Unholy Trinity: Aging Regrets by Ryan Benson

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.

Reclamation

The witch gazed into the looking glass. Wrinkles, veins, and burst capillaries.

She looked down at the supple skin—white as milk.

The knife passed over the surface, and seconds later, blood seeped from the trail, as if appearing de novo. 

Her soiled, moth-eaten tome detailed the map carving required to summon her Dark Prince.

Parchment of flesh. Ink of blood. 

Crimson rivulets dribbled over unblemished skin before dripping onto the dusty floor below. 

Screams echoed about the chamber.

“Hush,” the crone cooed.

Like the alabaster skin, the screams weren’t the witch’s, but after the ritual, she’d be beautiful again.

A Broken Home

The house stood vacant and lonely. Sordid rumors drove away buyers, and the once beautiful home fell into decline. 

Ruminations of revenge filled the house. Full of angry spirits it could scare or kill. But unsolved slayings bring attention. The city could raze the abandoned “Murder House.”

Paint cracked. 

Teens spray-painted and smashed windows (even the stained glass).

Pipes leaked.

Addicts left needles and waste where Persian rugs once lay. 

Shingles fell like autumn leaves.

Every day, the house regretted coercing the former owner into murdering his family and creating the current dilemma.

One bad moment can ruin a home.

Youth is Wasted

Reincarnation isn’t what I thought. My new body feels different. It’s been decades since I was last twenty-one. 

I’m the product of work started in sea slugs and finished in humans—the first clone with replicated memories (soul?) as well as DNA. 

What now? The doctor said my ninety-year-old self died weeks ago. Wish we met, but what would I do? Hold his (my?) gnarled hand? 

Should I visit my kids? Grandkids? They’re older than me!

No. I’ll run, laugh, and make love like I haven’t in years. 

I just pray I can forget what awaits me at the end.

Ryan Benson

Ryan Benson previously found employment as a researcher/professor in Boston, MA. He now resides outside of Atlanta, GA with his wife and children. Ryan hopes to one day complete a novel, but until then he keeps himself busy writing short fiction stories. Trembling with Fear, Suspense Magazine, The Sirens Call, ARTPOST, Short Fiction Break, Martian, and The Collapsar Directive (Zombie Pirate Publishing) have published his work.

 Twitter: @RyanWBenson

Stephanie Ellis

Stephanie Ellis is a member of the HWA and writes dark speculative prose and poetry which has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including Flame Tree Press' A Dying Planet and Nosetouch Press' Fiends in the Furrows. She is the author of gothic novella, Bottled, from Silver Shamrock Publishing and the novelette, Asylum of Shadows from Demain Publishing. Her first novel, The Way of the Mother, is due out in October, via Silver Shamrock. She can be found at https://stephanieellis.org/ and on twitter @el_Stevie.

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