All Stories, General Fiction

Friend by Donnie Cox

Arthur Nagel is an ugly, little man. He stands barely four feet tall, and his head is much too big for his body. The muscles on the left side of his face are totally paralyzed causing his face to droop. Because of his looks, most people think Arthur is mentally deficient. He is not.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Too Lonely for Dying by Tom Sheehan

There was a special sight out in front of him as he rested near a small cave, the weight of his own body suddenly too much for him to carry on weak legs. The decision to stop and enjoy the sight came quickly, in touch with a rare sense of goodness finding its way in him. It was akin to the old days when Sally and he sat on the small porch he’d built for her mornings, the sun giving a grand start to her day. “Oh, Sal,” he’d said a thousand times since then. A thousand times. Once, he had shrugged his head when he said it, as though belief was elsewhere, as Sally was but how long he couldn’t remember.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Strange Encounter by Tom Sheehan

I knew it was one of “those” days the very moment I woke up, my head spinning as dawn clustered around me calling for attention, trying to snap me back to a real encounter, not the lingering touches of darkest night I had no control over.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Her Special Day by Nicholas Katsanis

Clara looks up from the edge of the bed. Her eyes are red and swollen. She dashes to the wardrobe, blurting something about a different pair of shoes.

“The black flats are fine, hon,” I say with my softest voice. Next thing I hear is her scream, the crash of the shoe rack, her sobs: those unbearable sobs that cut through my flesh. I rush to the closet. She’s curled up at the corner, empty boxes strewn everywhere. The edge of her hand is bleeding.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Summer and Sweet Peas by Oso Jones

He places the cloth bag carefully on the kitchen table; Formica, worn and chipped. She had trained him in in the use of cloth bags. You would have thought the simple act of remembering to take a cloth bag to the shops was a panacea against climate change. More like a superstitious tick, like genuflecting at church or throwing salt over your shoulder. Something to make you feel like you are warding off an even greater calamity when the real damage has already been done. He unpacks the bag carefully: a hammer, a hatchet, some rope, an apple. The apple was impulsive, they looked fresh. Crisp and juicy. He tells himself he must eat it soon. He has his own superstitions and the longer an apple is the house the more he suspects that it is mealy. Many a good apple has gone to waste because he couldn’t shake the feeling it was imperfect in a sickening, unnameable way. Of course, you can never tell with apples, not until you take a bite, but he could never bring himself to take that risk.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Steady Space by Yash Seyedbagheri 

Dad communicated in grunts and edicts. But Uncle Max communicated in smiles and jokes and deliberate instruction. He told me dirty jokes and turned condoms into water balloons. But he also took me bowling and taught me to drive, telling me always to look forward, guiding my hands with ease.

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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, General Fiction

From an Appalachian Peak, a Small Red Star for Me and My Father by Tom Sheehan

This appointment came when light tired, this arrangement, this syzygy of him and me and the still threat of a small red star standing some time away at my back, deeper than a grain of memory. I am a quarter mile from him, hard upward on this rugged rock he could look up to if only his eyes would agree once more, and it’s a trillion years behind my head or a parsec I can’t begin to imagine, they tell me even dead perhaps, that star. Can this be a true syzygy if one is dead, if one is leaning to leave this line of sight regardless of age or love or density or how the last piece of light might be reflected, or refused, if one leaves this imposition? The windows of his room defer no light to this night, for it is always night there, blood and chemicals at warfare, nerve gone, the main one providing mirror and lethal lens, back of the eyeball no different than out front, but I climb this rock to line up with another rock and him in the deep seizure of that stolen room, bare sepulcher, that grotto of mind.

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