New Strangers by Rylan Shafer

“Hi, is this Mark? Mark Chance from Deakins High School?”

Shane was sitting in front of his laptop. On the screen, an image of two young boys standing in the shade of a half-pipe, their arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders. A date, digitally imprinted in yellow, told Shane the photo was taken the spring of 2006. The boy on the right had a bloody chin and was smiling, pushing his cheeks up and squinting his brown eyes. His hair was black with brown roots and hung past his jaw. Red speckled his white Thrasher shirt. The other threw his head back in laughter, his half-black-half-bleached hair unkempt. This one wore black pants and a black The Clash tee.

“It’s Shane Lynch.”

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Shindig, Shivaree and Hellfortootin’ Honeymoon Time by Tom Sheehan

Me and Ivaloo were honeymoonin’, a sure out shindig, shivaree and hellfortootin’ honeymoon time, and I’m Everett Musdane, along with some of our celebratin’ friends at a mountain motor court, on a grand flat spot in the Ozarks, being Lorded over by the midnight stars across the sky like bright sand pebbles flung out of a huge bucket. The small cabins, all with porches out front and parkin’ spaces out back, were arranged in a circle around a fireplace in a grassy court and celebratin’ area, with only one entrance to the grassy court for the owner’s vehicle for service stuff. The owner was Slim Slocum and the place was called Slocum’s Cozy Cabins and he one-time pitched for that St. Louie team.

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On This Warm July by J Kierys

Her name was Sandy and she lived in a small town everybody thought was rotten. A stench of decaying mashed beets permeated the stagnant local air because there was a sugar factory in the middle of the town and half its population was employed there, squashing sugar beets for a living, stinking up the atmosphere. You couldn’t escape from that foul smell, it haunted you like the ghost of somebody you murdered, day and night, ever since the mayor had thought it’d be a fabulous idea to have the sugar factory running twenty-four hours a day every day, to lower the unemployment levels that way and keep the revenue flowing in steadily.

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