When the doctor returns with the information the man remembers how his wet hair turned to ice the night he jumped from his bath and ran across the unfurrowed field, water dripping down his hairless legs, his feet pounding the frozen potato dirt, where no summer fingers now ever dig.
John Riley’s fiction and poetry have appeared in Metazen, The Dead Mule, Smokelong Quarterly, Connotation Press, and many other places online and in print. He lives in North Carolina.
His tortoiseshell glasses lie on a table by his armchair, where his coffee used to steam. He’d put them on to narrate The Twits, demystify long division and, later, to share the cryptic crossword. Alone here now, I tame the unwieldy broadsheet and ink-shape solutions, just as Grandpa shaped me.
Michelle Christophorou’s short fiction has won and been placed in competitions, including the latest Strands International Flash Fiction Competition, and the Retreat West Fire-themed flash competition, for which she received a ‘Best of the Net’ nomination 2019. In another life, Michelle practised law in the City of London. Follow her at @MAChristophorou.
I let the tears fall. Years in that house… So many memories. Pictures that hung on the wall my entire life. Gone. Emptied out; packed up; now just boxes. Granddad’s gone. Grandma’s in a nursing home. Just an address now.
Still this place holds me, locked deep within my soul.
Alyce Clark is adjusting to sheltering in place, practicing social distancing when shopping for essentials… and truly missing her grandmother.
“Grandad,” I said one evening, sat across from him in front of the fire. “Could you tell us a war story?”
“No,” he replied without a moment’s thought. He then turned away from me and stared into the flames, looking for something like an answer, or maybe for a face.
Harris Coverley has fiction published or forthcoming in Curiosities, Planet Scumm, and The J.J. Outre Review. He is also a Rhysling-nominated poet, with verse in Star*Line, New Reader Magazine, Better Than Starbucks, and many others.
Grandpa picks her up from ballet, lets her sit in the front seat. He has brought three tangerines wrapped in a paper towel (two for her). They eat them in the car. Later, she will forget to remove the peels from the cupholder; even now, his car smells like tangerines.
Julia Jorgensen is a junior at Stanford University studying Symbolic Systems and Creative Writing. She loves short stories, theater, and tangerines; she has definitely eaten at least eight in one sitting before.
Frank hated the idea, but a mother in his support group said it had been helpful.
So he set it up in Jessica’s old room and attempted to steel himself.
When they discovered Frank’s emaciated body, his frozen smile was still fixed on the flickering hologram of his daughter dancing.
Ran Walker is the award-winning author of seventeen books. He teaches at Hampton University in Virginia.
Sailor’s arms beneath tobacco-scented cardigans. Milky eyes like moonlit skies, staring as though I was the finest thing on Earth.
But when he wore the hat, for memorials or military functions, he became a ghost.
I wondered what that hat had seen, to make him quiver like a frightened child.
Jo Withers writes micros, flash, and poetry from her home in South Australia. Recent work has featured or is forthcoming in Molotov Cocktail, Ellipsis Zine, Spelk, Bath Flash Anthology, and Milk Candy Review.
We didn’t live there anymore. Hadn’t for a decade.
And yet, as flames licked at the windows and devoured the roof, as smoke belched into the twilight sky, I stood on the hose-wet lawn suffocating, asphyxiating on the fumes of my childhood while firefighters tried—failed—to stop its burning.
Angela Teagardner has been selling books for twenty years – not her own though, not yet. A bookseller for pay and a writer for passion, she’s been writing stories and poetry since middle school. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, daughter, and two extremely cranky cats.
“Grandy, will you tell me about Hawaii?”
A pause, and then he brushes his bottom lip thoughtfully with the edge of a thumb, the blue anchor on his forearm gone soft and blurry with time. In his eyes, I catch a glimpse of metal and fire.
“Not much to say.”
Erin Gilmore is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles.
We’d ride uphill past the tavern in Poppy’s ancient Cadillac. I pictured a tuxedo-clad Ricky Ricardo crooning love songs to Lucy, twirling on the dance floor, backed up by a big band. I’d wave to the hollow-eyed scratching junkies slouched against the wall. They’d wave back, baffled by the attention.
Sara Jacobelli lives in New Orleans where she works in a public library and teaches writing workshops. Her flash fiction, flash nonfiction, and short stories have been published in various places, including the New York Times Metropolitan Diary.