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Short Stories

Beyond Death by Robert A Ferguson A short piece on a love reaching through war and beyond death. [275 words]
The Man by Mike McWade The Man takes a break from the stiffs at work only to run into more. [1,243 words]
The Ballerina by Ashley Miranda Mary loves ballet and studies at a ballet school, but she sure is shaken up when she finds out th... [1,333 words]
The Exploits Of Tal'on Kepp by Michael Harris This is a short story set in my Chronicles of Zefaria series. I hope that all enjo... [2,542 words]
Better With Age
Randy And Sarah by Z E S Carothers A story about two young kids. A boy that lives by himself in the forest and a girl that is his ... [3,211 words]
You Don't Have To Talk... by Harvey Kennett When you are shy, and cannot find the words to say, say nothing. [607 words]
Wto Rally The Final by E Rocco Caldwell Joe has a rude awakening. [548 words]
Why Must You by Lucy Midnight - [1,593 words]
What If I... by Lucy Midnight Campfire Tales. [1,076 words]
Waiting In The Desert by Mihai Pruna The caravan pulled off the interstate on a county road. Soon they abandoned that as well ... [1,850 words]
The Unwanted by Lucy Midnight Campfire Tales. [2,159 words]
The Tower by P J Francis A man wrestles with his actions. [226 words]
The Sucidal Games by Lucy Midnight Internet Relations. [1,029 words]
The Story Of The Blanket by Patti Merrill A short story. [668 words]
The Spectator by Harry Buschman The story of a deaf man's contribution to the war on terror. [2,240 words]
The Rich Little Chipmunk by John C Popiel This is a story about how a five dollar bill travels through three different people an... [707 words]
The Mansion by Laura Depriest This is a short story for young readers about aging and leading a full life in the context of livin... [2,923 words]
The Magic Lamp by Somdev Mukherjee A story about Varun - a little boy brought up in a busy modern city with all its problems for th... [1,092 words]
The Holly Tree by P J Francis A dark fantasy tale. [1,399 words]
The Guitar Man by Jason Taylor The Bloodman A war veteran flips out. [499 words]
The Friends by Lucy Midnight ... [1,416 words]
The Forces Between by Lucy Midnight ... [977 words]
The Cubicle by D G Williford Working in a box and what is does to the psyche... [104 words]
The Adventuresof Archie 5b - The Army Surplus Salesman's Tale by Xoggoth Continued. [1,116 words]
The Adventures Of Archie 7 - The Puzzleman's Tale by Xoggoth Archie finds he is not alone in the valley. He shares it with... [2,988 words]
The Adventures Of Archie 6 - A Peaceful Solution by Xoggoth Following a Little Boy explosion Archie find himself on a deso... [1,271 words]
The Adventures Of Archie 5a - The Army Surplus Salesman by Xoggoth Archie learns the truth they try and keep from us, that... [913 words]
The Adventures Of Archie 4b - The Great Regurgitato's Tale by Xoggoth Continued. [823 words]
The Adventures Of Archie 4a - The Great Regurgitato by Xoggoth Achie learns of the greats of bodily functions and meets th... [781 words]
The Adventures Of Archie 3 - The Spider Catcher's Tale. by Xoggoth Archie escapes from the paralysing purple and find hims... [1,313 words]
The Adventures Of Archie 2 - The Little Demon's Tale by Xoggoth A hell spawned satanic creature identifies too much with m... [901 words]
The Adventures Of Archie 1 - The Great Escape by Xoggoth A sort of Alice in Wonderland meets Canterbury Tales sort of thin... [473 words]
Test Song by Jeff T Kane An alien invasion seen from a religious ant's point of view. [5,341 words]
Te Quiero by Lucy Midnight Hannah and her boyfriend Cody are getting serious when Hannah learns that Cody has cancer. [1,108 words]
Room 86b by Lucy Midnight ... [2,284 words]
Right Place, Wrong Time by Maggie Danials A story about sex. [487 words]
Retribution And New Beginnings by Erasmus Flynt Secrets will out. [8,764 words]
Radia by Z E S Carothers The begining of one of my books. Tell me what you think about it. [814 words]
On The Bus To Town by Sam Vaknin The announcer warns of imminent terrorist attacks on public transport. It recommends to err ... [2,713 words]
Nightmare by Inchara Incident faced by a girl returning home late in the evening. [1,268 words]
Monty On The Run by James Bondjamesbond The second instalment - Monty in deeper water. [1,226 words]
Miranda And Her Doll by P J Francis A sweet little girl...or is she? [1,187 words]
Love Of The Mountains Or So They Thought by Lucy Midnight ... [1,335 words]
Like Ocean's Eleven by Higgins This story takes place in a military setting, mainly Point Barrow, Alaska. Russian officers... [1,414 words]
It Happens by Lucy Midnight - [1,634 words]
Introducing Monty Finch by James Bondjamesbond This is the first chapter of my Monty Finch series. In this first instalment our hero f... [2,432 words]
In Capable Hands by Erasmus Flynt Or are we? [212 words]
Hunters Moon by P J Francis A creature is hunted. [1,768 words]
Hook by Amanda Connison Written for the PA Govenor's School. [1,855 words]
Gold by P J Francis Lost hopes... [243 words]
Girls Vs. Boys by Lucy Midnight Madison and her boyfriend Scott break up and then he asks her to marry him and she declines. She... [2,015 words]
Girl In The Rain by Rowan Davies We always think of ourselves as individuals, until we notice that there are other individuals ... [505 words]
Expectations by Jacson A Bevens A tale about what can happen when expectations are laid aside and feelings take over. [1,220 words]
Devastation 2 by Buxton The journal piece of the only women left after the end of the world. 34 year old Emily Carter's d... [448 words]
Deep Fur by Jeff T Kane The downfall of a corrupt lion judge in Long Island. [6,460 words]
Cluedon't by Tomphil Baed on the popular board game, what will happen when Edward and his wife go round to play Cluedo wit... [3,567 words]
Black Widow by Lucy Midnight Kayli, Becky, and Eddy are three sisters that lose their only living relative left. Kayli and Eddy ... [3,096 words]
Being An Atheist Is Hard by Aaron Horn A guy spills the beans to his mom that he doesn't believe in good ol God. [626 words]
Bare Facts by Partha Pratim Majumder When western culture and western fashion representing economic power of West has been making serious... [1,461 words]
At A Wto Rally by E Rocco Caldwell - [853 words]
At A Wto Rally (Part Three) by E Rocco Caldwell Joe gets his first lesson as to what is the consortium. [435 words]
At A Wto Rally 4 by E Rocco Caldwell Joe confront the internal workings of the consortium. [723 words]
Allefureine by Tomphil A story about a clash of cultures between a race of alien creatures and humans. [463 words]
Alice In Wonderland by Katy Pierce It's a newer version of Alice in Wonderland . . . Alice goes to a party, gets druggged, and... [782 words]
A Tough Day-1 by Sukesh Srivastava A common,innocent man when caught in a tricky situation with the police authorities, finds himsel... [3,142 words]
A Stroll Through The Beach Sands by Ravikumar Hariharan About how we lose innocence with age. [553 words]
A Perfect Crime by P J Francis One womans vengenance as a perfect crime. [1,048 words]
A Marriage Made In Heaven by P J Francis A tale of revenge. [936 words]
A Beheaded Cart by Sam Vaknin My grandfather had one love: my grandmother. A ravishing, proud, raven-haired woman. A framed r... [1,508 words]

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Better With Age
A young couple enjoy their new home, and a barrel of brandy...
[1,117 words]
J Shartzer
[March 2005]
[email protected]
Afterimage (Short Stories) An uncle's interesting occupation. [2,274 words]
Beyond A Doubt (Short Stories) He was more interested in that strange girl... [2,339 words]
Closet Space (Revised) (Short Stories) A teenage girl learns her father's dark secret... [2,498 words] [Crime]
Hollow (Poetry) - [46 words]
Hoping (Poetry) - [60 words]
Lost Chances (Short Stories) "Sounds to me like a cheezy teen sopa opera." "Lily! That's so mean!" [850 words]
Melancholy Polly (Short Stories) A young woman with a bizzare history is deeply affected by her mother's death. [1,579 words] [Horror]
Mind's Shadow (Short Stories) A teenager is engrossed in the search for the reason of his girlfriend's sudden suicide. [8,115 words]
Snowfall (Poetry) A poem about snow. [33 words]
The Artist (Plays) An aspiring artist visits a rich young woman's home. [687 words] [History]
The News (Short Stories) A young woman tells her husband she is expecting. [361 words] [Drama]
Withdrawn (Poetry) - [47 words]
Better With Age
J Shartzer

With the sun peeking shyly over its nest of trees, Mark Duvall pulled his dusty Buick into the driveway of his and his wives new home. He got out of the car and was greeted by the sweet country air as it rolled by.

"So," Danielle Duvall said, stepping out of the passenger's side door. "This is the place, huh? It's huge!" Mark walked around the car and put his arm around his wife.

"Yerah. Beautiful, isn't it?" he said.

"It's gorgeous." They gathered up the few belongings they'd stuffed into the back seat and went into the house.

After dumping off their baggage in the room that was to be theirs, Mark led Danielle on a tour of the house, showing her the numerous bedrooms and bathrooms and such. Danielle hoped to have a big family someday, and Mark had found a house that he thought should be big enough for them all. Eventually, Mark thought with grin.

They came to a door at the end of a long skinny hallway.

"This is my favorite place in the house," he said.

"Ooh, how exciting," replied Danielle. Mark took a key out of his hip pocket and popped open the lock on the door. He opened the door and pulled a small chain that hung directly above them. A bare bulb illuminated a musty smelling cellar.

"Why is it your favorite?"

"Hold on, I'll get to it," he said, smiling. Danielle followed him down the stairs and into the cool of the cellar. Mark went over to the corner and yanked open a door that stood there. Once inside the room, he pulled yet another chain and the room was flooded with light, revealing five or six barrels.

"You see," he said pointing to the light bulb over head, "this place was just recently rewired. About a month ago this place didn't have any lights at all."

"The whole house, or just the cellar?"

"The cellar. The house has had electricity since the thirty's or so, but it was rewired also about ten or twelve years ago."

"Ah," said Danielle, feigning her interest in the subject. "So what are those?" She pointed to the barrels behind Mark.

"Oh, right. They're the reason we're down here," he said, and flashed her a grin. "Most of these, all but one I think, were tapped and drained before I got here. But this one," he indicated which by resting his hand on it, "is full of brandy. Completely full, judging by the weight of it."

"Well, how do you know it's brandy?"

"Because I tapped it and drank some," he said with a laugh, indicating a small tap near the bottom with his foot.

"You dog," Danielle said with a laugh of her own. Mark told Danielle to stay put and went upstairs. A moment later he came back with two wine glasses. He filled them both from the tap on the bottom of the barrel.

"How romantic," said Danielle. "Nothing like sharing a glass of brandy in a basement with the one you love."

"Cellar," corrected Mark.

"Whatever," she drank from the glass. "Wow, this is actually pretty good!"

"I know," Mark said. "And it's probably hundreds of years old, too."

"Are you sure we should be drinking it?"

"There's nothing wrong with it," he said and downed half of the brandy in his glass in one gulp. "Might as well."


For the next couple of weeks as the movers delivered their belongings and filled their new home, they drank from the barrel of brandy. They even offered some to the movers, who accepted it gratefully.

When the moving was done, and everything was in it's place, Danielle suggested that they throw a party.

"I think it would be fun, plus we could let people sample our delicious brandy. That way people will like us," she said.

"And it's a must that we be liked, isn't it my little socialite princess?" Mark said.

"Oh yes, most indubitably," she said and laughed.

"A party would be good. Be a great chance to meet some of the people that live around here." With that they called the few people that they had met previously and told them to bring with them anyone who wanted to come to the party. By eight o'clock that night their home was filled with people, only a scarce few familiar.

A young woman Danielle barely knew as Helen came up to her. "Nice party, Danielle was it?"


"Where can I find this brandy your husband so graciously poured for me? I seemed to have gone dry." The woman indicated the apparent dryness by turning her glass over and laughed drunkenly.

"Um, I think it's out here." Danielle led the woman out to the back yard, where the brandy had been placed by the movers. Danielle motioned to it with a wave of her hand. "Help yourself."

"And you just turn this little handle?" the young woman asked, holding her glass under the spigot.

"That's it."

"Good deal." She turned the handle but nothing came out. "What gives? You're all out."

"Hmm, hold on a minute." Danielle went back into the house and pulled her husband away from a group of guys he'd been talking to.

"Having some problems with the spigot thing out her, hun."

"Let me see it," said Mark. He went out into the back yard where the young woman was still crouched beside the barrel, still waiting for the brandy to come pouring out into her cup.

"Watch out," he said and the woman moved aside. Mark twisted the handle himself but nothing happened. "It shouldn't be empty, feel how heavy it is." He tilted the barrel and felt a thump from inside.

"What was that?" Danielle said.

"I don't know," Mark replied. "Hold on, I'm gonna go get something to open it up with."

When Mark left the young woman, Helen, turned to Danielle.

"I hope it's not a rat or nothing. That would be gross."

"Thanks for that, Helen," Danielle said sarcastically. "And it's 'I hope it's not a rat or anything', not nothing. That's a double negative."

"Um, sure." The woman turned and left, forgetting all about her drink.
Mark returned a few moments later with a hammer and a chisel a few minutes later. He pounded around the edges of the top of the barrel with the chisel until it gave with a pop. He grabbed the lid and dropped it to the ground beside him. He peered into the barrel.

"What the---" He pushed it over and out tumbled a shriveled corpse that reeked of brandy.



"Jesus Christ...you really caught me off guard with that one, but its was really good...of course. " -- Aryka.


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© 2004 J Shartzer
July 2004

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