Penelope begs me to call her Mother.
I know what I did. I still love you.
Penelope moves through the house. Seems off, like a newspaper left out.
I needed space.
I believed she loved me. Missed her graceful gait, jokes, tender goodnights.
I utter that word.
Mir-Yashar is a graduate of Colorado State’s MFA program in fiction. A recipient of two Honorable Mentions from Glimmer Train, he has also had work nominated for The Best Small Fictions. Mir-Yashar’s work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such Scarlet Leaf Review, Ariel Chart, 50 Word Stories, and The Write City Magazine.
As an adventurous toddler, I was a little unsteady. Dad held my hand, guided me, protected me from falling.
Fifty years later, he’s a little unsteady. I hold his hand, guide him, protect him from falling.
He smiles at me, a grown woman to others, but always his little girl.
Lisa Chambers is a Texas girl who always enjoys a good story.
Evening. I lie in bed, absorbing the hum of the fan. Shadows spill through, lavender and pink cheer bathing me. For this moment, I put aside father’s lectures, bad son, too artistic, not living in the real world.
Darkness deepens. For a moment, I can almost forget. Almost.
Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State’s MFA program in fiction. The recipient of two Honorable Mentions from Glimmer Train, he has also had work nominated for The Best Small Fictions. His work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as The Write City Magazine, Agony Opera, and Every Writer’s Resource.
The livestream of his daughter’s birth crawled; he didn’t recognize himself in the black flicker.
Just earlier he shot a child who had pointed a gun at him. Watched the hate and fear fade from his eyes.
She’s now the only part of him that still belongs in this world.
Shaw Chen is a USAF Veteran and graduate student who wants to try creative writing.
Sani and I stood in a hotel parking lot once and watched two children who were standing silently, holding each other’s hands and looking at the ground, while their parents fought.
That night we promised each other we’d always talk gently.
Those were hopeful days, before we knew the world.
Owen Yager is a senior at Carleton College. His work has recently appeared or is upcoming in multiple publications, including Flash Fiction Magazine.
Jason spotted it as he pulled radishes: big diamond. The house’s former owner had asked him to watch for it.
His wife, the gardener, had fallen. Hand ballooned; ring cut off. In early Alzheimer’s, she forgot where she’d put it. Two years ago now.
Let it stay lost.
Retired after four decades’ prizewinning print and broadcast journalism in Hartford, CT, Don Noel received his MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University in 2013. He has published more than four dozen short stories (including “Earthworm Ruminations” in 50-Word Stories in September 2017), but still has three longer works to place.
Walk to school,
Home from school,
Help with homework,
Make the dinner,
Run their baths,
Mop the floor,
Wake up Mother,
Bring her bottle,
Avoid eye contact,
Make no sound.
Jo Withers is author of the middle-grade science-fiction adventure 5 Simple Steps to Saving Planet Earth. Her recent shorter fiction can be found in Spelk, Molotov Cocktail, Ellipsis Zine and Flashback Fiction.
He wraps the pillow around is head, diving deep beneath the covers.
The yelling always keeps him awake. Mother checks he is asleep.
His door closes softly, then a loud pop comes from downstairs.
Mother checks on him again. The yelling has finally stopped.
He drifts off to sleep.
Kristyn Mass lives in Iowa with her husband and three cats. She is a professional voice actor and aspiring writer.
My greasy hair is flowing upwards, blonde flames licking the stale air of the ISS. Exercise twice a day, followed by sponge baths only.
“I know, sweet pea, I know,” I whisper into the microphone. Her newborn cries inconsolably.
Twice a day I am only 220 miles away from her.
Dini Armstrong, now Scottish, has worked in journalism and psychology. She is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing. Her controversial style got her into trouble from age six, when, after writing a particularly enraging piece about a cat blowing up three boys, she had to promise to her stepdad never to write again. She lied.
You’re the responsible one, his will said. I leave these to you.
She opens the albums. Carefully labeled photos; dates, names, genealogical charts, news clippings.
Also: many pictures of her brother, but none of her.
Out of respect for the dead, she waits six months before she burns it all.
Graham Robert Scott teaches writing at a university in north Texas. His stories have appeared in Barrelhouse Online, Nature, and X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine.