Snaking roots snare your ankles pulling you under the mud. You grab hold of an overhanging branch and scream. More roots wrap over you and drag you deeper, down towards the underworld. You look to me, begging for help.
My hands fumble as I notch an arrow to my bow.
David Rae wrote this story. See more at davidrae-stories.com.
Consuming the drug, Michelle felt herself float from her body, into this new world.
Felt good at first: clouds wet, aerial freedom.
But now the monsters were here. Big, rotund, black eyes. Tiger teeth and clown lips. Acid breath. Peeled her skin like wet tissue.
And the tether floated, broken.
Uzair Shahed Islam is an economics and mathematics student at the Lahore University of Management Sciences who writes fiction and non-fiction in his spare time.
I once knew an absent-minded assassin who sent poisoned letters through the post. After a note had been anonymously deposited to be postmarked, she’d apply her favorite perfume and take herself out on the town.
Her career came to an end shortly after she mailed a letter doused in perfume.
Sarah Krenicki does not wear perfume. This could end up being a lifesaver.
Every night the windows to her bedroom would be frosted over. She sat alone in her bed waiting for the finger-traced messages to appear.
No matter how hot it got during that Los Angeles summer, she refused to open a single window at night and risk meeting their chilly author.
Danielle grew up with a passion for all things literary. She first put pen to paper writing articles for a newspaper she designed and created during elementary school. Danielle’s creative channels evolved into writing poetry, short stories, essays, and children’s books. When not writing her own material, Danielle loves reading everything and anything she can get her hands on especially mysteries, suspense, and historical fiction. Some of Danielle’s other talents include finding new and creative ways to use sarcasm, spilling/dropping things, being supremely weird without even trying, knitting, and photography.
When the elevator got stuck, her heart began to pound. Her feeble hand stretched out for the call button. She couldn’t reach.
“Anyone in there?”
She gasped for the air to respond.
“Guess not. We’ll have maintenance take a look at it on Monday.”
They taped up a paper sign.
Sarah Hausman finds inspiration in her apartment building’s shoddy maintenance. She posts updates on her writing at facebook.com/sarahhausmanwrites, but probably only her mom checks it.
I felt her shake me, but settled further into slumber.
I heard the shrill of the alarm, screeching like a siren.
I felt the fog grow thicker, although someone shouted, “Clear!”
I heard the paddles crackle, felt the jolt on my chest, but couldn’t wrestle weariness.
Just five minutes more…
Jo Withers sleeps with one eye open. Her middle-grade sci-fi adventure will be published in April 2018.
She smiles, legs dangling carelessly from the roof. Blue eyes reflect an array of glittering galaxies.
Another speckle dots the black.
How I wonder
Her eyes widen, stomach tightening.
Hands clasp ears over the meteoric roars
Sirens. A mother’s horrified scream.
Fifteen-year-old Megan lives in Florida with her family and her cat named Luna Petra Zane. This is her first “plunge” into the realm of 50 word fiction.
She’d stalked him for months.
Fantasized about the intimacy of his bite.
About eternal life.
She imagined the momentary pain, and the rapture of desire.
She followed him to his lair and awaited nightfall.
His teeth grazed her compliant neck.
Backing away, he muttered, “Sorry, not my type.”
Alison does not like vampires. They are not her type.
He’d become predictable, springing through the patio doors unto the deck, BB gun ablaze whenever any squirrel touched a bird feeder. So this time they waited, massing along the edge of the roof overhanging the deck. When he sprang, hundreds of squirrels pounced, joined even (how ironic!) by the birds.
Tony Jasnowski teaches English at Bellevue University and tries to keep peace between all factions in his backyard and himself.
We drank whiskey like sorrow were rare.
Dead’s dead, I muttered, bottle gone dry.
Hog stepped into the firelight, Colt drawn.
Wasn’t us, Billy blurted.
Hog shot him.
Wasn’t us my foot, I said, and drew.
I hadn’t a chance.
I knew it.
Hog knew it.
God hadn’t a clue.
Originally from the Midwest U.S., Justin Bendell lives and teaches in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he edits the Manzano Mountain Review, co-hosts Point Blank—a podcast about noir, hardboiled, and detective fiction—and records music under various monikers including fuguers cove and Euthanized Horse. His stories and poems have appeared in Meridian, 3:AM Magazine, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Thuglit, Washington Square Review, and more. He loves the desert. See more at justinbendell.com.