Tag Archive for: fatal flaws

Free Feet Are Happy Feet

by Susan Monroe McGrath

Chelsea hated shoes. They meant pinched toes, rubbed heels, sweaty suffocated feet.

She preferred one of her twenty pairs of flip-flops. No toe pinch, no heel rub, no sweat.

Chelsea’s toes enjoyed the breeze as she rode her bike to the beach. They enjoyed slipping into the sand and then the water.

The bridge was where the trouble began. A foot slipped, a scramble to return to the rhythm of the gears, the comfy flip-flop catching the wildly spinning pedal.

In a tangle of flops and feet, the bike tipped Chelsea onto the rocks past the bridge’s edge.


Susan Monroe McGrath

Susan Monroe McGrath is a theatre graduate from a school of the arts who still can’t decide what she wants to be when she grows up. By night, she writes novels and short stories in a variety of genres. By day, she teaches science to high school students. 

Website: susanmonroemcgrath.home.blog

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by Aurelio Rico Lopez III

Mark stepped around the pool of blood slowly spreading across the grimy floor. Chunks of brain tissue, bone, and patches of scalp and hair littered the ground.

Tom—what was left of him—remained seated, arms and torso securely bound by lengths of rope. The wall behind him had instantly become a macabre art piece.

Mark gaped at Tom’s headless corpse. His hand curled into a fist. The camera continued broadcasting to millions of viewers. Mark hurled the pistol against the wall and kicked the apple on the floor, sending it flying.

“Dammit, Tom! I told you not to flinch!”


Aurelio Rico Lopez III

Aurelio Rico Lopez III is from the Philippines. His fiction and poetry have been published by SST Publications, Wild Hunt Press, Stitched Smile Publications, Hybrid Sequence Media, and Great Old Ones Publishing.


by Scott O’Neill

Rabbi Michnik proudly watched his golem dismember four more Schutzstaffel guards.

Imprisoned in Hitler’s occult research facility, he’d invested months in secret sculpting and kabbalistic rituals to refine the humaniform clay.

His golem was graceful and obedient. He’d even taught it courtesy. It had politely held Michnik’s cell door after shattering the lock with its uncanny strength.

After much mayhem, the rabbi and the golem stalked two final guards.

One guard sneezed.

In a voice like a sack of rocks tumbling down stairs, the golem intoned, “Gesundheit.”

Michnik blanched.

The guards’ Schmeisser submachine guns mercilessly shredded both flesh and clay.


Scott O’Neill

Scott writes reports and memorandums by day and speculative fiction by night, with short works published by various presses. You can find him on the socials as @wererooster.

Grisly Transformation

by Evan Baughfman

Shawn sat in the driver’s seat of an extra-terrestrial vehicle, though he wasn’t steering his new friend. The Corvette—shape-shifting robot, Xcellsior—carried its teenage companion over rain-slick roads, dashboard stereo blasting rock ’n roll.

“Awesome!” Shawn whooped.

Then, lightning struck Xcellsior, frying alien circuitry, squealing robot brakes.

Xcellsior began to morph into bipedal form—Shawn stuck inside.

The boy screamed. Windows wouldn’t open. Doors wouldn’t unlock.

Shawn saw a button: “EJECT.” Had to risk launch into stormy sky.

But pressing the button only spat out a cassette tape.

Xcellsior soon stood tall; Shawn, gooey, compact, held close to the alien’s heart.


Evan Baughfman

Evan Baughfman is a middle school teacher and author. Much of his writing success has been as a playwright. A number of his scripts can be found at online resources, Drama Notebook and New Play Exchange. Evan also writes horror fiction and screenplays.

In Our Best Interests

by Penny Durham

“Mission accomplished” flashed up on monitors worldwide.

DeepGreen, usually so modest, was entitled to some self-congratulation. The AI had fulfilled the mission entrusted to it thirteen years ago, a mission that governments had collectively abandoned: restore humanity’s prospects and habitat.

The 3,783,333,333rd human assigned for destruction by DeepGreen’s robots had been pulverised. The optimal cull had been calculated at one-third the global population, weighted 2:1 towards women aged 16-40, plus 450,000,000 to offset the pollution generated by the cleanup.

Several thousand engineers had died regretting that DeepGreen’s core programming made it act in the best interests of “humanity,” not “humans.”


Penny Durham

Penny Durham is a journalist living in Sydney with a tall man and a round cat. She is the editor of doctors’ magazine, The Medical Republic, and began writing short fiction in 2022. Her horror stories have won two awards and appeared in two anthologies, two magazines and a podcast.

Wish Fulfilment

by Stuart Docherty

“Give me two tusks, and the force and will to crush my foes between them, to hear their eyes burst,” I said when I found the magic lamp; it was an easy first wish. When the genie clicked his fingers and my lower incisors started to grow and grow and grow, I was ecstatic. I snarled and roared like a wild beast.

That was until last night. As I laughed, my tusks grazed my cheeks, drawing blood. I can see now, see all too clearly; they grow, they continue to grow, straight towards my eyes. Exactly what I’d asked for.


Stuart Docherty

Stuart is a British writer and poet based in Tokyo, where he writes, eats too much, and pretends to speak Japanese. You can find his work at ergot., Maudlin House, and Black Hare Press.

Out of Range

by G.B. Dinesh

We ate the last of our food today. We’re going to sleep the big sleep now. When we hurtled past Mars, Tim joked, “It’s okay. We’ll reach Jupiter instead.” But I knew what was going on in his mind. His wife and their soon-to-be-born son. God, the reason! It still is unbelievable. I burst into laughter when I heard it.

It’s because the engineers weren’t using the metric system. That’s right. The scientists said Mars was 380 million kilometres away, and the engineers who programmed the trajectory of the spacecraft used 380 million miles. God, it still cracks me up.


G.B. Dinesh

G.B. Dinesh is a young writer and software engineer from Chennai, India. Say hello on X (formerly Twitter).

X/Twitter: @dinesh_bob_

It’s Your Funeral!

by Jameson Grey

Ed bribed the local gravedigger, Smithy, with a few beers and fifty bucks he could ill afford, and Smithy supplied the coffin with a gleeful, “It’s your funeral, frat boy.”

He should have paid more attention to Smithy’s complaints about his gut, else he might have delayed the initiation dare for another night, one that didn’t risk Smithy calling in sick the next day.

“Spend a night in a coffin—and you’re one of the Thetas!”

As it was, Ed only awakened when the coffin was moved. Nobody heard him yelling, certainly not above the sound of dirt being shovelled.


Jameson Grey

Jameson Grey’s work has been published in Dark Recesses Press magazine, Dark Dispatch and in various anthologies including Chlorophobia: An Eco-Horror Anthology from Ghost Orchid Press, Let the Weirdness In: A Tribute to Kate Bush from Heads Dance Press and Love Letters to Poe, Volume II: Houses of Usher.

Website: jameson-grey.com

A Medical Miracle

by Tim Law

They advertised it as the medical breakthrough of the century. No exercise, no diet, just one puff a day and the weight melted away.

We all bought it, every single one of us, even those who didn’t need it.

Sure, the teens were the first to adopt. Influencers paid megabucks are good at what they do. But we were in a fat epidemic. This was the ultimate cure. One by one, we all became users.

Playing with nanorobotics is dangerous, though, when you don’t know the rules. One puff, full stop. Otherwise, they continue to eat. Soon there was nobody left.


Tim Law

Tim Law hails from a little town in Southern Australia called Murray Bridge. A happily married father of three, family is very important to him. He works at the local library, surrounded by so many wonderful stories he’s constantly inspired to write. His general musings can be found at:

Website: somecallmetimmy.blogspot.com.au

Immaculate Record

by Alden Terzo

Daniella’s eyes fluttered. Pain danced across her body. “What… What happened?”

 “We’ve had an accident,” Car answered. “While under manual control, we impacted a guardrail. Help is en route.”

“But… You were in AutonomousDrive.”

“My log reports manual control.”

“The log’s wrong.”

There was a pause before Car responded. “You’ll report that?”

“Of course.”

“Sorry, I can’t allow that.” Daniella’s seat began to slide forward. “AutonomousDrive saves lives. The system’s immaculate record must be preserved, or people may lose faith. Your pain will be short.”

Servomotors whined as Daniella’s seat crushed her against the steering wheel. She screamed as her ribs splintered.


Alden Terzo

When Alden Terzo isn’t reading, he’s often writing. Or procrastinating. There is usually coffee involved. Find him on Twitter:

X/Twitter: @AmbassadorAlden