Nancy vanquishes electronic rejections from lit mags, slays alumni newsletters, and eliminates campaign letters.
They call her, “Dear Nancy.”
She prefers Nance, Nanny, old nicknames conveying light footsteps, laughter, whispered secrets. She wishes they’d ask about her worst day. Her favorite movie.
Empty spaces taunt.
Full inboxes hide so much.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others.
My paper doll of a mother likes to put on different cutout kits and try to convince people of things. She’s not very good at it, though, because she’s a paper doll and so when she stands in the light to make her speeches we can see right through her.
Robert Hoekman Jr. thinks you die when you stop wanting. He writes and writes and writes. He lives on a farm in Virginia and refuses to be put into a box.
“I’ll never forgive you,” the man whispered so only God could hear his voice. “I’ll hate you until the day I die.” He stared at the massive cross looming over him, his eyes filled with rage.
Then he forced a smile, turned to face his congregation, and started the sermon.
Ethan Noll works in a welfare office and writes as often as possible.
She’d always been the good girl, the dutiful daughter, even-tempered wife and loving, supportive mother.
A woman with endless reservoirs of patience and good intentions, which made her popular with those far from home.
She’d folded her passion away in a place no one would ever look.
Until that day.
SG has a vivid imagination and lives in Brisbane, Australia.
Once a month, my mother got religion. It came on her in the night hard, a sheet-soaking fever. Sunday morning, I’d find her in the bathroom spackling the seams and chips in her forehead before painting an alien face over her own.
Like God wouldn’t recognize her Friday night self.
Sarah Freligh is the author of Sad Math, winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Poetry Prize and the 2015 Whirling Prize from the University of Indianapolis. Recent work has appeared in the Cincinnati Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, and the anthology New Microfiction (WW Norton, 20180). Among her awards are a 2009 poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation in 2006.
Mean as cancer when no one is looking
Smile, smile, smile otherwise
He walks the dog to feel anything
His unkindness pounds in her head as people look
Neighborhood trash receptors are emptied for the week
The dog poops twice on the walk
He carries both home; people are looking
TPA is currently living her literary dream of creating flash fiction from home in Atlanta, Georgia, where she studied writing at Oglethorpe University.
She used to wish on snowflakes for a man like him.
Glancing over, she thought, I wouldn’t mind Christmas mornings with you.
Giving her heart to him like a gift-wrapped present, she watched him open it.
Then realized that it was Halloween and he had been wearing a mask.
Lauren Layfield is a senior Multi-Platform Journalism major at Sam Houston State University. She is the former Assistant Campus Culture editor at The Houstonian, SHSU’s independent student newspaper.
Constable X was an enigma to Constables Murphy and McDonough.
The Captain said Constable X worked solo because he’d lost partners before.
Something didn’t feel right about that, so they did a bit of prying.
Turned out he slept in his office all day.
And donned a mask at night.
This story is based on a title suggested by @MisterFiendZero.
“Did you just shoot the chief of police?” asked Timothy Thicke, incredulous.
“No,” grunted Evan Edgelow. “It’s a mask.” He peeled off the imposter’s fake face.
“Wait,” said Thicke. “It’s another mask.” Underneath the second mask was the chief of police.
“Hold on… A third mask?”
Phew. No fourth one.