Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Playmate - A New Short Horror Mystery Story Now Available in Dark Dossier Magazine

Not long before I left Florida for my current home in Virginia, I went into my kitchen for my morning coffee. Some of you, especially if we're Facebook friends, may know how important that is to me. Let's call it a sacred rite. 

The previous evening, I'd poured out the remaining bird seeds from an old bag onto some paver stones for whoever wanted them, birds and beasts alike. I was in that "everything must go" stage of moving. The furniture was already gone, I was working on boxes for a desk and sitting in a lawn chair. I had one other lawn chair destined for Goodwill. That was for my cat Ollie in the moment.

Anything left in the house was going to have to fit into my car for the trip north, so I was purging.  

I hadn't thought about our friend the opossum as liking bird seeds. But who had pulled up a chair to the paver stones and tied a napkin around his neck but one pale grey marsupial. 

Fair enough, I thought. The seeds were for anyone.

But an eerie sensation crept over me as I sipped and did a partial turn from the window. Something struck me as strange. It was in that uncanny valley of not quite right.

I stared a little longer and realized two possums, as we say in the South, were enjoying a birdseed breakfast and angled so that they were hard to see and distinguish in early morning light.

That brief, eerie feeling of criss crossed bodies, visible limbs and pale faces made me wonder what I'd feel like if I looked out to see a disheveled person crouched among the elephant ears and other semi-tropical plants?

What if it was a person too frightened to communicate, but who would accept food left outside in a Playmate cooler?

A few elements from inside reality and out began to converge along with urban myth, and my story "Playmate" was born.

It's available in the new issue of Dark Dossier magazine, No. 56. You can order from Amazon if you want a Kindle or print copy, or you can read it free on the publication website


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