Tag: Long Short Story

Bobtail Five

Mark Wagstaff

Snow, but not yet. Clouds built across the sky, ahead of a raw east wind like smoke from encroaching fires. Pavements and walls, brick and stone, scornful of fragile bodies. He moved quickly, thinking a day ahead when streets would freeze, when snow would lay and, bound with anxiety, each careless step invited damage.
He walked opposite to the way home. South across Euston Road, by the spot where the hospital Christmas tree stood just a week ago. A few decorations still pinned in the emergency room. A half-deflated balloon. He cut through the muffled crowd at Warren Street station. Cut across their flow, fixed straight ahead, walking fast to make people falter. A small pleasure. Read more.

Priestess, Traitor, Enemy, Saint

Sandro Piedrahita

Comrade Juana understood Comrade Bárbara’s belief that Sister Rosemarie McKillop, the diminutive nun from Perth, Australia, posed a great threat to the success of the Shining Path. Like many priests and nuns, like many human rights organizations, like the democratic left, Sister Rosemarie offered the destitute masses of Perú an alternative to the armed struggle. She preached that the marginalized campesinos could achieve justice through peaceful methods and even distributed food to the poor from “imperialist” charitable organizations like Caritas. Such conduct had to be quashed, for such groups were inimical to the revolution. Read more.

River Soot

K. Meera

I had wanted a dog. Preferably a small one, with a spot over its eye so I could’ve called it “Spot” without anyone questioning the name. Then, when I finally went to middle school in the fall, I’d have secured my place in the classroom. Now, though, I would settle for a dog that had no spots on it at all, as long as it was a dog. I looked down at the bag in my hand, the water-filled plastic straining with the weight of its contents, like Jimmy’s mom’s belly before she went to the hospital so she could have the baby that was growing inside her. Jimmy says he preferred her big belly because his brother cried too much, and I’d agreed with him, but that was before. Read more.

Five Interviews

David Martin Anderson

When did I begin to feel so miserably old? Ah, yes. It was exactly one year, three months, and fifteen days ago. It started when I turned eighty years of age, and every muscle and body joint ignited in excruciating pain. It was the moment rheumatoid arthritis began our one-sided courtship. “What won’t hurt today, Satan?” I shout at the top of my lungs each and every morning, defiantly shaking my fist at the devil’s netherworld. Read more.

The Stone Keeper

Ben Raterman

When the night sky exploded, the dark interiors of houses shone bright as day. And those that faced the street across from the park felt their homes tremble. Fierce chords of destruction echoed, and the neighborhood awoke with fright and stared at horror.
Caitlin sat up. Intermittent flashes lit the walls. Sounds: falling bricks, breaking glass, muted screams, explosions. She went to the window. Fires, as if dragons had entered her world, she thought, come to destroy her home. Read more.


Priscilla Thompson

It was the perfect day—until the fat neighbor ruined it. Emily had just returned from a thirteen-mile jog and was sitting in her rocking chair by the window, thinking about what she might—or might not—eat. She imagined placing a chicken breast on a bed of lettuce with cherry tomatoes and perhaps a slice of the avocado lying on the window sill, so perfectly ripe from the sun. Or, perhaps not. She could let the avocado shrivel and darken, turning to mush on the inside. I don’t need to eat it, she thought. Then the doorbell rang. Less than a minute later, again. Each time, cracking the silence like an egg. Read more.


Derek La Shot

Sheriff H.W. Walsh bore a faraway look as he stood on the platform behind the gallows and waited for his unofficially adopted son, James Singleton, to die.
The whole scene was oddly dysfunctional, and eerie inefficiency and clumsiness hung about the whole affair like a latrine stench. As if anything that could go wrong had a malicious inclination to do so. The executioner tossed the thick hemp-threaded rope over the oak gallows beam creaking a few times in the wind above them. Read more.

Not If, When

Beth Weeks

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Photo by Kemal Alkan on UnsplashI first met Caleb Allen at the twenty-four-hour Kroger where he stocked shelves third shift. He was only twenty-one and had failed out of college the year before because he found it beneath him and told me “the services rendered were not worth the costs incurred.” I was an insomniac, and near nightly went to Kroger at three in the morning to meander among the Read more.

Flesh and Ghost

Adam Cheshire

Ghosts have terrible memories. Turns out that the physical body is integral to particular recollections. Mass, matter, moving through space, imprinting on the world; being imprinted upon. Art has helped me bridge that gap (of not having a body); allowed me an entry point. Music, movies—literature especially—flesh things out. The imaginative world anchors me. Still. There’s always something a little slant to my impressions of the past. My young moments among the living. Read more.

The Rubicon

Mark Williams

Spring semester, my senior year of college, I won Jenny Muller in a game of Trivial Pursuit. The winning question was, What Native American tribe assisted the Corps of Discovery through the winter of 1804–1805? I couldn’t believe my luck. With the question or the prize. Read more.

Just Be Nice

Aisha West

I was still stoned when I got back home that Saturday – the first Saturday we had a family dinner planned since I’d gotten my license the previous year. We, well, my mom planned this dinner to welcome my dad back from his first tour of duty as a trucker. I was late. And my mom told me so. Read more.

Aquarium Life

Troy Ernest Hill

I score my first soccer goal ever. It’s only practice, but still. Coach claps and shouts, “Way to go, Henry!” A couple of teammates jog by in these knee-high, stretchy blue socks we have to wear, saying, “Good job, Gollum,” and “Finally,” and kind of laughing.
My parents made me play because they said I spend too much time on my aquarium. I made it like how the ocean was before, with colored reefs and glowing fish and huge whales. Read more.

Don’t Want to Go to Heaven; Just Want to Go Home

Jamey Gallagher

Inside the airport, Trina sat in a white rocking chair that had been set up on the side of the ramp, looking out at the tarmac, a coffee in one hand, a Danish with bright red jam and stripes of white icing in the other, her carry-on bag at her feet. Behind her was the hubbub of the terminal, arrivals and departures, announcements calling out flight numbers, transport carts carrying the elderly here and there, a young man wearing a slick blue suit and a pilot’s hat trying to convince passersby to sign up for a special program. Read more.


Sonja Srinivasan

The conversion was an unlikely story.
For over two decades, Professor Philippe Halston had been the rock star at Rudyard University’s history department who brought in grants, acclaim, students, and visiting lecturers from afar, an expert on the Enlightenment and pre-Industrial Revolution secular European thinking. He lived an immaculate life with an immaculate house and an immaculate career untainted by failure. Read more.


Meital Sharon

“Good morning, Dinah, It’s Wednesday”, I greet myself aloud daily. Gad has greeted me every morning since we got married and moved in together fifty-two years ago. The alarm clock would go off at six forty, and Gad would snooze it, and still asleep, would say: Good morning, Dinahdin. Then he would rearrange his pillows, put a hand on my hip and go back to sleep. Since he passed away, I started saying this to myself. Read more.

The Language of Birds

Catherine Puckett

Renata stares at the electric knifefish and eel exhibit at the New Orleans Aquarium. She thinks that if she knew there would be passion in heaven and that heaven existed, the whole thing would be easier to bear. Marital dissatisfaction, she suspects, is one of the great underlying reasons for belief in an afterlife. She grips four-year-old Noah’s hand so he can’t wander away again. Noah is quick and curious, like she was as a child, and because he is like her, she already hurts for him. Read more.

A Week and A Day

Cathy Robertson

Charlie was scared, all right. More frightened than they could ever remember being. The razor-shaved hairs on the back of Charlie’s neck stood straight out as the deafening scream of terror rent through the darkness once again. What the hell could make this horrendous noise that tore at their flesh and flipped the heart into a mass of quivering gel? This, they decided, had to be stopped. “Aiyeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!” Charlie’s eardrums reverberated in their head. Their blood ran cold, and Charlie wanted to scream back in response. Read more.

A Slow Fever: The Nearly True Story of Typhoid Mary

Catherine Hammond

October 1906
Another family with kids. What I wouldn’t have given to work for an old maid with no children. Just me and her and a bright, clean kitchen. But I was happy. I was cooking.
Portia, who had recently turned six, darted into the kitchen and ran around the oak table. Tristan rushed in behind her.
“Give it back.” His voice was high and whiny.
“It’s the last one.” She held a crumpled scone over her head.
“Stop that,” I said.
They peered up at me. I was a big woman, and I could scare little kids. Portia’s hand fell to her side. Read more.

I Am In Your Sway

Kelsey Myers

“It’s a malady particular to artists,” Arachne said to her father one day, as he was watching her work.
That morning, he had made her a gift of sea-blue yarn that was said to have been touched by the gods themselves, or, at least, by a demigod, or, at least, by one of the Oceanids; the seller had been vague about the specifics, but assured Idmon that the material was, in some way, divine. It looked divine, different from the yarn that Arachne usually used, which was single-color and made of cotton. This yarn shimmered the way the sea shimmered when the sun shone on its surface: hues of algae green, river blue, and flashes of gold. Read more.

The Red-Headed Dragon

Henry Weese

“Stop complaining,” said Julie, looking over her shoulder at her husband as she stacked dishes and coffee cups on a folding utility table against the garage wall. “We’re lucky to get anything at all.”
“I’m not complaining,” said Tom, searching for a place on the concrete garage floor to set the box he was carrying. “It just seems unfair. Your mom and aunt get the house, your uncle gets the money in the bank, your sister gets the new car, and we get—”
“Put the box there,” said Julie, pointing.
Tom dropped the box. It clanged—more goddamn pots and pans. Read more.

Invisible (L)ink

David Kirby Fields

The first time he did it, it was a joke, really. An attempt to amuse himself during his otherwise soul-crushing nine to five.
“Per our recent conversation.”
“Circling back regarding the matter discussed below.”
“I just want to make sure I’m clear on next steps.”
“See attached.” He wrote scores of emails every day. One hundred plus leading up to various milestones. Milestones. The term alone. Read more.

What Do You Call an Elephant?

Judith Ford

June 7
“Ma’am? Could you tell me one more time how you discovered the box?” The young policeman leaning in the doorway of Ruth’s living room looked up from the small, brown notebook he’d been writing in.
Ruth clenched her hands together in her lap to stop their shaking. After she’d called 911, she’d vomited into the kitchen sink, her teenage daughter, Grace, pacing behind her, saying over and over again, “I don’t know how that got there, Mom! I promise. I don’t know.”
“My daughter says it isn’t hers. Why would anyone bury a baby in my garden?” Ruth shuddered. Read more.

Seed People

Carol Campbell

I’ve always been able to see faces in things. Yes, of course in clouds, like the ones that trail into my view from the bay window, the purple and pink sea horses and scoop-necked swans swimming across a windy sky while I listlessly watch the UPS truck trying to get down the driveway. But I sometimes freak out my friends when I describe the green man in the woods or the child’s face in the dark, green holly leaves. Layla says I should go back to school to get my art degree, implying that cutting hair isn’t artistic enough. Read more.

Samson & Julia

TeresaAnn Fico

Samson’s obsession with Julia Child began three weeks after his father’s funeral. He was watching TV late one Saturday night, numbly flipping through channels with the volume high enough that the couple living upstairs would surely complain yet again. The couch he was lying on was lived in, soft in the way that only comes from consistent use. Between the couch and the television set was a wooden coffee table, covered in a collage of water rings across the surface. An almost empty glass of water and an untouched plate of crackers sat on the edge of the table nearest Sam. Read more.