Ida hates the sunset. She also has a profound dislike for the ocean, Greece, Italian villas, and all 30,000 islands of the Pacific Ocean. But every morning she wakes up to one of them, rotating views out her window: a nightmare cycle of 5 star resort views. Sometimes she thinks she is already dead, stuck in a penitentiary of hell’s ennui where every day is more passive then the last.Continue reading “After Dark by Nico Gurdjian”
Beasts by Claire Marsh
Boots sank into the damp ground, charting his path through the mud. The long, gnarled wooden stick added its own accompanying impressions. Pulling the brim of his hat low to guard against the puddles of rain exploiting gaps in the trees, Vincent walked. Unconcerned about the trail he left, knowing nature would conceal it long before any of them rose. He’d dedicated his life to knowing their practices. A commitment borne of bloodline. They hunted. They executed. Without exception.Continue reading “Beasts by Claire Marsh”
A Flowerbed of Lies by Steve Combs
There’s foolishness and then there’s sin. I’m talking breaking the big-ten sin. You ever did something stupid like drunk texted and thought you felt shame for it? Nah, that’s not good enough for regret! Good enough for regret is when you steal or kill.
Don’t know how I got in the park that night with my 9-millimeter. Told that fucking Puerta Rican, “don’t drag me to no gun range, I deal with depression.” He taught me to shoot, and that didn’t do me no favors. See, you own your weapon of choice and tell yourself you gotta protect your family, but the shit lays idle until it gets in the wrong hands, and in this case, it got in mine during one of my episodes.
Walking the park, don’t even know how I got there no more than how I got the gun, and I’m going down the sidewalk, you know all outta place. Got on a long black robe over striped pajama pants. Top hat going on, too. Real pajama gangster. Sign says not to step on the prairie. So, what’ I do? Step both feet on, after all I’m wearin’ a fuckin’ top hat.
What happened next, you aint gonna believe, but remember this aint makin’ me look good. I’m confessing sin. Good enough sin for regret. Them flowers on that prairie came to life. You say plant life is life too, but I’m saying they really came to life, here. Started singing so beautifully, I wept. The sunflower in the middle-had lady bugs crawling all over. Goes, “easy, ladies, I’m married.” He sang base. Most beautiful rendition of happy birthday I ever heard, and them ladybugs told me I was gorgeous.
What a flowerbed of lies. Fuck em! Fuck em’ for telling me life is sunshine and rainbows. Let me introduce you to me. I’m thorn. I pulled out the 9-millimeter and aimed it at that ol’ sunflower!
After all, it must be a hallucination, right? Right? But Mr. Sunflower in the stiff stems, squirting blood with his base range up to high pitch screams haunts the hell outta me. I can’t forget it. For the sake of Mary and all the saints—I can’t. Clovers and coneflowers and goldenrods rushed to him. That’s reds and violets and yellows or something like that. Doesn’t matter, cause even the bright colors are dull.
What matters is Mr. Sunflower in a huff says, “my last wishes are for my family to get the little house like Michael Landen’s that I promised, and that you forgive my assailant, for I too have a soiled and seedy past.” He’s a guy like me with his own rap, dying cause I popped him. And he’s praying for my forgiveness? Yeah. Hope his family gets the house so half his wishes come true.
Might of got outta that prairie without any detective looking for the pajama gangster, but neither God nor me will ever get over what I did to that sunflower.
Image by Pavel Durčák from Pixabay – flowerbed filled with mixed colourful blooms
Suburban by Teresa Berkowitz
Our houses had always been haunted. We were always running from one old New England house to another. Finally, my parents found a ranch house in a small subdivision. It was painted a soft buttercup yellow. Everything was mostly new, less than five years old. “Only one owner,” the realtor reassured my parents. I immediately loved it. No scary attic. All of us on one floor. Even the basement was finished with wood paneling.Continue reading “Suburban by Teresa Berkowitz”
On Alternate Realities and Blocked Noses By Daniel Ashmore
There is a truth about loneliness that is known fervently to all those suffering from it, and yet is forgotten the very moment we find ourselves free from its oppressive yoke. That is to say that being alone is not unlike having a blocked nose.Continue reading “On Alternate Realities and Blocked Noses By Daniel Ashmore”
Your Garden of Contempt Dominique Margolis
Dear father, I’m sorry you think that I have been such a despicable daughter, but I wish you health and happiness so that you may spend yet another wonderful birthday in your Garden of Contempt for me! You’ve indeed worked long and hard to make that space luxuriant, so you deserve to kick back and enjoy!Continue reading “Your Garden of Contempt Dominique Margolis”
Their Greenness is a Kind of Grief by Jie Wang
The sun is gone. They have a new sun now: a giant in a suit and tie floating in the sky like a zeppelin, holding a gigantic glaring mirror. They don’t know what the light source is. Maybe still the old sun. Maybe it was captured and hidden by the giant. The new sun never sets. He gives them no break.Continue reading “Their Greenness is a Kind of Grief by Jie Wang”
You’ll Never Understand the Circumstances That Brought You To This Moment by J Bradley Minnick
Story goes: Wonders like Rock School are more dreamt and pieced together by collective imaginations than planned; perhaps Tumbling Creek had called itself forth during the flood season and its rushing waters had picked up the first rock and transported it to the top of the hill and set it down there and once Rock School took shape, it could only become what was intended.Continue reading “You’ll Never Understand the Circumstances That Brought You To This Moment by J Bradley Minnick”
Dying to Hike by Caleb James K.
A murder of crows squawked to each other from various treetops on the secluded mountain. Below, a tasty feast awaited them once the other woodland creatures had their fill; the killer hadn’t so much as thought about burying the two bodies.Continue reading “Dying to Hike by Caleb James K.”
Ping’s Complaint by Leila Allison
Ping Beams of Jim
No matter what type of dimension you inhabit, watching and hearing a Moon roll noisily toward you from the sky is an odd thing. Such happened the other night as I was out in the Barnyard shooting the evening breeze with Daisy Cloverleaf the Pygmy Goatess and my Lead Imaginary Friend and second in command of the realm of Saragun Springs, Renfield.
“Ping’s coming down,” Renfield said.
“You hear that? He’s making a noise, like thunder,” Daisy added.
Renfield held a hand to her ear. “Yeah, I think you’re right, Daisy. He sounds like a rolling bowling ball.”
“Hope he’s not attempting a three pin spare,” I said. But I had been expecting the visit.Continue reading “Ping’s Complaint by Leila Allison”