Excerpt for Bete Noire Issue #21 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Issue #21



Published by Dark Opus Press


A. W. Gifford

Jennifer L. Gifford


P.O. Box 811

Ortonville, MI 48462


Smashwords Edition

This collection is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and scenarios are the products of the authors’ imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, places, or events is

purely coincidental.

Bete Noire Magazine copyright 2015 Charm Noir Omnimedia

Cover art copyright 2015 A. W. Gifford

All stories, poems, artwork and photos copyright 2015 of their respective creators

“The Patron Saint of Rubberneckers” by Noel Sloboda, first appeared in

Falling Star

“They always Come in Twos” by Adam Gaylord, first appeared in

Plasma Frequency Magazine, November 2013

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication can be reproduced by any means without the prior written permission from the authors of the work or Charm Noir Omnimedia

This ebook is licensed for the personal use of the purchaser. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to another user. If you are reading this and are not the original purchaser, then you are in violation of this license.

In This Issue

The Big Bluff – Dusty Wallace

She Drowns in Dreams – Stephane Smith

Mask – Eleanor Leonne Bennett

The Always Come in Two’s – Adam Gaylord

The Music of Angels – Bruce Boston

Vermin – Lisa Lepovetsky

The Patron Saint of Rubberneckers – Noel Sloboda

Retribution, or, The Nest Collector’s Fate – J. J. Steinfeld

Radiant Night – Bob Johnston

1:23 – Kyle Owens

Thirst of Waves – Denny E. Marshall

Villanelle for A Villian – Deborah Guzzi

Thanatopia – Jason Lairamore

The Big Bluff

Dusty Wallace

A sudden turbulence broke the water’s calm surface. Virgil and I started pulling in the tether immediately. It was still knotted around Mick’s waist when his headless corpse surfaced. He must have been fiddling with the lock as the briefcase rested on the lake bottom. The booby trap had left everything from the neck down in mint condition. Tattered rags of wet-suit hung limply from the stump of his neck.

“Shark,” Virgil said.

“Dude, it’s a fucking fresh-water lake,” I told him.

“Exactly.” Virgil nodded knowingly.

“Virgil are you really that fucking stupid? We’re on a lake in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. There are no fucking sharks here.” He stared at me dumbly. “It was a fucking trap, you idiot!”

“Why you gotta be so mean, Johnny?”

I ignored the question and untied the anchor from the rail of our rented pontoon. Leaning over the edge, I replaced Mick’s guide-rope with the anchor’s line and tossed the hunk of metal into the water. When the rope reached its limit Mick’s body jolted a bit then disappeared into the lightless depths, a trail of blood dissipating as he sunk.

Back at the dock, I had Virgil tie us off while I entered the cabin to have a chat with Fat Sal.

Sal was a capo from a Chicago family. He was in Franklin County on a moonshine run. That old white lightnin’ was a favorite of the Italian-Chicagoan community dating back to prohibition. I had figured out Sal’s schedule after a few months of surveillance. Virgil and I tossed a burlap potato sack over his head when he stopped for a piss in the woods along the Booker T. Washington Highway. In the end, Fat Sal was captured thanks to a small bladder and large prostate.

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