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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!

Necessary Cuts by Bryan Miller

The manuscripts I read are haunted. Commas vanish forever into the void. Subjects and verbs struggle in bloody disagreement. Infinitives are cleaved with a dull axe. Sentence fragments ablated at one ragged end lay strewn between the margins.
I take an exorcist’s solemn pride in banishing these warped creatures from the village, sending slapdash monstrosities back to the murky dark from whence they came. The pages come in and the pages go out; my reward is the warm tingle of equilibrium, having restored order to some tiny corner of the world.
Well, that and a paycheck.
“You’re a professional stickler,” Karen told me once, maybe a little less charitably than I’d like. “I’m in love with a snoot-for-hire.”
I don’t really expect her to understand, though sometimes I wish she did. Isn’t that the untold story of every romance? Karen has a degree in Sports and Recreation. She organizes children’s summer day camps and intramural youth sports leagues for the parks department. Her pixie-cut …

Cry of the Bush by Ita Ekhaletruo

Ayo kicked a small rock, sending it flying to the surrounding bushes lining the dirt road. The sun had set hours ago and wouldn’t rise till seven next morning. There were no street lights, no houses, no life besides what hollered and chirped in the tall grass. His phone lit the path, a couple miles left till he got home. One of the joys of being poor in Lagos.
People either packed like sardines into the inner slums’ hovels or resided on the vacant outskirts. Him and his four friends had chosen the latter, crowding into a two-bedroom apartment. But what was to be done? They were all university graduates, yet couldn’t find work. Having come out with a first-class in law, more than a year on he still had to make do with odd jobs.
Yesterday he’d done a shift loading and unloading building supplies. The pay was all right, so he’d turned up this morning, only to be told to try again next week. It was the same for his friends. All intelligent, motivated, and educated, but degree-level work wa…

It Watches by Kevin M. Folliard

“We’re leaving,” Chance’s father announced.
He’d arrived home hours past the end of his janitorial shift at the Sioux Falls National Bank. Chance had been up late watching NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien, puzzling over jokes about the Unabomber and the OJ Trial.
His father didn’t just click the TV off. He yanked the plug from the wall. “We’re. Leaving.” Despite his stone-cold demeanor, Dad seemed sober.
“I have school tomorrow.”
“We’re leaving.”
“Leaving where?” Chance asked.
“Just leaving. Pack everything.”
They’d hardly been in Sioux Falls for a few months. Chance had yet to make a friend at school.
And yet, he knew better than to argue.
They packed almost everything—which wasn’t much—into the bed of his father’s rust-crusted pickup. His father took special care with a gray duffel bag, stuffed to a rectangular shape. Chance watched his father tuck it into a laundry basket, bury it in dirty clothes, and then cover it with a black trash bag. He placed the laundry basket on its side, and …