The apocalypse is now.

An unknown disease called the Venera Virus is spreading rapidly through the entire world that guarantees a painful death in the months that follow. People are desperate to find a cure for this mysterious and highly contagious disease but all the hospitals can do for now is help the pain of those infected.

Shiko Nakayama is eight years old and he’ll be turning nine in October. He loves to read books and watch nature shows. 

And he is one of the children who’s contracted the Venera Virus. 

~*~

It’s here! It’s done! The Children at The End of the World, I’ve been editing this all through spring and it’ll be officially released on March 22nd, put in your order here!

My Brothers and Sisters Lived in a Secret Room

Growing up, I knew that my family’s arrangement wasn’t normal. As I got older, I even had an inkling that it might be wrong. But it was all I knew, and I won’t let myself feel guilty for not doing anything about it for as long as I did.

I was the only biological child of my mom and dad, I found albums stacked away in a corner of the attic. The beginnings of baby books. A picture of an ultrasound, sometimes even a happy card announcing ‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ in blue and pink lettering. Mine was the only one who had pictures of a squishy faced infant with tangled red hair and fat lil cheeks.

My first sibling arrived when I was about four. I’d made the horrible mistake of asking Santa for a baby brother when I sat on his lap. My mother burst into tears when she heard me and I knew I’d done something horrible. When we got home, mom told daddy about it and he told me to go play in my room while they talked about it. I knew that it wouldn’t be right to ask Santa for that again.

Next week on Christmas Day though, I woke up to hear a baby cry.

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The Witch Coffin

I know people that would literally murder me if they knew I put this on the internet. But I don’t see many other options. If I go straight to the cops odds are I’LL get blamed for what happened to my friends and get thrown straight in jail for a multitude of reasons. And I know at least one of them is alive and I need to find them.

I’m a smuggler. I… come into possession of objects I shouldn’t have and sell it to whatever fat cat wants a new piece for their mantle. The Witch Coffin is probably the biggest thing I was gonna try and sneak into the states, but that was because it was a specific ‘request’. The Witch Coffin was discovered in eastern Europe, and to be honest I’m not sure why the buyer wanted it so damn badly. But hey, me and my crew were gonna get a mil and we figured we might as well try, right?

Theft itself went off without a hitch, but the next day I got picked up for being spotted at the scene. That’s all they had, but I still got kept in lock up for three days. Glad they let me out without a fight in the end but the moment I got back to the hideout I knew something was wrong. I could hear the flies buzzing.

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We Killed Bobby Tanner

It was me, Jessie Bates, Hunter Gilch, and Gabrielle Edison. We are the reason that Bobby Tanner never returned home that Friday night ten years ago, why every year his parents send out a plea asking for their son to come home. It was us. The senior class rejects.

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Nearly lost my temper at work yesterday.

For a bit of background, I work at an insurance company. I’m not exactly changing the world, but it pays well and it’s usually pretty chill. Except for yesterday, which I just really need to rant about. It was a bunch of little things that stacked up to my… almost explosion.

The water cooler was dripping nonstop. Citrix servers had gone down and that was the main program I use for work. I had a pounding headache from the bright lights in the office and my skin was all dried out from the artificial air. And for fuck’s sake, Barbara would just not leave me alone.  

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My Daughter’s Coming Home

When I first saw I was getting a call from an unknown number, I thought it was another sales call. I only answered it on the off chance it was from my friend Irma, I knew she’d gotten a new phone number.  

“Hello?”  

It was quiet except for someone breathing on the other end. I frowned but tried again. “Hello, is someone there? Or is this another robot telling me I’ve won a cruise?”

I heard a quiet laugh, followed by a sob.

“Hi mom.”

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Wrong Turn Highway

“Listen, the kids are tired, how about I take them home while you go home with your sister when you’re ready?”

Amanda snorted but I caught a glimpse of amusement in her eyes. “Like you’re mister innocence over here, trying to be a good guy,” She replied. But she didn’t object. “Go, you’ve endured my family long enough. I think Audrey’s about to revolt anyway. Do you have Donnie’s cold meds?”

I lifted them from my pocket.

“And did you take some of the leftovers?”

I laughed. “Amanda. I have enough leftovers in the cooler to feed your whole family all over again. We’re fine.”

My wife smiled and kissed my cheek. “Drive safely!” She said.

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The Worst Way to Die

Everyone has a way they’d absolutely not want to die.

I remember my mom telling me about when she almost drowned as a kid. Since then she’s been afraid of deep water and would rather walk through fire than drown. My kid brother’s terrified of getting cancer. He saw it take our dad. It was slow, painful, and we went through every moment of it with him.

I had a strange one. See, I’m scared of snakes. Always hated them. Especially pythons. Those fuckers can swallow a crocodile whole. I’m not the size of a crocodile. I would be lunch. I cried when my mom read Jonah and the Whale for the first time. Imagining being inside the belly of a beast gave me nightmares for weeks. So that’s how I wouldn’t want to die.

Being eaten alive.

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The Worst Kind of Monster

I’m the worst kind of monster out there. I’m confessing now that I did not hurt those girls, I did not torture them, and I did not kill them.

But I did bring them to the one that would.

I met Edward Clancy when I was seventeen years old, he was twenty six. When we dated, he was sweet. Sex was always a bit strange, with how he’d insist on gagging me and tying me up, but it was a fun game, at least at first. After dating came marriage, when the game stopped being fun.

He started beating me.

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Who Lives Under Briar Elementary and Highschool?

Briar Elementary and High is a small school of just under three hundred students, from first grade all the way to senior year. It’s spaced between two buildings and has been running since the early 1900’s, although it was just a high school academy back then.

And apparently there’s a monster in there now.

It’s just little things that leads people to believe there’s something supernatural lurking in the halls. The things that would go missing, only to turn up later caked in muddy finger prints. The food theft, mostly lunchboxes, but sometimes whole pizzas would just vanish into thin air. Hearing something crawling under the floor. And the hissing you can sometimes hear while in the girl’s bathroom in the highschool. If you go in there alone, sometimes you’ll make out whispers.

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Writer’s Block

I’m a vampire.

Now don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not here to kill you.

I’m here to give you immortality.

Here’s where fiction tends to get it wrong, my friend. It’s not ‘vampire bites person, person turns vampire, rinse and repeat’. It’s more along the lines of ‘vampires bites person, person becomes vampire, previous vampire becomes a human’. Explains why you don’t see the overpopulation thing becoming a huge problem.

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