First the whispers
Then the shadows
His skin bites
He stands braced
Screams flash back
She wakes him
He leaves the sweat-soaked sheets
She makes oatmeal
He almost smiles
A goodbye kiss
She revisits her spell book
Patrick Yu says: It didn’t work out in the end.
I kiss my daughter; she twists away. “No,” she says.
“Don’t you hate that?” Margie sighs. “We do enough. We deserve kisses.”
I remember uncomfortable playground embraces. Unwanted subway pawing. Nights reluctantly spent.
“No,” I say. The word is whiskey. Dark, strong, medicinal. I smile and watch the girls play.
Ashley Scott lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. She loves writing that packs a lot into a little. You can find her short stories and flash fiction in online literary publications, including On the Premises.
Art’s avuncular fingers plunged deep into my girlish flesh,
planted seeds of rage that grew into Sequoias that stretched upward
to scratch his deeds into the very sky
beckoning Mom’s eyes,
demanding that she countenance his crimes.
Then, having at last seen, she might beg me for absolution.
C. Christine Fair is an associate professor within the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She has published poetry in the Dime Show Review and The Bark and has pieces forthcoming in Clementine Unbound and Badlands Literary Journal. She also published a short story in New Reader Magazine. Her scholarly website is christinefair.net; her blog is shortbustoparadise.wordpress.com. She tweets at cchristinefair where, for some reason, she has some 42,600 followers.
I arrive at school hot, sweaty. I want to run like Usain Bolt. He runs as fast as a car. My teacher says it’s not possible to keep up that speed for long, but she’s wrong. She has to be.
When I can, I’ll be gone. From he-who-hits and she-who-ignores.
Laura Besley writes short fiction in the precious moments that her children are asleep. Her fiction has appeared online, in print and in various anthologies. She tweets at @laurabesley.
Walk to school,
Home from school,
Help with homework,
Make the dinner,
Run their baths,
Mop the floor,
Wake up Mother,
Bring her bottle,
Avoid eye contact,
Make no sound.
Jo Withers is author of the middle-grade science-fiction adventure 5 Simple Steps to Saving Planet Earth. Her recent shorter fiction can be found in Spelk, Molotov Cocktail, Ellipsis Zine and Flashback Fiction.
He wraps the pillow around is head, diving deep beneath the covers.
The yelling always keeps him awake. Mother checks he is asleep.
His door closes softly, then a loud pop comes from downstairs.
Mother checks on him again. The yelling has finally stopped.
He drifts off to sleep.
Kristyn Mass lives in Iowa with her husband and three cats. She is a professional voice actor and aspiring writer.
My old dog knew how to forget unkind words and raised voices.
He always forgave being left behind, didn’t hold a grudge.
Instead he’d greet me with a wag and a silly dog smile.
After you left us behind, a tender look from his chocolate eyes helped me forget, too.
Candace Kubinec posts her stories at storydribbles.wordpress.com and her poetry at rhymeswithbug.com.
Exposed to light, the misunderstood memories skitter away like startled insects. Slowly, I clear more rocks from the landscape of my childhood.
When I find the courage to pull weeds, I might replace them with roses: Their beauty comes with thorns. Or perhaps cacti, which can survive neglect, even abuse.
Kim Favors worked as a newspaper journalist. She grows her literary garden on California’s Central Coast.
“Whipped!” we used to shout, mocking him, all those times he couldn’t join on bar nights.
When he could, she’d always call him home early.
Those phone calls cracked us up. We made women’s voices, and passionately screamed his name while he shushed us.
“Hanged,” police told us one day.
David Derey wrote this story.
Eyes bruised black and blue.
Lips swollen. Split by a clenched fist.
It was her fault, her partner said.
She fled silently in the night to avoid confrontation.
Far from the pain she gazed at the reflection in the mirror
and prayed a smile would return to her mournful face.
John B. Sinclair is a much-travelled Scot who has now returned to Scotland, where he enjoys freelance writing on a variety of subjects.