Counting Lighters


By Kelley Farrell

This here’s a true story.

The moment I realized what rock bottom looked like as I barreled from above.

And tried to hit the brakes but just wasn’t strong enough.

I wasted drunken moments counting lighters scattered around, at least ten collected in my dead flower jar.

Then the music stopped and that moment of eerie silence …

Right before girls screaming and wild stampeding.

“There’s a boy on the bedroom floor. There’s a boy dying through that door.”

In my apartment.

High on my drugs.

Drunk on my liquor.

I wasted moments counting lighters … I spent seconds wishing on stars.

“I write because these stories in my head have to go somewhere.” – the author


On Leave, Fall – 1968


By Dianne Moritz

I fly to San Francisco. The boy who left me wants to rendezvous before he ships out to Vietnam.

We play tourists: Highway 1, Carmel, Big Sur. He’s nervous, wary, but the heat’s still there. We stop for a quickie.

He wants more, so we head back north, buy some cheap Gallo, rent a room, drink too much. Soon he’s slurring words: jungles, gooks, bullets, body bags. “Hush, now, I say,” and cuddle in his trained killer arms.

Still, his good-bye is cool. He turns away fast. I watch him disappear into the crowd … like army issue camouflage.

Dianne Moritz enjoys capturing brief moments in time, celebrating trials, tribulations, and beauty of life. She dreams of publishing a book of all her drabble.

Whatever Happened


By David Derey

There wasn’t even a clean cup left in the cupboards, so I drank from bottles and ate on the newspaper, using only my hands, my body compelling me to eat finally, after dizzy spells, nausea, and exerting rabbit shits into the toilet for days, but I never read it, the newspaper, maybe I was afraid there’d be something in it about her, and on day 20, my clothes started to bother my nostrils so bad I started using the curtains as clothes, not only as toilet paper. I couldn’t sit around naked, you know.

Though, if I did: Who’d care?


The Dead Hide the Truth Just as Well as the Living


By Kathy Hoyle

Her hand was still achingly smooth, gripping tightly to the bedsheet.
‘Gone too young,’ they said, eyes heavenward …
As if I believe in that asshole.

I found an old birthday card, written in black scrawl, with looped flowers and slanted kisses, and a ceramic owl, with a chipped beak and a sneering side-eye, painted in primary colours. I held them up, inhaled them while I wept on her bed, basking in a stream of sunlight.

She lay against pale silk, her lips pulled into a smile, peaceful and insincere.

The dead hide the truth just as well as the living.

Kathy Hoyle is an MA student at The University of Leicester. On her fortieth birthday she gave herself the gift of writing and hasn’t stopped since. Her work has appeared in Spelk, Reflex Fiction and Ellipsiszine. She was shortlisted for The Exeter Short Story Competition and the Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize.

The Altitude Otter


By Natalie Harris-Spencer

Two Bloody Marys and it’s got me: the Altitude Otter. I call it an otter because it’s wet and slick, slips into water like Aspirin.

Crazy Rich Asians. This movie isn’t even good but I’m blubbering, steamy tears soaring through turbulence.

My FitBit shows 92 bpm, silly high, but the Otter prefers my heart when it paddles faster, like his, through rivers and clouds. The scent of toilet. These Asians are not that crazy.

The passenger beside me feigns sleep, but he’s seen my hamster cheeks, soppy eyes.

“It’s just so sad,” I confide in the Otter, swimming the sky.

Natalie Harris-Spencer is an English writer, blogger, editor and Creative Writing MFA student living in America. She enjoys surprise. And tea.

When is a Door Not a Door?


By Murdoch Mouse

When is a door not a door?

When it’s ajar.

I never liked that riddle.
There’s no logic, just a trick, wordplay even the astute mind would have difficulty formulating from the question.

But it does lead me to what I want to say.
And I will speak plainly, unlike that so called riddle.
I miss you.
Please visit me.
My door is always open.

“I write little escapes for myself and otters. That’s right I said otters.” – the author