This page contains a selection of writing samples from Philip M. Roberts. Click on any story title to read the story in full. If you are interested in publishing Mr. Roberts’ works in the future, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Hey,” Neal had called over from a patch of shade in a doorway. Dylan waited for the man to rise, to step out into the harsh sunlight, skin deeply tanned unlike Dylan’s burning face. “Looking for the shelter, aren’t you?”
“Know where it is?”
Neal had placed an arm around Dylan’s shoulder and led him to the shade. “I wouldn’t go to the shelter,” he had said.
The blackness itself was just as hard to understand as the shapes near the bottom, the outer edge of it mixing with the gray. Karen thought of an image held below murky water, the general outline obvious, but the exact nature of what was being seen harder to determine. That’s what the entire picture looked like, this tangle of dark, deformed shapes shimmering just out of focus.
“His name was Francis Koster,” she spit out at him, the words like saliva making him recoil. Before he could ask her what she was talking about he saw the gun she was pointing at him. She was sad, too, he could see along with the hate. The gun fired twice and the rocking bus slipped away from him as if it hadn’t been real to begin with.
A six year old kneels before the flaming candles. Jimmy’s mother kneels next to him. Words pour slowly from his mouth. They are the first words he ever spoke. He knows them by heart. He has no idea what they mean.
Up ahead of him a girl hung from a noose latched onto a tree in the front yard. He slowed his car to stare at the hanging body. Her dead face was youthful, only a teenager, but long wet brown hair obscured most of her face from Derrick’s view. She wore a t-shirt and jeans, bare feet swaying lightly above damp grass.
Rows and rows of closed doors greeted him. Behind all of them he could hear the scratching, the faint screams of pain, the warbling cries of things he’d never seen in the flesh before. Some doors creaked open as soon as he passed them, but a quick glance back showed only an empty, silent hall of wooden doors.
Something clicked lightly to his right. He stared at the far wall to the living room. Just briefly he thought he heard a soft shuffling, like feet shifting positions on the other side of the wall. Before he could reach the door to his apartment that soft click repeated as someone slipped the panel back in place.
He walked around the red, nearly past it, when he saw something out of the corner of his eye. Although it seemed impossible, he thought he’d seen a human hand, ever so briefly, brushing along underneath the ice. A closer look revealed nothing, and after a full minute of staring, he decided he hadn’t seen anything to begin with.
“Your marriages, Mr. Reynolds, and the way they both ended."
“I told you, they both left me.”
“I would hardly think that you killing them and them leaving you are one in the same, Mr. Reynolds, but that might just be a matter of personal opinion."