by Lisa Voorhees
Nita Walsh’s parents had promised her a weekend trip to the Pocono Mountains for her seventeenth birthday. Her parents were normally super thrifty, but just this once, she’d been able to convince them to splurge. Less than two hours after they’d left home in Piscataway, New Jersey, and headed west, a storm battered the roof of their dilapidated station wagon. The wipers beat a furious rhythm against the pelting rain as it poured down the windows in transparent sheets. Read more.
The English Teacher in the Trailer
by Thomas Ray
Paul McNary sat in a booth at Jamie Burgers talking to the manager Brenda Carter. He stopped by to see her every weekday after he got off work. At that time of day, after the lunch crowd and before the supper crowd, they usually had the dining area to themselves. This particular day she had brought up the subject of them breaking it off because Brenda’s daughter disapproved of him. Brenda did this once or twice a month, and he would have to cajole her out of the idea. Read more.
by Patty Somlo
His first name was Mohammed but everyone who knew the lanky African with the irrepressible smile called him Mo. The nickname fit the man who seemed more a whirlwind of energy or a beam of fierce light than a serious grown-up. Three blocks away from the flat he shared with his girlfriend, Katherine, Mo was tossing pasta in a large silver pan, over a high flame in the open kitchen of Tomato. The second syllable of the brightly lit bistro’s name was pronounced mah. When describing diners’ reaction to the fare in its ads, the Market Street restaurant played on the pronunciation. Ahhhh. Read more.
Fallen Woman: A Short Story in Flash
by Carmen Price
The pedestrian crosswalk was clearly marked, no ambiguities, not for Selah, not for him. Selah waved goodbye to the patient behind her – a ten-year-old girl she’d been treating for three years – and only noticed the truck in the middle of the road as it dawned on her, fast and slow all at once, that the driver wasn’t going to stop. He hadn’t been paying attention. Read more.
A Modest Proposal
by Stephen Weiss
The sun had yet to reach its zenith in the cobalt-blue Iowa sky when they circled the cloverleaf onto I-80 West. Tess checked their progress on her iPhone Maps function and tried to decipher their final destination. She followed the interstate westward and saw Iowa City appear on the screen along with an icon for the University of Iowa.
“Looks like we’re heading into Hawkeye country,” Tess said.
“Yep.” Read more.
The Carpenter and the Poet
by Stan Dryer
The carpenter was the one who found the “Lovers Poem.” He was a big man who was fifty-six years old, shaved every morning and wore overalls and a light-blue work shirt. His thoughts were generally of levels, plumb bobs and squares and how he could best restore someone’s old house to its original beauty and purpose. Read more.
Be There Now
by Timothy Ryan
“Door’s open!” Russell yells.
“When’s it not?” Geoff and Sarah push on into his foyer, absorbing the faint sound of an intricate minor key wailing. They navigate past the huge brass Sri Lankan oil lamp standing front and center topped with a crowing rooster. After hanging her coat on a hook, Sarah turns and stares the rooster in the eye.
Cool, Sarah thinks. Ragnarok. Wrong culture, I know. Read more.
The Wrong Kind of Love
by Jan Little
The latest Time magazine with a photo of her ex-boyfriend Howard on the cover as person of the year lay crumpled in the trashcan. The article gave him mixed reviews in the superman category. Reporters said he throws super tantrums when people don’t like the way he fixes their problems. As a result, fewer police departments now ask for his help in catching criminals. Read more.
The Hour He Lost
by Melissa Flores Anderson
Arturo pulled a clunky wooden wagon along the creek. Its wheels bounced on every rock and ridge. He went out early in the morning before the sun moved high overhead and the temperatures heated to the 90s. The wildflowers from spring had withered, replaced by yellowed grass that stood almost as tall Arturo, which is to say almost as tall as a man of small stature. Read more.
by Glenn Verdi
Martin sat at a small patio table at the craft brewery. A pinkish sunburn on his bald spot and the slight build of an introvert were his most striking features. His friend Gabe sat across from him trying to attract the attention of the waitress. Gabe, with his large shock of white hair and broad shoulders twice the size of Martin’s, was not used to being ignored. Read more.
by Quin Yen
“Mom,” Betul says in a tired, yet apologizing tone.
“Betul? Where are you?”
“Mom, don’t worry. I’m fine.”
“But, where are you?” Her voice trembles.
“Mom, I’m sorry. I should have told you earlier. I’m in America.”
“In America?” Read more.
Chronic Good Weather
by Madeleine Belden
The feel of the rope wakes me. Coiled above my breasts, underneath, and pinning my hips against the kitchen chair. Arms pulled behind my back; wrists tied together. The rope smells like motor oil. I have no right to be surprised by my husband. I’ve watched enough Law and Order episodes to know that behavior escalates. I feel as though I’ve been drugged. Read more.
The Comforting Words Package
by Diane McTigue
Evelyn skims the morning’s featured obituaries. Pure white-bread fare. Only one phrase grabs her attention: “in his kind and gentle way.” It’s simple but disarming, and it stirs a pang of empathy in her gut. She jots it down. Evelyn shakes her head at the grainy photos. When she reaches an advanced age, she’ll have a professional headshot taken just for this purpose. Read more.
by Aleksandra Appleton
Twilight on the coast always suggests the presence of a colossal beast in the slow inhale-exhale sound of the waves and the lingering humidity of the air. Marcella felt its breath each time the automatic doors opened and closed. She had stopped looking up from the reception desk expecting to meet the source. Her focus was on her screen, where she cycled through real estate listings in the neighborhood next door… Read more.
by Kabir Mansata
Raja Rampaul was born on Lord Krishna’s birthday. When his mother Eela was pregnant with him, she had this recurring dream of a blue-skinned baby appearing on her bed, holding the Earth in his right palm, while rolling his head back and having a good laugh. It was as if the baby was the only creature in the world who knew the secrets of the universe. Read more.
by G.L. Lomax
A message was waiting for me at the front desk in Salvador da Bahia. Flávio would meet me later in the Largo do Pelourinho, a short taxi ride away. I unpacked. It was still afternoon, with time for a nap. I wanted to look fresh after so many hours in the air from Los Angeles. I caught myself wanting to look fresh for Flávio. Read more.
by Stan Werlin
Thayer drove. Joroff would not take the wheel. He said the sun bothered him on bright days, and his vision at night made him unsteady and fearful. Thayer would do all the driving. He didn’t mind. He liked the feeling of control. It was outside Vermillion on highway 50 when they spotted the first sign, a few feet away from a “Vote Ford/Dole 1976” poster that somehow hadn’t been removed after the election months earlier. Read more.
The Sea of Onosano
by Lisa Voorhees
Kira Atsusuke, heir to the royal throne of Onosano, prostrated herself before the raised platform where her mother, Empress Sakura, sat. To Kira’s left, her younger sister the Princess Yuuki, also bowed in supplication. Their faces were pressed against the bamboo covering on the throne room floor, neither of them daring to move until her Imperial Eminence, the Divine Ruler of the five kingdoms of the Sunset Empire, commanded otherwise. Read more.
by Richard McPherson
Today, near Washington, D.C.
Beth’s mind was almost gone but her beauty refused to abandon her. Kindness was unmistakable in her deep brown eyes, and a generous heart illuminated her smile. Her seventy-four years, over half of them married to him, were confused shadows, judging by her rambling. But Michael could easily remember Beth’s fearless intelligence, and he often sat by her bedside and closed his eyes to bask in the velvet voice which still soothed him. Read more.
Onto the Bus
by Louise Sidley
Every Sunday without fail, Matthew Volpatti left his apartment and rode the bus to the lake east of the city. It was a forested natural lake despite being surrounded by the metropolis. Between the parking lot and the lakeshore, stone picnic tables sat on concrete pads in an evenly spaced row along the strip of mowed lawn. Read more.
Giving up the Ghost
by Ernest Sadashige
Dani Braker stared, eyes transfixed, pupils focused on the vintage road map atop her bed. The map’s edges, once crisp as the past, were soft and smudged, reflecting the fragility of time preserved on paper; the folds ripping where arthritic cello tape had lost its grip. Dani’s fingers probed the map in the same way she picked loose threads off her school blazer. Read more.
by Malcolm Glass
The car swayed gently through easy curves as the car slid south down the two-lane highway. The engine whispered, even at seventy-five miles an hour. David glanced at the map on the passenger seat, but he knew by heart where he was going. He pressed Play on the CD player sitting on the seat, and the Brahms Third Violin Sonata swam through the still air. Read more.
by Rebecca Godwin
At 6:10 on a March afternoon in Montgomery, Alabama, Ginnie Lackland sat on the steps of Miss Lily’s acrobatics studio, watching her classmates get picked up by their mothers. Ginnie was a big girl, almost seven, who could do front splits and a perfect backbend and was learning to flip herself completely around without touching the floor—what flying must feel like, she imagined. Miss Lily told her to think of a perfect circle. Read more.
Life Is But a Dream
by Diana Raab
Early Christmas morning last year, which happened to be my father’s sixtieth birthday, I was studying for my medical boards in Montreal when my mother called. I found the phone hidden under my placemat on the kitchen table. “Hi, Mom,” I said when I heard her voice. “Joelene, your father died yesterday,” my mother said. Read more.