It starts out as a vague outline, but a warm feeling of familiarity envelops me as my pencil glides across the stretched canvas and a body begins to take shape. Smooth strokes fill in the curves of her hips and her eyes take on a life that no longer exists.
Maria S. Nitsolas is an emerging writer from Sydney, Australia. To follow her writing journey, visit mariasnitsolas.com.
“Why do you bleat like a goat?” I ask. “Do those sounds comfort you?”
“Yes, I believe they do,” he responds.
A month later, once again, “Why?”
“They help me to focus and think.”
Three more months, and he barely understands the question.
“They remind me that I’m still alive.”
Mary Hickey is an internationally known backgammon champion, teacher, coach and author. Her literary fiction has appeared in The Griffin, Happy, Kalliope, and other publications. She takes a break from writing if sushi, mattar paneer, or really good coffee are on offer.
Seen on the running trail: tall, beefy (beloved you, at the end, emaciated). Black hair under cap (you, at the end, bald). Muscular legs (you, at the end, wheelchair-bound). Blue eyes (you, at the end, blind). Trim beard (you, at the end, blotches). Gentle breathing (you, at the end, gasping).
Over 45 years, Paul Lamar’s poems and stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Steam Ticket, Bryant Literary Review, etc.
The needle pierces my worn-out vein. A schism opens between mind and body, thoughts and deeds; widens as I tumble into chaos, search for your eyes in those that turn away. Waves of light bear down on me. Blasts of sound. My head meets the pavement. And there you are.
Jayne Martin lives in Santa Barbara, California. She is a Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, and Best Microfictions nominee, and a recipient of Vestal Review’s VERA award. Her collection of microfiction, “Tender Cuts,” from Vine Leaves Press, is available now through all online book sellers. See more at jaynemartin-writer.com.
You are my past, and Oh, how I cherish you.
The artwork, the books; the fine furniture saturated with memories.
You showcase five decades of my successes.
But once I could not pay, none of that mattered.
The storage company will auction you off, breaking my retirement heart,
Monica Perez Nevarez is a sustainability consultant during the day and a writer by night, bearing witness to Covid’s ever-expanding collateral damage.
The first betrayal crawled into my chest, compressed my heart and lungs. It quickly grew its branchlike arms up to my throat, aiming for strangulation. A bottle of whiskey, an old record, and twenty-one days diluted its power. The second betrayal is unable to pierce the shell of misery.
Erhard Firn appreciates loyalty.
Sarah lowers the wine bottle into the recycling bin and places it onto the stack below. It doesn’t make a sound. She’s practised at this. At silence.
In the living room, the laptop sits open at the grocery page. It suggests Pampers. She adds wine and tampons to her order.
R. J. Kinnarney’s short story, The Blue Bowl, was runner-up in the Daunt Books short story competition. They have been longlisted in Retreat West flash fiction competitions. Their work has been published in The Write In and 100 Words of Solitude. They are currently working on a novel, which looks at attitudes to war, together with changing methods and speed of communication.
Mowing the lawn is refreshingly mindless. Must look ahead to keep my rows straight and my cutting thorough. But I can also look back. And remember those who worked for me. One stepped in front of a train. But only one. Must keep my rows straight and my cutting thorough.
Robert Markovich spent a lifetime in what is charitably referred to as service journalism, writing and editing stories about everything from cars to toilets, most recently at Consumer Reports. He is happily and gratefully retired.
My son has a plot—his own little piece of real estate. The grass is sparse, so I tend it: raking topsoil, spreading seed, pouring water. New sprouts emerge, filling the aching gaps.
I remove the weeds, pretending he’s on vacation.
But my heart screams his name and I cry.
Tawnia is an elementary teacher in Ontario who recently started writing. She is revising her first novel, a YA sci-fi, and hopes to start querying agents soon. She recently told a Red Chair story via Zoom for the Graham Norton Show. You can find her on Twitter @TawniaCourage.
This is not a bar. This is not a place
to linger. People come and go
rather quickly. Usually
they’re in a hurry. Occasionally,
one might require
a moment to recalibrate,
to adjust to sudden loss,
the vanishing of someone
very dear, very special.
Before resettling into
stabilized day-to-day sorrow.
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.