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The Clouds Stalk Low

By Paul A. Toth All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Thriller


Nobody's more willing to pursue the absolute limits required by power than a nobody like Daphne Zinger. Unwittingly descending into dreams and desires infused with fascism and informed by Hitler's whispers from history's distance, Daphne decides she'll rule the world with an iron fist stronger than the hand forever holding her down...or bite off the thumb under which she's always lived and refuses to die.


Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.

~ Winston Churchill

Part I: My Struggle

The maxim of the tyrant: “If you would rule the world quietly, you must keep it amused.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Connectors male and female, wires and cords, mixing boards and consoles: the guts of a television station. At two in the morning, technical workers avoid technical difficulties. They broadcast the history of dictators and pillage. “Terror twenty-four hours a day,” as the promos say. The channel projects tyrants, despots, duces, oppressors. Viewers become soaked by a rain of reigns. From a great distance, the earth’s land masses form the profile of one man, the tyrant of tyrants . . . no need to state the name. Suffice to say that when viewed from certain angles, Madagascar forms the mustache.

Now women wear the mustache, disguising it. They share the unlikely name of Daphne Zinger: a ne’er-do-well; a teacher; and the portent, bearer of cancer past, present and future. One survivor will take us on the mare of dreams. I am the fourth horsewoman.

The continents form their profile as the sun fades. The primary face reveals itself, embossed in geography, embedded in DNA, its bite mark visible in the human genome.

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