A previously loud planet is now silent. Its people—including myself—are isolated.
Quietly, I sit at my desk, where my old stories rest. Grabbing a pencil, I add layers to their clothing. Then I create new journeys, with paths that test one’s courage.
Suddenly, I find myself exploring the universe again.
Cristina Marie Pagan has appeared in 50-Word Stories, Glimpse, the Mystic Blue Review, and Seshat Literary Magazine.
“Pride goeth before the fall.”
“Excellent,” the professor said. “Ms. West is correct. That is—in essence—the theme of Melville’s novel.”
Another student snorted.
“Sorry, sir. It’s just…that’s too artsy-fartsy.”
“Really. Then what do you say the theme is in Moby Dick?”
“Never lean on the railing.”
Johnny Lowe has copyedited books for a university press. He recently edited an anthology of short stories titled What Would Elvis Think? Mississippi Stories. Lowe has also lettered comic books and dabbled in ventriloquism.
Her first tattoos were memorials. Then an image, then a symbol of sobriety. Each enriches her story. She embellishes her canvas with great care; her children are amused but shrug.
She is making a burning bowl of her skin.
One day everything she is will rise into the morning sky.
Melody Leming-Wilson teaches poetry in Portland, Oregon. She is about ready for a new tattoo.
She’s painting white against white. It’s an octopus—I know from illuminated glances, stolen when the desk lamp lights each colorless ridge and layer—but to the passing eye, it’s just an empty frame on the textured wall. She shuts the door against me to add another layer of madness.
Gretchen has an octopus painting on her wall, but she supposes you do, too.
She was hopeful, he knew. He programmed; she called movies “films.” Blade Runner was common ground.
During the credits, he shrugged. The replicants’ four-year lifespan failsafe was stupid. Engineers were smarter than that.
She was silent for a long time.
You know, she said. I think you’ve missed the point.
Colin Lubner writes (in English) and teaches (math) in southern New Jersey. His fiction has either appeared or will appear, temporally speaking. Extant pieces can be found through his Twitter at @no1canimagine0. He is keeping on keeping on.
It began with masked nobles contained within castle walls, like pigs in the slaughterhouse. The music was mostly ignored, but if they listened closely, they would’ve wondered how something so elegant and refined can speak of death and chaos so lightly.
It began with music and masquerade.
Then massacre followed.
Sol Ibañez is a writer and illustrator quietly residing on an archipelago in Southeast Asia.
For sixty-five years, the writer conversed back and forth with her typewriter, its keys creating a bridge to her imagination.
When arthritis stiffened her fingers and her mind began to wander, the typewriter kept right on telling those stories, willing itself to become the voice for the two of them.
Ran Walker is an award-winning writer who teaches at Hampton University in Virginia. He is at work on a collection of 50-word stories.
Care to laugh? Perchance to shiver?
Maybe explore notions and foreign beliefs,
Or wander the depth of human emotion?
What if you could learn something about yourself
You’ve never imagined?
You can tell your tale.
The Muses claim monopoly on these wonders,
But I say every being is a bard.
Luke Swanson is a fledgling author from Oklahoma City. He has a novel and a handful of short stories featured in anthologies from Limitless Publishing.
Like the rain,
A poem falls
When conditions are propitious.
Words patter down
Sometimes the flowing
Quenches your thirst
Or washes you clean.
Sometimes the flooding
Strips you bare
To your foundation.
When a poem falls
Into your heart,
It is best to listen.
Casey Laine comes from a long line of talkative women. She works as Fantasy Editor at Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores and publishes an annual anthology of fiction and poetry for her writing group, Writers Assembled. In her spare time, she chases butterflies with her camera. Find her on Facebook.
Create a universe. Twist a hand and just let the galaxies flow through your fingertips. Obsess over tiny details: the colour of a flower, that specific shade of orange in the evening sky. Scatter moons into orbit like grains of sand.
That is what it means to be a God.
Isla is a fourteen-year-old aspiring author doing her very best to get her ideas across. Hopefully after exams she’ll have more time to write!