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There is death in my house.

“It's gone to a better place,” she says. "Now flush it down the toilet and wash your hands. Breakfast is ready."

Like that, she cans Juju, our goldfish. She did the same with Didi, Ma’s parrot, Brook, the family cat, and Wild E. my she-wolf— and it always happens early in the morning, right before breakfast.

In my home, since she stepped in, pets die at night and are rid of in the morning. Juju’s brother floated in the tank, belly up, the Monday after she hooked up with Pa. Two days later, Didi got eaten by Brook. Some of its feathers are still stuck against the bars, and they’re going to stay there until she cleans it up. It’s her chore. She left the cage open.

Brook herself, too fat with Didi, fell from the barn roof onto a mousetrap, lost a paw, and bled to death overnight. And a few weeks after, I found poor Wild E. dying on our doorstep with a bullet in her left eye.

Imagine that, Wild E. dying, yet seeking me out to say goodbye. That is true loyalty.


There is little loyalty in our house.

Or empathy for one's grief.

Take Pa, he hooked up with her two months after Ma kicked the bucket, and I mean that literally. Ma cut herself on the rusted chicken-feed bucket she, our farmhand from New Orleans, should have put away; got blood poisoning, and went to the better place before I got to say goodbye. Ma died early in the afternoon when I was still at school, and by morning, before I even woke up, they buried her in our backyard cemetery. Not one daisy on her grave from either of them—ever! As if Ma never was, never married Pa, never had me.


 There is no love in our house.

Unless it’s between the sheets and without the Lord’s approval.

And when it spills over like today, it ain’t a pretty picture.

Just looking at Pa sucking her lips instead of gulping down oats, his slicked-back hair without the usual grey at the temples, and his face peach-pink from last night apple cider binge the two indulged in, gives me an itch all over. And when that happens she smears me with petroleum jelly, as if she cares, as if she’s my mother, and tells me: You don’t know how to wash, little pet.

“Juju is gone,” I say, just to get them unglued. “No more pets left. All dead.”

“No more pets left, except you, my pet.” Leaning forward, she plants a wet smooch on my cheek. She’s all hugs and cuddles when Pa is around and absent when he ain’t. It’s Sunday. Pa ain’t going anywhere, except maybe back under the sheets, so she plants another smooch on my other cheek and snuggles up to me like a sultry lover. “Why, look at these perked up little plums. You’re turning into a young lady. You know what that means, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I know. Once the curse comes you got to watch for babies if you go with boys, Ma said.”

Pa throws back his chair. He doesn’t like this kind of yap at the table.

“Coming?” he winks.

“Coming.”

She too gets up.

“When the curse comes, you seek me out before the boys,” she says, glancing at me over the left shoulder. “We don’t want any unwanted babies running amok. They’re worst than pests, my little pet.”

“Gina. My name is Gina.”

It worries me her calling me pet. 



There are no more pets in my house.

 

 

Enza's bio: Enza considers herself a self-learner with a passion for studying the craft. Years ago, the WVU courses first introduced her to the wonderful world of creating writing. Since then, she has gained a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and still continues her self-learning adventure with the WVU MFA courses. In cooperation with her writers’ group, WWWE, Enza has co-authored two short stories anthologies: Women Who Write with Elves and Second Helpings.

 

 

 

Tom Whitehead: (In the deep husky Marlboro movie guys voice) HEEEEEEEEEEEER FISHY, FISHY, FISHY!

It was an early Saturday morning. He thought it was just another day of fishing, then all of a sudden out of nowhere he realized it WAS just another day of fishing...the end.

 

Leona Pence: And Fishy knew right then the ruse had worked. The next time the gullible hulk stuck his pole in the water, he'd catch much more than he bargained for. 

 As the unsuspecting fisherman approached the water he heard in a low voice heeeeeeere human human human. 

 Sadly, the poor unsuspecting human thought the voice was part of the creepy music he'd been listening to. With a smirk on his face, he danced around his camp chair twice before sitting down and opening his tackle box. He didn't notice the huge school of Fishy swimming in a circular motion toward him. The fisherman thought he was graceful enough to dance, but he was just tripping over the uneven ground. He saw a movement in the water but paid no attention to it. As he baited his hook the motion was getting faster and bigger. He slowly backed away from the water. 

He stepped back right into a small hole in the ground which caused him to lose his balance and fall hard on his fleshy butt. Immediately, the fishing line wound rapidly and tightly around both his feet. Something pulled him toward the water. All he could grab onto was mud as he clawed to stop the forward movement. The Fishy had him in the water now. His heart pounded. How was he going to escape their wrath? 

Then he remembered something he saw on TV, poke them in the eye. No wait, that was sharks. He took one deep breath as he went under pawing at the air and slapping the water as he sank down not able to kick his feet. All of a sudden he stood up because the water was only 4 foot deep at the bank, but he was being pulled out to the deeper part of the lake. 

And pull him deeper, they did. He thrashed the same way Fishy did when caught on his hook. His whole body was squeezed through a type of tunnel. He could no longer feel the water. A loud voice called out, "Open your eyes and breathe now, human." The fisherman did as he was told but nearly gagged up his breakfast at the putrid odor that assaulted his nostrils. He was reminded of Fishy remains that had sat in a bucket in the sun for a week or more. 

 As he stood up he realized his hands were bound with moss. The more he struggled the tighter they became. He was surrounded by water with only a 6-foot circle of swampy land. There were several fish, all different types in the surrounding wall of water. The King Catfish was able to communicate through a type of telepathy. He could tell it was a superior species. A strange thought went through his mind, he wished he had his pole because some of those fish were of good size. Then his bounds grew tighter. The fish could read his thoughts. It was his worst nightmare. 

 Obviously, the fisherman didn't realize he had been swallowed by Bowser, part Fishy, park Sharky. Swampy land was in truth the belly of Bowser. The Fishy were holding court and charges shouted out. "Murder, murder, murder times 1000! Most men fish for food for a meal but you, you, fish constantly, hoarding FISHY just to have a big party to celebrate and eat us. What do you have to say to these charges?" 

It's true, he said. We gather, some times in large groups and sometimes just alone and feast on your flesh. That's what humans do, we pray on smaller, weaker and helpless animals or in this case, mammals. We do it not to show superiority, but to survive. I don't kill just to kill, I actually eat what I catch. Just as you do, he said. Studies have been done for decades showing what fish eat from small bait fish to large-mouth bass. Hoping statistics will help he says, we know that the large adult catfish lay on the bottom of the lake in wait of smaller fish to swim by so it can eat them. That makes you no better or worse than me, he said. Now, waiting for a response from the king catfish either to admit what he said is true or condemn him for doing exactly what they do. 

 "You are fortunate today, fisherman. Your defense has met our approval. However, will you refrain from being so jubilant each time you cause our death? Don't catch our attention again...be warned...or you will forever join our FISHY ranks until you, yourself, become food for man or fish. 

 Thank you, King...Catfishy, he said sheepishly. He left with the knowledge that fish are aware 

 The FISHY soon disbanded and swam away, all but three who understood well what the fisherman had just gone through. They hadn't been as glib as he and now spent their days swimming to and fro. As long as they watched out for baited hooks and bottom feeders, it wasn't half bad down here. 

 Now the fisherman started to wonder how he was going to get back to the surface. He heard what he can only imagine as laughter coming from the fish. 

 "Don't worry, fisherman," said Bowser, as he swam underneath him, lifted and tossed him ashore. "Come back anytime" Bowser watched the man stand shakily and walk away. He wondered how long it would take this one to convince himself he'd only been dreaming. 

 

Bio: Leona Pence is a mother of four a grandmother to twelve and great-grandmother to seven. She started writing later in life after the death of her husband of forty-four years. Hemphill Towers was written when she was sixty-five published at 70. You can find her on Amazon; Bump off Your Enemies Anthology; The Darwin Murders Anthology; iTunes; and at her Blog Leonaschatter

Samael and Malachi, two brothers working for different bosses, sit on the fence dangling their booted feet each on their side of the divide. One pair of boots is caked in white droppings; the other scrubbed clean. It’s like a dare. Trespassing? Not quite. They kick the air, slam the rubber heels against the wooden fence but don’t cross over. It’s dusk.

“Admit, brother," says Samael, the one with the well-scrubbed boots. "It doesn’t just look the part, works too. Keeps them tight and happy.”
 
“Happy?” Malachi leans over to wipe off the droppings. He too likes his boots clean but knows it’s an impossible task. With a tap of his boot, he gently shoos the young hens and looks over at his brother. “You think they’re happy?”

“What’s not to be happy about?” Samael slams his heels on the fence. "Think about it, brother,” he says. “They sleep, feed, roost— all in one place. No time wasted, just a stretch of their pretty necks to peck, and when they tire, they can plop and rest on a bed of heat-resistant hay. All they possibly need is inside these concentric circles spreading out into the field like the petals of a rose. Ecological Art Deco Enriched Cages Complex, EADECC, we call it. It’s a gem of architectural engineering and warm as hell.”

“Warm as hell? Oh Samael, coming from you, that’s no joke.”

“It sure isn’t.”

Samael’s chortle booms into a guffaw that gets the hens on Malachi’s side fluttering in frenzy. They scatter and poop in flight, and new droppings land on Malachi’s boots.

“Look at that.” Samael draws in breath and reels in the guffaw back to a chortle. “The joke is on you brother. You give them too much space and freedom. It’s hard work to figure out where to poop and what to peck. And inefficient.  Structure, symmetry—that’s what they need.” His arms sweep the air over Malachi’s face with broad strokes. “Look at all that open space. No wonder they stray.”

“It’s called free range. It means they can roam as far as they can reach, get to choose where to poop and what to peck.” 

 “And yet they land their droppings on you, brother.” 

Malachi looks down; has to curb his urge to clean his boots. It’s part of the job, he reminds himself, to look after the younglings and guide them even if they don’t know it, and his voice rises, strong, convinced. 

 “Free will, that’s the motto on this side of the fence.” 

"Free to aimlessly hop around flapping those useless wings.” Samael gives out a deep sigh and then shakes his head. “Oh brother, so cruel to make them think they can fly, and when they try and lose their way, coerce them back to the pen.” 

 “I don’t coerce.” 

 “Woo then, woo them back. I tell you, brother, if by nightfall any trespass. They’re mine.”

 

 

 

Bio: Enza considers herself a self-learner with a passion for studying the craft. Years ago, the WVU courses first introduced her to the wonderful world of creating writing. Since then, she has gained a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and still continues her self-learning adventure with the WVU MFA courses. In cooperation with her writers’ group, WWWE, Enza has co-authored two short stories anthologies: Women Who Write with Elves and Second Helpings.

 

 

David Porter watched his wife and two sons as they played on the monkey bars at the park. He smiled in contentment as peals of laughter rang out. Two short weeks ago, he’d been in danger of losing his family.

His executive secretary had left on a well-deserved vacation while a trainee had stepped into her shoes. Michelle had been with the company for less than three months but showed promise in her work. David stood and prepared to leave for the day when Michelle tapped on his door.

“Sorry Mr. Porter, but I can’t find the Bremmer file for the eight am meeting.”

“Linda told me she left everything you’d need for the week on her desk.”

“I know, but I’ve looked everywhere for it. I don’t mind staying later to help you redo the file.”

David glanced at his watch and sighed. “Give me a minute to call my wife. It’s going to be a long evening.”

Two hours later they closed the new file and were ready to head out.

“Would you like to stop for a drink or dinner before you go home, Mr. Porter?”

“I can’t tonight, Michelle. My wife’s parents are visiting. But please, feel free to put a good meal on your expense account. I’ll see you at 8:00 sharp.”

David walked her to her car before returning to his private parking space and his late model SUV.  Jean had kept his dinner warm and now he relaxed with a drink and visited with his in-laws, whom he admired very much. He hated to work late and miss tucking his sons in bed.

The long hours of work paid off though, the meeting had been a big success, the clients were pleased. “Thanks again, Michelle, for your help. We would have been in a bind without that file.”

“Anytime, Mr. Porter.”

The rest of the day passed swiftly and David was eager to get home to be with his sons. Michelle looked up as he neared her desk. “Mr. Porter, would you like to go for a drink with several of us?”

“Another time, Michelle. My boys are expecting me, but thanks for asking.”

 He hurried home and set up an old train set that had been his as a boy. His sons put on their engineer hats and the three played until Jean called them to eat. After dinner, David helped his wife clean up the kitchen, then bathe the boys and tuck them in bed. Working together allowed them time to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie. He loved his family so much it scared him at times.

Next day, David was eager to get through the workday so he could take his wife and sons to a children’s program at the new civic center. Since Michelle had asked to leave an hour early for a doctor’s appointment, he decided to close the office early too. 

When he got close to his SUV, a strong odor of oil wafted past before he saw the puddle running from beneath it. “Dammit! How in the hell did this happen?” He got inside and started the engine, and as he expected, the oil gauge flashed its message. He’d no sooner stepped outside the vehicle when Michelle pulled up alongside him.

“Is something wrong, Mr. Porter?” 

“Yes, looks like I’ve ruptured the oil line somehow.”

“I’d be happy to drive you home.”

“Thanks, Michelle. It’s quite fortunate you happened by when you did. I’ll call the garage to take care of this.”

David could still smell the oil on the way home. He must have stepped in it. He thanked Michelle again when she dropped him off at his house. 

 David’s boys laughed all through the children’s program. They both had a balloon animal made by a clown. The excitement wore them out and both conked out on the drive home. They didn’t even wake up when they were put in bed.

David walked in the house the next evening to find Jean sobbing. ”Honey, what is wrong.” He was stunned when she pushed him away.

“Are you cheating on me, David?”

“What!? No way. Why would you think such a thing?”

“A woman called here. She said you were lovers, that you’d been with her the night my parents were here. She threatened me, David, if I told you she called.”

“It’s not true, Jean. Please, trust me.” His phone rang and he turned away to answer it. “Are you sure?

“That was the garage calling to tell me the oil line under the SUV had been cut. It may sound vain, but I believe Michelle is behind this, stalking me. She had no reason to be in the parking garage last night when she gave me a ride home. But, how do we prove it?”

“I’d recognize the voice. She told me I’d lose you, she laughed at me.”

“I’ll invite her to dinner at the Durango Grill. Get your mom to watch the kids and meet us there. I won’t tell her you’re joining us. I love you, Jean. We’ll get through this.”

Michelle appeared delighted to discuss a new client over dinner. She even winked at him as if he’d planned a tryst with her. Seated at the restaurant, he pulled his legs back when she attempted to rub against him. The waiter had just brought drinks when Jean arrived. The look on Michelle’s face told him he was right in his assumption.

“Hi, sweetheart. Sorry, I’m late.”

David took her hand, “Michelle, meet my wife, Jean.”

“It’s…it’s nice to meet you, Jean.”

“Nice to meet you too, Michelle. I’d like to assure you, my husband will never be yours. I’ll scratch your eyes out if you try any more bullshit. You have a very distinctive voice.”

David observed shock, guilt, resignation, and defiance flit across Michelle’s face. “You’re fired, Michelle. I’ll send your belongings to your agency.”

“Go to hell!” She screamed at them, then stood and fled the restaurant.

 

Bio: Leona Pence is a mother of four a grandmother to twelve and great-grandmother to seven. She started writing later in life after the death of her husband of forty-four years. Hemphill Towers was written when she was sixty-five published at 70. You can find her on Amazon; Bump off Your Enemies Anthology; The Darwin Murders Anthology; iTunes; and at her Blog Leonaschatter



An elderly woman shuffled up the sidewalk and took a seat on the bench across the way from me. I watched her slow steps and noticed her feet stuck in matted slippers and her swollen discolored ankles. Breathing a sigh of relief, I felt grateful for my mobility, for my youth and comfort. The woman carried with her a small boom box. She sat it on the bench by her side and, with much huffing and puffing, she settled herself. Big sweater sleeves flopping, she put one scrawny elbow on the arm of the bench then used her gnarled hands to pull headphones over her dull gray head.

I could hear snatches of the melody drifting from under the tattered pads on her ears… some beautiful piano… was that a symphony? I couldn’t quite tell.

As she listened, her face relaxed. She tilted her head back in the sun and her skin seemed to smooth. Her shoulders loosened and her back straightened as tight muscles relaxed and gained strength from the sound. Her lips parted and seemed to grow fuller as I watched. Blushing and bursting with color, this youth traveled up into her cheeks, her nose, her eyes and her forehead until it appeared that her complexion was that of a teenager, radiant and flawless. Formerly drab and white, her hair had somehow become flowing pale locks, thick and glowing in the sun.

Then her blue eyes opened wide and she suddenly rose. Arms, now slim and tan, shrugged off the baggy sweater and she was on her feet. Legs, shapely and muscled, held her gracefully as she stepped out of the slippers and grabbed the boombox, headphones still firmly attached. She danced onto the grass, spinning and raising her arms with agile symmetry.

Gracefully, as if she were a prima ballerina, she twirled and leapt across the grassy island behind the bench. Her baggy cotton dress flowing with her movements and rising as she spun, revealed her lovely muscled thighs. A gentle smile pulled at her lips as she lost herself in the melody, completely rapt with the sound. And she cavorted that way for several minutes as the music swept through her. Then suddenly the headphones caught on an edge of the bench and were yanked out of the boombox. The woman looked at the dangling cord as music blasted from the speakers. The song was nearing its end. She reached to turn it off then pulled the headphones down to her neck and began to shuffle back to the bench.

As she made her way, her hair somehow returned to dull gray deadness. Her ankles swelled and took on the blue cast they had previously lost. Arms, now pale, slowly began to sag, left with only liver spots and wrinkles.

She plopped onto the bench then pushed her sweater back on. Jowls hanging and pale lips sagging, she dragged her boombox upwards and into her arms. Rising slowly, the woman shuffled past me, barely meeting my glance. Leaning down, she whispered one word to me… “Einaudi.”


If you have never heard the music of Ludovico Einaudi, it is my hope that this story will make you curious. 


Bio: Luann is a Chicago native who has spent the last seventeen years writing legal documents and correspondence, but is now in semi-retirement and pursuing her MFA at WVU. Dabbling in Fiction, Flash and Poetry. She has had several pieces published as well as having one used for an audio performance.

Lost and Found

by

Brigitte Whiting

Smelled: a gamey odor downstairs in the basement. Searched for its source but couldn’t find it.

Found: one dead mouse with reddish-brown legs and a white underbelly in the basement bathroom. A deer mouse. Picked it up with tongs, took it outdoors, and tossed...

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One Hundred Yards

by

McCord Chapman

 

 

A deep sigh came just as Jason was pulling off the highway onto Route 11. He was close and could feel his back tingling as if his whole spine had suddenly fallen asleep. This happened every time he headed into a small town, no...

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Yearning - F2k WINNER!

by

Noel



Trish pushed her hair to the side to show off her sparkling diamond earrings. “Alvin just got these for me. I didn’t even have to drop a hint.”

Heather leaned forward for a better look. “Oh Trish, they’re beautiful. And LuAnn, did I see you drive up in a new...

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Flamenco

by

Cedar White

We’re late, of course. Won last-minute tickets to a concert at the Greek, the Gipsy Kings, but now parking is impossible. Ten years of driving in LA and the traffic makes me want to move to, I don’t know, Kansas. Then my date points to a...

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Marbles

by

Brigitte Whiting

 I had plans for that summer and everything changed because of the marbles. But I’m way ahead of myself.

My brothers, Jeff and Mick, hung around Farmer Tom’s place, feeding chickens and riding on the tractor with him, watching while he milked his yellow cow, Bess. I’d...

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Ruler of the House

by

Luann Lewis

We never should have bought this old house.  We sunk all our savings into it plus we took on a mortgage so huge that at this point I would have to pay out money just to get rid of the place.

 

I hate the sounds...

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Abe, the Teenage Hypnotist from Planet Garfunkel

by

Albert Orejuela

You’re hearing a voice, but no one else hears a sound. It’s a deep distant whisper, soft, safe, and inviting: the words of which you can’t yet make out. The harder you listen, the softer it gets; softer and softer, deeper and deeper. The more you listen to it here, ...

Read more: Abe, the Teenage Hypnotist from Planet Garfunkel

 

 

 

A Night in Fontana

by

TJ Marshall

Brody Carlisle halted his horse on the crest of a shrub-covered hill, slapped his Stetson twice sending dust floating skyward, and after placing it back on his head, coaxed a swallow from his canteen.

To the west, the sun slid behind a scattering of tall pillar-like plateaus. Their...

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Full

by

Luann Lewis

Food. Globes of mashed potatoes glistening with a thin layer of gravy, plump slices of pie gushing with ruby red cherries–food wassensuous. It was sensuous before Abby even knew the meaning of the word.  Sparkling Christmas goodies enticed her as a child. She would sneak from her...

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The Decision

by

Brigitte Whiting

Stan stood on the sand, crumpled by how many people and birds running and sliding into it today. Now, it was getting dark, the last of the purple, streaky clouds turning black against a pale, gray sky.

Go or stay, just two choices.

He reached down...

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Swiftwater

by

Cedar White

10

Amos stood on a thick, muscular knoll on the shoulder of a dark river. He shivered, soaking wet from his silver hair to his leather shoes, and stared, disoriented, at the pines across the river. They seemed to stand with their backs to him. Amos felt...

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Minerva Shield

by

Frank Richards

In July the monsoon rains returned and with them came the little green frogs. Price Aurigena had first seen them in the summer of 1969 when he’d arrived in Korea and now, a year later, they were once again everywhere. Frogs sprang from the ground like exploding popcorn...

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Seinfeld Moment

by

Frank Richards

I have studied martial arts all my life: Karate, Judo, Kenpo Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, and Hsing-I, but as I've gotten older, I pretty much stick to Tai Chi. I used to study Tai Chi at a park in Washington, D.C. called Glen Echo Park. It's an old...

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Wedding Portrait – Life Portrait

by

Glennis Hobbs

July 20, 1942


Escorted by her eldest brother Neil, Annabell walks across the front lawn to meet Bill. her groom. She is dressed in a long gown of pink net overlying pink point d’esprit. A bandeau of artificial roses secures her pink net veil. She also...

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Salvation

by

Teresa Crowe

S is for Scintillation. 

Their arms and elbows locked as they vied for control.  Major released her grip and dredged her beet-colored nails across his muscled chest.  Zane glanced at the four lines of ripped skin, blood dripped onto the rim of his pants.  He lunged forward, grabbed...

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The Explorers

by

Glennis Walker Hobbs

Black, ginger, and tortoiseshell felines zoom through the open screen door onto the deck. Black Nic pauses and surveys his domain from the top of the steps. Kittens race down the ramp and scamper into the backyard. Glory, the tortoiseshell, runs to the maple in the corner, ...

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Beckett – you asked for this

by

Joy Manné

Here am I, on this grey morning, here I am again, entering this day as I entered yesterday and the day before and unless I am spared by death will enter tomorrow and the day after, endlessly growing older with the anxiety that brings, the fear of coming...

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Reconciliation

by

Brigitte Whiting

Mattie opened the front door. "I'll be back in a while, Henry," she said, then stepped onto the porch and clicked the door shut.

It opened behind her and Henry stuck out his head. "Wait, I can come with you."

She shook her head. "I need...

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Road Trip

by

David Snyder

  The eight-year-old 1958 Chevy was purring along through rural Kansas with ease. Don smiled with pride. When it hit 180,000 miles he planned to celebrate with a smoke and an ice-cold Mountain Dew from the cooler.  It was a beautiful late April day with the sunny...

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Why I’m Failing My Innovative Fiction Course

by

Ed Kratz

   

This is from an assignment in the Innovative Fiction Course taught by Karen

I'm just not making it in my innovative fiction course.
What is innovative fiction you might ask? Well, if you have to ask, I'd say you're one of those rubes...

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Dear Don...

by

Ed Kratz

   

The Don, whose real name you do not want to know, ever, has vast experience solving problems. Our organization, Don’t Try to Find Us Press, never advocates violence. We take no responsibility for violent acts committed by those misinterpreting the Don’s recommendations.
Now for...

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Todd’s Miracle

by

Leslie

Todd shivered in the dark, seated cross-legged on the linoleum. Coats and dresses draped gently over his five-year-old shoulders. He flinched as a slit of bright light flashed through the space at the bottom of the door. Seconds later the deep, rolling rumble followed. “Mommy?”

Silence.

“Mommy?” ...

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Mad Hatter Town Planners

by

Margaret Fieland

   

I fell down the rabbit hole straight into the town planning committee meeting. A large basin of Sangria sat in the middle of the scratched wood table in the center of the room, and a keg rested against the back wall. Al, Stan, and Art...

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Dinner at Grandma's

by

Lolla Bryant

You’re at Grandma’s house again for dinner.  As always, the family is gathered together and everybody’s trying to out-talk everybody else.   You ask yourself why you continue to go through this ordeal every week, but you know why; it’s Grandma.  Also, it’s a family tradition that brings you...

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Mommy’s Little Secret

by

Leslie

At age five, Amy told her mother that the thought of swimming scared her. Not surprisingly, her mother poo-pooed the idea, and said that fear showed weakness and stupidity. From then on, Amy said she hated swimming and never admitted any fear to her mother again. I don’t...

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Of Heroes and Holiness

by

Angela Hess

What does a hero look like?

 

George Bailey is a hero.

 

George Bailey dreamed of traveling the world.

 

George Bailey gave up his dreams to care for his family and community.

 

Rudy left his family...

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My Desk

by

Luann Lewis

Another rejection letter and I feel like a loser. Yeah, I know, I’m not trying to make a living doing this. I even claim to be “writing for myself.” Butwe all want validation and, let’s face it, us writers want readers. So here I sit, ...

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My Mobile Space

by

Janet Harvey

 

In June, I will expect to find my special place in Townsville, Queensland. Last year it was in Darwin, Northern Territory, and today my place is in Hobart, Tasmania.

 

 

We live in a truck, a 2004 Isuzu 350NPR turbo automatic...

Read more: My Mobile Space

 

 

 

A Red Squirrel's Narrative

by

Brigitte Whiting

This past summer and fall upturned me. The birdfeeder, usually so generous, abdicated her job, and I had to scrounge for food during the long wet season. My mother told me it was unusual to have such a rainy August and October. She would know. I was born...

Read more: A Red Squirrel's Narrative

 

 

 

Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF

by

Joy Manné

This essay is part of a Talk-Back series – I owe that title to Karen. A Talk-Back is my response to a chapter in a WVU textbook, my communication with its author.

This Talk-Back is a response to the exercise in Lia Purpura’s chapter, ‘On Miniatures,’ (Flas...

Read more: Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF

 

 

 

Reunion

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

“Why the F--- Do I want to see a F—ing alligator jump up to eat a F—ing chicken hanging on a clothesline?”

 

The last time I hung out with my Uncle Dan is when I dragged him to Gatorland to do something touristic. ...

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A Fear of Broken Things

by

Angela Hess

“Does he look at you?”

 

My cousin’s innocent question triggers a flashing red warning light in my brain. My baby doesn’t look at me. I assumed he was too young still, but my cousin’s baby is only four days older than mine, and they are...

Read more: A Fear of Broken Things

 

 

 

Wild Roses Growing in the Ditch

by

Louise E. Sawyer


It is a joy to hold a lovely scene, a delightful moment, in memory.
~Marjolein Bastin

Frank was four and I was five and getting ready to start school when Dad and Mom moved us into a new house on Glasgow Avenue—a three-bedroom home that wasn't quite finished—in...

Read more: Wild Roses Growing in the Ditch

 

 

 

Hazardous Happenings

by

Albert Orejuela

At some point, everything comes to an apex.  Status quo can only persist for so long before the natural balance of the universe calls for consumption, and then it all comes down to a choice.  That’s it, a lone decision that ultimately leads down a pathway to a higher level...

Read more: Hazardous Happenings

 

 

 

Dealing with Rejection

by

Carolann Malley


Sending your writing out into the world can be scary whether you write poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. But, at some point, if you are a serious writer, you will do it. Getting a rejection letter back can be more devastating than asking a girl out as a teenager and...

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Backyard Neighbors

by

Brigitte Whiting


I took an hour to walk outdoors in my yard, first to clip dead honeysuckle branches, pluck dandelions, and then to fill the birdbaths and feeders. And to ponder what to write about one of my backyard neighbors, the gray squirrel, Sciurus Carolineses. Its name is derived from the...

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Betrayal

by

Angela Hess


My four-year-old son has a friend over. I overhear my son’s friend tell my two-year-old daughter, “Gracie, you can’t come in here.” Then my son’s voice: “It’s okay, she can play with us. Here, Gracie,” he says, presumably handing her one of the toys they are playing with. My mama...

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The Weight of Emotions

by

Angela Hess

  I can hear my parents’ raised voices upstairs. They are fighting again. I turn on the sink faucet, letting the sound of the running water drown out their voices. I thrust my hands in the nearly scalding hot water and methodically scrub each dish in the sink...

Read more: The Weight of Emotions

 

 

 

An Apology

by

Brigitte Whiting

   I'm sorry that I hadn't thought of how I would take care of a puppy. It had seemed like a good idea, accept the gift of a puppy from acquaintances. She had the coloring of a coyote and was named Brindle for those tawny markings. I'd...

Read more: An Apology

 

 

 

Baby Precious

by

Louise E. Sawyer

It was Christmas Day 1950 and my sixth birthday. Under the tree was an unusually long, large box with my name on it. I was excited to open it. I couldn’t wait. When I finally did, I was amazed to look upon the most gorgeous doll I’d...

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Downsizing

by

M Clare Paris

 
I think about death quite a bit. Not morbidly, nor do I worry about what happens when one dies. Although I enjoy a spiritual life, I am also philosophical about the end of my life. If there is something else, it will be darned interesting. If there isn’t, ...

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Absent But Present

by

Louise E. Sawyer


My father, Thomas George Sawyer, was absent at my birth and absent the first seven months of my life.

It was Christmas Eve 1944 at the two-story white house on Beechwood Drive-my Grannie’s house in Victoria, the capital city of British Colombia on Vancouver Island. Grannie Price, my...

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Gathering: A Contemplative Essay

by

Brigitte Whiting

I'm always looking for ideas to use in writing: for that prompt at which I first gulp and then slowly retrieve some thread of an idea, for the poem I need for the Monday morning poetry group, for an essay that's due in two days.

I've heeded...

Read more: Gathering: A Contemplative Essay

 

 

 

Seasons in a Wild Turkey Hen's Life

by

Brigitte Whiting

Last spring, a wild turkey hen incubated her eggs for twenty-eight days. When they hatched, she scrambled to keep up with them. Poults to scientific literature. Babies to her. She didn't need to teach them to scratch for bugs—they came with that instinct. Nighttimes during their first four weeks, ...

Read more: Seasons in a Wild Turkey Hen's Life

 

 

 

Lesson in Subtext

by

Joy Manné and Karen Barr

Roles

Teacher – Karen Barr

Student – Joy Manné

Teacher

WELCOME TO WEEK 8 OF SUBTEXT.

There is no word count, but the challenge is to get all ten types of subtext in as few words as possible. Here they are:

Show don’t...

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Teenage Escape Plan

by

Danielle Dayney

I woke to warm, gooey air smothering me even though the ceiling fan was spinning on high. Dangling lightpulls smacked and banged the glass globe with each rotation of the blades. The base of the fan swayed and groaned, ready to jump from its screws in the drywall any second.

...

Read more: Teenage Escape Plan

 

 

 

Miracle Baby

by

Harry C. Hobbs

The mother and father watched as the sun rose on a cold morning in February 1945, wondering if their four-month-old son had lived through the night. Could miracles really happen? Perhaps this child they had wanted so badly wanted wasn’t meant to survive. His mother was a month past her...

Read more: Miracle Baby

 

 

 

Ylva the Úlfr

by

Cynthia Reed

When I flew to California in September, the golden archipelago summer, verdant below and mazarine above, still held sway. Twenty-three days and eleven thousand two hundred and forty miles later, if you’d sat here with me on the back deck this afternoon--you’d know, too--autumn now envelopes Sweden in...

Read more: Ylva the Úlfr

 

 

 

Late Summer

by

Debbie Noland

The winner of the April 2019 Poetry Contest!

  
Summer gasps its last hot breaths,
panting...

Read more: Late Summer

 

 

 

Teenage Turmoil - (Aged 16)

by

Miss Natalie Sackstein.

Part of the series: #1 THREE AGES OF WOMAN

TEENAGE TURMOIL
by (Aged 16)

My mind is but...

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Frustration - (Aged 28)

by

Mrs. Natalie Liknaitzky

Part of the series: #2 THREE AGES OF WOMAN


FRUSTRATION
BY (Aged 28)

Creation stifled. Each...

Read more: Frustration - (Aged 28)

 

 

 

Multipotentailite - (Aged 80)

by

Natalie Knight

Part of the series: #3 THREE AGES OF WOMAN.

MULTIPOTENTAILITE
(Inspired by Lydia Davis to write...

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By Late Winter

by

Brigitte Whiting


My unfinished deck waits beneath two feet of snow.
The driveway is one long strip of ice,
and...

Read more: By Late Winter

 

 

 

Joy Crawls Out Of Her Bag

by

Louise Sawyer




In memoriam of Joy, my animal companion, who died January 9, 2018.

Joy crawls out of her sleeping bag,
...

Read more: Joy Crawls Out Of Her Bag

 

 

 

Cyber Sisters

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

we meet in online classes,
strangers in cyber space,
we share
a love of poetry,
a desire...

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Winter Ballet

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs




snowflakes swirl in a dance
hurl themselves against the window
pine trees rock branches to and fro,
gently, then furiously
...

Read more: Winter Ballet

 

 

 

Computers and Catspeak

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs


I move the mouse
over the pad
type in password

mouse?
did I hear the word mouse?
where...

Read more: Computers and Catspeak

 

 

 

A Soldier’s Letter Home – A Found Poem

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs



Based on letters by Private George Walker, written June 12, 1918-July 17, 1918

I got your letter just about lights...

Read more: A Soldier’s Letter Home – A Found Poem

 

 

 

Ottawa Reverie

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs



As I leaf through my manuscript of Ottawa poems, “In the Shadow of the Tower,” I decide to check...

Read more: Ottawa Reverie

 

 

 

The Room

by

rolly




I hear little drips the leaky faucet makes
amid violent silence of the passing night

how I long for that...

Read more: The Room

 

 

 

Speedy, My Reptilian Twin

by

Lina Sophia Rossi




The house seems different, quiet and empty
despite being filled with people, cats, and dogs.
No longer swishing or pitter-patter,
...

Read more: Speedy, My Reptilian Twin

 

 

 

Metaphorically Speaking

by

Lina Sophia Rossi




They say life is like a bowl of cherries
sweet, juicy, tasty. Watch out for the pits.
Isn’t that what...

Read more: Metaphorically Speaking

 

 

 

Ligature Ideations

by

Lina Sophia Rossi




From the doorjamb, staff had to cut her down,
now she was an amorphous, lifeless mound,
large form lying on...

Read more: Ligature Ideations

 

 

 

Never Sober, Always Arguing

by

Lina Sophia Rossi




Arguing chips away at my soul.
How can I feel half, when part of a whole?
Drink yet another beer, ...

Read more: Never Sober, Always Arguing

 

 

 

Your Call to Say Hi, Gone to Hell

by

Lina Sophia Rossi




Why call, then yell I interrupted?
To talk to you, gives me great displeasure.
My personal peace has been disrupted.
...

Read more: Your Call to Say Hi, Gone to Hell

 

 

 

Waiting for the Rain

by

Helen Rossiter



Mavis Bone with her face as crinkled as a brown paper bag sits quiet and still in the ancestor’s rocker, ...

Read more: Waiting for the Rain

 

 

 

Christmas Birds

by

Debbie Noland



Just above the power lines
that stretch along the road, the birds
on Christmas morning swarm, and then

at some...

Read more: Christmas Birds

 

 

 

Stragglers

by

Debbie Noland



Two pelicans left in the cove
this brisk November afternoon
must surely know it’s time to leave.

The dock marina...

Read more: Stragglers

 

 

 

San Luis Valley Sunshine

by

Frankie Colton




Summer sky azure
Thunderheads billow rain falls
Warm sunshine-filled days

Golden leaves falling
Fall breeze whispers winter comes
Crisp morning...

Read more: San Luis Valley Sunshine

 

 

 

Bathroom Ekphrastic

by

Debbie Noland



It’s dank and dark and dingy
in the old cabin bathroom.
The narrow steps stretch downward
with their cold, metal...

Read more: Bathroom Ekphrastic

 

 

 

Ice-Breaking Revisited

by

Christina Huizar



I met my love – my love was fair
His most chance word fascinating
His every move a mystery
I...

Read more: Ice-Breaking Revisited

 

 

 

Boardwalk Stroll – A Prose Poem

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs (Glennis Hobbs)

My morning stroll leads me to the east end of Flinty’s Boardwalk by Del’s Cairn. A replica of ...

Read more: Boardwalk Stroll – A Prose Poem

 

 

 

Adventuring — An Unrhymed Heroic Couplet

by

Brigitte Whiting




I've been where no red squirr'l has gone before,
toheights and depths, despair. Until an opened...

Read more: Adventuring — An Unrhymed Heroic Couplet

 

 

 

Ode To A Poem

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs (Glennis Hobbs)

you start as a blank screen
or a sheet of pristine paper,
words elude me, then
tantalize, taunt...

Read more: Ode To A Poem

 

 

 

The People’s Princess ~An Elegy

by

Louise Sawyer

There was a day never forgotten
When the world, including me, watched from afar
the fairytale wedding of...

Read more: The People’s Princess ~An Elegy

 

 

 

Crystalized Fog ~a Pastoral Poem

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh

Of cold air hitting a warmer ground
Yesterday ended in a rising fog
Or was it the other...

Read more: Crystalized Fog ~a Pastoral Poem

 

 

 

Elegy for Judy

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh


I try to hear her voice; its sound has faded.
I see her hair, shining dark, brushing her...

Read more: Elegy for Judy

 

 

 

Portrait of Solitude

by

Albert Orejuela

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Break Time

by

RJ Hembree

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Colors

by

Maggie Fieland

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Wild Horses with the Snow Covered Mountains

by

RJ Hembree

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Color Cubes

by

Maggie Fieland

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Rest

by

Albert Orejuela

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Camera Smile

by

RJ Hembree

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To Relax Wild Horses Before a Photo Shoot, I Find it Helpful to Tell a Couple of Jokes

by

RJ Hembree

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First Step

by

Karen Barr

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Orchid Alone

by

Albert Orejuela

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Veg 2

by

Maggie Fieland

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All Along the Watchtower

by

RJ Hembree

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Ham

by

Karen Barr

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Winter

by

Maggie Fieland

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Backlit Great White Egret

by

RJ Hembree

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White Lightning

by

Karen Barr

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Wild Horses

by

RJ Hembree

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Cow Gossip

by

Karen Barr

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Cooper's Town

by

Albert Orejuela

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Along with the Sandhill Cranes, American Wigeons Filled the Sky

by

RJ Hembree

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Aleyne Desert

by

Maggie Fieland

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A Favorite Fishing Spot for the Ospreys

by

RJ Hembree

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Wearing a Coating of Ice

by

Gerardine (Gail) Baugh

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Long Way 'Til Spring

by

Brigitte Whiting

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