Unholy Trinity: Good Deeds by Shawn Casselberry
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.
‘This is a series of misfortunes that involve bad luck and loss. I’m really captivated by someone who tries real hard but still loses. I like taking the meritocracy idea and chopping it into fine little pieces. Nothing is scarier to me than tragedy and failure. The fact that bad luck and loss can strike anyone at any moment makes life truly a horror.’ – Shawn Casselberry
The memories were fresh in his mind.
Like the time he pulled over to help the man on the side of the road and got mugged or the time he stepped in to protect a woman at the bar and ended up in the hospital with thirteen stitches or the time he went on a humanitarian trip to Haiti and contracted hepatitis.
So when he saw someone drowning in the cold pond behind his house he didn’t dare go in. Instead, he went into his cozy home, threw some more wood on the fire, and wondered where his wife was.
It had been 364 days since the last reported accident, which was tied with their record.
The boss said if they made it one more day the whole crew would get a bonus.
That was money Victor could use for a vacation with his kids.
His ex-wife’s new husband was always taking them on expensive trips.
Victor wanted to prove to her, and himself, that he wasn’t the failure everyone thought he was.
So at the end of the day, he ran to change the accident sign not noticing the grease spot and slipped, smashing his dream and his skull.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” my track coach used to say.
I embraced that wholeheartedly as a sophomore in college and placed in several races.
But now I’m much older.
The years have packed on extra weight, and I find myself needing to embrace the slogan again.
I step on the treadmill and keep upping the speed until I’m literally running for my life.
My coach’s words echo in my head, “What doesn’t kill you…”
Something snaps in my legs, my face slams against the belt, and my body whips through the air at record speed into unconsciousness.
Shawn Casselberry is a writer, poet, and obsessive Google maps reviewer who loves telling fictional and real life stories. He’s written a couple books and plans to submit more of his work in 2022. He lives in the Chicagoland area with his partner and their dog.
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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 can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on Blue Sky as stephellis.bsky.social.