The unicorn is in the garden again, munching on the roses.
“I can’t,” I say. “I’m not ready.”
I follow him down the lane to the edge of the enchanted forest. The pine scent clears my lungs.
The unicorn slips between the trees. One day, soon, I’ll go with him.
Hannah Whiteoak writes speculative fiction to escape the real world. She is working on an animal-themed flash collection. Follow @HannahWhiteoak or visit hannahwhiteoak.me.
Editor: This story is a sequel to Side Effects.
Maybe one day I wake up from this dream or maybe I die trapped in it. Meanwhile I will continue climbing these vines in case I can see the light at the end of this tunnel.
I may fall for the attempt, but it would be worse to stop climbing.
Marina Alfaro is a student to be a teacher.
I was born in a place called Hopelessville, which is a particular state of mind, not an actual geographical location. It’s sort of a spiritual town, or, to be emotionally precise, a dispirited wasteland where deeply disheartened and severely disturbed residents exhaust their loveless lives.
I abandoned it long ago.
Bob Thurber is the author of “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” and four collections of short fiction. Regarded as a master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in Esquire and other magazines, been anthologized 60 times, received a long list of of awards, and been utilized in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
First winter after Mother leaves, sister Nancy and I shovel snow, hands weighed down. Flakes fly, whirling seductresses. We clear faster. Flakes cover clearness. Nature takes. Gives people wanderlust, reveals darkness beneath starched smiles. We try to make everything perfect. Keep clearing. We trip. Keep trying. Keep tripping. Don’t surrender.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His work is forthcoming or has been published in journals such as 50 Word Stories, Silent Auctions, City. River. Tree., and Ariel Chart.
This relationship feels hopeless,
To abandon now? Impossible.
Too much time invested.
But oh, those lows.
“Walk away!” an inner voice screams.
But I can’t. I’m in too deep.
So with a cleansing breath and renewed resolve,
I pull out the half-finished manuscript.
Judi MacKenzie is a writer whose unfinished works are actually starting to growl from inside the filing cabinet.
Game, set, match.
After a four-hour battle, X has finally defeated Z. It is the first time in their long careers.
X walks to the net, outstretches his hand, but Z barely shakes it.
“First in a thousand,” Z disdainfully mutters.
“Maybe,” X says. “But the first of a million.”
Alice Cimino is a student who loves writing and thrives to improve. Does she have time? Not necessarily. But does time matter? It depends on how you see it…
Despair of evening gives way to terrors of the night, to sleep, disrupted, dreaming of elegance, of past and future nightmares. To wake to morning and rise, to work, to read, to listen for wisdom, to love again and hope for another evening, another night, another dream of another day.
Originally from New York, Janet Clare lives in Los Angeles with her husband. She’s had short fiction and essays published in literary journals online and anthologized. She studied at UC Berkeley and UCLA. Her first novel, Time Is the Longest Distance, was published December 2018 by a small press out of Australia, where the story is set. She is at work on her second novel, A Different Happiness.
The honeymoon patch of sunlight grew darker, obscured by the thick tangle of unknowing surrounding us.
I looked up. She hummed silently. The song resonated in her eyes, as if seeing the work already done.
I followed her, also humming, and we worked together, feeling ourselves victors through the pain.
Every day Sasha tries to give his heart to his writing, and every day his cat, Sebald, snatches it up for himself. Find his words and cat pics on Instagram and Facebook at @sashaandsebald.
Squatting, thighs slightly burning, perched on your toes, hands in front of your shoulders, you place your head on the ground. Knees digging into your triceps, you tentatively lift one foot, then the other. Your left knee slips, so you try again, then again, until, one year later, you arrive.
Jess is a former scientist who maintains computational model code for current scientists. She occasionally gets the urge to write something other than lines of Python or Fortran.
The Scottish Highlanders had to leave.
As they sailed out of the harbor, their dogs swam alongside their ships, not understanding.
Most turned back. But one strong dog, who loved too much, would not.
After many miles and waves, a ship pulled that dog aboard for the long journey west.
Adele has loved many dogs. She is sure that at least one of them was descended from the dog that loved too much.