First-grade bedtime. Lights are out. A coat-draped chair turns into the mummy watching my bed. Malfunctioning WiFi turns the nanny cam’s playful green light into the red-eyed demon watching me, too.
The wee, perilous hours of the night require defensive weapons of choice: a blanket pulled overhead and Duracell flashlight.
Darnell Cureton is a middle-aged man at the crossroads of life, expressing his personality through technology and creative writing.
He couldn’t believe his luck when their math teacher assigned her a seat beside him.
Months into the semester, he still hasn’t braved one word.
One day, his phone dies. He taps her shoulder, gestures to use her phone as a calculator.
She misunderstands. She writes her number.
J.R. Night is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland. He likes to write, draw, and exercise, all of which leave him breathless and annoyed.
Despite what he’d been told, Billy Donaldson still believed. They just had to be wrong. Santa was real.
He fell to his bed, weeping into his pillow. Only the action figures on his shelf and his puppy heard the mournful cries.
But the rustling on the roof gave him pause.
David Galassie is a fruitcake enthusiast and a history buff. His blog, chronicling the history and foibles of his old hometown, is at menashabook.blogspot.com
Floorboards creak as the man steals towards the sleeping girl.
Standing over her peaceful form, heart pounding against his ribs, he leans and sticks his hand under her pillow to replace the hand-stitched bag containing her incisor with a dollar. She stirs but does not wake.
“Goodnight, pumpkin,” he whispers.
Tasie E. George is a twenty-year old, as-of-yet unpublished writer, born, raised, and residing in Nigeria.
The floor glistened with its fresh coat of lemon-scented mop water.
He entered by the kitchen, stumbling through the sliding glass door. Covered in mud and with grubby hands wrapped tightly around three grass stalks, he beamed.
And then her heart melted when he said, “Mommy, I picked you flowers!”
Jess works in fiscal, studies biology and English, and vanquishes Laundry Monsters on the weekends.
It rained the day I was born. Momma says the angels were crying because I left them.
Daddy laughs and says I poked a hole in the clouds on my way down.
Momma and I just smile. She winks at me and tucks a stray feather back under my sweater.
Candace Kubinec wrote this story.
Finally, after four long years, I’m free!
I can use the bathroom and take a shower without a tiny partner. I can finish a cup of coffee while it’s still hot.
Oh, the possibilities! I could even read quietly or even watch a non-animated television show.
I miss her already.
Marcus Benjamin Ray Bradley grew up in Perryville and now lives in Versailles, KY, with his wife and daughters. He wonders if his wife will feel this way in three years.
I watched him grow.
A fern leaf opening.
A curious child.
His face searching for… reflecting the sun.
“What’s in the schoolbag!” I gasped at its weight.
“Rocks,” he said.
I thought his wit a bit dry for six.
Only… it was rocks!
“I’m collecting them.”
Mary Sheehan wrote this story.
Ogg smart. Ogg made dead wood make warmth. Red tongues keep cold and wolves away. Ogg’s soul warm too when can’t see black empty in sky. This hard to articulate. Hot bright light enlighten dark cave of no purpose inside Ogg. Ogg the Clever. Ogg try to get closer. Ouch!
Jamie is a PhD student in Scotland.
“That’s the girl I’m going to marry,” he said, pointing down the hall. His friends dared him to approach, ask her simply for a date.
“You’re cute, but I already have a dog,” said she, in reply to his awkward entreaty.
Right he was. The two were married forty-seven years.
Anita Reynolds is a writer and artist, wife and mom in the rural reaches of Tennessee. Her work is inspired by the strangeness of life, from the mundane to the magical.