NATHAN HYSTAD: The Key to Life

The key hung around his neck. He’d tried every lock in the house.

Years passed and he forgot about it.

When he was eighty, his old eyes spotted the tiny door. He blew the cobwebs away, tried the key and the door opened.

Pain and breath left his body.


Nathan Hystad is a writer from Sherwood Park, Alberta. Sometimes he writes a lot of words and sometimes 50 is all that is needed for his story.

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Call me Ishmael. Many years ago I sought adventure on the whaler, Pequod.

Captain Ahab was obsessed with the white whale, Moby Dick.

His vengeful pursuit of the whale cost him his ship, the lives of his crew, his own life, his soul.

I alone survived, clinging to Queequeg’s coffin.

Harry Demarest has retired after careers encompassing scientific research, teaching at a university, software development, web application development, and voter database compilation and distribution. He is now spending his time with his grandchildren and writing memoirs and short stories.

HARRY DEMAREST: Moby Dick 1.67/5 - 3 votes

TOM BARLOW: Disappointment

Downsizing after his death, she makes difficult decisions. Heirlooms, his suits, shoes, gone. The hardest? Her wedding gown, 50 years in its box. With parting tears she donates it, hoping another bride may enjoy her luck.

Halloween. The first child on her stoop, dressed for a wedding.

In her gown.

Tom Barlow is the author of Welcome to the Goat Rodeo and I’ll Meet You Yesterday.

TOM BARLOW: Disappointment 4.00/5 - 9 votes


Refusing would be antisocial. Plus, it’s his treat. I’m late for my meeting though. Still, I can have one drink with him and then be on my way. I’ll just make this call first and tell them I’m running late tonight.

I pulled out my phone and called my sponsor.

Lucy Q. Williams is a social worker from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. When she is not writing, she’s thinking about it. She is currently working on her first novel and tracks her progress on her blog at

LUCY Q WILLIAMS: One Drink 3.29/5 - 7 votes


The Mustaches hovered. Khakis and clipboards. Counting down time. Lost production.

He needed the job. Medical benefits. A twice pregnant wife.

Guard bolted back into place. His finger hovered, balked above the start button. The press bucked and settled into a steady metallic heartbeat. A hollow thumping matching his own.

Randy Simons spends his days working the floor of an ammunition factory and his nights at the keyboard. His work can be found in The Los Angeles Review, Whitefish Review, and Memoir, among other places. He lives in Idaho.

RANDY SIMONS: Work 3.90/5 - 10 votes

KEVIN MCMANUS: Never Give Up On Your Dream

Queenie, fifteen, had two teeth, no claws, and had never been outside. Yet daily, on the table by the window, she patiently watched the birds.

One Christmas a startled bird flew in when the door opened, straight at Queenie who was ready and expecting. Christmas dinner and life dream manifested!

Kevin McManus is a wannabe writer and successful daydreamer who doesn’t believe in coincidences but does believe that we create our own reality, just as his old cat Queenie did.

KEVIN MCMANUS: Never Give Up On Your Dream 4.14/5 - 14 votes


I didn’t believe in time travel until I met myself one rainy Tuesday. Back from a world unknown to me.

Despite the shock, we drank tea and laughed about our mother. For a few moments I was happy with myself.

Until I told me not to look forward to much.

Shark Trager lives in North London and has been writing and blogging 50 Word Stories erratically for five years. He is a novelist in progress as well as a jobbing copywriter and ghostwriter.

SHARK TRAGER: The Visitor 4.20/5 - 15 votes

J IAN MANCZUR: Paper Crosses

I’ve never been one for salvation. And being baptized in a sink in some god-forsaken prison seemed a bit desperate.

The pastor, though, was certain. He had written an essay and sent a check. Now, his paper cross could save us sinners. He would forgive what the dead never could.

J. Ian Manczur wrote this story.

J IAN MANCZUR: Paper Crosses 4.17/5 - 12 votes


Little duck,
born a runt, in muck,
wouldn’t last long.
She gave him a cage, gave luck.

He twisted, turned,
head to the sky, bet it burned,
flicked his wings one last time, twitching.
Her tears ran fast; she adjourned.

Death devours.
Painlessness fills eyes
beneath a bed of flowers.

Anoushe Seiff is from Chicago, IL. She writes in her spare time. Anoushe will be attending Drake University in the fall, studying Law/Politics, Psychology, and Arabic. Her hobbies include watching Criminal Minds, playing with her cats, and attending conventions and concerts.

ANOUSHE SEIFF: A Little Duck 3.40/5 - 15 votes