DEBORAH DAVIS: Frustration

He arrived home.  The power was out.  She stared him down.

Red and blue cords dangled from a hole in the ceiling the size of a grapefruit, clinging desperately to the battery.

She’d asked him to fix the smoke detector.  It beeped for an hour, so she fixed it herself.

Deborah Davis is an expert at ripping smoke detectors from ceilings.  She spends the rest of her spare time caring for two precious rescue dogs, gardening, and, most importantly, writing.  Her work has appeared in The Great Lakes Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, and The Bethlehem Writers’ Roundtable.

DEBORAH DAVIS: Frustration 2.50/5 - 2 votes

ELISA S: Lost to the Waves

We smuggled wine down to the moon-washed beach and kissed til we mirrored the stars. And fire spun on the heels of our wordless rage as our limbs danced towards a jagged shore.

In my dreams it’s always the same: I am here, and you are lost to the waves.

Elisa is a chronic procrastinator who lives to travel and finds beauty in the diversity of life. She thinks sloths are her spirit animal and would love to be the ruler of some obscure country one day.

ELISA S: Lost to the Waves 1.67/5 - 6 votes


Every time I see her my knees get weak. It feels like such a blessing just to be in her presence. She brings out a better side of me, one I never knew I had.

But each time I leave the cemetery, heavy-hearted and lonely, I wish we’d never met.

Blake Warren is a 15 year old living in Adelaide Australia and likes to write in his spare time.

BLAKE WARREN: Seeing Her 3.54/5 - 13 votes

ANDREW D HWANG: An Atheist Speaks

“Professor Hawking, do you believe in God?”

Hawking sits onstage, painstakingly composing his answer. An expectant hush fills Zellerbach Auditorium.

Three minutes pass. Four.

At last his synthesizer speaks: “No.”

Time hovers motionless; then a roar of laughter erupts from nine hundred people.

Mirth drowns the remainder of Hawking’s reply.

Andrew D. Hwang is the author of his own fate.

ANDREW D HWANG: An Atheist Speaks 3.00/5 - 9 votes


In letters posted home I shared gray Paris awakening from war, myself too, present in every word.

Returning home, I found my letters gone.

“You never said to keep them.” My father shifted uneasily in his chair.

“No, you never did,” said my step-mother, belligerent.

I mourned my lost words.

Catherine Mathews is a US State Department retiree, formerly stationed overseas in Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv, Athens, Frankfurt, and Istanbul, and now living in northern Virginia and writing about it.

CATHERINE MATHEWS: Loss 3.42/5 - 12 votes

DOUG ROBBINS: Teddy Bear Blues

Emily’s crib remained empty, except for her teddy bear. I looked at it and tears filled my eyes. Its button eyes were filled with melancholy.

The divorce was finalized yesterday and Greta took Emily to Chicago.

I grabbed the teddy bear and smelled it. It smelled of baby shampoo: Emily’s.

Doug has contributed to the popular horror anthology Demonic Visions 50 Horror Tales. His poetry is also featured in Poetry Quarterly and was an editor’s choice in a New England poetry publication.

DOUG ROBBINS: Teddy Bear Blues 2.70/5 - 10 votes


Go on now,
purse your lips
to the only addiction
you’ve ever had.
The ashes of what was;
better than our
last breakfast shared
in silence.

Let it rain and
ruin your white flag
while on grass-stained knees
I cry and beg
to gods who are either deaf or dead.

​From the Midwest, Kacy Cunningham currently lives in San Francisco, where she is an MFA student in fiction at SF State.

KACY CUNNINGHAM: Grass Stains 4.73/5 - 59 votes


They arrive with crushed skulls, torn limbs, and bodies twisted beyond recognition. It is difficult to believe a few months ago they were posted all over the globe only to return broken.

Sad? Yes.

However, I love my position as doll doctor in the biggest toy store in the world.

John B. Sinclair is a much-travelled Scot who has now returned to Scotland, where he enjoys freelance writing on a variety of subjects.

JOHN B SINCLAIR: Broken 2.92/5 - 13 votes


Last week’s winning story is Paper Crosses by J Ian Manczur.

I chose this story because of its strong use of juxtaposition. On the one hand, we see the apparent emptiness of “an essay and a check” and some simple paper crosses. Who does this pastor think he is, playing around with these useless credentials and empty symbols? And then on the other hand, we have the pastor’s incredible willingness to “forgive what the dead never could”. That offer of forgiveness is truly noteworthy, and is way more meaningful than the paper crosses themselves.

And yet, naturally, perhaps, the prisoner is a skeptic.

Well done, Ian!

SYLVIA HEIKE: Collateral Damage

Luke fired. The redhead fell and twitched helplessly on the sidewalk, emitting sparks. One criminal android eliminated.

Now the male.

Luke’s finger trembled on the trigger. His face…

A perfect head shot. The android went down.

Luke fell on his knees, unscathed but damaged. He’d just shot… his other self.

Sylvia Heike lives in Finland and loves her rabbits even when they nibble on her books. She writes poetry and flash fiction and is working on her novel. Check out her website at

SYLVIA HEIKE: Collateral Damage 3.16/5 - 25 votes