Behind a bench, on the empty side of the park, you see some letters upended.
Maybe they fell off a sign. Maybe they were part of an art installation. They’re very three-dimensional and very white on the green grass.
But that’s the problem with metaphors – they’re always ultimately reading practice.
Kerry works in adult education in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He thinks that most people have really great stories to share, except boring people, and that learning to tell stories empowers people to learn to learn from them.
“Isn’t Darryl joining us?” I ask my host.
Otis grunts, gnaws on a BBQ rib. Should ribs be that big?
They’d argued… I heard thuds. This is hillbilly country!
A bruised Darryl appears. “Dang, Otis! Don’t freak our dinner guest.”
Then he stage whispers, “You know fear spoils the meat!”
Mary Sheehan hails from southern Ireland and is vegetarian…
“We need to talk.”
“I’m sorry!” he shouted, thinking he knew what she wanted. “I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry I can’t be the son you want. I’m sorry I can’t get my life together. You want perfection… I’m only human.”
“Ah,” she said, smiling sadly. “But you’re not.”
is, in fact, only human. She makes up for this about writing stories about people and things who are not.
I didn’t know who she was but she wasn’t my wife and that wasn’t our house. The television had carried news, she said, of the inflations, and the suicides, and the sudden economic conditions, but the news was not my news, told in a voice that was not her voice.
t lives on a hill by the sea in England. He spends his spare time planning to write more short stories.
“Chicken,” he argues, accepting a plateful of my scrambled eggs.
“Egg,” I counter, despairing.
“Chicken,” he pluffs, eggs carelessly falling from his smug mouth.
Unzipping my skin suit, feathered breast bursting, I peck him solidly in the chest. Mouth agape, he flees the kitchen.
I hate it when he’s right.
Judy Crawford met the love of her life in a college writing class. They don’t always agree either.
Hogarth placed a wildflower bouquet at the weathered roadside cross. He couldn’t read the stranger’s name, but he knew, in reversed circumstances, he’d want the same.
It was only through the flash of headlights and screeching tires that Hogarth realized the cross’s name was his, the date of death: today.
Scott is an Amazon best-selling author and short story writer. He lives and works in Texas with his wife & their two boys. You can connect with Scott and find links to his stories on his website
I started turning into a tree three days ago. Then stopped. It’s unseemly having only two branches and barely any leaves. But so many knots.
Mum shook her head and tutted. Dad patted me on the trunk, then checked his palm for splinters. Ever-practical Joanna showed the saw’s sharp teeth.
Rob Walton is a writer, performer and teacher from Scunthorpe, England. He now lives with his family in North Shields, from where he travels to perform in schools and libraries. Poems, short stories and flash fictions for children and adults have appeared in various magazines and anthologies. He collated the text for the New Hartley Memorial Pathway and collaborates with sculptor Russ Coleman. He won the UK’s National Flash Fiction Day micro-fiction competition 2015. He sometimes tweets @anicelad
and his oddness can be found at linesofdesire.co.uk
“The boogeyman isn’t real,” was the last thing my dad said before I shoved him into the closet and slammed the door. I plugged my ears and sang “la la la” until he stopped screaming. Of course, I felt bad later, but nobody talks about my best friend like that.
Larry Hinkle is an advertising copywriter living with his wife, two dogs, and a cat in the suburbs of Omaha, Nebraska. When he’s not writing stories that scare people into peeing their pants, he writes ads that scare people into buying adult diapers lest they get caught peeing their pants.
Her tiny fingers, entwined in mine. Soft. Delicate.
Her nod, a whisper, “It’s time.”
A click as the switch is turned off. Then…?
Darkness. No light, no tunnel, no welcome home.
Terror envelops me; tears begin to fall.
Just a fading whisper: “They never would have believed you, anyway, Mommy.”
Anita Reynolds is a writer and artist, wife and mom in the rural reaches of Tennessee. Her work is inspired by the strangeness of life, from the mundane to the magical.
Death came to call, and I quivered on the threshold, until I realized he wasn’t menacing me, just lost and asking for directions, his hood askew, with Mrs. Death sitting in their van, tapping the wheel.
Relieved, I sent them away down an unpopulated road and eventually out of town.
Robbie Gamble identifies primarily as a poet. When not obsessing about image and line breaks, he works as a nurse practitioner caring for homeless people in Boston, Massachusetts.