The Woman of the House
by Camila Santos
They had arrived early on a Thursday afternoon, just in time for lunch. Mr. Oswaldo carried two suitcases. A curvy, short brunette in a miniskirt and high-heeled sandals walked into the house right behind him. She wore too much lipstick. As Silmara went into the kitchen to get them a glass of water, she wondered, how old is she? Silmara was not as shocked about the girl’s youth, but rather, at the audacity of bringing her to the house when Ms. Cecília had only moved out a month ago. Read more.
A Colony of Mutant Flamingos
by Thomas Small
Jeremy Wilkins died the summer I was fourteen. Accident was noted as the official cause of death. That was more a testament of his father’s ability to control the situation, by keeping the word suicide off the death certificate. I spent a lot of time with Jeremy that last summer and was overwhelmed with the enormity of what he’d done. Mostly, I was surprised by people’s reactions to it. Read more.
by Kayann Short
By the bank of a winding river near the mouth of a mountain canyon lived a woman named Riverine. Which river she lived near, you must imagine for yourself. Any river that comes to mind will do, as long as it flows from a wild place with untamed edges ravining its course. Just picture the river you know best, even if it’s only the river you see when you close your eyes, and there you will find Riverine.
Riverine’s cabin seemed just another element of the rocks, soil, and sand that channeled the water in its banks. Built of logs long ago and surrounded by trees, her home was more of the river than on it. Yet whoever had built the cabin had sited it far enough on the upward slope from the river to protect the house from floods. Read more.
by James Hohenbary
Allen White, mayor of Centralia, stared at the ventriloquist dummy that reclined in the box. He had asked his political party for funding, and along with a check, the package had arrived. It sported an orange face with pink circles around the eyes. Yellow hair swooned at the front of a mostly bald head. The packing peanuts were painted gold. Like a sloppy job with a spray can.
These puppets were nothing new. Other candidates were still using them in other states, even after the last election. Allen shook his head. He personally disliked the idea. He worried that the Vaudeville antics made it harder to lead. “Should a king compete with his fool?” he asked. On the other hand, the polls had their own truth to tell. Read more.
Good Luck Finding August
by Erynn Wakefield
The air was crisp. I felt it on my lips as I took deep breaths, trying to prove my mom wrong. I didn’t need a coat; plus, it would’ve covered up my brand-new Avril Lavigne shirt. I wasn’t waiting for Halloween like the other kids, I never liked it much. I think I was too self-aware at a mere twelve years old. Read more.
Circling the Inferno
by Joan Drescher Cooper
Sometimes on the train in the morning, Melanie thought about failing to get off at her stop for work. She’d lean her head back on the tweedy headrest and close her eyes. If this was a real train instead of commuter light rail, she’d muse, perhaps she would stay on the train all the way to the next town. Read more.
Watch What You Wish For
by Gerald Lynch
The snow, real staying snow, just won’t come this winter, and it’s already January. It has accumulated some at times, of course, if more like helpless Styrofoam pellets swept against tree trunks, where they grab at the base as if that’s the height of ambition, then climb even in a weak breeze, then give up and disappear to only God knows where. Read more.
Thinning of the Herd
by G. D. McFetridge
It was after midday when the sound of an airplane interrupted the tranquility of my forested home. I was standing on my second-story deck drinking a cup of coffee, and what caught my attention was the proximity of the aircraft, which seemed closer than usual. Moments later the engine began sputtering in short bursts—blat, blat. . .blat-blat-blat. . .blat. Then it went dead silent. Read more.
by Griffin Hamstead
“Hey, it’s me. Again. I was just calling to see if you had a minute to chat. I guess you’re away from the phone or busy or whatever. Which is cool, I get it. But, um, I’ve been alone for a while now. Couple weeks or months or something and it, uh, kind of gets to my head you know. I saw a bird at the bird feeder today. Very dull, small. Probably a sparrow. But still a bird, can you believe it? Read more.
Path of Service
by Claudia Putnam
For years after her divorce, Fay had trouble referring to her husband by name. My husband, she would say, and then eventually, my ex-husband. Doesn’t he have a name, newer friends or colleagues would ask, laughing, and she would relent. Desmond. Des, she would make herself think. Des, Des, Des.
The archangel hadn’t asked for his name. No name had come up between them that day in the mineral pool under the high Colorado sky Read more.
by Stacey C. Johnson
When Littleman opened his eyes, he discovered that he was no longer on the couch in the living room as planned. He had meant to stay there all night with Uncle Marty, eating neon sour worms and watching samurai movies. He wanted to be in the front room when Mom got home and to hear when Uncle Marty got up. There was no point in trying to sleep. Read more.
by Karen Toralba
I can’t recall if I’ve ever been down such a long, narrow road—if you can call it a road—before or since. The word rural just doesn’t seem to accurately describe the area. Think the middle of nowhere but then go behind the shed of middle of nowhere, down by a creek, into the woods, and get lost, and that’s where I ended up. Read more.
Peter and the Fisherman
by Ed Connor
“Mom! Mom!” Danielle yelled from the bedroom all three children would share during the annual beach vacation. “Mom! Kyle and I were playing with my dolls and Peter threw them all over the floor! Make him stop. Now!”
Hearing her daughter yell for the fourth time in the last fifteen minutes, Maggie O’Brien left the unpacking and stomped into the bedroom. Read more.
by Steve Biersdorf
The three little pigs enjoying an elegant repast on the waterfront, quiet water reflecting neon from high-rise resorts. Sequestered at a table with a Lazy Susan, each partaking of the abundance by turns, washed down with a discriminating Pouilly-Fuissé with white flower accents. Read more.
The Grace That Comes By Violence
by Joanna Acevedo
Lorrie called it “The Lost Weekend.” Roger called it “The Last Weekend.” Annabel was pregnant, so she wasn’t drinking. Designated driver, everyone said. Lou didn’t say anything at all. They met on a Friday at a bar none of them had been to before. It was a dive. Roger was getting married a week from Tuesday. He had a reckless, harried look about him, Read more.
House Hunting with Castro
by S. Blair Jockers
1962. Eddie and Percy crouched on the wood floor of their private fort, a three-foot deep pit in Eddie’s backyard, destined to be a small pond after the next serious storm. The plywood roof Eddie’s father Raymond built from an old drafting table in his architect’s office was braced six inches above the edge, providing views in all directions like the rotating gunner’s station on top of a tank. Read more.
by Diana McQuady
Joanna Gentry hadn’t been inside the building in over a decade, though throughout the first year following Patrick’s murder, she went to the parking lot daily. Coleman’s employees came by her Camry during those early months and stopped to speak, awkward conversations avoiding the mention of what had happened or even her presence there at all. Soon enough, they only waved. Read more.
by Paul Perilli
Willie’s new to Rome. In town with his companion Anne, an artist with a one-year residency at the Crest Foundation, they have an apartmentino on the second floor of a giant villa that fifty others live in with them. It’s a neighborhood southwest of the Vatican with good markets and restaurants, a big park he jogs in and an old-world Italian bar down the hill in Trastevere… Read more.
Witnesses, or, Who Will Take Out The Trash?
by Michele Suzann
For a while I had friends who used phrases like “holding space,” and “I had to get really quiet in order to receive guidance,” and “it just is,” and “so I allowed him his feelings.” They’d say “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual,” in a way that implied persons who might claim membership in the former camp were clearly more benighted than those of the latter, but hey, “we each have our own path [mine just happens to be more evolved].” Read more.
by Nicholas LaMendola
I started with the globe, then zoomed in. I narrowed my focus over one city, over one neighborhood, onto one block, onto one man. That was a long time ago.
I’ve watched him for decades now. I watched him start small, and rise into himself. Now that you’re here, we’ll watch him together. He’s finally started to come together. He’s finally started to come apart. Read more.
Keepers of the Light
by Brittany van der Merwe
“Hurry.” She spoke softly, her demeanor quiet yet emphatic as she stared into the horizon. He slipped on his remaining boot and stood, joining her in the doorway, eyes squinting towards the focal point. A winter storm loomed portentously.
“Well, let’s get moving then.” Warm breath and a quiet fear chased his words and hung in the late October air for a fleeting moment before dissipating. Read more.
by Deya Bhattacharya
My first brush with the Happy Place could have happened one of two ways. It was either the email itself, sent en masse by them to a list that comprised what they presumed to be a target audience, or it was an advert that had popped up somewhere on a social feed and on which my scrolling thumb had rested long enough to count as a click. The laws of Internet probability dictate that some version of the latter led to the former… Read more.
by Ben Tufnell
Eva leans against the doorframe and watches Daniel as he works. As he passes her, carrying bags and boxes to the car, she also watches the street. With one hand she shields her eyes from the brightness and with the other she meditatively strokes her belly. It is a fine spring day but infused with a strange stillness, a peculiar quiet. The sky is clear and she notes again how odd it is to look up and not see a mesh of vapour trails above the city. Read more.
by Bruce Meyer
Our town is laid out like a chessboard. Two powerful families who dominated the place for almost two centuries, the Cassavoys and the Farradays, have fought for control. First they fought over lumber rights. Then it was land. Then the battleground shifted to public opinion. Each had a newspaper of different political stripes. Each had a radio station playing different kinds of music. Read more.