The Poisoned Well stains the street two doors up from us—a constantly re-piling black cloud—and can’t stop having babies every few months or so, adjusting the straps of gas masks over their faces, straps slapping to their skulls, and shoving them off to the street corner so they can mill about, dead-eyed, slack-jawed, waiting for the horrible school bus to crank open its doors and spirit them off to the death camps.

“Thank God,” she says. When they’ve gone, she says, “Thank God.”

The Toxic Flakes is the worst kind of knotted-up fibrous tumor, a rain-swollen blackhead, clicky with static and that clinging kind of co-dependency, hot and suffocating like polyester pants hot out the dryer. His kids are totally afraid of him, largely avoiding consuming meals in his company, those complex conspiracies of restrained farts and burnt tongues. They avoid helping out in the yard as he scrapes heaps of wet leaves off the gristly stump-field, lumpy—a throat full of misgivings.

It’s always raining in their horrible house, damp and rambling with homework assignments half-flushed down the toilet, the yellowed skeletons of forgotten housecats, needled jaws dried open in anticipation of the meal that might’ve saved.

David Peak
the orange eats creeps
grace krilanovich