Aunt Mathilda holds the snowflake charm in her hand; her sixth sense takes charge; she places it in a drawer. A woman visits her niece’s consignment store with check in hand and Mathilda puts two and two together. “Christmas Charm” is a story in the wonderful Mathilda series by Piper Templeton.Read more.
A long-haul truck driver, Nathan sees only ghosts—“robots”—on I-70. The loneliness gets to him until he meets Gail at the OGALLAH PUMP ‘N’ SNACK, an emergency pit stop. “Haul” by Alex Nichols is an everyday story—except for the robots.Read more.
In the oblique and dreamlike style of Marguerite Duras, Viviane Vives weaves memories of her ancestors and place—Nice, Barcelona, Perth, New South Wales, Texas—in “Dialogues With Your Notebook,” a stunning literary achievement.Read more.
In “The Winning Fish” by Natalli Amato, the narrator Lindsey lives in the kind of town where everyone notices everything, even the addition of just one more. Read the first paragraph carefully. Clues abound and the ending satisfies.Read more.
She leaves Radhika to explore the mountains of Andhra Pradesh—not a travelogue kind of adventure—and finds Sandeep a quasi-willing partner in a preordained exercise. Read how it ends in Karen Bell’s “How To Name and Claim Romance.”Read more.
A call puts Harry in an uncomfortable position vis-à-vis his wife Joyce and an old girlfriend. He’s never cheated on his wife but he can’t help himself. Consulting her on-line profile beforehand, he goes looking. In “Today’s Edition of the End of the World” by Andrew James Talbot, “the past has broken into the present.”Read more.
In Neil McGowan’s story “Pic,” “a wee man” comforts eighty-year-old Audrey, who has suffered two strokes and is confined to her bedroom. In her final moments, Pic stays with her until the owl lifts her into the sky. Fantasy and reality are one.Read more.
His fingers “as strong as steel,” Carlos the Uncanny performs out-of-this-world flips on the trapeze bar when he hears Wagner’s music. Then he starts losing years and life isn’t the same in “Flight of the Valkyries” by Amanda Pampuro.Read more.
“Old Blue” by Bryn Chamberlain is a tender coming-of-age story about a teenager; his black Labrador “Blue”; and a power lawn mower, also named “Blue.” This trio makes the difference after his father leaves. Love and ambition—“inextricably entwined.”Read more.
With anti-depressants in hand, Anthony Capitanio catches the bus to attend a Catholic High school. His severe anxiety disorder ramps up when he sees Joe, the best pitcher in the little league. Then things go haywire in Chris Pellizzari’s “Game-Winning Hit.”Read more.
At a Halloween party, a man in a horrific Scream Ghostface mask tells Jane he’s on his way to collect “an unfortunate soul from Scotland.” In Maria Savva’s “Where Do We Go?”, the divide between life and death is as slim as to be nothing at all.Read more.