Melissa R. Mendelson is a poet and a horror, science-fiction and dystopian short story author. Her stories have been published by Sirens Call Publications, Dark Helix Press, Altered Reality Magazine, Transmundane Press, Owl Canyon Press, The Horror Zine, Wild Ink Publishing, and The Yard: Crime Blog


The vulture flew around in circles
as its prey awoke to a world
slipping apart piece after piece
while the bald eagle lay buried in the sand.
The vulture swooped by
and ripped open an arm
with its sharp beak
as the prey screamed out in pain,
which echoed over the vast land.
The vulture grinned
as the prey began to run away
and wondered why the prey wouldn’t fight back.
The vulture flew over his head
and grabbed strands of hair with its feet
as the prey screamed again.
The vulture flew toward the prey,
and the prey punched it in the face.
The vulture stumbled away
as its prey watched it
and again wondered why it wasn’t fighting back
but standing still instead.
The vulture knew it could be overpowered
if its prey decided to fight,
and the vulture knew it could win
if its prey lied down and waited to die.
The vulture rose into the air
as the prey backed away,
and the vulture flew off
toward the sun
while the prey began to walk away.
The vulture looked over its wing and grinned
because its prey was stranded in a dying world
where he would not be saved,
and the prey would fall to the vulture
in false hopes of being spared
while the vulture savors the sweet taste of victory.


I stumbled out of darkness into light
as water gushed out of the bathroom faucet.
I gripped the edge of the sink
as little red ants fell into the drain.
I opened my dry mouth to scream
and noticed holes in my mouth.
My fingers shakily traced the edges
of what was once my teeth.
I heard voices in my mind
and whispers in my ears
as darkness threatened to devour light.
I watched the water drown
the flood of red ants
as my last tooth fell from my mouth
like a white pearl down the drain,
and I fell over the edge.
I continued to fall
until my body awoke in a cold sweat,
and I thought the nightmare ended.
But I was wrong.


“It’s your move.
The game is almost over.
You only have a few pieces left,
so how do you play?
I would think about it
because you want to win.
How much time are you willing to lose?
Have you looked closely at the board
to see where your life begins and ends?
Do you see what you are missing?
You shouldn’t rush,
but you shouldn’t wait either.
Make your move.
Don’t act like that puppet
who hangs in a corner
and waits to be moved.
You’re going to die,
but it is up to you
when I take you.
I’ll ask you once more.
How do you play?
How will you live
with the time you have left?
I see you have made your move.
I am pleased,
and I’ll see you soon.”