Priestess in my untidy temple, I wait alone upon my adorable Oracle.
She bestows her gifts freely, but not easily. Her words, strewn casually, discarded carelessly, I gather and scrutinize, turning them over in my mind, looking for truths, profound and ineffable.
“Do you know what an elephant says?”
John D. Payne grew up in the American Midwest, watching the lightning flash outside his window and imagining himself as everything from a leaf in the wind to the god of thunder. Today, he lives with his wife and family in the shadow of the Organ Mountains in New Mexico, where he imagines that with enough concentration he might be able to rustle up a little cloud cover for some shade. For updates, new fiction, and exclusive content, visit patreon.com/johndpayne.
The monster under my bed whispers to me in the dark. Says I’m small, scared, so easy to pull down and rip apart and chew up until I’m nothing but two knuckle bones hanging from a string.
I listen, frozen, until I scream, run.
Mom sighs, says: “Ignore your brother.”
Catherine Ann Fox lives in Indiana with her husband, and enjoys writing all sorts of weird things. Logically, she knows there’s nothing under her bed but boxes, but one can never be too careful, can they?
The first day that I drove my new son and his exhausted mom home from the hospital, the freeway was thick with fast cars maneuvering around mega pick-ups with large tires and 40-ton semis, all in a mad dash to get somewhere.
How will I ever protect him?
Michael Borne lives in Texas, where large pick-up trucks seem to proliferate.
It’s morning. Early. You stir next to me. Tiny hairs on the back of your neck, patches of fine white silk. Undisturbed by your rustle.
You say I make you anxious. My hovering.
I inch closer. And feel your heat.
Inhaling, I can taste you.
And I wait.
Melissa lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband, Ken, dog Scout, and kitty, Mickey. She is an avid reader, writer, runner, and amateur actress.
“You have got to stop enabling him,” they told me. “He has to hit bottom.”
When he fell through, they said, “It wasn’t your fault.”
This must be what they mean by “The longest distance is between the head and the heart.”
A mother isn’t supposed to outlive her child.
Traci Mullins wrote this story.
Lingering between sleep and wakefulness, she savours that moment when light starts to pierce her eyelids, before reality dawns.
The drapes, stirred by the breeze, create flickers of light and then shadow.
She listens, hearing only her own gentle, rhythmic breathing.
Disruption, when it comes, is sudden, loud, cruel: MUM!!!
Jean enjoys writing short stories now that the birds have flown and she has more time. She would welcome a return of the disruption, though!
“Check under the bed.”
“Nope. Maybe it’s in the dryer.”
“I hope not.”
“It wasn’t there. Where else could it be?”
“I don’t even know. The yard?”
My wife was right. There, playing by our curbside mailbox, sat my toddler niece, proving how woefully unprepared we were to be parents.
Scott is an author and writer living in DFW, Texas, with his wife and their two boys. In his spare time he collects antique cameras. He has never intentionally misplaced a child, for the record.
I’m not very good with words. Never have been.
So I’m writing this to let you know how much you’ve changed my life. How my every waking moment is filled with thoughts of you.
I hope one day you’ll read this.
When you grow up and learn how, of course.
Franca is a bilingual English language teacher and proud grandmother. She belongs to an international creative writing group and now lives in Italy with her husband of 40 years.
Just one more cookie, she thinks. Just one more. Life is short. May as well enjoy it. Where’s the harm? She has no way of knowing that when she’s 40 years old, her seven-year-old son will say she weighs a thousand pounds when she leans over to kiss him goodnight.
Michelle is a contributing author in the most recent Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of Canada, and a quarterfinalist in the 2017 ScreenCraft Short Screenplay contest. Her writing has won several awards and appeared in The Globe and Mail (one of Canada’s National newspapers) and a number of local magazines and newspapers in Alliston, including The Briar Crier, Total Sports, Voice of the Farmer, Arts Talk and Focus 50 Plus. Her short story “Lightning Strikers” was made into a series in the Focus 50 +Newspaper because fans asked for more! You can find her online at commuterlit.com, FiftyWordStories.com, FeminineCollective.com, michelledinnick.com and @MichelleDinnick.
Allison didn’t recognize her at first. “…Mom?”
Her mother, impossibly young, stood at the door, a toddler on her shoulder.
“Oh, good,” said her mother. “You’ve turned out okay.” She handed Allison the toddler. “This is you, just barely two. I learned to time travel. I’ll pick her up tomorrow.”
Iain Young used to enjoy time travel, until that one unexpected layover in 1985. Losing his passport didn’t help.