The sky was full of white jellyfish. They were drifting down over everything. Parks, neighborhoods, baseball fields, the oil refinery. Thousands of them. Tiny stickmen with backpacks clung to them.
Papa was crying beside the window. “You must always share with your brother.”
Papa was a negotiator.
I didn’t understand.
Thomas Fitzgerald McCarthy is a licensed English teacher, poker player, and short story writer from New Jersey.
I arrive at school hot, sweaty. I want to run like Usain Bolt. He runs as fast as a car. My teacher says it’s not possible to keep up that speed for long, but she’s wrong. She has to be.
When I can, I’ll be gone. From he-who-hits and she-who-ignores.
Laura Besley writes short fiction in the precious moments that her children are asleep. Her fiction has appeared online, in print and in various anthologies. She tweets at @laurabesley.
The livestream of his daughter’s birth crawled; he didn’t recognize himself in the black flicker.
Just earlier he shot a child who had pointed a gun at him. Watched the hate and fear fade from his eyes.
She’s now the only part of him that still belongs in this world.
Shaw Chen is a USAF Veteran and graduate student who wants to try creative writing.
Hundreds of tiny bulrush baskets, aglow with tallow and bearing various gifts for Yemoja, the river goddess, bob towards the saturn sun halo of red and black velvety rings.
But later that night, all night, the darkness weeps for the three families echoing those tiny, thin cries beyond the reeds.
Folake lives and works in Nigeria and hopes to earn the title of “fiction writer” one day.
Mother watched the fire on TV. She took down my father’s flag case, crying and incoherent, and then, in her confusion and fear, she dropped the case. The glass shattered, and the case slid under the tv, under Notre Dame as it burned, the fire reflected in her empty eyes.
Elizabeth Moura lives in a converted distillery and works with elders. She has had poetry, flash fiction, or photographs published in The Heron’s Nest, Chrysanthemum, Atlas Poetica, Presence, Shamrock, Flash, Paragraph Planet, Flash Fiction Magazine, O:JA&L, and Occulum.
“Whipped!” we used to shout, mocking him, all those times he couldn’t join on bar nights.
When he could, she’d always call him home early.
Those phone calls cracked us up. We made women’s voices, and passionately screamed his name while he shushed us.
“Hanged,” police told us one day.
David Derey wrote this story.
Carl had been at this roulette wheel for 48 years, and he was hot: a loving wife, westside home, daughter at MIT with a full ride.
But unless you recognize when you’ve peaked and have the strength to walk away, the house eventually wins.
Carl knew the time had come.
Robb Lanum is a failed screenwriter in Los Angeles. This is his second 50-word story. His longer-form, epic works have appears on 101words.org.
The man stoops over the lump, brushes at piled sand and stares into a woman’s face, her age indeterminate, arms around a girl-child. With care, he wraps canvas around both as if one, shivers in the heat, and marks the spot with tokens—a cholla flower and broken plastic jug.
Nancy Hartney wrote this story. See more at NancyHartney.com.
Life is great. Health, mobility, liberty.
Then, an inadvertent moment. A slip and twisting tumble. The crash is sharp; the crack loud. Such a quick and simple thing.
But the scorching pain: deep, crippling, and endless.
Operations and rehab do little. Each move brings agony and depression.
Life is hell.
Bill Diamond writes in the Colorado Mountains. See more at bdiamondwriting.com
She had always been afraid of heights.
Finally she decided that today, on her birthday, she would conquer her fear and go to the top of the tallest building she knew.
Looking out at the extraordinary view she knew this would always be a date to remember.
September 11, 2001.
Jonathan Cook is a one-time farmer, pharmacologist, stand-in head of an EU delegation, international training advisor, and current language school director. Throughout, he has retained an abiding interest in anything as long as it is well written…