Matthew Corley and his company Saturday Morning Scenarios has begun working on their next TTRPG (tabletop role-playing game) project, Horror in the Windy City and its novella companion The Devil’s City co-written with Sara Tantlinger
The game is set in late 1800s Chicago as horror descends upon the city.
The Kickstarter for The Devil’s City goes live on March 31, 2020. KICKSTARTER
As a teaser, Matt is sharing with Night Worms a flash fiction piece he wrote called,
TODAY'S THE DAY
If you don’t live here you wouldn’t understand. Weird shit. Awful shit, happens all the time, and I can’t take it anymore. I’m not leaving anyone or anything behind, not since Major was taken from me. I’m just leaving, and today’s the day.
I’ve carried the packet in my pocket since grandma passed away. Dad had me clean her bathroom and I couldn’t not help myself to all the bottles in her cabinet. Got some good money for the pain pills. That just left her “crazy pills”. Red, baby blue, pallid yellow, and rusty brown. A minute or so with the back of a spoon and the mottled powder filled the waiting pouch, ready for a moment of resolve in a time of weakness.
Old habits die hard, I almost laugh at that thought, and I head to Holder’s Dine-In. Burnt coffee, greasy food, duct tape patched stools, and nicotine stained windows. Coffee so strong, so bitter that it’ll wake you up quicker than a slap to the face. Strong enough to cover the acridity of the motley medications, and hot enough to dissolve them quickly.
“‘Scuse me Missy, coffee please?”
“Sure thing hon. Last one in the pot, must by your lucky day.” Scuffling off to fill my cup I can’t help but smirk at her choice of words. Two smiles in one day. That hasn’t happened in a while.
Then he comes in. Bloated, reeking of excess and privilege. All attitude and asshole. You know the kind. Overpowering, musky cologne. Huge gold watch, and the wheeze of a man carrying his excesses like a badge of honor. Lost in my own thoughts I didn’t see or hear him until he heaved his bulk on the stool next to me.
The Dine-In isn’t much more than a shiny trailer with a few booths and a bar with a half-dozen stools. As luck would have it the only open one is to my left. Not waiting for a menu, he snaps his fingers to get Missy’s attention, and dictates his order to her.
“Coffee, eggs, bacon, white toast, heavy butter, and be quick about it.”
The big man’s attention is on his phone, swiping left at the pictures moving swiftly across the screen. When the inevitable ad interrupts his shopping, he looks up from his virtual harem just long enough to catch Missy’s attention with another snap of his fingers.
Missy sees the pulsing veins on his neck and forehead as he growls, “Where’s that goddamn coffee?!”
“Brewing another batch right now. Be about 10 minutes,” she says meekly knowing what’s coming next.
“How fucking hard is it to have coffee ready, in a goddamn diner? Jesus, it’s literally your only job. I don’t give a shit if you’re tired from spending the night on your back with the hillbillies. Or that your bastard kids keeping you up all night. Or are you too stupid and lazy? Just get my coffee so I can leave this shithole and get back to civilization.”
The vitriolic diatribe hits Missy hard, like she’s been gut punched. It’s the same tone of voice her ex used when he was still around. Her eyes turn watery and she scarcely holds in the great heaving sobs that threaten to overtake her as she walks back to the kitchen.
“For fuck’s sake. Don’t get your tits in a twist. Just get it so I can leave and you can get back to your meth.”
“It’s fine Missy. He can have mine. How’s that sound mister?” in a soothing, placating voice. Missy and I have dealt with assholes before. At least this one’s not coming back.
The random act of kindness confuses him, but he quickly decides it’s his due and goes back to swiping pictures on his phone with barely a nod of acknowledgement.
“Jesus this is awful. What the fuck are you making coffee in, a goddamn sock?!” and with that he’s gone. Leaving an empty coffee mug in his wake, an order in the window, and a pair of ruts in the gravel from his overpriced sports car.
“What a dick,” murmurs Missy.
“At least he’s gone. I’ll take his order if you like, I think I’m gonna need a big meal to tackle the day.”
“Course, hon.” Missy’s walls are back up, and she standing a little straighter now that Mister Big City Asshole has left.
Leaving the diner I feel remarkably lighter without the packet.