PASSING THE TORCH
by L.L. Sanders
Deep in the Arizona desert live a girl and her dad, burying secrets–and bodies.
Mesa Kingston’s first memory of burying a corpse was at eight years old. Back then it had been the carcass of a large lizard her dad found that they buried in the backyard of their isolated cottage. At age fourteen, the body of a young lady accompanied the reptile’s remains, and ever since, an accumulation of female bodies began to grow. Now, the only way Mesa can stop the haunting screams of the dead is by drowning them out with flames. Or is there more to the blaze than even she can perceive?
Good girls do anything for their fathers, including rob, cheat, and kill, and I always considered myself a good girl. The time I first came to that conclusion will stay with me forever. Years later, here I am, still fulfilling my daughterly duty.
After wiping the sweat from my palm onto my jeans, I press the bulbous tip of the match against the strike strip on the side of the small carton. My hands shake worse than Grandma’s had when trying to slice her ninety-first birthday cake just a few hours ago, but I manage to run the match across it anyway. The flame comes alive at my fingertips, dancing merrily at the prospect of latching on to something and disintegrating it into smoldering embers. Although the light breeze causes the flame to flicker at the end of the matchstick, I’m aware of the control I have over it. I watch the glow change shape through a veil of tears and with that the decision was absolute.
The flame will get to perform its destructive duty.
I flick the match toward the pile of wooden planks that used to be the porch. Instantly the fire catches the fumes of the pooled liquid and expands so quickly a wall of gasoline-scented hot air rushes me before the blaze travels deeper into the house. I back away to a safe distance as the straw-like grass crunches beneath my feet. Nearing the homemade fence, which is nothing more than a double row of chicken wire, I hear the screams from the distance, cries of agony that meld with my memory like two spreading pools of melted wax. I can’t stop the waterworks. I don’t even make an attempt.
I haven’t been a fan of reviewing short stories as I rarely feel connected to the story or the characters before the story ends, but I am certainly thrilled (no pun intended, truly) that I chose to review Passing the Torch by L.L. Sanders. This is the first of her writing that I have read.
I love psychological thrillers and have since a relatively young age. I can say with a great amount of certainty that Ms. Sanders is a master at her craft if this story is any indication of her abilities.
Within these pages she has developed characters that are believable and relatable while managing to keep them steeped in mystery. The plot is easy to see through the first several chapters and I thought I had it all figured out, being the master of the fives w’s (who, what, when, where, and why) that I am. Suddenly, out of left field, comes the ending and I never saw it coming!
I don’t wish to steal the thunder of this incredible short story, but I promise you will be surprised from beginning to end.
I highly recommend Passing the Torch by L.L. Sanders and give it five steaming, hot cups of Room With Books coffee!
© March 2, 2015
The L.L. stands for Leslie Lee. I write erotic romance and post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction under Leslie Lee Sanders.
But horror and thriller fiction is what I grew up on, what inspires me, and what began my pursuit to authorship. I’ve written many short scary stories since the 6th grade. Now they’re much more mature in general, thanks to the wide range of emotion and experience I’ve encountered over the years.
I’m a huge fan of horror and psychological thrillers in every fashion, including movies, books, art, campfire tales, etc. Some of my favorite stories are those that twist at the end or are ambiguous with deep societal or morality themes. This includes dystopias like Hugh Howey’s Wool, psychological thrillers like Shutter Island, and popular and classic horror/romances like V.C. Andrews’s Flowers in the Attic, my favorite.
All my ideas start with a twist, which is exactly how most of my stories end.
$10 Amazon or B&N gift card and 3 PDFs of PASS THE TORCH
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