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the Half that You See

Edited by Rebecca Rowland


Copyright © 2021 Dark Ink Books.

All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-943201-36-5 (pbk.)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2020941104

Cover Photo: “Exquisite Corpse” by Mark Newman

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidences either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

First Published by Dark Ink Books, Southwick, MA, March 2021

Dark Ink Books is a division of AM Ink Publishing. Dark Ink and AM Ink and its logos are trademarked by AM Ink Publishing.


for the fiction writers,

who spend countless hours planting and pruning their landscapes

so that, for a short while, others may be treated to an extraordinary view

“You are young yet, my friend,” replied my host,

“but the time will arrive when you will learn to judge for yourself of what is going on in the world…

Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.”

-The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether

by Edgar Allan Poe (1845)



Elin Olausson

Winnebago Indian Motorhome by Tonka

Eddie Generous

Sepia Grass

Sam Hicks


T.M. Starnes

Turn a Blind Eye

Kelly Griffiths

Falling Asleep in the Rain

Robert P. Ottone

Black Dog Blues

Luciano Marano

Imaginary Friends

Nicole Wolverton


Susie Schwartz

Safe as Houses

Alex Giannini

The New Daddy

Scotty Milder


Mack Moyer

The Tapping at Cranburgh Grange

Felice Picano


Bill Davidson

Daughters of the Sun

Matt Masucci

Lonely Is the Starfish

Lena Ng

Old Times

Mark Towse

The Coffin

Victoria Dalpe

Raven O’Clock

Holley Cornetto


Justine Gardner

Officer Baby Boy Blue

Douglas Ford

The Intruder

Lamont A. Turner

Alone in the Woods in the Deep Dark Night

Edward R. Rosick


Michael W. Clark

Der Hölle Racht

Laura Saint Martin

The Red Portrait

Mahlon Smoke

About the Authors

About the Editor


Elin Olausson

It was night before he found the house. Dirty big-city rain washed over his glasses, blurring and distorting the quiet suburban street. He had to stoop low to read on the letterbox. The name was written in minuscule, cursive, old-lady handwriting on baby blue paper. He thought again of the notebook he had dropped somewhere, most likely in the backseat of that cigarette-stinking car. The lady’s name and address had been in there, along with everything else he needed to remember. But thinking about the notebook only made him anxious, so he forced his eyes toward the house instead. It was a gloom-grey, two-story building at the far end of the street, away from lights and traffic. The garden was overgrown with weeds and the untrimmed hedge rose high above his head, though people often told him he was tall. He didn’t look forward to spending the night in a place like this, but he hadn’t looked forward to anything in a long while. Pressing one arm to his forehead to keep the whipping rain out of his face, he opened the gate and slipped inside.

His knocks were loud and rude, but his windbreaker was too thin for rainy late-fall nights and he had never liked being wet. There were no lights on inside, not even the blue glow from a TV. He knocked again, then wiped the glasses with his dripping sleeve.

No sounds but the drumming rain, no footsteps or voices. Nothing until the door was unlocked, hurriedly, and that woman stood there. Her eyes reminded him of the snarling Rottweiler that had bitten him as a child. They were small and inky and brimming with accusations of this kind or that. He was much taller than she but she was firm and fat and seemed carved out of alabaster. While her face was round and moon-like, the top of her head was oddly small and pointy, her scalp covered with sparse, coffee-colored hair pulled into a knot the size of a baby’s fist.

“Yes?” Something about her deep voice unnerved him.

“It’s about the room.” He reached into his soggy front pocket, then remembered the loss of the notebook. “I wrote to you… Sorry, I should have come earlier but the man in the car took the wrong turn.”

“I see.” Her mouth twisted as if she had a cherry-stone in there. “You have money?”

He let the words roll around in his head a few times until he realized that she had a foreign accent. That explained the name. “Yes, I do.”

“All right.” When she moved away from the doorway the house sighed. “Room is in the basement. Breakfast between six and eight. No guests.”

“Understood.” He tipped his head backwards to look for damp stains, but there was nothing to see except the bleary ceiling fixture and a pair of drowsy flies circling it. The image was as depressing as the woman in front of him. “Do you live alone?”

“No.” She turned her head, barking out a monosyllable name. Her booming voice made the flies scatter. “The girl is upstairs.” Lower she added, “She’s sick.”

He didn’t have anything in particular to say to that information. He wished he still had the notebook.

A door opened and closed somewhere on the second floor. Soft, slow footsteps tickled the skin inside his ear.

“Sick,” the woman said again. “Don’t mind her.”

The sounds from the stairs made him wonder what the girl looked like—her legs in particular, if they were bent or broken, or if she was extremely obese like some of those people on TV. Heavy thuds filled the house as if there was a fight. The beginning of the stairs was at the far end of the hall, in a windowless corner. The woman kept watching him, as if the unsettling sounds were everyday occurrences to her. Thud-drag-thud. Part of him would enjoy it if the girl turned out to be plagued by some rare, disfiguring illness. But when she showed,

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