By Kristy Kassie
Kerry stood in the shadow of the hibiscus tree. She heard her friends squealing and stifled a giggle. Her bratty brother and boy cousins were finding her friends where they hid but Kerry had the best spot ever. Her friends had helped her to the hilltop because she was the birthday girl.
For lunch, Mom and Aunt Daphne had laid out macaroni pie, barbecued chicken and a chocolate cake with pink icing and smarties. Kerry turned nine today. She wore her brand-new paisley jumper and white party shoes. She’d had the coolest tea party on the garden lawns with her friends and her new pink tea set. Continue reading
By Michael Croban
Every morning he would get up from his bed and do his morning rituals, which include shaving and showering, among other things. Then he would put his best suit on and with a briefcase in his hand, he would face the mirror. Almost every time he would be pleased with what he would see. He would leave the apartment with a smile on his face. Sometimes he would take a cab to the hotel if the hotel was somewhere near. However, most of the time he would ride the train, sometimes for hours, until he would reach his destination. The city was big; there were hundreds, if not thousands, of hotels waiting for him to visit. Continue reading
By Mary Senter
She opened her puffy eyes to see light streaming through a dirty aluminum framed window. It took her a minute to figure out where she was. Clothes piled on brown shag carpet. Thrift store furniture. She heard his throaty breathing and remembered. She slowly slid her legs from under the sheet, dangling them over the edge of the bed and carefully contorted her torso until she was on her belly, sliding her body off the edge of the bed until her knees touched the floor. The mattress springs creaked as she removed her weight, but he didn’t stir. His open mouth let out a low growl as he exhaled. Continue reading
By Kieron Walquist
In the black wax of midnight, she floats in the sky. Hungry for blood. Always starving.
We hunt for the moon, our mother. We lure boys and girls into the trees by a siren song too sweet to shake. Upon a stone altar, they die screaming. And under her frosty flame, we dance, naked but bathed in red, howling.
It’s the price we pay. For youth. For beauty. Continue reading
By Debra S. Levy
It was time to say good-bye. Much as Alison hated leave-takings, this was even worse; a few hours earlier they’d just said hello.
While their boyfriends talked directions and best routes, she and Davina stood in the driveway, silent for the first time all day. That afternoon they’d leaned over Davina’s kitchen table into the minutia of their respective lives, talking, talking.
Their friendship had begun years ago, in college. As roommates, they’d talked and laughed late into the night, telling stories, sharing dreams–the latter, they’d learned, were so jarringly alike as to be spooky. Then two weeks into the semester came the long-distance call; Alison’s mother was dying and she was needed at home. Continue reading
By Robert Lackey
The litter-clogged drains overflowed onto the sidewalks. My left shoe let in the rain, soaking the shredded newspaper under my foot. I usually put my good sock on that foot when it’s wet out, but last night was mild. I still had my thin sock with the big-ass hole on my left foot.
Shit. Continue reading
By Tamara Linden
There’s food. They throw a few crusts of stale bread into the cage and laugh as we fight over them. A dirty, stubbled knee smashes into my face as I reach into the melee with one hand and shove aside a frail old woman with the other. My hand closes spasmodically around a small piece but, as I bring the prize to my lips, another girl tries to snatch it from me. I jerk away and bite her grasping fingers, lips pulled back from my teeth. She glares at me and rubs her hand, like I’ve done something rude, like she has every right to my food. I glare back and chew as slowly as possible, both to make it last and to rub it in the thief’s face. I hope they sell her soon. She’s been a steadily growing pain in my ass for weeks now. Continue reading