All Stories, General Fiction

The Long Way Home by Tom Sheehan

The sun warm, the air pleasant, but me like a beggar lost in thoughts, I stepped up to the back door of the old farmhouse on Route 182 in Franklin, Maine. Home at last from the army was topping off my day. Coming home from military service, I’ll swear forever, is better than birthdays, weddings, or vacations.

Or should be.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

The Executor by Barb Lundy

Emmet Emafo started his day running. Broken branches and shredded herbs told the story of the hail storm that woke him during the night. A thin mist still fell. A canvas of fall leaves swayed in trees. He became one with the morning light and shadow. The slap of his footfalls on the wet cement comforted him.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Bulls and Blood, Line and Lineage by Chitra Gopalakrishnan

“Wake up, rascals. See who is here,” trills our aunt Sivamathi.

Her high-pitched shrill vibrates off her tongue against her palate and pierces through our sleep.

“It must be Muttu, that rickety idiot, come to torture us with puzzles,” I guess.

With sunshine trembling on our eyelashes and seeping into our bodies, we two brothers continue to stretch ourselves lazily.

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All Stories, Horror

Home Remedy By Young Tanoto

Yunmin lived in a patchwork apartment–mismatched, patched, and paper-thin, held together by red thread and a prayer. There were words on the walls; looping, colorful cursive on the mirrors and windows, written in whiteboard marker. He once admired it: the sharp ink, the crisp angles, the spider-like intricacy of every line and dotted letter. To sit and look about his mother’s house was like being trapped amidst a pastel and most perfect plague.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Historical

Flashing Mirrors at a House Built in 1742 by Tom Sheehan

I leaned against the largest maple tree, planted hungry years before upon a leech trench in my back yard, watching my going out of me at play and shining the souls of mirrors back, telling each other what we knew.

I loved him from the tree, later a window dark-squared above the wide grass, as I leaned toward his hands moving out of himself, making; and the corners of the house, the inners and outers hammered upwards from my hand in late repair.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Softest Hands by Tom Sheehan

World War I was more than 20 years down the drain for most people, but Tommy Heffernan was looking up, with a slight discrediting look on his face, at Tim Kiely the bartender who was talking to or, more to the point, entertaining three drinkers sitting at his bar in Kiely’s Pub. The 2 o’clock sun bounced off Highland Avenue west of Malden Square and tried to come in through the windows shaded from years of accumulated cigarette smoke. Like always, Kiely couldn’t whisper; too much beyond his control, too much audience pull.“I know you boys come all the way from Somerville to hear the stories that grow from here. They come, glory be, without warning, like a knock on the door, trick or treat. For instance, take that lad down there at the other end of the bar, Tommy Heffernan, Colum’s boy. He was scorched in France, really bad. WW I’s green stuff they say. How many years ago’s that? He’s not worked a hard day since he come home from the Kaiser’s playground and might never work a hard day in all his life remaining, though the boy can put away a pint or two with the best of them. This I’ll tell you, though, that this lad, sick or not, for whatever ails him that the gas brought too close, has the softest hands in the whole world. Watch out for the cards in his hands, or a needle and thread.”

He tittered with his half laugh.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Historical

Midwife Legacy by Tom Sheehan

On his twentieth wedding anniversary, and pondering various presents he might acquire for his wife Amanel, Viktor Drovnovich, a land manager in the eastern section of Pskov Province, scanned the offerings in Karpenko’s store front as he headed home from a three-week separation. The trip would take him two days, with a night spent at Madame Estelle’s Inn on the Tver road to halve the journey. He looked forward to that stop, for he left Madame Estelle always carrying good will and good spirits, warming him up for the return home.

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All Stories, General Fiction

It’s Not About Her by Jaydan Salzke

Enter. Order. Eat. Pay. Leave.

The whole operation is streamlined; a seamless experience for staff and customer. The rules are clear and seldom broken: there’s to be no trespassing. People are here to nibble at sandwiches and sip coffee, not to have a stranger in an apron pry into their personal lives. So you serve them and leave it at that. That’s just the way it’s done.

…until it isn’t.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction

some words ending in a sentence by Phill Doran

Hung: It would be wrong to say it was her favourite expression. Her favourite expression, my Mam, was “Hell’s Bells!”, which was short for “Hell’s bells and buckets of blood”. That was her idea of swearing. A jingle: just enough to keep a real swear word at bay.

When the real ones came, they were Dar’s, and they were like my brother, Davie, you know – thick, short, and fast.

So, no, “Be hung for a sheep as a lamb” was not her favourite phrase, but Mam said it a lot. It was shortened, but we somehow knew what she meant. Maybe the long of it had been explained to us once, or maybe we explained it to each other.

The sentiment was that if you are going to be hanged for stealing a small lamb, then you may as well steal a whole sheep. A jingle of wisdom passed down, like a pair of shoes. It was what families did then. They’d pass old sayings down the line, the blood line. They would settle, acting like silt, determining your depth.

It was hard to picture though. Where we lived there were no sheep. A lamb chop from the butcher’s maybe, that could be stolen, but I’d not have the courage. The butcher was a big man. Blood and blades were nothing to him.

No one ever corrected Mam’s grammar, not that I can recall. Hung it was.

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