I love blankets. I love their softness, their variety—their moods ranging from pastels to prints. I love my camo comforter most, big enough to cocoon me completely, my body hidden, protected from the cold, the open air, my parents’ voices swelling in the den… Nothing can reach me here.
Natalie Schriefer received her MFA from Southern Connecticut State University. She works as a freelance writer and editor. See more at natalieschriefer.com.
At the wedding reception two middle aged women, the mothers of the bride and groom, are dancing together and alone. The vocalist is attempting Orbison’s Pretty Woman. One mother is wearing a fascinator, the feather above her head beating time to another tune.
The bride and groom are arguing again.
John Young lives in St Andrews. He likes spooky stuff and the boundary areas been “normal” and “odd” experiences.
Santa’s drinking Dad’s wine.
Head held back, he guzzles, laughing like a honking goose. Reminds me of Dad.
Mother claims Santa loves me.
I lose hints of faith.
Four years later, Santa’s hurling wine bottles. Mother and I dart among fusillades.
She doesn’t say Santa loves me.
Love’s a myth.
Mir-Yashar is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. A recipient of two Honorable Mentions from Glimmer Train, his story, “Strangers,” was nominated for The Best Small Fictions. Mir-Yashar’s work is forthcoming or has been published in journals such as Maudlin House, The Drabble, Door Is A Jar, and Ariel Chart.
Every day was the same.
Soon as Mom got home they started.
Back and forth they went.
Around and around they went.
The volume of their voices fluctuated, depending on which room they were in.
Dad wasn’t working, wasn’t looking.
He talked about the life-changing phone calls he was expecting.
Bob Thurber is the author of “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” and two collections of stories. A celebrated master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in 60 anthologies, received dozens of awards, and been used in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts where, despite severe vision loss, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
Nursing home conversation:
Is that Myrtle? I thought she went to live with her daughter.
It didn’t work out.
Why? She was so excited since her kids never had time to visit her here.
She discovered something that broke her heart worse than being an afterthought.
Being an obligation.
Cathy is a temporarily out of work bookkeeper, taking a little time off to play in the fields of words and exercise the other half of her brain.
Mum came tumbling down the stairs. “THERE’S A GHOST!” she cried.
Dad got up and went upstairs to investigate.
Dad came running down the stairs. “IT’S TRUE!” he cried.
I ran upstairs.
I came back down to comfort Mum and Dad.
“APRIL FOOLS!” they yelled.
“Guys, it’s December,” I said.
Yves is 16, and wrote this because he took a day off school and his dad wouldn’t get off his back until he did something creative.
Stephen was born to be a writer, his parents always said so.
His latest book would be a bestseller, they bragged, a page-turner with a twist ending that would set the world on fire.
“But it had all been a dream,” he’d typed on that last page.
“Brilliant!” they’d gasped.
Michael McKinnon, of Toronto, has been a writer, journalist, and communications professional for more than 20 years.
His hands touched me in ways you are not imagining but in ways I cannot forget.
Those hands were the first to touch my tiny, ten-fingered, ten-toed body; the same hands that punched a hole in the bathroom mirror, leaving only his anger and his absence to remember him by.
Madison is a MFA graduate student studying Fiction at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She spends her time writing, reading, and watching too many movies, if there is such a thing.
My ears signal their arrival.
Clenching my eyes, darkness becomes twofold.
Immobile, I dare not move. Their interest sometimes dissipates quicker without a reaction.
I sense them closing in.
The squall of their voices becomes a terrible symphony of unspeakable horrors.
“Get a job. Get up and get a job.”
Craig Holzschuh (1973-present) is an American writer. He is best known for amusing stories and an overreliance on spell-check. His pseudonyms pout in jealousy.
Fresh cut grass smell. Saturday morning. Cheerios and cartoons, pajamas until lunch. Dad came in, sunburned and glistening. He made lunch, turned the game on.
“Dad! I have two more shows!”
“Go take a bath,” he said, pungent.
Mom used to let me wait.
Monday’s bus still one day away.
Ryan Cicak has published poetry and creative non-fiction before, primarily through the award-winning American River Review, once winning an award for a sestina about zombies. “After Her” originally appeared on his website, Etceterocity.tumblr.com.