Two sisters, best friends, ran to the pool’s edge.
Nostrils filled with chlorine, sunscreen, peanut butter. Mother called, but twenty minutes was forever when shimmery waves signaled.
Everything—the cherry Koolaid mustaches, the sticky fingers—would be wiped clean.
They bent knees, inhaled sharply, pinched noses, then jumped, holding hands.
Melanie Maggard is a flash fiction and short story writer living in Seattle. She works as a psychology professor for an online university but hopes to grow up to be an author some day.
Rough and sharp, her voice is filled with demons. She hides beneath her tongue, a monster dancing before you. Angry and alert, her life is emergency. She rails and hurls insults – of course it’s all your fault.
You hold on tight and pray you’ll make it through her teenage years.
Eliza Mimski, a retired teacher, lives and writes in San Francisco, California. See more at elizamimski.wordpress.com.
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.
Walk to school,
Home from school,
Help with homework,
Make the dinner,
Run their baths,
Mop the floor,
Wake up Mother,
Bring her bottle,
Avoid eye contact,
Make no sound.
Jo Withers is author of the middle-grade science-fiction adventure 5 Simple Steps to Saving Planet Earth. Her recent shorter fiction can be found in Spelk, Molotov Cocktail, Ellipsis Zine and Flashback Fiction.
She held him, squeezed him, his musk comforting but making the decision impossible. She couldn’t believe it had come to this.
The doorbell rang.
No! she lamented. Taxi’s early.
She kissed Mr. Bear, placed him on the top shelf of her closet.
You’ll always be my guy. But it’s time.
A graduate of York University, Stephen Ground now lives in his head, scraping by peddling floors and sometimes unsolicited advice. Find his work in The Esthetic Apostle, Sky Island Journal, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Sunlight Press, and elsewhere.
“I’m going to be an entomologist,” Isabelle says. Her dress doesn’t have a pocket, or she’d have brought one of her pets. Her hands feel empty.
“Sounds great, sweetheart,” her mother says, arranging her hair on her shoulders and ushering her toward the stage. “This time, smile for the judges.”
For a year or so we lived in Boulder. One day by chance we drove by Jonbenet Ramsey’s house. It still haunts me.
How about a sandwich? Her words were casual enough, but her voice made me feel she was more in need of company than food.
Only twelve, but too serious, sad, and worried.
I told her, Soon you’ll blossom into a fine young lady. Obviously she wanted much quicker than soon.
Jim Freeze is seventy-two years old, retired and widowed. He was happily married for fifty-four years and has two grown sons. He began writing in early 2012 to have something to do. His short stories have been featured in several publications including Brilliant Flash Fiction, Calliope Magazine, The Original Writer, and Literally Stories.
An afternoon ritual: park bench, birdseed.
Wistful glances at spirited youngsters and peacock-proud parents swapping milestone stories, recipes, gossip.
She used to bring her kids here to zipline, chase ducks, and pick pungent, sticky-stemmed dandelion posies.
Her life carried in her satchel, she disappears into twilight to join other Invisibles.
Melanie Cranenburgh wrote this story.
When I was young, I wished I could ride my bike around the block, coasting downhill all the way.
Since I got my degree in physics I know that’s impossible.
I now wish that the integral of the gradient of the gravitational potential around a closed loop could be negative.
Harry Demarest received a BA in physics from Reed College in 1969, and a PhD in planetary and space physics from UCLA in 1975.
The tide of approaching adulthood pulled them from my shore. Strolling slowly where I once set a brisk pace, picking up random shells, desperate for some word, all I get is static. Then a familiar voice, almost forgotten, asks why I expect they’ll return when I never did.
Lee DeAmali keeps the porch light on.