Unholy Trinity: Down Stream by Andy Martin
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.
The creek flowed southeast through hills scraped raw for coal and gypsum before winding through the ‘burbs and into Philadelphia.
Mark waded, casting upstream where the bank eroded, the tree roots making a shelf for trout underneath. He dropped the fly just short of the roots and hooked up, the fish running hard downstream.
Rod high, he reached as it surfaced, not a trout at all, more like an otter made of plastic bags and weeds but somehow alive. His fingers were gone before he could pull his hand away, his blood staining the creek as the thing slashed downstream-
Dad was on midnights so when Anthony came in yelling about something in the creek, Theresia shoved him out the door, Dad’s hanging coat a reminder to “BE QUIET.”
Now that she saw, she wished she’d woke him up.
There was a mountain of trash and leaves under the Rhawn Street bridge, the creek backing up behind it, running over the bank.
“I told you T!”
“We gotta call someone-”
A shudder ran through the big mess and it opened its eyes.
It dragged itself under the bridge, the bottles in its back shattering on the stone-
The bridge collapsed-
“Wake up, you smell that?”
“Jesus, low tide?”
“We’ve never smelled it like that before-”
Brad was heading for the window. They were almost a mile from the river-
A roaring, blinding light-
Somehow, they were both alive, the front of their row home yawning open to their narrow street.
A gas explosion?
There was another boom, the wind pulling at them, their neighbors were screaming, and over the smoking pile that had been Snyder Ave, Brad saw a leg, hundreds of feet around, coming down again, river water and trash raining down from it-
Andy Martin is an archaeologist, fisherman, and musician who lives in South Philadelphia with his partner and cat. His writing profile is Instagram.com/@
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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.