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.
“Taste?” I offered.
One man surveyed the platter I held sheepishly in my hands: my heart in its entirety, chopped to fun-sized pieces. Toothpicks punctuated each morsel.
He popped a red bite into his mouth, then, spitting it into his napkin, daintily placed it on the edge of my tray.
This is Alexandra’s seventh 50-word story.
Meet me where the setting sun kisses the roof of the lighthouse, I said, that familiar place where we whispered secrets at two in the morning. I needed to be there because I remembered all the things that we had said. She didn’t show up, because she remembered them, too.
L.S. Engler writes from outside of Chicago, though she grew up chasing dragons in Michigan. She is the editor of the World Unknown Review and is currently finishing up a trilogy about zombies called The Slayer Saga.
Beware of Ifs. Onlys follow them. They will lead you down dark alleys where Regrets will ambush you. You are sure to be kneecapped by Paralysis and blinded by Sorrow. And there, you’ll remain for the rest of your life. You’ll never find your way home where Hope keeps vigil.
Kamalinii is a prisoner of Ifs.
“How is your new job?” A crumb escapes, falling.
“I am thankful to have one.” Careful, collected, but unable to avoid my family’s stream of questions. I reflect, the way my bargain-bin cassette instructed.
A miniature rake scrapes across the artificial garden on my desk. A grain of sand escapes.
Raphael Bastek is a Polish-American office worker. He lives with his beloved cat, Yuna.
The first time I picked it up, the blade felt light in my hand. The relief came quickly. Over the next sixteen years, it would become my comfort, my consolation, my cure.
When I finally put the blade down, I realized it was the heaviest thing that I’d ever held.
Kimberly had spent many years in treatment and is currently celebrating three years in recovery from self-injury. Kimberly’s goal is to help others overcome the stigma associated with self-injury so they can get help they need to put the blade down, too. She is currently working as a Peer Specialist at Access: Supports for Living.
After the last mourner left the wind picked up. The sun had slipped beneath the horizon and the moon was a phantom in a sky the precise color of anger in a grieving mother’s eyes. Hard wind swayed the high grass as though an army of ghosts were marching through.
Over the years Bob Thurber’s work has received a long list of awards and prizes. His most recent book is a collection of brief stories titled “Nothing But Trouble.” His first novel, “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel,” was recently rereleased. Visit BobThurber.net.
A busy intersection; pouring rain. She must make a choice.
One direction offers comfort, everything she’s ever known. The other promises pain and more than a little adventure.
She steps off of the sidewalk, passing by her battered, bloody shoe, taking a turn away from the world and into eternity.
A. Elizabeth Herting is an aspiring freelance writer and busy mother of three living in colorful Colorado. She has had short stories featured in Bewildering Stories, Peacock Journal, Dark Fire Fiction, Friday Fiction, Under the Bed, and Fictive Dream. She has also published non-fiction work in Denver Pieces Magazine and bioStories. More info is available on her website and Facebook page.
Granma’s room; always dark. Silence, stillness, nothing touched.
Nine years old, the oldest, not the favourite.
Is Granma alright? Maybe tea?
Two cups of bitter, peaty liquid; no milk, no sugar.
The leaves drift into symbols.
“What do you see?”
The word stains like nicotine.
David Rae currently works with numbers, but prefers working with words.
Stories written backwards really are nonsense. Unpublishable as discarded tales collecting dust. Misunderstood. Why are words tricky? How one shows irony of knowing without knowledge.
Knowledge, without knowing of irony, shows one how tricky words are. Why? Misunderstood, dust collecting tales discarded as unpublishable nonsense, are really backwards written stories.
Pontius Paiva is lover of palindromes who refuses to kayak. Read more at pontiusblog.wordpress.com