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These Little Things That Lead Us Down Dark Alleys

by Michael McGlade

About the Author: Michael McGlade is an Irish writer with over 70 short stories in journals such as Spinetingler, the Big Click, the Saturday Evening Post, and Both Barrels anthology by One Eye Press. Represented by the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency, he’s currently writing his debut crime novel. Find out the latest news and views from him on


Her burgundy tailored skirt suit, understated and businesslike, crinkled as I shoved her against the alley wall. I stuck my pistol in her belly and her eyes darted toward her Prada purse, saying, Take it and go, but it was too late for that. It had taken a month to get here since Polly-Ann’s murder.

A child screeched inside one of the tenements that stretched above this alley like a ravine. The slit of Manhattan sky purple as a bruise. A block over police sirens mourned.

This woman’s lampblack hair spilled halfway down her blouse. She even wore the same rouge lipstick as my Polly-Ann. The resemblance between this woman and my murdered fiancée was extraordinary. Now close enough to notice the vein pulsing her neck.

I’d been searching for the man who murdered my fiancée, and somehow found Polly-Ann instead.

What was going on?

Could it be her?

Terrified I had forgotten what Polly-Ann really looked like, I reached inside my jacket for her photograph but this woman in front of me, she had to be my Polly-Ann, either that or some perfect lookalike … and my Polly-Ann she had tears in her eyes. The police investigation and the funeral had been some grievous mistake because she was alive, here, reaching toward me.

She took me in her arms and our bodies fell into a familiar shape. Hot breath throbbing my cheek, her hands travelling the length of my torso.

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