School continues, but your lessons are done. Your empty desk and chair are a reminder you’re no longer here.
Why did you play with that abandoned gun in the alley? Senseless tragedy put your ten-year timeline to an end.
A lesson learned too hard, one our class will never forget.
Shawnta S. Barnes is a literacy coach in Indianapolis Public Schools, an adjunct instructor at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis School of Education, and a 2016-2017 Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellow.
The notes by the headstone say “Thank You”, anonymous followers grateful because her death finally opened their eyes.
Mine says “Sorry”, for even as an enemy of the state, a hero of the people, or an urban legend, she was still my daughter and I failed to keep her safe.
Mohamed is an avid reader who found a calling in writing, both fiction and non-fiction. Mohamed is writing a short story collection titled “Broken Men”. He also wrote The Café, his first novel in Arabic. See more on his blog.
I brought her some West Virginian wildflowers fresh from the Star City exit on I-79.
She cradled them like an infant wrapped in burlap. The little bluets danced along the dewy glow of her paling face. “What should we name them?”
“Honey …” She wanted to name everything.
Amber D. Tran graduated from West Virginia University in 2012, where she specialized in lyrical non-fiction and contemporary poetry. She currently lives in Alabama with her husband and miniature dachshund. Her first novel, Moon River, will be released this fall.
The house’s weathered “For Sale” sign sways over the brown remains of the lawn. A cold wind licks at my bare feet. The crying grows louder.
I enter the basement where the infant’s body lay for months, abandoned in death as in life. An icy breath suckles at my breast.
Jayne Martin’s work has appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, Blink Ink, Literary Orphans, Flash Frontier, F(r)iction, Sick Lit, and Hippocampus, among others. She is the author of “Suitable for Giving: A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry.” Find her at injaynesworld.blogspot.com
and on Twitter
Telephone poles and streetlights streak past as I stare up from my bed on the car seat. Dad is driving fast. Mom has her hand on me, patting.
We stop; they fling the door open, haul me onto a gurney. The hospital doors whoosh open as they wheel me in.
Laurie is a retirement wannabe who enjoys petting dogs and admonishing children.
Riding astride his crimson unicorn, Alexander slayed robots and ninjas as he crossed the bridge. In the distance the daikaiju terrorizing the city breathed fire on a skyscraper, incinerating it almost immediately. UFOs filled the sky.
Alexander held his sword high and smiled. “Today is a good day,” he said.
Daniel Slaten writes short stories and poetry in small notebooks and on sticky notes.
Daddy left early; he didn’t say goodbye.
No, they didn’t yell this morning. Last night, though.
Mommy didn’t make my eggs. Usually I get two, with an orange juice. She’s still sleeping. I shook her; her hand is cold. Will she wake up soon? I’m hungry.
Daddy didn’t say goodbye.
After chasing his muse from Virginia to Manhattan, Richard Day Gore settled in Southern California, where he spends his time pushing around words, paint brushes, and guitar strings. See more at richarddaygore.com
“Put the tip of your knife in the silvery place where the soft-scaled belly meets tail. Press down. Draw the blade away, not toward. Cleave the meat, and fish out the gnarled black guts; smell the sour salt.”
“And if he tries to help?”
“Say no. This is most important.”
Post-MFA, Lora Rivera worked as a literary agent’s assistant, children’s biographer, e-learning developer, and crepe maker. She likes: rocks and climbing on them, words and chewing on them, people and connecting to them, and ferns because they are old and slow to evolve and so must be very wise. Find her on Twitter
or at clippings.me/lroseriver
The girl fell, once. Gingerly, her father picked her up. He kissed her wound. “Roses bleed, too,” he said, drying the tears from her face.
She looked up to him, beautiful, bright-eyed, and unknowing of the secrets behind his eyes. Because given time, even roses grow dull and wither away.
Joaquim Chichava is unbearably quirky, and has grown to love wearing shorts.
It was their first vacation afterward.
She felt daring, dove off a cliff, the free-fall like a sort of second death.
Far under the sea, she saw her baby there—blue but alive, gurgling air bubbles, hands and legs splayed, looking like it only wanted to be held, mouthing, “Momma.”
Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State and an editor at the online magazine Literary Orphans. His story collection The Dark Sunshine
debuted from Connotation Press in 2014. You can also find him at lenkuntz.blogspot.com