Hands by Marcella Hunyadi

He told me he was Special Forces. I thought it was a lie; sounds so sexy, I’m Special Forces. I imagined legions of girls in soaked underwear.

Me, I didn’t care. My daughter was one year old, I moved to Manhattan to a 5th Avenue apartment believing in a Cinderella story, only to find Lelle’s car seat in front of my door one morning with a “Sorry!” note. The prince paid the $12,000 monthly rent to fulfill the lease and told me to keep the 3 carat Harry Winston engagement ring.

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A Diner and The Cello by Tina Klimas

From outside the coffee shop across the road, Julia watches Charlie Miller leave the diner. It starts to snow again and if she narrows her vision to exclude all else, she can almost believe that she is looking at an idyllic scene. Snowflakes drift softly through the golden glow emanating from the diner window. Waitresses move about inside with coffee pots, amid the chattering, happy diners. Charlie Miller, in jeans and cowboy boots, plaid flannel shirt poking out from a nondescript brown jacket, completes this perfect portrait of nostalgic Americana. But then he pauses outside the diner and crosses his arms in a tight knot across his chest.  He stares straight ahead, as if he is viewing hell. The image of blood and clotted brain-matter leaps up before her eyes. She stuffs it back into the box too small to hold it, only to wait for the demented jack-in-the-box to spring again.

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Tender by Brianna Wyble

I feel the scream rise, but I crush it back down into a solid lump of coal, and then further, harder, until it becomes an imperfect diamond of rage stuck in my throat. I can’t let it out. I can’t swallow it. It sits, laboring my breathing. I shove it down as hard as I can, store it, just like all the others. The rage, the sorrow, the pain. It all goes to the same place.

My life is like a demented fairy tale where the princess barfs jewels and escapes the evil Prince in her shitty Honda. I should be rich from all this.

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