—tornado, Jefferson City, MO, May 22, 2019
Trails of debris, rooftops blown into sand, a photograph of a two-week-old baby.
She said, I just wanted someone from my family to call, to see if we’re OK—
and the tornado’s breath came from her, stuttering sobs as loud as the storm.
Michael H. Brownstein wrote this story.
I chat to callers about holiday homes, kitchen renovations, solar panels.
Later, I call twenty-four-hour hotlines, but can’t find options I need:
1 for housebound,
2 for lonely,
3 for desperate.
Tomorrow, I’ll break the fridge. Mechanic will be here in an hour, answer in grunts. Highlight of my week.
Jo Withers writes micros, shorts and poetry from her home in South Australia. Recent work can be found in Molotov Cocktail, Spelk and 24 Unread Messages.
He had experienced moments of pure joy mixed with frustration, and he’d sung all the songs of satisfaction. He had discovered that discipline was love in its purest form. He had witnessed breathtaking sunsets and star-filled heavens on a clear night. But he would never learn to whistle a Symphony.
Jim Freeze is seventy-three years old, retired, and widowed. He was happily married for fifty-four years and has two grown sons. He began writing in early 2012 to have something to do. His short stories have been featured in many publications including Brilliant Flash Fiction, Calliope Magazine, The Original Writer, and Literally Stories.
The sunrise woke me without a sound.
I rolled off of the stiff hotel mattress and tried to get ready for the meeting, but the silence was too loud.
My son called. “Dad?”
“Is everything okay?”
“I just wanted to say good morning.”
“Oh, good morning.”
And then it was.
Seth Pilevsky lives in New York with his wife and five kids. He loves to wake up to a noisy house. His work has been published in the Long Island Literary Journal, Literally Stories, Memoir Magazine, Stinkwave’s Magazine and in the YA Anthology entitled, What Doesn’t Kill You. Sign up for updates at his website, spilevsky.com.
“Hey Google, close the blinds.”
“Hey Google, dim the lights.”
“Hey Google, start my favourite slow classics playlist.”
“Hey Google, send out all the last messages to friends and family from my draft box.”
“Hey Google, administer the anaesthetic and switch off the power to my ventilator.”
“Hey Google, Goodbye.”
Jo Withers worries that technology is getting out of hand and avoids it wherever possible. She is author of the middle-grade science-fiction novel “5 Simple Steps to Saving Planet Earth.”
You take the room in back, just sink, bed, and chair. The haggard woman unlocking the door disappears quietly back into dust.
Alone, with nothing but a ray of moonlight to talk to, you tell it your life story, then wait for tomorrow’s visit, plead with it to never leave.
Jim Doss has published two books of poems: Learning to Talk Again and What Remains. He also published a book of German translations entitled The Last Gold of Expired Stars: The Complete Poems of Georg Trakl 1908 – 1914. In his spare time, he is an editor for the Loch Raven Review.
Gladus glanced out the window and grumbled, “Those darn kids are stealing my pears and cutting across my property again. They’ve got no respect for others. Their parents should be ashamed. Things were different in my day.”
She sighed. “There must be a rule against visiting lonely old ladies now.”
Eddie D. Moore travels extensively for work, and he spends much of that time listening to audio books. The rest of the time is spent dreaming of stories to write and he spends the weekends writing them. His stories have been published by Jouth Webzine, Kzine, Alien Dimensions, Theme of Absence, Devolution Z, and Fantasia Divinity Magazine. Find more on his blog.
At first, she felt free. She’d bask in the summer evening radiance, watching the kaleidoscope of stars filling the night sky with their regular patterns. Like lights from faraway friends, watching over her.
But in winter, the pavement was cold. Clouds blocked out the stars. Friends seemed very far away.
Jo Withers hopes that everyone has friends nearby. You can follow Jo on Twitter.
We clung to each other in the dryer. Spinning socks became whirling dervishes in a passionate dance.
Unceremoniously thrown onto the hard surface. I was the only one left. Widowed now, and no one else can be my mate.
I’ve resorted to cuddling up to a lint ball.
Making people laugh, especially while they’re swallowing big spoonfuls of soup, is one of Diane Malk’s goals. She is a writer from Colorado who shudders at the sight of snow every winter and is certain she lived in the tropics in a previous life. Diane has been published in Mad Swirl, Hackwriters, and Scarlet Leaf Review. She is working on her first book and always has a craft project in the works.
A life of tangled legs in bed, like sleeping wrapped in spider webs.
First curled small against my mother,
Then later trapped beneath a lover.
Years of children’s legs cocooned, of cuddles, laughter, me and you.
Now as I lie in empty web, I dream of beds with spider legs.
Jo Withers wakes up in a tangle of kids and pets every morning and wouldn’t have it any other way. Once she’s freed herself she writes poetry, short stories and children’s sci-fi adventures. You can follow Jo on Twitter.