Memphis Fast Fiction Home

Darling, your hand held the knife that slit my throat from ear to ear, but I do not believe you to be the one to blame.

No, as I look on from the afterlife, I can see that surely the inherent problems of your weaker sex lead us here to your addiction and my death.

It pains me to know that I was the one to first suggest to the doctor that you might be in need of some of medicine. You seemed agitated as I took on expanded responsibilities at the cotton exchange, and I needed you stilled.

The doctor assured me that it would quell any agitation in you, and for a while it did. But then even more aberrant behavior manifested, so I suggested to the good doctor that he find something more potent to still you.

I could see it in your eyes as you laid me low, an otherworldly possession that might have been considered fury or rage in a man, but must’ve been brought on by an unexpected complication from your medicine.

I am dead, my darling. I can only hope your demons are quieted, or that you find another man to quiet them.

Memphis Note
I came across a report of a woman slashing her man’s throat in the late 1800s, supposedly she was high on morphine. I’m not exactly sure how she was able to stand if she was high on morphine, let alone kill a grown man, but at that time opiates were widely used as a solution to various “women’s problems”. Maybe she was just sick of being drugged.


He poked at the last ember of the fire with a stick. The waning heat from the coals tightened the skin across his face and dried the tears that rolled down his face.

Behind him, he heard his father struggling with the body, rolling it in a sheet they’d pulled from the carpet bagger’s things after they’d killed him.

“Paw,” he began ask a question, the couldn’t quite figure out what he wanted it to be.

“Yeah, boy?” His father answered curtly, as he cinched the legs together with a length of rough spun rope.

“Why’d we have to kill that man, again?”

“Like I tol’ you before: so them Yankee bastards don’t think they can just come down here and turn us into slaves.”

“Won’t people find the body?

Shaking his head, his father stood up and examined his handiwork.

“The river’s good for more than just shippin’ cotton and lookin’ at while you drink.”

His father gave the wrapped corpse a sharp kick, and it slid down the muddy bank into the black waters of the Mississippi.

“Any luck, the current’ll drag it straight to Memphis. Ain’t no way they’ll mistake that, huh, boy?”

“I suppose not, sir.”

Memphis Note
The Mississippi has probably had more bodies dropped in it than all the graves both in and around Memphis. Its strong currents and a few heavy stones were you needed to destroy any evidence of a murder. A fact that was utilized far too often by the bandits that operated during and after the Civil War.

Laura Jean Hocking

Class got out late. The sun’s setting, and twilight is taking hold of Overton park.

Coming down the steps of Rust Hall, I notice a girl sitting on a bench, crying softly. Her hair’s done up, and her cobalt blue dress is vintage. I figure she must be a student like me, but no one seems to notice her.

I walk over and ask if she’s alright.

She looks up at me, tears streaking her makeup, but still hauntingly beautiful beneath it.

“You look like someone nice.” She says, her drawl thick. “Like someone that that would walk a girl to the bus station.”

Smiling, I tell her that I’m just that kind of someone. As we walk, she clutches her arms to her stomach. Thinking she’s cold, I offer my jacket. Politely, she says no.

When we reach the edge of the park, she stops suddenly.

“Thank you” I hear her say.

Holding up her hand to wave me good-bye, I see the razor slashes and blood stains on her stomach. Then I start to see through her as begins to disappear.

“I knew you looked like some one nice.” I hear her say as she vanishes completely.

Memphis Note
osedly, Overton Park is haunted by the body of a girl from the 1960s that was found stabbed to death and floating in the lake. She is known to ask people for help, but vanishes when they try.

Brandon Dill

Augustus Ackerman slumped back into the chair, his head spinning at the news.

“Are…are you sure? Sure it was them?” He looked up at the dirty man standing in his parlor, tears welling in his eyes.

“There were three bodies strung up just north past town, sir. The smallest amongst them, the one that was little more than a boy, they say he still bared bandages from the beating the crowd gave him.” The man nervously grasped at his hat, uncomfortable at bearing such horrible news. “And his head was shaved, too. Like they did to him as well.”

Augustus’s breath was coming in ragged gasps now.

“Those were my cousin’s boys. I’d brought them down from Ohio to finish the inside of my house. They were carpenters. Who would do such a thing? Could have such a monstrous resolve?”

“I..I don’t know, sir.” The dusty man was unsure if should respond or not.

“They left as soon as those bastards from the damned Committee of Safety got wind. I sent them on their way that very day, just liked they asked. And yet still…they…oh God…”

And with that August Ackerman broke down into uncontrollable sobs.

Memphis Note
The Committee of Safety was Memphis’s own version of the House Un-American Activities Committee, only a hundred years earlier and devoted to rooting out any Northern influence in the days before the Civil War. They were completely unofficial and answered to no one in the government, elected or appointed. Fear and coercion were the tools they used to force people from the city. And sometimes they would go too far, as with the case of three carpenters that were found hung north of the city, just days after being told to leave town.

Pamela Stanfield

Martin blinked at the warm orange of the setting sun. He was sure everyone had been right here a moment ago, but now they were all gone, leaving the world so very still and utterly silent.

He turned around at a soft cough behind him. A thin man in an impeccable black suit stood there, smiling sadly at Martin.

“Hello.” The man said, his lips unmoving. “It is an honor to meet you.”

“Who are you?” Martin answered back, a quiver in his voice.

“A guide away from here. To the next life.”

“The next life? You mean I’m dead?” Martin expected these words to unnerve him more than they did. “What’s that make you? A grim reaper?”

The man cocked his head to the side. “That is one name.”

“Why do you look like a mortician? Where’s your scythe?”

The man shrugged. “An unfortunate side effect of modern myth. I look like what you expect me to look like. A dower old man in this case. Which is unfortunate, since I can be rather charming.”

“So, are we going up? Or…down?”

The man gave Martin a bit of a chuckle. “Doctor King, do you really have to ask?”

Memphis Note
I always have a hard time grasping anyone referring to Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr by anything other than his full name. “Martin, would you like a cup of coffee?” Just seems too informal for a man like that. I had to fight myself to be so casual with his name in this story.