The North Pole Police found Jolly the Elf hiding underneath a snow-covered tarp behind the old toy factory.
At the precinct they asked him repeatedly, “Why did you do it?”
Looking down at his blood-stained crakows, Jolly finally said, “Why should he get to have all the milk and cookies?”
Ran Walker is the award-winning author of 17 books, including Portable Black Magic: Tales of the Afro Strange. He teaches creative writing at Hampton University in Virginia.
The scruffy young panhandler sat on the busy sidewalk suckling a fractious infant. When I dropped a coin in her pot, the baby reached for my fingers. Distracted by the tiny hand and abandoned breast, I lingered for a moment too long.
“Alan?” she said as I tried to leave.
Alan Kemister is a retired scientist experimenting with more fictitious writing. See the gory details at alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com.
You break the news in a sombre tone, voice barely a whisper. My guilty eyes fixate on your office floor. You blame government cuts and funding, anything but the truth: your wife found out.
I don’t tell you I’ve already found another job. I started looking the day we kissed.
Anna Sanderson writes about the world as she sees it (with the odd twist and turn). You can follow her story on Twitter at @annasanderson86.
Fiona had secrets. Unlike some, she kept them hidden. She didn’t whisper about them in private. In fact, she didn’t speak of them at all.
She simply went through life, protecting the guilty in order to spare the innocent.
Life was easier that way. Everyone was happy.
Well, almost everyone.
Susan Gale Wickes lives in Indiana. She takes comfort in reading and writing 50-Word Stories.
To see the silence across a clouded sky and suddenly a crack, thunder like a whip.
Then a drenching rain. The heavens are lit – bright flashes like fire. The silence
back again. Weight upon my shoulders dropped fast – the gift of forgiveness.
Silence cracks my memory – fear like a whip.
Michael Mogel wrote this story.
We drank whiskey like sorrow were rare.
Dead’s dead, I muttered, bottle gone dry.
Hog stepped into the firelight, Colt drawn.
Wasn’t us, Billy blurted.
Hog shot him.
Wasn’t us my foot, I said, and drew.
I hadn’t a chance.
I knew it.
Hog knew it.
God hadn’t a clue.
Originally from the Midwest U.S., Justin Bendell lives and teaches in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he edits the Manzano Mountain Review, co-hosts Point Blank—a podcast about noir, hardboiled, and detective fiction—and records music under various monikers including fuguers cove and Euthanized Horse. His stories and poems have appeared in Meridian, 3:AM Magazine, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Thuglit, Washington Square Review, and more. He loves the desert. See more at justinbendell.com.
He crossed the finish line well ahead of the other athletes. The crowd cheered, a distant roar, but he didn’t stop.
In his mind, her voice was pleading, begging: “Don’t let me die here!”
Muscles pumping, heart racing, he sprinted on, the ghosts of his past hard on his heels.
Bill lives in Aberdeen, Scotland, which will become the capital of his world empire when he completes his anti-matter bomb. But first lunch.
Tears wanted to flow but nothing came. I wanted to cry but the guilt was too strong. In one fell swoop, my entire world crumbled before me, and I could not have done anything.
In that one moment, I understood what love and friendship meant because I had betrayed both.
Armaan is a bibliophile who listens to punk and alt rock, plays APRGs and likes to get serious sometimes. He started writing because his friends told him his English was better than theirs. His strong belief in friends has made him continue writing short fictional stories after high-school even though he currently pursues a degree in business management. He has recently entered the flash writing scene.
It was Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve (December 17th). Emily crossed the softball diamond in the snow, to where Sister Amy had had a tooth loosened by somebody’s loose ball in autumn.
“I’m fine!” she’d told them, face in hand.
Secretly Emily practiced alone until spring.
John Gabriel Adkins is a Pushcart-nominated writer of microfiction, anti-stories and other oddities, and is a member of the Still Eating Oranges arts collective. This year his work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Literary Orphans, SPANK the CARP, Five 2 One, Sick Lit Magazine, The Sleep Aquarium, and more.
Guilt burns my gut, only slightly sated by the whisky I sip.
The affair had been revenge for all the times his eyes had strayed. Joke was, I couldn’t tell him.
So my gut continues to burn as I take another sip and watch as his eyes stray once more.
Melissa is a writer, teacher, and dog lover in the Middle of Nowhere, Michigan.