People had stopped coming to see Elsa. She couldn’t imagine why.
This new home had even less space and light than before.
Then the van stopped moving. Blue sky and the smell of savanna burst through the open door.
“Just hope you still remember how to hunt,” said her zookeeper.
Gaining a Masters degree from University of South Wales in Scriptwriting, storyteller Peter Gaskell’s screenplay ‘Pigs in Muck’ featured in the Lockdown Monologue Film Festival recently. His poems have been published in the Atlanta Review and Places of Poetry as well as reviews of theatre, books, film, and concerts in Wales Arts Review. As a commissioned ghost writer his work as a novelist has been published while he is currently seeking an agent for his own novel ‘Shaman’s Blues’.
I would only take my mask off for her.
The fresh air is incredible, at odds with my recycled sickness. She reaches for my hand; I withdraw like I’ve been conditioned to. I give in. Her face is warm and flushed, perfect, just how I remember. Mine is unevenly unshaven.
Jonathan H. Smith (@JHSmithMD) is a physician and author living in Arizona.
Night cracks. Night pops. Night strobes with unnatural hues.
As I light another, I hear the dog inside whine and thump her head trying to squeeze under the couch.
My son says with everything going on in the world, this feels premature.
“Shut up,” I growl, “and let me celebrate.”
Graham Robert Scott’s stories have appeared in Barrelhouse, Nature, and Pulp Literature.
I reach the end of my street and here comes Mr. No-Mask, huffing and puffing like a freight train. I back up, let him pass. One block later, Ms. Cell Phone comes walking and talking, oblivious.
I just go home and read today’s forecast: ninety percent chance of “no walk”.
Paul Bluestein is a physician (no longer practicing) and a blues musician (still practicing). He used to go for walks on the beach where he could think about he past, wonder about the future and lose his sunglasses.
I smash Mother’s clay flowerpot with a basketball. It splits into multiple pieces.
Dad sifts through the pieces.
“Some things can’t be replaced,” he murmurs.
I wish he’d hate me. Or hit me. Yell.
I glue piece after piece. Fill the pot with the lilacs Mother had planned.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, CaféLit, and Ariel Chart, among others.
“I’m not sure what I’m hungry for, but this definitely isn’t it.”
She meant me. Us. Our sacred union.
Playing house had become wearisome, mind-numbing work.
Our holy matrimony had leaked whatever holy it held.
We’d become seasick passengers, nibbling at remnants of a sacred ritual gone sour.
Bob Thurber is the author of six books. Regarded as a master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in Esquire and other magazines, been anthologized 60 times, received a long list of awards, and been utilized in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
It wasn’t a lonely life.
It was just different.
She talked to the flowers, and they listened.
She could almost see the marigolds raise their little orange heads as she passed.
And the lilies always waved.
But you couldn’t trust a yellow rose…
Or the man who gave you one.
Susan Gale Wickes is from Indiana. She likes all flowers, even yellow roses.
plays over stained glass
as I sink to my knees
before the God who made me.
My eyes fill when
I lift them to meet His.
We glow as
love burns a bridge between us,
and I am consumed
but not destroyed.
At long last,
I am home.
Maria is blessed.
Bacon. Two eggs, over easy. Two slices of white toast, with butter and jam. Coffee with cream and sugar. The Sunday paper held up with one hand, nothing but coverage of the recent crisis.
Indigestion. Headache. Slight anxiety.
Tomorrow? Oatmeal. Almond milk. Juice. A book of poetry. And a smile.
C.M. Bunch writes (mostly) speculative fiction from the suburbs of Saint Louis. He is trying real, real hard to publish two novels and several short stories. Keep your fingers crossed for him.
Hands, rough from years of hard labour; hands, morphed to the shapes of their tools; hands, discarded, unwanted, idle; hands, now tornadoes of boredom and rage and frustration; hands, locked together with bracelets of steel; hands that would’ve toiled until the life drained out of them, if they’d been allowed.
Laura Besley writes short fiction in the precious moments that her children are asleep. Her fiction has appeared online, as well as in print and in various anthologies. Her flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, was published in March 2020. She tweets @laurabesley.