Unholy Trinity: Crossed by Terrance V. Mc Arthur
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.
Crossbows, I understand.
People, I don’t.
Take Daryl. He shows up at Ace Crossbows, the day after he gets fired, goes into Wagner’s office. I hear shouting, a gunshot. I see red spatter the translucent office divider, and Daryl comes out with a gun, shouting and shooting. Patterson dropped like a wounded moose, bellowing.
I ducked behind a display case, grabbed a Wonderbow Special, loaded, and waited for Daryl to stop and reload. I took my shot. Got him.
What happened? Maybe there was too much pressure and Daryl snapped.
Like a crossbow.
Maybe I do understand people, after all.
“Right hand, green,” Hal said.
How did Sibyl talk him into this? He came here, broke up with her, and now? Playing one last game of Twister, “for old time’s sake,” she’d told him.
Sibyl said, “Left foot, yellow.”
Pain shot up his leg as Hal’s foot hit the circle.
He said, “Right foot, green.”
“Left hand, red,” she said.
Hal’s arm snapped, and he crumpled, moaning, onto the game mat.
She stood over him, smiling in malicious triumph.
“Never play games with a witch, Hal. Don’t you know? Words can kill,” and she said, “Heart, Code Blue.”
The last library patron wouldn’t leave.
Mr. Edwards explained, “Sir, it’s past closing time. You’ll have to go.”
The shabby gentleman stood, proclaiming, “I must finish my work!”
“I’m sorry, sir, but the rules are the rules. I must ask you to leave.”
The man swept papers into his carpetbag, strode to the door, and snarled, “May the Drabeg rend your flesh!” and he left.
“Drabeg?” Mr. Edwards murmured. Librarians may not know everything, but they know how to find out. He walked to the card catalog, opened a drawer, flipped to a card, and read:
Terrance V. Mc Arthur
Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a librarian, storyteller, puppeteer, and magician. He makes strange things, like dryer-lint art and playing-card sharks. His stories have appeared in Trembling With Fear and over a dozen anthologies from Thirteen O’clock Press, Untreed Reads, and Peculiar Pages.
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Stephanie Ellis writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her longer work includes the folk horror novels, The Five Turns of the Wheel, Reborn, and The Woodcutter, and the novellas, Bottled and Paused (all via Brigids Gate Press). Her dark poetry has been published in her collections Lilith Rising (co-authored with Shane Douglas Keene), Foundlings (co-authored with Cindy O’Quinn) and Metallurgy, as well as the HWA Poetry Showcase Volumes VI, VII, VIII, and IX and Black Spot Books Under Her Skin. She can be found supporting indie authors at HorrorTree.com via the weekly Indie Bookshelf Releases. She is an active member of the HWA and can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on Blue Sky as stephellis.bsky.social.