Short Story

Featured image for “In the Pines”

In the Pines
by Stephen Coates

“Some said she was surrounded by a glow like pale fire. Some said she was wearing a tattered wedding gown, hair wild and bedraggled. Some—teenage boys, mostly—said that she was naked. But none of that was true. She was just ordinary.” “You saw her?” Read more.

Featured image for “Uphill”

by Pernille AEgidius Dake

You have to live somewhere. But the Woodhills Preservation Tract, a private homeowners association on the outskirt of Hopscotch Mills, N.Y., where every street ends in -wood: Beechwood, Pinewood, Ashwood, Alderwood, Oakwood, Wedgewood, Westwood, Sycamorewood, Hollywood, Gingkowood, and Cedarwood, is a far cry from where Eliza Volk used to live in Manhattan. Read more.

Featured image for “Brighton Beach”

Brighton Beach
by William Mager

Chrissie’s just leaving the office when she sees him standing at the 23rd St subway entrance, looking up at the sky. When his eyes drift down to meet hers, the jolt of sudden intimacy sends her walking in the opposite direction. She never took the New York City Subway. Read more.

Featured image for “Hourglass Hostel”

Hourglass Hostel
by Alana Hollenbaugh

In the few seconds it took for my eyes to adjust to the darkness of the unfamiliar room, the cloud of spiced-chai scent around me had already faded. I slowly turned, taking in the lobby where I had landed. A bar filled half of the room, with worn, dark wood chairs stacked on clean tables, and the only movement was the dust spiraling through a bit of sunlight that slanted across the room. Read more.

Featured image for “Flanked By These Heroes”

Flanked By These Heroes
by C.W. Bigelow

One hundred stitches winding like a leafy vine across his backside kept Dorrey on his stomach and abruptly delayed his induction into the army. The weapon that wielded the damage had been the sharp edge of a tin can top, just an innocent bystander minding its own business. The blame lay somewhere between Dorrey, a fifth of Jack and a group of our friends gathered at a going-away party. Read more.

Featured image for “The Black Rose”

The Black Rose
by Anthony Raymond

I turned the uncut stone three times over in my hand. It was rough and coarse, but he explained to me that it was imperative it wasn’t altered. He said the process stripped away at it, and if I wanted it to “harness the powers of the earth” as he said, I needed to keep it the way the earth made it. Or in this case, the moon. Read more.

Featured image for “Spine of Empire”

Spine of Empire
by Nicholas Maistros

Three days after the avalanche, Onderdonk arrived in his private car. “There she is,” Roscoe said, having let go his end of a plank, smiling a dirty, squinted smile. “Miss Eva, and ain’t she a bee-yute.”
Emil dropped his end and a flurry of snow clouded up. When the snow cleared, he saw the car. It looked more like an oversized trolley from his Barbary Coast days than a railcar. . . Read more.

Featured image for “Clouds”

by Jan Jolly

McPherson Women’s Prison 2018: age 80
The clouds look higher than usual this morning, far above the razor wire and guard tower. The bored officer paces slowly, checking her watch every few seconds, sipping her tepid coffee at the start of the morning shift. My hour in the yard is early, right after shift change, morning haze still thick across the fields. Read more.

Featured image for “Blue Moon On Riverside”

Blue Moon On Riverside
by Penny Jackson

At fifteen years old, I was a pyromaniac. I would try to set my hair on fire with the fancy matches my mother collected from Manhattan’s finest bars: Lutèce, The Carlyle and The Plaza. I would steal them from a back drawer in the kitchen and my mother never noticed. Read more.

Featured image for “Birds at Night”

Birds at Night
by Cory Essey

We could hear the music, muted out here on the balcony, but lovely and soft, and we swayed slowly all alone, a quiet world with no one else in it to burst the dream that we had carefully weaved and convinced ourselves was reality. Read more.

Featured image for “A Portrait of Winter”

A Portrait of Winter
by Marvin Cheiten

I have always loved snow scenes. I am not talking about snow: I find snow to be brutally cold and harsh. Even snow’s whiteness reminds me not of purity but of a world devoid of color and nuance, a world that has had the life bleached out of it. Read more.

Featured image for “A Train Whistle Blows”

A Train Whistle Blows
by Seth Foster

Sitting on the edge of her bed, early evening sunlight stretching narrow shadows across the polished wooden floor, Mama whispers with her hands folded, “Dear God please, please let things go right. Please God, oh please.” Read more.

Featured image for “Things Left Behind on the Moon”

Things Left Behind on the Moon
by Mark Wagstaff

I was ten, I didn’t want to change school. But my father died. It wasn’t important he left us with nothing. We had nothing before, his death made no difference. We moved from a flat in the town to a house in wretched country. A suburb, tethered meaninglessly five miles from anywhere. Overnight I lost my friends. Read more.

Featured image for “A Different Kind of Sameness”

A Different Kind of Sameness
by Randy McIntosh

Do you need comfort? Is the world getting you down? Need company during the lockdown but don’t want the risk? Do you need a quick fix of unconditional love but don’t want the commitment? Then you need Kitten Balls, the latest from XCorp in artificial pets. Read more.

Featured image for “Lavender Roses”

Lavender Roses
by Carol Pierce

My grandmother is in the hospital. Two weeks ago, on a Saturday, she lay down in the middle of the afternoon to take a nap. She was asleep for almost an hour, and when she awoke, she didn’t recognize her surroundings. Read more.

Featured image for “Second Best”

Second Best
by Dave Wakely

‘Every time I see you, Mr Woodcock, you look a little taller.’ Unaccustomed to displays of diplomacy or flattery, and still learning to acquire the habit of booking restaurant tables, Bernard smiled shyly at Sergio’s greeting. Back in England, his expectations had been distinctly lower. Read more.

Featured image for “Wealth”

by Linda Heller

Sharon asked Daniel, a young ceramist—they were at a month long glazing workshop in upstate New York—how he supported himself. Most ceramists didn’t earn much and she wondered how he managed to drive a brand-new fully loaded Land Rover. Read more.

Featured image for “Handprint”

by Andreas Hasselbom

Three helicopters flew overhead, seemingly pulling the clouds across the sky as they went. Jake knew the sound very well and didn´t bother looking up. Instead, he looked at the road ahead of him. The tall pine trees on either side created a corridor which covered the dirt road he was on. The forest fanned out in every direction. It wasn´t old, though. Read more.

Featured image for “Pat”

by Quin Yen

“I’m not going to help you! Look at him! He has the same surgery and he’s older than you. He can walk to the washroom by himself. Why can’t you?” The voice sounds like it’s coming from a grinding saw, piercing into my ears. My heart trembles. I am a coward. Read more.

Featured image for “Pasteboard Houses”

Pasteboard Houses
by Rebecca Jung

In the 1950s, you could tell you were getting close to Akron before you saw it—an acrid smell of burning rubber and sulfur permeated everything. Tall brick smokestacks above dark, dingy tire factories coughed up oily black soot that coated everything—your clothes, your hair, even the insides of your nostrils. Read more.

Featured image for “The Procedure”

The Procedure
by Polly Richards Babcock

When blonde, angelic-looking Annie asked if she could stay with me while she recovered from her intended abortion, I concealed my shock and said, “Sure. You can sleep on the sofa.” At nineteen, a decade before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, I naively relied on inconsistent condom deployment and boys’ assurances that withdrawal was effective. This was the first time I had been confronted with the consequences of my bohemian carelessness. Read more.

Featured image for “Feast”

by Emily Corak

The first time I decided to uproot my life entirely came after a lazy morning lying in bed and watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother. I’d recently moved to Portland right after college because of a boy, and I had settled in nicely. I had an apartment, a job, and this boy and I were on the verge of cohabiting. Read more.

Featured image for “The Bicycle Crash”

The Bicycle Crash
by Adrian Fleur

Once it was June it was hard to remember the despair of March. The winter was always slightly too long, the dark skies and short days lingering just past what was reasonable for any human to endure. It was a despair which infused all former pleasantries with an unexplainable sourness; you could hardly bother with hellos or how are yous. Read more.

Featured image for “Curious Fictions”

Curious Fictions
by Seth Kristalyn

Before you regretted voting for that one president, but after your favorite sports team fell out of relevance, all the books were digitized. All the publishers became E-Publishers. The presses stopped. A few libraries remained open as museums, and you remember going to one with a woman you thought you would marry. Read more.