February 9th, her birthday: deep in Winter’s bitter swell. Sledging with friends, then home to Mum’s hot chocolate and hugs.
Now grandchildren tiptoe to her door with homemade cake, footsteps wary over unforgiving frost. She pulls them indoors, warms small hands in hers.
Over seventy birthdays, she’s never felt cold.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia where February is anything but cold.
“Honey, shouldn’t you clear the driveway?”
“Not today. Doc recommended no more shoveling the white stuff for a while.”
“He was referring to forks and spoons and your carbohydrates intake! Potatoes, pasta, refined sugar…”
“Maybe so, but I’m taking no chances… There’s a shovel just your size in the attic.”
John H. Dromey’s short fiction has appeared in publications ranging from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine to Z-composition (June 2012 issue, online).
Frigid weather was not a factor when we were young. We welcomed the challenge. It was raw, but so were we. The jostle of crowded streets and hiss of the library’s radiators frustrated the arctic air during Christmas season in the big city.
The bundles of memory warm us now.
Eddie Roth writes from St. Louis.
Fields of vivid yellow; enthusiastic sunflowers tell me stories of love, life, and laughter as I lay amongst them.
Imposing, tall, stretching, kissing the sun.
I rearrange them in their vases. Together we look out the kitchen window, sighing.
They’re wilting now, but I count the days ’til next year.
Michael is currently writing bios for up-and-coming artists in the U.K.
Navin brought the dragon to his lips and kissed her tiny nose. “It’s time,” he said.
The dragon nodded, unfolded her shimmering wings and launched. In ever widening circles, she exhaled over the frigid land.
Navin smiled as banks of white capitulated to a triumph of green and riotous color.
Mary Haynes splits her time between sailing in Florida and dirt-dwelling in Burlington, ON. She is currently writing short stories and plays.
My neighbor Don moved up here from someplace warm, where there’s no snow. On the first snowfall of the season, he thought he was a real genius when he tried to hose the stuff off of his driveway.
I’m doing his shoveling until he gets the cast off his leg.
Sarah Krenicki is sick of Nor’easters.
He flits between branches, his jaunty, upturned tail bobbing. I’ve seen him before, but never this close, and never singing fit to burst his tiny heart.
His head twitches left and right. Perhaps he’s just scared, but I need to believe it’s because he’s caught a sideways glimpse of spring.
Tamsin can’t sing or flit, but she’s definitely on the lookout for the end of winter.
He’d treasured that winter. Record snow. Briskly cold.
Mother had carefully arranged a scarf around his neck while he watched the children’s snowball fight. He stifled a chuckle when father clumsily slipped on the ice.
Only when his charcoal eyes slid down his melting frame did the reality set in.
Alison treasures the winter and loves lots of snow.
She came for the gaping sky and arctic terns. But winter is slowly encasing the huts, the interminable statistics, the bickering. And the birds have gone.
Shedding her coat and boots to lighten the load, she steps into the snow, migrating south.
Despite only being 51˚ N, Tamsin is also dreading winter.
It begins early evening, lasts twelve hours
Resolute, incessant, deliberate
Weighing down the coloured canopy still clinging to the branches
Seeping its way into covered porches, rusting brake drums, and the joints of old men
Cold, wet, relentless
I pull the quilt over my head, for just ten minutes more
Paul Hock wrote this story.