen. He didn’t believed me. He said I was lucky that my fifteenth birthday was one month away; otherwise he would have crucified me like I was an adult. Then he slammed his gavel. It sounded like a gunshot and made me jump.
I get released next week when I turn twenty-one. My record will be sealed. Such are the laws governing juvenile crimes, geared to giving youngsters a second chance. Six years is a long time in a shithole like this. I’ve done a lot of thinking about how much I miss Jimmy and Andrade, my two friends that I loved like brothers.…

The Slippers By the Back Door by Tony Beaulieu

Percy Shepard lay awake in bed, eyes wide open at the ceiling, and wondered if tonight would be the night he’d have to use the shotgun.
Percy had ordered it online, had it shipped to Wendel’s Gun Shop on the ruins of Main Street. The background check was carried out somberly, the man behind the counter handed over the box in reverent silence. He knew what it was for.
It was the cheapest pump shotgun Percy could find. Twelve gauge, 20-inch barrel in gun metal black, with a three-inch chamber so it could fire any kind of shell. Percy bought a box of buckshot before he left Wendel’s.
The gun had now sat propped against the inside wall of his bedroom closet for three agonizing weeks. Eight shells loaded up, safety off. He needed to be sure before he used it. Percy already knew, but he must be sure—and that would mean catching the boy red-handed.
Earlier that night as they sat across the dinner table from one another—with only the clank of silverware against plate occasionally disturbing t…