Samuel’s holiday decorations had to be perfect.
They drove to multiple lots for the ideal tree. For that ‘special’ look, he insisted Tamra help place each ornament in exactly the right spot. The house was always a flawless display.
His perfectionist demands were why he was spending this Christmas alone.
Bill Diamond lives in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and writes to try and figure it all out.
When Jerry arrived home, he realized he’d left his life at the office.
This wasn’t the first time he’d realized this, but the realization was more poignant at the moment as he read the note on the refrigerator:
“Took kids with me to mother’s. See you again sometime, I imagine.”
Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent writing in Red Eft, Ink In Thirds, Alba, Corvus, Tower Journal, Uppagus, After the Pause, Spelk, Chrome Baby, Former Cactus and many others. In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.
“I need to see you,” he says, phone denting his cheek.
She swallows, hard. That “sucking on a penny” taste.
20 minutes later, he rings her doorbell.
“Your dad is dead,” he says, no warmup.
“Oh thank God. I was afraid you were going to tell me you’re leaving me.”
Anne Gudger is a Portland writer who has been lucky to have words in Real Simple Magazine, The Rumpus, Slippery Elm, and more. In November 2017 Anne won two contests: Hippocampus and New Millennium Writings. She lives with her sweet husband, and their grown kids and kid-in-laws live not far.
I didn’t know what it was at first, wings folded, very still. A bat expert told me I couldn’t get rid of it. “It’s a protected species.”
Veronica left after a week. She wasn’t prepared to share a house with a creature like that.
It’s just me and Boris now.
David Mark Williams lives in Scotland and writes poetry and short fiction. He has completed two poetry collections to date: The Odd Sock Exchange and Papaya Fantasia. See more at davidmarkwilliams.co.uk.
Every week it was a new cause. Something to fight for, believe in. Karen was always looking for a shiny new bandwagon to hop aboard.
She was at a rally when her husband packed up and headed out for greener pastures.
Turns out he needed something to believe in, too.
Susan Gale Wickes is from Indiana. She spends her days crafting short stories, epigrams, poetry, and the occasional song.
Seventy Facebook notifications. A quiet night.
Cervical smear scandal, presidential election, granny grant: Sasha sits in bed, checks the ‘likes’, scrolls through the comments. Trolls out in force.
Putting on her helmet, she types like her life depends on it.
“Shush! Not now!”
Switches off the baby monitor.
You can connect with Geraldine at facebook.com/cruthaitheacht.
It started out small. Just a little white lie here and there. No real damage done, right? I could stop at any time.
“Grandma, I don’t feel well. I’m not coming over today.” I went shopping instead and found a beautiful navy suit.
I’ll wear it tomorrow to her funeral.
Susan Gale Wickes is from Indiana. She enjoys writing short stories, and always tries to tell the truth.
“Come with us,” they said. Eventually, he went with them.
The world’s media had long been alight. It’s not every day undecipherable symbols appear on the Moon.
His crime? Fishing on the river while everyone was panicking.
That, and being the only being on Earth able to read the symbols.
Chris Judd is an Englishman living in South Korea riding the ESL wave.
Standing on the footpath the cyclist had just been removed from, small pools of blood seeping brown into the asphalt, he noticed tiny red specks on his suede shoes. He heard another onlooker say something like, “Holy, this is horrific.”
He nodded his agreement; he’d bought the shoes in Florence.
Chris Connolly wrote this story.
The preacher’s wife saw them selling the deep fried butter balls dusted with icing sugar at the Texas State Fair. She ate three in a row. She ordered a Diet Coke to wash them down as penitence.
Oddly, she felt worse about these sins than the affair with the Deacon.
Michael Donoghue mostly lives in his head, but resides in Vancouver, Canada.