Madame Zolinska is leaning into the crystal ball.
“…and two mortgages. You and your daughter will be estranged. Sometimes you’ll wonder whatever happened to your dream of being a pediatrician.”
On the other side of the purple tablecloth, the teenager begins to cry.
“You wanted to know,” says Madame Zolinska.
Sage Tyrtle is a professional storyteller. Her stories have been featured on NPR, CBC, and PBS. She is a Moth StorySLAM and GrandSLAM winner. She’s also one of those Americans who swanned around saying, “If this gets any worse, I’M moving to CANADA,” but then she really did. See more at tyrtle.com.
So many times I have made the bed. The corners are tucked in tight, the creases smoothed out. Are the folds crooked?
My shadow slides over dark wood panelling as I circle the room. Its movement surprises me; I flinch.
His presence looms large: his raised arm, his clenched fist.
Zoey Rowan is a copywriter, content writer, and translator living in Berlin. When she isn’t writing short stories she can be found trying out new recipes or biking around her city.
A warm summer’s evening:
A light breeze.
with an orange sunset.
The birds chirped.
The cat purred.
The dog barked.
The parents yelled—
and the baby cried:
Being cradled gently and carried away
by an elderly woman,
with a somber face and badge on her hip.
Pratt Institute attendee, Connor Williams started learning to write about what mattered after fleeing Brooklyn in the wake of Covid-19.
The boy finished reading his favourite book. It was a western novel with a sheriff and bandits, and he loved everything about it.
He looked at his coat with a yellow star on it. “Now I’m the sheriff!” he thought proudly. “Tomorrow, I’ll show it to my classmates.”
Adam is a 19 year old student. He’s living near Prague in the Czech republic.
In the event of:
1. Flood – Assemble food and first aid kit. Be ready to evacuate.
2. Fire – Leave immediately. Once out, call emergency services.
3. Earthquake – Stay indoors. Prepare for cracks to appear in foundations. Do not involve passers-by. Subsidence is inevitable.
4. Marriage – Follow procedure in step 3.
Jo Withers writes micros, flash, and poetry from her home in South Australia. Recent work has appeared in Molotov Cocktail, Ellipsis Zine, Flashback Fiction, Spelk, 24 Unread Messages, and Mythic Picnic.
Sani and I stood in a hotel parking lot once and watched two children who were standing silently, holding each other’s hands and looking at the ground, while their parents fought.
That night we promised each other we’d always talk gently.
Those were hopeful days, before we knew the world.
Owen Yager is a senior at Carleton College. His work has recently appeared or is upcoming in multiple publications, including Flash Fiction Magazine.
The house was quiet, dimly lit with the holiday lights. Jean sighed, shaking her head. “The kids are busy this time of year, but they’ll be here tomorrow. They need me for those generation pictures. So don’t worry yourself, Tom. I won’t be alone.”
She touched the urn. “Miss you.”
Trisha Ridinger McKee resides in a Mayberry-like town in Pennsylvania, with her weary husband and hippie daughter. She may or may not be inspired by living next to a cemetery. And she may or may not have traumatized her daughter with a few ridiculously intense bedtime stories through the years.
Shortly after Greg woke to discover his vertebrae had permanently fused with his wife’s while they’d slept, he became curious if she had been complaining to her friends about him behind his back.
When she awoke screaming, desperate to pull away from him, he smiled, realizing it didn’t matter anymore.
Ran Walker is burrowing himself beneath a growing pile of words–and enjoying every minute of it.
His wingless angel protests, “You won’t like it,” but Derrick insists.
In the world in which he’d never been born, his parents haven’t divorced, his wife married Ryan Gosling, and the Beatles are all alive and still together.
“Nothing’s worse without me?” asks Derrick.
“Fruitcake still sucks,” his angel offers.
Tony Jasnowski teaches English at Bellevue University and is sure that we’d all be one step closer to living in Pottersville if 50-Word Stories didn’t exist.
Another Raksha Bandhan. He had always wished for a kid sister, who would tie him a rakhi.
“Mom, why can’t I have a sis?” he queries.
The mother gives him a blank expression. She has just undergone her third abortion.
“Can’t afford daughters,” her husband, a rickshaw puller, would say.
Vijai Pant is a school teacher in India. In his free time he lets his creative juices flow in the form of stories and poems.