Things I’ve done for money: collected cans for cash, sold chocolate, shoveled sidewalks after a snowstorm. Once I built an amusement park in the backyard and sold tickets. That was the summer Mom quit chemo.
I told jokes for a penny. She bought a hundred, and listened from her bed.
Jane Hertenstein wrote this story.
My great-grandparents’ farmhouse was built from two barns pieced together. In addition to being a fun piece of genealogical trivia, this enables my father to enthusiastically reply “Yes!” whenever my mother inquires whether he was raised in a barn.
She rolls her eyes every time, but she still smirks, too.
Sarah Krenicki was not raised in a barn, but visited one often. That counts, right?
The soft glow of dawn
covers my room in rainbows.
Young eyes try to capture them.
My mother’s figure appears in the doorway,
I ask her to join me,
catch her own rainbows.
She simply shakes her head, eyes glassy.
Maybe another day, I think,
Or maybe not.
Lauren loves creative writing and can usually be found in her room writing a poem or short story or on the beach reading. She struggled to stay within the 50-word limit since she loves to talk!
“She’s got the sight,” Mama hisses, makes a forking gesture with arthritic fingers.
“Don’t talk rubbish, woman.” Papa’s whiskers tickle my ear. I feel safe curled in his lap, until I see him make the forking sign himself, down the side of the armchair where he thinks I won’t see.
Rebecca Fraser is an Australian writer whose short stories, flash fiction, and poems have appeared in various anthologies, magazines, and journals since 2007. She holds a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing, and her fiction showcases her fondness for all things darkly speculative. To provide her muse with life’s essentials, Rebecca supplements by copy and content writing, however her true passion lies in storytelling. See more at rebeccafraser.wordpress.com
It was Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve (December 17th). Emily crossed the softball diamond in the snow, to where Sister Amy had had a tooth loosened by somebody’s loose ball in autumn.
“I’m fine!” she’d told them, face in hand.
Secretly Emily practiced alone until spring.
John Gabriel Adkins is a Pushcart-nominated writer of microfiction, anti-stories and other oddities, and is a member of the Still Eating Oranges arts collective. This year his work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Literary Orphans, SPANK the CARP, Five 2 One, Sick Lit Magazine, The Sleep Aquarium, and more.
“I dare you.” Three words and you could make me do anything.
“I’m not afraid.”
Inside, shouting, our voices echo. Brothers, best pals in the world.
A noise spooks us; running home.
We stop and you laugh.
You’ve lost that cap you always wore. I’m not going back for it.
Fraser never did get his hat back, but it looked stupid anyway. Sometimes David wishes they were still best pals in all the world.
I was a childhood insomniac. Sometimes in the middle of the night, the quietest hour before dawn, I’d slip out of my bed and drop out the window to the spongy dew-grass—and under the wan light of the moon I’d twirl, my night dress lifting like a gypsy dancer.
Jane Hertenstein is the author of numerous short stories and flash. Her work has been included in Hunger Mountain, Word Riot, Flashquake, and Rosebud as well as earning an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train. Her literary interests are eclectic, evident in the titles she has published: Beyond Paradise (YA), Orphan Girl (non-fiction), Home Is Where We Live (children’s picture book), and two self-published eBooks: 365 Affirmations for the Writer and Freeze Frame: How to Write Flash Memoir. Jane lives in Chicago where she blogs at Memoirous.
“Get a switch,” Mamaw said. “A good one or you’ll be sorry.”
My five-year-old mind is already sorry but doesn’t know why, like my dog who peed inside but got his beating hours later. I’m ashamed that I don’t remember.
It better be a good switch: from child to adult.
John Atkins is a Renaissance curmudgeon, retired from corporate America, who spends days writing for himself and watching birds eat dried mealworms on the front stoop. He also edits a local quarterly magazine and is working on his first science fantasy novel.
My invisible unicorn dies, so I dig a big hole in the garden and sing a happy song. My parents come outside and frown.
“If he’s in unicorn heaven,” they say, “why dig the hole?”
I cry, and they hug me. I love all this.
My unicorn dies quite often.
Brenda Anderson’s fiction has appeared in various places, from Andromeda Spaceways to SpeckLit. She lives in Adelaide, South Australia and tweets irregularly.
The farmer saw his daughter halfway down a hole in the ground. “What are you doing, child?”
“The badgers are having a tea party, Dad. They’re expecting me.”
He tutted at this childish fantasy, dragged his daughter away.
Below, father badger consulted his watch. “Think we’d better start without her.”
Carol Browne first appeared on the planet in 1954. She regards Crewe, Cheshire, as her home town and graduated from Nottingham University in 1976 with an honours degree in English Language and Literature. She is a contracted author at Burning Willow Press.