Brittney is young, healthy, so she’s not worried. She and her friends gather in each other’s apartments, sharing beer and restlessness, missing Real Life.
Then Brittney’s neighbor—the retired kindergarten teacher she buys groceries for—tests positive.
Finally the headline sinks in: Brittney and all her friends could be carriers.
Jennifer L Freed mostly writes poems, which have appeared in various journals and anthologies. Her website is jfreed.weebly.com
At the wedding reception two middle aged women, the mothers of the bride and groom, are dancing together and alone. The vocalist is attempting Orbison’s Pretty Woman. One mother is wearing a fascinator, the feather above her head beating time to another tune.
The bride and groom are arguing again.
John Young lives in St Andrews. He likes spooky stuff and the boundary areas been “normal” and “odd” experiences.
Unsurprisingly, you’re the main character, fully responsible for the plot, constantly calculating and determining the storyline. Without you there is no direction, no structure, no foundation. You’re the weaver twisting shadowy emotions into ribbon cables, looping lengths methodically around drip lines connected to open wounds. Face it. You’re the hero.
Bob Thurber is the author of six books. Regarded as a master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in Esquire and other magazines, been anthologized 60 times, received a long list of awards, and been utilized in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
She looks just as good as she did back in school. Slick. Smart.
I glance at my worn trainers as the bus lurches forward. She hasn’t seen me.
I can still hear her vicious words, feel her pulling my hair.
I tap on her shoulder. She turns around.
Eszter Molnar is a former teacher who lives by the windswept British seaside with her partner and two children. She has been published in one of the UK’s biggest subscription magazines for children. By day she cleans up after preschoolers; by night she writes picture books and Middle Grade fiction.
Evening. I lie in bed, absorbing the hum of the fan. Shadows spill through, lavender and pink cheer bathing me. For this moment, I put aside father’s lectures, bad son, too artistic, not living in the real world.
Darkness deepens. For a moment, I can almost forget. Almost.
Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State’s MFA program in fiction. The recipient of two Honorable Mentions from Glimmer Train, he has also had work nominated for The Best Small Fictions. His work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as The Write City Magazine, Agony Opera, and Every Writer’s Resource.
Jason spotted it as he pulled radishes: big diamond. The house’s former owner had asked him to watch for it.
His wife, the gardener, had fallen. Hand ballooned; ring cut off. In early Alzheimer’s, she forgot where she’d put it. Two years ago now.
Let it stay lost.
Retired after four decades’ prizewinning print and broadcast journalism in Hartford, CT, Don Noel received his MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University in 2013. He has published more than four dozen short stories (including “Earthworm Ruminations” in 50-Word Stories in September 2017), but still has three longer works to place.
On my back, I imagine looking out a window, calculating how much I’ve paid for the ties that bind versus the cost of cutting loose, the price of sleeping in a maternity ward versus a prison, my old bed or yours, in or out of doors, feeling trapped either way.
Moss Ingram is an associate professor at Grand Rapids Community College and co-author of the forthcoming textbook, Contemporary Product Development: A Focus on Innovation (Cognella). His poetry has appeared in Crack the Spine and One Sentence Poems, and his fiction has appeared in The Caribbean Writer.
Gravel bit through Joel’s paper-thin soles. Sweaty tears blurred the image of the child he held and the imposing wall 1000 yards ahead.
A cage or a bullet: odds weighed.
Joel put his father’s rosary upon his only living kin. “Recuérdame, hijo mío; y reza.”
They walked. A thousand yards.
Dr. Adrian L. Cook is a humanities professor at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, TX. He is also a semi-pro musician, specializing in the electric washboard. He lives with his wife—children’s book author Cristee Cook—their two kiddos, their pancake-colored dog, and lots and lots of books.
Every morning I stand on that platform waiting for the train to arrive. And every day, on the opposite end of the tracks, another train comes flashing right by.
All the while, another flash flies through my mind: What if I just walked over there and took the other train?
Dylan Martin is a University at Albany alumni who currently lives in the New York metropolitan area. His passion for fiction tends to gravitate towards the characters involved, and as such, his writing tends to focus on the characters as well. See more at dm-writing.com.
I kissed you on the mouth, lips desperate and soft. You married a white guy, had two kids.
I stole a man’s dog, ran away to Alaska.
The man followed but the dog died.
Evenings I walk the beach, wind bleeding my lips.
I haven’t thought of you in years.
Cinthia Ritchie is an Alaska writer, ultra-runner, and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Find her work at New York Times Magazine, Evening Street Review, Sport Literate, Rattle, Best American Sports Writing, Mary, Into the Void, Clementine Unbound, Deaf Poets Society, Forgotten Women anthology, Nasty Women anthology, Gyroscope Review, Bosque Literary Journal and others. She’s a 2013 Best American Essay notable mention, and her first novel, “Dolls Behaving Badly,” was published by Hachette Book Group.