Prologue: My day begins only when he arrives.
Act One, Scene One: He arrives and sits on the opposite side of the table in class. My clock begins to tick.
Act Two, Scene One: He smiles across the table at my best friend.
Epilogue: My soul shrivels. My clock stops.
Chitra Gopalakrishnan is a journalist by training, a social development consultant by profession and a creative writer by choice.
I have always
gone my own way.
I’ve often been told,
“You are so much
like your mother.”
What would I
if she had lived?
Would I be
My deepest loss
is that I’ll never
know for certain.
Casey Laine looks and sounds so much like her mother that a stranger once approached her at a restaurant and asked if she were Lesa’s daughter. She is both Lesa’s daughter, and perhaps, in a way, part of Lesa’s legacy, having inherited not only her looks, mannerisms, and inflection, but also her interest in books, houseplants, and philosophical reflection. This poem is dedicated to her memory, with utmost love.
When the dreaded thing happened, a strange feeling of calm came over her. Yes, they might put her in ICU, surrounded by beeping machines and strangers in hazmat suits. She might end up on a ventilator. Or, worse, she might not.
But she would no longer be completely, utterly alone.
Donald A. Ranard’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Every Day Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine, 100 Word Story, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and elsewhere.
Bobbing – I think of apples. Ups and downs.
Behaviour – Mine, yours – neither commendable.
Bitter – Adjective. I am ___. You made me ___.
Brazen – Wasn’t she?
Bayonet – Wounding instrument. Cold steel engulfing flesh.
Baby – Would you have left if it had happened? (See Barren)
Boomerang – I won’t go back.
Bruised – Imperfect, fragile, healing.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia. Recent work appears in Ellipsis Zine, Milk Candy Review and Reflex Fiction. Jo’s work was also recently chosen for inclusion in Best Microfiction 2020.
Your heart gave out. Still can’t fully explain it, but my heart stopped working, too. Yours no longer beats; mine can love no other. One of us breathing; one of us not… And yet somehow, the results are the same: two hearts died that day. I remain single, yet taken.
Alyce Clark was so awed and inspired by the stories of others, she decided to write them for herself.
The unicorn is in the garden again, munching on the roses.
“I can’t,” I say. “I’m not ready.”
I follow him down the lane to the edge of the enchanted forest. The pine scent clears my lungs.
The unicorn slips between the trees. One day, soon, I’ll go with him.
Hannah Whiteoak writes speculative fiction to escape the real world. She is working on an animal-themed flash collection. Follow @HannahWhiteoak or visit hannahwhiteoak.me.
Editor: This story is a sequel to Side Effects.
I thought he needed my touch.
He looked empty.
My hand’s warmth could provide him respite.
But that wasn’t allowed.
I could offer only a smile and wave from across the room.
He nodded, resignation wrapped with tedium.
Latex gloves announced despair, their blue color an exclamation on our lives.
Jill has been writing since childhood. She believes well-turned phrases can connect emotions and people. She’s published academic work, but her main passion is fiction.
Darkness engulfs me.
Bitterness and loneliness play freeze tag
Throughout a sleepless night.
At dawn, the pitter-patter of little feet.
Her tiny arms envelop me.
Warmth flows from her pressed cheek to mine.
“Good morning, Mommy.”
Her words linger like a melody,
As sunrise ignites hope for the new day.
Carrie Backer enjoys writing in her very little spare time. She has self-published a couple of kids books and hopes to write more soon.
Grandpa picks her up from ballet, lets her sit in the front seat. He has brought three tangerines wrapped in a paper towel (two for her). They eat them in the car. Later, she will forget to remove the peels from the cupholder; even now, his car smells like tangerines.
Julia Jorgensen is a junior at Stanford University studying Symbolic Systems and Creative Writing. She loves short stories, theater, and tangerines; she has definitely eaten at least eight in one sitting before.
I could be dead.
I would be dead if I’d been born 50 years ago. God knows, I’ve thought about it. There’s been no point living this half-life.
Instead, today I wake to the loud rhythmic banging of my new heart (my new heart!).
And my life can finally begin.
Laura Besley writes short fiction in the precious moments that her children are asleep. She has been widely published online, in print, and in anthologies. Her debut flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, is out in March 2020.