Things I’ve done for money: collected cans for cash, sold chocolate, shoveled sidewalks after a snowstorm. Once I built an amusement park in the backyard and sold tickets. That was the summer Mom quit chemo.
I told jokes for a penny. She bought a hundred, and listened from her bed.
Jane Hertenstein wrote this story.
The left arm was too long. Distracted, she’d miscounted the rows above the cuff.
He’d just grin and blame his shoulder. That permanent, lopsided shrug that gave his silhouette such beautiful asymmetry.
As she laid the neatly folded pullover on the grass, she noticed his headstone leaned the same way.
Tamsin is disappointed that she has never mastered knitting.
Little if any sizzling. Pulling away from the pan.
A toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
She turned it upside down on a wire cooling rack then righted it on another.
That brief time left an impression.
The crisscross pattern reminded her of her mother.
Dead at forty-two.
Jennifer M. Smith was taught the family baking secrets at an early age. She never met her maternal grandmother.
“Happiness is seeing Mars in your rear-view mirror…” sang Lorg as the planet disappeared from view. “Good luck colonizing that mudball!”
He turned on the vessel’s kitchen feature. Reaching for the hyperspace button, he hesitated and turned around instead. “I’d colonize an asteroid with Liya if she wanted.”
Penny Jo McAllister writes fantasy and has never left Earth.
“Let’s walk to our tree,” she’d say. Our special place.
Through the wood, twigs snap underfoot. The brook flows by, reflecting dazzling summer sun. At the tree, a blackbird sings. I run my fingers over her initials, still carved into the trunk.
She’s gone. Her name forever in my heart.
Henry writes micro, flash and full fiction. He lives in Somerset, UK and he likes trees.
He hadn’t thought of her today. (Much.)
Then, his friend’s boy with his innocent question, “What’s your favourite colour?” (Couldn’t know the pain it caused.)
“Yellow,” he replied. (But what he really meant was: saffron sparks. Those lemon lights of stranded stardust that campfires used to summon in her eyes.)
Jo Withers is in a strangely sentimental mood. It won’t last.
“Isn’t that the funniest thing you ever heard?”
“Yes, mom. It’s a wonderful story. But it’s time for bed. Good night.”
I sigh and think to myself, when you wake up tomorrow you can tell it again, and I will pretend it’s the first time I ever heard it. Again.
G. Allen Wilbanks is a member of the HWA and has published over 40 short stories in Deep Magic, Daily Science Fiction, The Talisman, and other venues. He has published two short story collections, and his first novel, When Darkness Comes, was released in October, 2017. For more information, visit gallenwilbanks.com.
“You have me,” he said, the promise reflected in his eyes. She believed him.
That was a year ago. He’d lied.
Now she held her screaming newborn in her arms, breasts raw from another failed feeding. “Shhh,” she whispered near his little ear. “I’m here. I will always be here.”
Zurina Saban is a poet and author based in Johannesburg.
The grey mask shields her eyes from visions of the children she never had
and scents her dreams with lavender
The ear plugs muffle the whispers of her ghosts
She bites down on a bullet, designed to take the strain
And she lays herself down,
to fight the night.
Jennifer M. Smith lives in Burlington, Ontario.
The clock strikes twelve. Glasses clink, the shiny ball drops, cheers all around.
In the midst of the confetti, I stand alone, champagne in hand… waiting.
Waiting for you, my love. Waiting for your kiss to signal another New Year.
My mind knows you’ve gone, but my heart still waits.
Susan Lozano wrote this story.