“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.
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.
“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.