Mowing the lawn is refreshingly mindless. Must look ahead to keep my rows straight and my cutting thorough. But I can also look back. And remember those who worked for me. One stepped in front of a train. But only one. Must keep my rows straight and my cutting thorough.
Robert Markovich spent a lifetime in what is charitably referred to as service journalism, writing and editing stories about everything from cars to toilets, most recently at Consumer Reports. He is happily and gratefully retired.
I wait for Mom and Dad to return from the hospital.
Please wake up.
The rock skips one, two, three times across the calm lake surface before sinking into the deep. It’s all in the wrist action. I tried to teach you, like I tried to teach you to swim.
Jayne Martin is a Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, and Best Microfictions nominee, and a recipient of Vestal Review’s VERA award. Her debut collection of microfiction, “Tender Cuts,” from Vine Leaves Press, is available now. Visit jaynemartin-writer.com or find her on Twitter at @Jayne_Martin or Facebook at Jayne Martin-Author.
Lots of soap. Scrub. Sing a happy song for twenty seconds. Rinse. The officials say if I wash my hands real good, I’ll help stop the virus’ spread.
But I don’t know any happy songs, and washing my hands may get rid of germs but it won’t cleanse my sins.
Marc Littman’s short stories have been published in magazines ranging from Fictive Dream and Cafe Lit to The Saturday Evening Post. He also writes novels and plays. He lives in Los Angeles.
The North Pole Police found Jolly the Elf hiding underneath a snow-covered tarp behind the old toy factory.
At the precinct they asked him repeatedly, “Why did you do it?”
Looking down at his blood-stained crakows, Jolly finally said, “Why should he get to have all the milk and cookies?”
Ran Walker is the award-winning author of 17 books, including Portable Black Magic: Tales of the Afro Strange. He teaches creative writing at Hampton University in Virginia.
The scruffy young panhandler sat on the busy sidewalk suckling a fractious infant. When I dropped a coin in her pot, the baby reached for my fingers. Distracted by the tiny hand and abandoned breast, I lingered for a moment too long.
“Alan?” she said as I tried to leave.
Alan Kemister is a retired scientist experimenting with more fictitious writing. See the gory details at alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com.
You break the news in a sombre tone, voice barely a whisper. My guilty eyes fixate on your office floor. You blame government cuts and funding, anything but the truth: your wife found out.
I don’t tell you I’ve already found another job. I started looking the day we kissed.
Anna Sanderson writes about the world as she sees it (with the odd twist and turn). You can follow her story on Twitter at @annasanderson86.
Fiona had secrets. Unlike some, she kept them hidden. She didn’t whisper about them in private. In fact, she didn’t speak of them at all.
She simply went through life, protecting the guilty in order to spare the innocent.
Life was easier that way. Everyone was happy.
Well, almost everyone.
Susan Gale Wickes lives in Indiana. She takes comfort in reading and writing 50-Word Stories.
To see the silence across a clouded sky and suddenly a crack, thunder like a whip.
Then a drenching rain. The heavens are lit – bright flashes like fire. The silence
back again. Weight upon my shoulders dropped fast – the gift of forgiveness.
Silence cracks my memory – fear like a whip.
Michael Mogel wrote this story.
We drank whiskey like sorrow were rare.
Dead’s dead, I muttered, bottle gone dry.
Hog stepped into the firelight, Colt drawn.
Wasn’t us, Billy blurted.
Hog shot him.
Wasn’t us my foot, I said, and drew.
I hadn’t a chance.
I knew it.
Hog knew it.
God hadn’t a clue.
Originally from the Midwest U.S., Justin Bendell lives and teaches in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he edits the Manzano Mountain Review, co-hosts Point Blank—a podcast about noir, hardboiled, and detective fiction—and records music under various monikers including fuguers cove and Euthanized Horse. His stories and poems have appeared in Meridian, 3:AM Magazine, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Thuglit, Washington Square Review, and more. He loves the desert. See more at justinbendell.com.
He crossed the finish line well ahead of the other athletes. The crowd cheered, a distant roar, but he didn’t stop.
In his mind, her voice was pleading, begging: “Don’t let me die here!”
Muscles pumping, heart racing, he sprinted on, the ghosts of his past hard on his heels.
Bill lives in Aberdeen, Scotland, which will become the capital of his world empire when he completes his anti-matter bomb. But first lunch.