“Brake before the curve,” her mother always told her in mountainous terrain.
Senior year, she met him in philosophy class, slept with him when he mentioned love.
“We’re too young to get serious,” he said one night. Permanent goodbye.
Spring semester, he was engaged.
His words were code. Broke her.
C.G. Thompson has two stories in the recently released TL;DR Press’ Women’s Anthology: Carrying Fire. Other stories and poems have appeared in Yalobusha Review, Prime Number Magazine, Fictive Dream, Jersey Devil Press, and Redheaded Stepchild, among others.
She had stolen the seed pod from Kew, years ago, when “borrowing” was still considered acceptable.
Cossetting it, encouraging it, keeping it safe. It took such effort. Gardening was her solace.
He picked the best stems, laid them on the coffin, and then, afterwards, poured bleach carefully over her plant.
Janet, who grew up near Detroit, now lives in Edinburgh and works for the newest Scottish university. She is a rubbish gardener.
We were pressed against the back wall behind a tangle of dresses and hangers, the Boone’s Farm in our stomachs rising against the reek of moth balls. Blue and red flashing lights stabbed under the bifold doors, licking my guilty socks.
She took my hand, and suddenly nothing else mattered.
Chip Houser’s short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, New Myths, Every Day Fiction, and elsewhere. He’s a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, has an MFA in Creative Writing from UMSL, and thinks cedar is the better option for closets.
She had tried to teach you, ever since you were a little girl putting on your first pair of sneakers. “Later,” you would say. “Maybe next time. I promise.” You can’t remember how many times you promised.
Now she’s gone, and you still don’t know how to tie your shoelaces.
AJ Joseph is a bookaholic, semi-insomniac, unsuccessful recovering javaholic, and most importantly a writer. She occasionally writes at Words from Sonobe.
I would stutter if I spoke or vomit if I ate.
My kid’s getting an MRI.
“It could be nothing, or…” they tell me. Something unmentionable. Unthinkable.
The answer will either defrost my brain and untangle my guts or kill me dead.
I’m just not strong enough to bear it.
Seth Pilevsky lives in New York with his wife and five kids. His work has been published in the Long Island Literary Journal, Literally Stories, Memoir Magazine, Stinkwave’s Magazine and in the YA Anthology entitled What Doesn’t Kill You. See more at spilevsky.com.
Grandpa Al radioed coordinates in the Korean War.
He was quiet, loved his Yankees, and sipped O’Doul’s in the summertime.
He had a fake leg and owned a ukulele, too—
a sweet, beautiful instrument boxed up in his basement.
I can see him now.
He’s smiling. Sipping. Strumming and plucking.
Justin Deming lives and teaches in the Hudson Valley region of New York.
Pulse. Drumbeat. Baby’s kicks. The guitar screams.
Blankets laid on the lawn. Lights dim.
Music swells in waves. Rhythmic: pushing, shoving, pounding on the ground. A night of screamo. Moshing. An owl swoops silently from the rafters. The bassist strikes a chord.
My baby’s song begins.
Joanna Friedman’s fiction and poetry has appeared in a couple of anthologies and on-line publications. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband, twin girls, and pug dog, Blue. Follow her on Twitter or her website.
She was scheduled for bilateral mastectomies.
I lifted her gown to listen to her chest, and was startled to read the words she had carefully inked across her breasts:
On the right: The Lord giveth.
On the left: The Lord taketh away.
And across her abdomen: Blessed be the Lord.
Margie Nairn is a retired nurse and emerging writer in Corvallis, Oregon, where she writes memoir, poetry, and silly limericks for her daughter.
“I need to see you,” he says, phone denting his cheek.
She swallows, hard. That “sucking on a penny” taste.
20 minutes later, he rings her doorbell.
“Your dad is dead,” he says, no warmup.
“Oh thank God. I was afraid you were going to tell me you’re leaving me.”
Anne Gudger is a Portland writer who has been lucky to have words in Real Simple Magazine, The Rumpus, Slippery Elm, and more. In November 2017 Anne won two contests: Hippocampus and New Millennium Writings. She lives with her sweet husband, and their grown kids and kid-in-laws live not far.
Every Christmas has unique vibrations.
2010 was tremulous.
Our grandchildren were three and four. They didn’t know their mother was dead.
I imagine they held to the hope she’d surprise them with a last-minute appearance.
There was more chance a fat man in a sleigh would land on the roof.
Bob Thurber is the author of “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” and two collections of stories. A celebrated master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in 60 anthologies, received dozens of awards, and been used in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts where, though legally blind, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.