The owners complained they no longer had the time—with marriage, kids, and life in general—and could no longer afford to operate a business with such slim margins, but when the time came to officially close its doors, none of them could bear to let the old bookstore go.
Ran Walker is the author of seventeen books, the most recent of which is Portable Black Magic: Tales of the Afro Strange. He teaches creative writing at Hampton University in Virginia.
Turns out it wasn’t me. It was her.
Two weeks ago we were in the same place but not together, at the funeral for a mutual friend. She walked the church aisle with the guy she’d married. They made such an unpretty pair that I was freed from what ifs.
Kent Oswald writes, edits and pedagogs in NYC. Find additional words at kentoswald.com.
“Not getting to really know each other before marriage is like bypassing a game’s tutorial, y’know?”
“I agree, but that’s your tenth gaming analogy in the past three minutes. Please stop.”
“You want to skip the dialogue?”
“I can’t do this. Goodbye.”
“Can I call you later?”
“No. Game over!”
ToJo probably uses too many analogies.
Jason stared at the Queensland Heeler in the shelter’s kennel.
“This one’s blind,” the volunteer told his parents. “The rancher said he could only keep dogs that could work.”
“Yes, I want this dog,” Jason signed to his parents. “I can be her eyes, and she can be my ears.”
Jenise Cook lives with her husband and their herding dog in the north-central highlands of Arizona where it snows. Jenise enjoys visitors to @jenisecook on Twitter and JeniseCook.com, where you can find a list of her published works.
Started sewing today.
And again today.
And again today.
Mr. MacKelvie came knocking. Wondered is mom home.
Back to sewing.
I think today I really can’t continue.
Mr. MacKelvie came round again. The yard smells.
Today finished the ears.
Today finished the mouth.
Today got the eyes done. Shut permanent.
Tim Boiteau lives near Detroit with wife and son. He is a recent
winner of the Writers of the Future Contest. Follow him at @timboiteau.
I sat, staring at the news station, counting the steps to the door.
I should go in, tell them what I knew, what I’d discovered. But the people who wanted me to stay quiet were out there somewhere, watching. They could end me so easily.
I opened the car door.
Chad Bunch writes speculative fiction from the suburbs of Saint Louis. He is currently trying his darnedest to publish the first book of a series.
Watching two swans glide across the farmer’s pond, Claire reflects on her life and how things didn’t work out the way she’d imagined.
She read that swans mate for life, and wonders why they hadn’t shared that secret with the young couple who once pledged undying love along this shore.
Candace Kubinec posts her stories at storydribbles.wordpress.com and her poetry at rhymeswithbug.com.
Penelope begs me to call her Mother.
I know what I did. I still love you.
Penelope moves through the house. Seems off, like a newspaper left out.
I needed space.
I believed she loved me. Missed her graceful gait, jokes, tender goodnights.
I utter that word.
Mir-Yashar is a graduate of Colorado State’s MFA program in fiction. A recipient of two Honorable Mentions from Glimmer Train, he has also had work nominated for The Best Small Fictions. Mir-Yashar’s work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such Scarlet Leaf Review, Ariel Chart, 50 Word Stories, and The Write City Magazine.
The Story of the Month is chosen from the Story of the Week winners announced from the past month.
The finalists for August were:
When the Dark Rain Blew Away Our Home by Michael H. Brownstein
The Mark by G.B. Burgess
The Lucky One by John B. Sinclair
Breathing Space by Dini Armstrong
Discordant by Lisa Alletson
The winner of the August 2019 Story of the Month, and the $10 prize, is…
When the Dark Rain Blew Away Our Home
Michael made a creative use of the 50-word format, using his words to set the scene and create the characters in an unconventional way. The format feels impersonal to me, like an interview on the evening news, or an aid worker interviewing people rapidfire in a temporary shelter to check if they need immediate medical attention or if they can be left alone for now in the corner. We know, academically, that we should feel sympathy for this character as a human being, but she is just a nameless face that represents the news story. And then the final line hits, and the humanity of the character gushes out with her breath. It’s a great effect, and makes for a great story.
The headline says “Amazon clearance,” yet this isn’t an online sale but an example of the indifference of greed.
If trees could talk, they’d say: love us as we are, for gone is gone, and blackened earth and scorched ground will be no more than a footnote for future generations.
Henry Bladon is a writer of short fiction and poetry based in Somerset in the UK. His work can be seen in Fewer than 500, Pure Slush, Truth Serum Press, and Flash Frontier, among other places.