On the RocksRuth Hawley
I decide to get out of the house while I can.
Before I can consciously articulate my heading, I’ve arrived at the beach by the lighthouse. Here, in the imprints of ebbing tides, is where I like to treasure hunt. Caws of herring gulls reverberate off grayscale skies as I begin my search.
It doesn’t take long for me to lose the sense of time passing. Minutes or hours later, I’m surprised to see another hand reach for the same piece of sea glass I’ve spotted, cobalt poking out between shards of tumbled rock. A jolt runs through me when our fingers touch. Read more.
The Last WriterJulia Otto
Eliot King, a senior high school athlete, is stuck picking up the pieces his sister left behind after her arrest and execution. In the year 2052, the New American Government (N.A.G) has forbidden practicing Dark Artists by penalty of rehabilitation, or in most cases, death. Two years after his sister’s death, Eliot discovers three illegal Artifacts, actual Writer’s notebooks, hidden in his sister’s old desk. “Nobody”, the mysterious Writer speaking through these pages, poses the question–who is the real author of this hidden work? Read more.
Run to FinishEric D. Johnson
Frederick Douglass High School was a few blocks from Fairmount Park’s Strawberry Mansion, the estate that gave the area its quaint sounding name. The neighborhood had once been home to legendary jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, artist Henry O. Tanner, and Three Stooges alum Larry Fine. There was a time when fans could view Athletics and Phillies baseball games from the rooftops of row houses that ran adjacent to Shibe Park or Connie Mack stadium. Read more.
The Vanishing PointZach Wyner
Evan Reverie removes his Guiding Light™ earbud. It slips through his fingers and hits the cement floor with a crack. His stomach plummets. Despite having had it for a few years now, he still has a long way to go before it’s paid off.
He reaches down in the dark, his fingertips searching the cold cement until he feels the smooth, plastic-coated lithium bubble up from the floor. He caresses it, inspecting its surface, finds it intact and sighs in relief. Read more.
Dancing with Lightning: Chapter 22Ran Diego Russell
After Dave had ghosted Big Al’s throughout the five-day Seattle trip, Tino’s heavily garnished cover story of food poisoning from a frisée and radish salad with hazelnut dressing at his grandmother’s funeral was ignored, and he was promptly fired Monday morning. Read more.
Aegolius CreekMicah L. Thorp
Everything begins and ends in fire. That’s what Mrs. Green told me when I was eleven in her youth Bible study at the Aegolius Creek Community Church. God created the heavens and the earth from a great ball of flame. Which doesn’t seem much different than the Big Bang Theory, though Mrs. Green said it was blasphemous to suggest something other than God was responsible for creation. Read more.
Blue Park LaneJane McNulty
Maybe everyone is just being nice because it’s my birthday, but I didn’t think it’d be possible for us to get to this point again.
“Goodnight. Don’t forget to unplug the lights,” my dad says, closing the gate of the fence.
“Okay, I just want to lie here for a minute,” I say, flopping back on the couch. Read more.
Dancing with Lightning: Chapter 9Ran Diego Russell
Mountains of cumulonimbus assembled in the high altitudes west of the city and scudded overhead as patiently as continental drift throughout the morning. The towering white masses augured heavy convection storms for Denver but ultimately held off losing their power till reaching the eastern plains. Once there, sixty miles off in the afternoon distance, the clouds were illuminated from within by constant electrical activity. Read more.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I waited for the police to call or show up on our front porch, but they never did. I thought about calling Cecelia’s house, but I didn’t want them to connect me to her, which didn’t make any real sense because everyone knew we were best friends. I’d be one of the first people they’d come to. I watched the sunrise through my window and gave up trying to sleep. Read more.
By the end of the third day, the house, so quiet, too quiet, understood it had been abandoned. Four more flies, proboscises quivering, investigated the garbage pail. Molly no longer controlled the kitchen, would not be wielding the swatter, and without a care in the world, the creatures flitted among the odiferous scraps. They would settle later, raise a family or two, and replace the human family now departed. Read more.
Dancing With Lightning: Chapter 3Ran Diego Russell
The year men first set foot on the moon, the Copersmith family had not depended on field work alone to fill their stomachs and gas tanks for two summers running. The San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys, the furrowed plains of eastern Oregon, Washington’s orchards telescoping their columned bounty in every direction—all that had provided work enough for the four, and later the five, of them to subsist on was abandoned overnight. Read more.
The British Way of DyingTrevor Mitchell
Friday afternoon. Although the wind was whipping viciously up Baldwin Street, the sky was an agreeable shade of blue, the colour of infinity, and as I walked home from work, I sensed the subtle change of mood in the city. For forty-eight hours everyone could forget about their crummy jobs and dull, shitty lives. The quotidian nightmare was about to go on hold. Read more.
Dead WeightLinda Boroff
Robinette Alcorn slept poorly at fourteen; her body did not seem designed for comfortable repose. When she lay on her side, her bony hips grew sore. The back of her head grew numb when she lay supine. Phantom itches sprang up on the backs of her thighs, the soles of her feet. She sweated or froze. Come morning, she left for school puffy and sullen, red creases in her face, her hair awry. Weekends, she slept until noon, waking ferocious and unrested. Read more.
Autobiography of the Bomb: Teller in His Own MindJim Shankman
The magazines and newspapers were saying all kinds of provocative, beguiling things about the man. He was Prometheus who stole fire from the gods for the benefit of mankind. He was Aladdin who let the genie out of the bottle. To the naysayers, he was the Dr. Jekyll whose potion transformed us all into Mr. Hyde. The guy had press like nobody has ever had press. He was a warrior saint, a holy knight of the realm. Read more.
Dancing With Lightning: Chapter 1Ran Diego Russell
Banged up but still breathing, the exhausted vagabond kept his eyes jammed shut. Whatever twisted coordinates his loose feet had landed him on this time, he wasn’t ready to face. The excuse for a mattress he lay on had corrugated his back muscles into a wreck of knots. The air in the room was musty and unseasonably warm. He could feel the claustrophobic lean of all four walls without looking. As usual, well shy of paradise. Read more.
The Page of FictionAlexander Verdoni
At least working at the Middle Rapids Library ain’t so bad. It’s one of those fancy Carnegie libraries with brass chandeliers and porcelain tile work and stained-glass windows — all misplaced decadence for this rust-belt town. It’s pretty much a gothic castle complete with ghosts, labyrinthine hallways, black walnut paneled doors, dusty portraits of old, rich dead men no one wants to look at, and, most mysteriously of all, a turret housing the town’s large, defunct clock. Read more.
Autobiography of the Bomb: Chapter NineteenJim Shankman
July 16. Five o’clock in the morning. Teller is a groggy, irritable man. They are twenty miles away from the tower where the gadget has finally been hoisted into place with the plutonium core nestled inside the wired aluminum sphere. There is no hint of sun yet in the sky. He wants to get this over with. Read more.
Accept All ChangesCaroline Cooper
A few of Natasha Boginya’s friends started a regular tradition of dining on Monday nights at a fine restaurant in Greenwich Village. Here was a New York besotted with heavy linens, Italian marble, the generous pour. Truffled potatoes. Sautéed spinach. Roasted meats. A larder full of bottles. The light fixtures hung low, bemused.
The place was an old stalwart of Tzarist times that smiled from behind a display of unwavering conquest and success. Read more.
Death & LoveScott Lambridis
I was ten. My mother was in bed, rags over her head, buried among blankets. She’d been sweating for days, could barely turn her head without vomiting. I cleaned the ceramic dish we used as a bedpan. It wasn’t just her; everyone was sick.
Ten years ago, we’d relocated. I was just an infant. Neighboring warlords were having a dispute, and the Legion was called in to make peace. Read more.
A Cypress Tree Has No Shadow: Chapters Three and FourKevin Gerard Neill
SYBILLA steered Justina by the arm out of the office and down a hallway of high, dulled walls that looked shadowy even in daytime despite the frail radiance of bulbs in widely spaced, brass chandeliers. There were few people around; mostly Palestinian staff with UN identity badges around their necks going from office to office. Others – Justina took them to be refugees – appeared to be drifting aimlessly. Read more.
Cynthia had withdrawn, wrapped in a shroud of bedsheets, exhausted by weeping. In the darkened room, sounds were somehow louder — the rain, a car swishing by on the street, the faint barking of a neighbor’s dog. Water dripping from the eaves and mumbling in the downspout beside the open window. Six days since Maylin drowned. Tomorrow they would bury her. Read more.
Autobiography of the Bomb: Chapter EightJim Shankman
He was at a gathering in Berkeley at the spartan home of a man named Peters. The cigarette smoke was mixed with alcohol and the hot breath of conversation. Peters was a physician who had escaped from Dachau. He had seen things. He chose not to speak of it unless someone was being particularly pigheaded or willfully ignorant or smugly uncaring, and then he spoke in such detail that he commanded the room with the authority of a Greek messenger. “I am come from Thebes with news I dare not speak.” “Speak, man, and you shall not be harmed, I vow.” Read more.
Praise OrbGloria Nixon-John
We watched things change everywhere else in the world, but we never expected the whirlwind of change that showed up one day on our doorstep. (In our case, me, Mom, and Dad). The change came in the form of a little Rumpelstiltskin of a man carrying a black valise and a clipboard. (Odd, I thought, that he didn’t have a computer or smart phone.) He said he was from the Census Guard of The New Order, and that I was obliged to answer honestly. I didn’t dare ask who was doing the obliging, mostly because of the elephant-gray vehicle moving slowly down the street. Read more.
A Cypress Tree Has No Shadow: Chapter TwoKevin Gerard Neill
ALLENBY had originally been designed by an Ottoman Empire army engineer to impress the future. At first glance, the barracks looked magnificent: a pile of chiseled stone comprising two tall upper stories stacked above a main floor, each of the wings spreading at least two city blocks to form a massive, four-sided citadel. Justina knew from old photographs seen in Vienna that the wings enclosed a vast courtyard, a setting for military parades or a bloody last stand. Read more.