“Daddy, can you hear the ocean?”
I put the conch to my ear.
A gift sent from her new home, miles from this dusty dirt pit her mother couldn’t wait to escape.
The video cuts out. Again. Bad connection.
I keep the shell pressed to my ear until night falls.
Jane Brown is a web programmer and short fiction writer who lives by the beach in Australia.
George sits in his pitch-black room, his pallid face lit by the flickering computer screen. He runs his left hand along his right forearm to remember the feel of human touch on his skin. He smiles at the person who touches his heart on the screen. It’s okay. It’s enough.
Lisa is a Tokyo-based writer who loves coffee, dogs, and talking about Terrace House.
She’s isolated in the hospital, so I say “I love you” via video phone, talking until my battery flashes red and her chest doesn’t rise, then break because I can’t hold her, break because she’s a statistic without a funeral, as if she’s never existed, as if she’s never lived.
Sudha Balagopal’s short fiction appears in numerous publications including Wigleaf, Fictive Dream, Cabinet of Heed, Jellyfish Review and New World Writing. She is the author of a novel, A New Dawn. See more at sudhabalagopal.com.
I was six when my father left. I remember his hands, large and coarse, letting go of mine to hurl a battered suitcase into his rusting, coughing car.
Now his hands seem small and frail, shaking with fear for his next long journey.
I cannot bring myself to clasp them.
Charlie Swailes writes short and very short stories when not teaching English or looking after her two small boys.
The eyewitnesses were children. Two. An eight-year-old boy and his ten-year-old sister.
They heard and saw more than they could comprehend.
Why was daddy so angry? Why did they have to call this new woman “mommy?”
They missed their grandmother. Why did “mommy” get to decide who they could love?
Bob Thurber is the author of “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” and two collections of stories. A celebrated master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in 60 anthologies, received dozens of awards, and been used in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts where, though legally blind, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
Watching two swans glide across the farmer’s pond, Claire reflects on her life and how things didn’t work out the way she’d imagined.
She read that swans mate for life, and wonders why they hadn’t shared that secret with the young couple who once pledged undying love along this shore.
Candace Kubinec posts her stories at storydribbles.wordpress.com and her poetry at rhymeswithbug.com.
My greasy hair is flowing upwards, blonde flames licking the stale air of the ISS. Exercise twice a day, followed by sponge baths only.
“I know, sweet pea, I know,” I whisper into the microphone. Her newborn cries inconsolably.
Twice a day I am only 220 miles away from her.
Dini Armstrong, now Scottish, has worked in journalism and psychology. She is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing. Her controversial style got her into trouble from age six, when, after writing a particularly enraging piece about a cat blowing up three boys, she had to promise to her stepdad never to write again. She lied.
My heart has shattered and the shards are everywhere.
Each shard a memory, each memory most precious.
Goodbyes were said, tears were shed, hugs gratefully given and received.
The end of the school year; I will never see most of these students again.
China is a long way from America.
Daniel Quillen is retired and living in China, teaching English at a Chinese university. He just wrapped up his final semester there.
The crackling campfire illuminated her birth name, carefully inscribed in large, looping cursive.
She hadn’t expected this letter. Not after the way she’d left.
A dry sob clogged her throat—or was it simply smoke from the fire?—as she dropped the envelope, unopened, into the heart of the blaze.
Devon R. Widmer is a grumpy graduate student by day, a scribbling daydreamer by night, and a sleep deprived parent full time.
Shortly after Greg woke to discover his vertebrae had permanently fused with his wife’s while they’d slept, he became curious if she had been complaining to her friends about him behind his back.
When she awoke screaming, desperate to pull away from him, he smiled, realizing it didn’t matter anymore.
Ran Walker is burrowing himself beneath a growing pile of words–and enjoying every minute of it.