We arrived with all the time in the world.
Those first birthdays couldn’t come fast enough.
The middle days whispered in our ears.
Don’t worry; there’s loads of time left.
We’ve known from birth this day would come.
Still, we’re surprised when we open the door and find death waiting.
John Fowler served twenty years in the US Air Force before retiring and starting a second career in the IT field. He is also a Lay Pastor serving a small church near his home in Texas. His hobbies include reading, golfing, writing, and now oil painting.
I don’t know why the starry sky
I cannot see how the river carves its way all the way to the ocean
I can only dream where songbirds go to die
I don’t know why
or how, left to its own
a salmon spawning upstream
swims hundreds of miles—home.
Todd is an amateur writer and poet. He met the love of his life in a college writing class. Since then, the two have spent their lives together.
My heart pounding in my chest, I watched as you lay on the white linen, still and silent. The fan’s breeze fluttered your hair and eyelashes. You looked cool, reposed, as though sleeping. I squeezed your hand and whispered for you to open your eyes, once more.
But you didn’t.
Melanie Cranenburgh lives in Western Australia and rescues wildlife in her spare time.
This beach, with its smooth stones and jagged waves, was always your favourite, wasn’t it, Mum?
That’s why I’m standing here with you now, one last time, a small tin in my hand that I can’t bring myself to tip. But I know I’ll have no choice in the end.
Laura Besley squeezes writing into the beginning and end of her day, when her young son is sleeping. She has been published in several anthologies and online. She had recently moved back to the UK after ten years abroad.
Life can be excruciating. Death can be a welcome release.
A light of comforting and joyous brilliance pulled him on, yet when he heard her call his name he stopped, and decided he must return to try again.
He didn’t know there was a reception committee (and they had cookies).
From a darkened room in Madison, Wisconsin, Bill writes about reanimated mummies, intelligent golems, and all things that frighten him in the hopes that someday they might not.
it’s been three days since your funeral
a white-crown sparrow pecks incessantly at the patio door,
wings fluttering madly to remain airborne, feet flailing the air
i blow a kiss, smile through fresh currents of briny dew and wave just as madly until,
satisfied, you fly away
one last time
Craig W. Steele lives in the lake-effect snow belt of northwestern Pennsylvania where, by day, he’s a university biology professor. He enjoys writing both short fiction and poetry and dreams of becoming a widely-read unknown writer.
Death’s hand, which I shook reluctantly, was a plumped pillow.
“You’re safe,” he said. “For now.”
“I pictured you as a, you know—”
“Skeleton? You should’ve seen me before the Western diet.” Laughter rippled his corpulence. “Doctor’s telling me to eat better, but she thinks I’m lying about my work.”
Iain Young hasn’t forgotten the childhood nightmare in which he was chased by angry vegetables. That might explain a lot.
The beasts surround me, a wall of teeth. I can run no longer.
Why did I leave Earth?
Inside my helmet, I flick through photos from home. The white sandy beaches obscure the beasts. The smiles of family calm my heart.
Lost in memory, I barely feel the first bite.
Tim lives in Sydney where he is writing two fantasy novels, whenever he can spare the time from writing software and collecting sci-fi.
The combat medic raced toward the bombed-out Opel as tracers ripped overheard.
Lower limb fractured. Gunshot to shoulder. Both cat-Cs.
His distal pulse was good. Four hours to evac.
She looked back, gave a thumbs up.
Then a mortar round engulfed them.
Again, a warbling voice cried out, “man down!”
Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist and Iraq War veteran whose literary work has appeared in The Grief Diaries, The Roaring Muse, Prairie Winds, Blue Collar Review and other publications. He orders off the secret menu.
Grandpa’s pain stops with his heart. Amid brilliant white light and the fury of a whirlwind, he is lifted and flies rejoicing to God.
He wakes joyously. “Lord, I’m saved!”
His angel smiles. “Only just. It’s a miracle you got to hospital in time. We had to send a helicopter.”
Viv Burgess says her inspiration has been absent without leave, and she is not a-mused.