It was Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve (December 17th). Emily crossed the softball diamond in the snow, to where Sister Amy had had a tooth loosened by somebody’s loose ball in autumn.
“I’m fine!” she’d told them, face in hand.
Secretly Emily practiced alone until spring.
John Gabriel Adkins is a Pushcart-nominated writer of microfiction, anti-stories and other oddities, and is a member of the Still Eating Oranges arts collective. This year his work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Literary Orphans, SPANK the CARP, Five 2 One, Sick Lit Magazine, The Sleep Aquarium, and more.
“Choklat,” he demanded, his eyes glistening.
She was buying him ice cream. Again. Because she adored the way his little tongue twisted into the cone, chasing down the last oozing dregs.
And because, when he gleefully wiped his sticky fingers across his cardigan, she knew her suppressed resentment was justified.
Tamsin can currently be found poking writing with a stick, and then running away scared.
I spin with my daughter in the front yard. Stars cut the night. Together we get dizzy. She sinks to her knees and giggles. She orders me: “Faster! Faster!” I turn round and round. Arms out. Head back.
Selling the car gives us another month in the house. Spinning. Spinning.
Jonathan Kosik takes photos of fast cars and lives with his wife and daughter just outside Nashville, Tennessee. See more at jonathankosik.com.
The train station convenience store cashier in the Austrian podunk where I’m homeless spices things up with foreign phrases. He might greet a customer with “Bonjour” or “Master Commander.”
As he hands me my change, I whisper, “Danke.”
He replies, “You are welcome,” and I fantasise that I finally am.
Angela Brett is a mathematician and linguist by training, programmer by trade, and writer by neglecting everything else. She is a New Zealander living in Austria and writing at angelastic.com
“Oranges and lemons,” say the bells of St. Clement’s.
“Cheating and stealing,” sing church bells in Ealing.
“Didn’t she earn it?” ask three bells at Barnet.
“One fatal blow,” says the bell of Harrow.
Big Ben deafens London. “We. Know. You. Killed. Her. Jack.”
Hands over my ears, I run.
Hannah is a technical author from London. She won the Junior Author International Short Story Award in 2015 and has published work in Myths of the Near Future and Writer’s Forum.
After dreaming of living as a millionaire playboy, I wake up on a lumpy futon in a crummy apartment, alone.
Half-asleep, I nod off only to reawaken cold and weary in an alley on skid row. I’m still tired, but refuse to sleep, afraid of where I’d wake up next.
Pontius Paiva is a dreamer. It’s because he spends most of the day sleeping. Wake him up at pontiuspaiva.com.
He watched her leave; quietly, impassively, resolutely.
She closed the car door and sighed.
She glanced over her shoulder, then glided into the traffic.
She didn’t look back.
He watched the car disappear round the corner, retreated inside, and gently pulled the door.
This is the way the world ends.
Joan is an educator in Australia.
Mum came to stay the day after her funeral. She was waving from the doorstep when I returned with the groceries. I carried her suitcase into the hall then set a place for her at the dining table, beside the ghost of my father.
Neither of them enjoyed the meal.
Mark Farley was raised in Zimbabwe where he survived two dog maulings, a swarm of killer bees, and being run over by a horse. His story Knight of the Rocks has been published by Old Words Home.
My mother gave me an enchanted copy of Goodnight Moon. Late at night, in my blanket tent, I’d shine my flashlight on it. Somehow, one day, its letters began to dance into words, its words into sentences. So strong was the magic, it’s transformed every book I’ve picked up since.
Ingrid Jendrzejewski grew up in Vincennes, Indiana, and studied creative writing, literature, and physics. When not writing, she enjoys cryptic crosswords and the game of Go. Links to Ingrid’s writing can be found at ingridj.com and she occasionally tweets @LunchOnTuesday.
Always the same question: “Hey, are you okay?”
Always the same answer: “I’m fine.”
He wished someone would see past his fake smile.
She wished they’d stop asking and just hug her.
They weren’t fine. They hadn’t been for a long while.
But no one ever saw past their words.
Carmen Olowu is a 13 year old girl who aspires to be a writer. She is in the 10th grade in school.