“Daddy, can you hear the ocean?”
I put the conch to my ear.
A gift sent from her new home, miles from this dusty dirt pit her mother couldn’t wait to escape.
The video cuts out. Again. Bad connection.
I keep the shell pressed to my ear until night falls.
Jane Brown is a web programmer and short fiction writer who lives by the beach in Australia.
The sound of the piano playing always keeps her awake at night, especially now that she is alone in the house. She steps quickly down the stairs, but by the time she gets there the music has stopped. Gently, she brushes her fingers over the keys and closes the lid.
Reb Elkin writes science fiction and fantasy. She has no plans to buy a piano.
He sits before the door expectantly, tail swishing. The door doesn’t open, will never open. Inside is off limits.
I sigh, empathy swirling through me. “Come on, bud,” I mutter, lifting my protesting cat up and away.
He’s not the only one to obsess over what he can’t have.
Maria is fascinated by the similarities of emotion across species, time, and place. She misses her cats a lot.
Three days after my mother died, I started clearing out her bedroom. I needed to sleep in there; the sofa was making my sciatica flare up.
Under the bed I found various expensive candles I’d bought her, in a box marked: FOR BEST.
I burned them all at her funeral.
Laura Besley writes short fiction and squeezes her writing into the bookends of her day. She has lived in Holland, Germany, and Hong Kong, but now lives in land-locked central England and misses the sea. Her flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, was published in March 2020. She tweets at @laurabesley.
Her sweet gaze froze me, yet thawed my soul
Like a microwave-refrigerator, if that we’re such a thing
But we both play bass
We both play bass
Two strings, tethered in parallel
Destined never to cross
Because we both play bass
We could never band together
Kit is an ad student from Florida, and he loves a good story. He’s just a zany kid who has a lot of inspiration and is looking for something to do with it.
I can notch no more on my Colt, yet one still eludes me.
Through rain and snow and rugged terrain, I’ve finally hunted him down.
Outside a bar, in Tombstone, I called him out to end it.
The last notch was etched on my wife’s and two daughters’ headstones.
Warren Clyde wrote this story.
Year: 1935. Two young brothers play games on the sunny, manicured expanse that runs along the edge of the bluff. Beyond, the sea sparkles. A soft summer breeze floats by, lifting their downy hair. Only this moment, this slice of time, separates them from the impending horror of Hitler’s world.
Le Anne uprooted from her native state of Texas to enjoy the cooler weather of the east coast where she enjoys book and writing groups.
They stopped legally selling candy cigarettes because it encouraged smoking in minors. The problem was, I was already going through two packs a day. Now I meet shady kids on the playground who sell them at a premium from inside their overcoats.
I wish I’d never chewed that first stick.
Shawn D. Brink has four novels and many shorter works to his name. For more, please visit shawnbrinkauthor.wordpress.com. Shawn is represented by Liverman Literary Agency and lives in Nebraska, USA.
Grandma says I’m underreacting.
She says back in her day things weren’t so bad. She says I really don’t know just how bad I have it. She says kids today are too lazy—they don’t fight for change like they used to.
I open the curtains and close them again.
Sarah Hausman just decided it was time to write again.
Nothing says desperation like an American college student digging through their wallet. I know that’s what the cashier is thinking while watching me frantically search for my card.
She’s not wrong; though I just paid my $25k tuition, the $10 price of bacon seems a little too steep for me.
Sarina Northway is an English and psychology double major at the University of South Carolina. Though not very experienced, she is working on her first traditionally published novel, Dead Girl Walking.