Her look was summery; the weather was not. She stood shivering in her flower-speckled sundress, staring upward as the heavens opened, and torrents descended. Colourful ribbons in her hair were soon plastered against her scalp.
The forecast promised hot and sunny, but during the pandemic, nothing unfolded as it should.
Alan Kemister is the pen name of a retired scientist experimenting with more fictitious writing. He’s currently working on a climate change novel. Get the gory details at alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com
Greetings from July 2020. I’m watching a stickleback build his nest: his hustling, bustling busyness, his lips tug-kissing at leaves, his eyes turned blue and throat bright red with love. I really hope that, by the time this finds you—whenever, wherever you are—you can still watch stickleback too.
Michelle Christophorou’s short fiction has won and been placed in competitions, including the latest Strands International Flash Fiction Competition, and the Retreat West Fire-themed flash competition, for which she received a ‘Best of the Net’ nomination 2019. In another life, Michelle practised law in the City of London. Tweets @MAChristophorou
On the street, strangers quickly glance away. At the mirror, the ravaged face smiles, because the mass of angry red splotches says the chemo attack, the destroyer, is working. Hurt vanity—and it is hurt, no question—has lost its hallowed standing to the incomparable treasure of a longer life.
Marilyn McFarlane is on hold from travel writing and takes pleasure in writing and reading the gems in fifty-word stories. She’s the author of Sacred Stories: Wisdom From World Religions, for children, and The Healthy Seniors Cookbook, for any age.
At night, her mother put her to bed by telling her stories of cotton candy clouds and a winged unicorn named Percival. She dreamed she was flying on Percival, occasionally trotting along various rainbows. Heaven couldn’t be that far away, she figured. She could sense her father waving to her.
Ran Walker is the author of 21 books, the most recent of which is CAN I KICK IT?: Sneaker Microfiction and Poetry. He lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter.
It is always evening in my room. One wall has a painting, the winter cove, water now grey blue, cliffs dominant. Black ideograms; strong cursive brush strokes; the characters telling a story I don’t need to understand.
I go there as they lock down my radiotherapy mask again.
Helen is an experimental Artist and Writer based in South Wales, U.K.
plays over stained glass
as I sink to my knees
before the God who made me.
My eyes fill when
I lift them to meet His.
We glow as
love burns a bridge between us,
and I am consumed
but not destroyed.
At long last,
I am home.
Maria is blessed.
Bacon. Two eggs, over easy. Two slices of white toast, with butter and jam. Coffee with cream and sugar. The Sunday paper held up with one hand, nothing but coverage of the recent crisis.
Indigestion. Headache. Slight anxiety.
Tomorrow? Oatmeal. Almond milk. Juice. A book of poetry. And a smile.
C.M. Bunch writes (mostly) speculative fiction from the suburbs of Saint Louis. He is trying real, real hard to publish two novels and several short stories. Keep your fingers crossed for him.
Hands, rough from years of hard labour; hands, morphed to the shapes of their tools; hands, discarded, unwanted, idle; hands, now tornadoes of boredom and rage and frustration; hands, locked together with bracelets of steel; hands that would’ve toiled until the life drained out of them, if they’d been allowed.
Laura Besley writes short fiction in the precious moments that her children are asleep. Her fiction has appeared online, as well as in print and in various anthologies. Her flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, was published in March 2020. She tweets @laurabesley.
The surgeon cracked open the cocoon that was your ribcage and held your heart in his hands. He cradled it cautiously, cupping his palms as if encircling a fluttering moth. I cannot remember what he told me after—only the sound of his voice breaking when he said your name.
Jennifer Stitt is a PhD candidate in US intellectual history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her writing has appeared in Aeon, Aura Literary Arts Magazine, Chronically Lit, Essay Daily, Guernica, On Being, Public Seminar, and other places. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and is currently working on a book about the history of solitude.
You upload your post-protest selfie from a much nicer bathroom than your own, and while your other friends are commenting on your bloody, angry welts, I’m noticing the two toothbrushes in the cup, and wondering whose expensive towels you’re bleeding on and what heartbreak you’re setting yourself up for now.
Stephanie King is a past winner the Quarterly West Novella Prize and the Lilith Short Fiction Prize, with stories also appearing in Loch Raven Review, Lumen, Entropy, and Every Day Fiction. You can find her online at stephanieking.net or @stephstephking on Twitter.