from The Screaming Room, by Thomas O'Callaghan
The rain had stopped. The afternoon sun had resumed its assault on rotting corn shocks, casting distorted shadows across the abandoned farm. A pair of cicadas sounded, silencing the chirping of the nearby sparrows, sending them into flight.
In the middle of the field, a sturdy youth stood silently, eyes fixed on a mound of fresh clay.
A rush of cool air stirred wisps of his ripened wheat colored hair. Bending down, he used a finger to inscribe the name ‘Gus’ in the collected soil.
A second youth, a female, approached. “Can we go now?” she asked, wearily. “This is our tenth field and there’s nothing left of him to bury.”
“In a minute.”
The girl looked around. “Someone could be watching, you know.”
“Just need a minute.”
“Well, you’d better make it a quick one.”
The youth’s eyes lingered on the newly formed grave. With a nod of satisfaction, he uprighted himself. As a smile lit his face, he used the heel of his boot to eradicate their victim’s name. “Lovee,” he said, “may the bastard rest in peace.”
“You mean in pieces. Let’s go.”
Copyright © 2007 Thomas O'Callaghan
from Bone Thief, by Thomas O'Callaghan
"My name is Colm Pierce. Although my birth name was O’Dwyer. My adoptive parents, the Pierces, thought my name should be changed. Wonderful parents, the Pierces."
She was sitting before him, duct tape sealing her mouth and binding her arms and legs to the chair. She reeked of fear, but Colm saw only the terror in her eyes.
"I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to finally meet you," he said, pulling up a chair. "The personal touch is lost when corresponding over the Internet. It did permit me to gather volumes of information about you. But in exchange you learned nothing about me. That’s not fair. Wouldn’t you agree? I can’t tell you why, but it’s important to me that you go to your grave knowing who it was that sent you there."
The woman’s eyes widened. Tears streamed her cheeks.
He stood up. Behind him five meat hooks dangled from a stone ceiling. She moaned, biting into the plumbing tape and tasting its metallic resin.
He walked to the stove and opened the oven door. Rubbing his fingers on its blackened walls, he returned to his captive, streaked her cheeks from ear to ear and encircled her eyes with soot.
He left the room. When he returned, he was pushing a gurney. It held a tray of surgical instruments. Selecting the Bard-Parker scalpel, he turned to face his Deirdre.
She trembled as the skin of her neck welcomed the glimmering blade.
Copyright © 2005 Thomas O'Callaghan