All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction

The Kumari by Naga Vydyanathan

A brightly hued rag covered Kanmani’s eyes as she hopped daintily over the grid of numbered squares drawn hurriedly on the stone floor. “Right-a?” she asked, pausing on one leg. “Right-u”, came the response, confirming that Kanmani was within the boundaries of a square. This “Right-a/Right-u” exchange continued a few more times, until Kanmani stepped on a line and lost her chance. It was Kaveri’s turn now. Kaveri removed Kanmani’s blindfold, placed her gently on a chair nearby, and proceeded to tie the rag over her own eyes.  She ensured that her blindfold was loose enough to allow her to catch little peeks through the cracks. Closing her eyes tight, she hopped to what she thought was the first square and paused, balancing gingerly on one foot. “Right-a?”, she asked, opening her eyes wide enough to peek at the floor, checking whether her foot was within the square. “Right-u”, answered Kanmani. Kaveri smiled, closed her eyes and hopped to the next square. She loved playing this game called “Paandi”, with Kanmani.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

The Edge of Dreams by Tom Sheehan

Buzz Turner, all 12 years of him, reader galore, all the thick and curly red hair in place, saw the moon slip sideways into his eyes just opened for the change, dragging him instantly from a deep sleep into clear observation. He loved the transfer in the heavens, as well as the sudden change in himself, a keen awareness coming his way, all the way. It was all magic, and he loved it, a boy’s swift change in himself, a piece of the skies at hand, and mystery afoot the way mystery makes itself known, on its own time, in its own style, dream-like.

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All Stories, General Fiction

 A Little Red Wagon, a Long-remembered Face III by Tom Sheehan

One Christmas many years ago there was for me one present from my parents, a little, done-over red wagon with a long hauling handle, and slatted sides. The sides were for extra cargo! For overload! The name, the logo, of the wagon has not stuck with me, but its ownership has. That the wounded wagon, from some wars of its own, had been touched-up, repainted, a bit of rust covered over, two wheels replaced, had no interest for me. Early and mid-Thirties had all ready made their impressionable slash in the mind of a seven-year old. This one, now, was mine!

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Wait by Lisa Toner

The child is painfully thin.  Her ribs poke against the taut skin of her back as she draws on the dusty floor with a stick.  She crouches on toothpick legs, supported by hardened feet which rarely see shoes.  The bottoms of her filthy white shorts graze the dirt floor.

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All Stories, Fantasy

The Lighthouse Keeper by Loredano Cafaro

Today Leonardo comes home crying. When his father and mother hear what his school friend has told him, they understand that the day they have feared for a long time has come— the moment when they will have to start crushing his dreams. They speak to him, say that his friend is right; tell him I do not exist. But they are wrong.

I dream, therefore I am.

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All Stories, General Fiction

About 465 nm:  A Chronology by Martin Agee

Age 7

You can’t imagine how much I loved holidays. Especially Christmas. Getting out the Christmas records and playing them over and over on the stereo. There was a Bing Crosby one where he talked in soothing tones about Young Jethro unwrapping presents all done up with paper that looked like stained glass. Decorating the tree. I was a Christmas ornament. Miss Twitchell told us to bring our school photo and we cut it into a triangle and put popsicle sticks around the edge. She came around and put glue on them and we sprinkled dusty sparkles that looked like icicles all along the frame and it made us feel proud. We knew we’d be right there on the tree, front and center, and everyone would say “oooh” as the tinsel reflected off the sparkles that made our faces with smiles shine and our lips look like flower petals that would bloom in different colors in April. I’m still there, somewhere down inside a cardboard box under the stairs wrapped in newspaper that’s got 1950 and some other words on it. Once a year I come out and hang there smiling at everyone with sparkly popsicle frame.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Perry by Dianne Willems

He wanted to be a hero. He wanted to be a hero so badly he could hardly think of anything else.

The Parrot sighed, and thought. A lump the size of an orange had formed in his throat, and he wanted it gone. It felt suffocating.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Bones by Jennifer Walkup

There were eight candles on my birthday cake the year my sledgehammer mother shattered us like we were blown glass. I remember it specifically because when the ninth candle flickered at the last minute, I thought, with the force of gale force winds, oh, extra candle for good luck, please don’t go out on me.

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All Stories, General Fiction

A Strutting Rooster by Matthew McGuirk

“I don’t know about you guys, but I just about started to drink that day Jason got caught in 6th grade.” I tipped back the coffee for the last dribble and put up a hand to see if Shirley, who was working the counter could get me another pour.

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