As she opened the door for the Amazon delivery she froze, felt faint.
“Jane Simon, is that you? Gosh, it’s been what, twenty years? We all wondered why you guys moved away without telling anyone. How are you!?”
She shut the door. Panicked; then remembered protocol. Bottom drawer. Burner phone.
Therese Dawe-Wood is a writer based in Michigan. She was one of the 2018 finalists for the Lansing Sidewalk Poetry Project and has had poems published in several places including Alluvian Press, Modern Creative Life, the 2020 East Lansing Arts Festival Poetry Collection, and Headline Poetry and Press. She was a featured contributor for Lansing Online News and is currently working on a collection of poetry about her work with her patients over the course of her career as a registered nurse. She has three children and five grandchildren who she adores and lives in Lansing, Michigan with her husband and her backyard crow who enjoys peanuts in the shell and McDonalds french fries.
She’s painting white against white. It’s an octopus—I know from illuminated glances, stolen when the desk lamp lights each colorless ridge and layer—but to the passing eye, it’s just an empty frame on the textured wall. She shuts the door against me to add another layer of madness.
Gretchen has an octopus painting on her wall, but she supposes you do, too.
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.
They sit me down. Father’s words are broken and confusing. Mother’s tears are silent, but they shimmer with fear and anger, tracing her flushed cheeks as they fall.
The woman at the door remains stoic, but her eyes are sympathetic. Her lips whisper: my son, how I have missed you!
Lancelot is a retired U.S. Navy Submarine Chief and a creative writer at heart who fears rejection, and therefore keeps his stories locked away in his mind.
He’s rehearsed the lines; it’s almost time.
The train doors slide, he rises, swallows a cocktail of bile and blood.
“Fighting fit,” says his mouth, to keep hers smiling. His sunshine girl.
He flies her bag over his shoulder like it’s candyfloss. “Your mother’s made dumplings, special.”
Same as always.
Linda Grierson-Irish lives in Manchester UK and writes flash fiction and the occasional short story.
“We need to talk.”
“I’m sorry!” he shouted, thinking he knew what she wanted. “I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry I can’t be the son you want. I’m sorry I can’t get my life together. You want perfection… I’m only human.”
“Ah,” she said, smiling sadly. “But you’re not.”
Sarah Krenicki is, in fact, only human. She makes up for this about writing stories about people and things who are not.
Some day, the world will know the truth. They think that because of their ridiculous brains and silly thumbs they can do anything. We’ll let them think that for a while. Remember: stay away from their video cameras. We don’t want to go viral yet. They might stop feeding us.
Penny Jo McAllister is a freelance writer who lives among several innocent looking critters.
Alice bunks off school. Going home is safe with parents at work. Entering the hall, she hears something upstairs.
Venturing up, Alice opens the bedroom door.
A strange woman looks back, shocked. She wears too much makeup.
“Who are you?”
“Alice…” the woman says.
It’s her father’s voice.
Viv Burgess worries about the characters she has pushed into the deep end.
Jeremy told colleagues it’d barely reach his account; the uni lads were down.
Two days alone in the flat, except a trip to the Chinese.
Sunday. Ironing. Phone beeps.
“Evening mate. Amazing tweets – glad you’re enjoying London. Drinks Saturday?”
“Ugh, can’t. Mental weekend – skint ’til payday :-(“
Matthew Reville is an ex-journalist turned press officer. He ghostwrote the autobiography of the founder of PizzaExpress. Follow him at @MatthewReville and buy the book at peterboizot.com!
It spun clockwise in an ever-decreasing circle. Its life ended in a gurgle, a final gasp. I straightened and felt relief that it was over. I quickly wiped everything down and, glancing around, verified that all evidence of my activities was gone.
No one knows I wash dishes by hand.
Gordon Lysen resides in Manitoba, Canada, spending his time between the city of Winnipeg and his true home at Sugar Point on Lake Manitoba. Retired from police work after some 27 years, Gordon co-authored the novel “A Deadly Blend of Souls” with his wife, Lisa. Writing and painting are Gordon’s relaxation methods when retirement becomes too stressful.