Hollow

By Ren ElisaBeth

A thing sits inside me. It is large and takes up space and when it is there, there is absolutely no room for anything else. Even though I feel the edges of it pressing against my insides and pieces of it get wedged in my throat, the thing itself is hollow. It is simply empty and barren and in that respect we are painfully the same. The thing inside me and I often cry ourselves to sleep, and in the morning my pillow is stained black, my body heavy with all the things that are no longer inside it.

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Ren ElisaBeth (she/her) is an emerging writer who enjoys exploring short fiction as a way to reflect on things that have happened throughout her life.

Siberia

By John Leo Malone

We arrived late. That may have been the reason. Or maybe our reputation preceded us.

Either way we ended up in Siberia, Room 313, next to the storage area where the cleaning ladies gather at nine in the morning.

Adele, the desk clerk, tried to be genial but hit the wrong note.

Eventually, we got our keys and lugged our baggage down the corridor, the shadows hulking and ominous.

When we got to our room we were stuffed,

We agreed to sleep at separate ends of the king-sized bed.

That’s when we discovered we had a companion between us.

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“I’m writing a collection of tales with geographical titles. This is the first.” – the writer

Adventure

By Ken Poyner

He imagines the flashes of light a signal: a woman with a lantern, her hand in front of it, saying, “Come here, I need assistance,” or “Stay away, this place has dangers.” Quibble has yet to work out if the flashes are Morse code, and, if they are, which are dots, which are dashes. Natalie over his shoulder sights the light, scanning the landscape around it. “It is McClellan’s porch light, and wind in the trees,” she tells him. Quibble is beginning to decipher dots and dashes, writes the sequences in his newspaper’s margins. He does not know Morse code.

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“I fear the explosion that would result if I did not write.” – the writer

The Inside Scoop

By Dianne Moritz

So you sold your first book.

You are thrilled and eagerly spread the news to family and friends.

I’ll plan a book party, you think, then quickly send off press releases to the local media. The evening of the event you decorate a table at the bookstore, set out wine, cheese, crackers, and fresh sushi.

You wait nervously until a few people trickle in, exactly five. A few folks drink some wine, no one eats. You sign one book.

After an hour of this fiasco, you pack up and leave. You vow to never do this again.

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“I write to capture indelible moments in time.” – the writer

I, Dream

By Matt Mordecai

I am lucid. This spiral staircase that soars into the clear azure sky? Real enough.

Mine will be the most rapid ascent! The most glorious!

My pride betrays me. A storm expands from nowhere, gyrates and swoops to envelop me. Winds lash out.

Below, the stairs vanish into Stygian chaos, and the land once dreamed evaporates from my memory. Now I am awake.

Hunched over, soaked, grimacing, with frozen fingers I cling to the iron railing, feet sliding toward the edge.

I can no longer see the sky, my destination, my prize.

But the journey is how we get there.

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“When I write, I feel complete.” – the writer

Talking Turkey

By Lynn White

There is a rumour going around
as rumours do
in this community.
It is said
that a celebration is being planned
by humans.
Specifically
by those humans who feed and pet us.
It is being said
that we will be invited
to join them,
that we will be a part,
an important part
of the celebration.
So now we are waiting
wondering
what role we shall play,
wondering
if we will get drunk,
wondering
if we will enjoy it all
as much as our humans will enjoy
our presence.

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“I write to let the words escape.” – the poet

A Good Conversation

By Andrew Atkinson

“Hello. Not seen you since that party down Trafalgar Street where I got really drunk and went home with that Mike from the foundry. Good to see you. Have you seen our Barry? He’s home for the hols and was asking about you. Told him you’d split with Wayne. I’ve got a new job at Jenny’s on the High Street. It gives me more time to look after me mum. Her sciatica is worse. I’m on the way to get me hair done and then I’m off to bingo. Anyway good chatting with you and having a catch up. Bye.”

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“(I write because) every now and again the urge creeps up on me.” – the writer

Small Enough for Bandaids

By Jim Latham

Mom always told me not to pick my scabs. I never listened: faint, predictable pain was almost pleasure, was far better than feeling nothing.

I miss the coppery taste and gummy mouthfeel of scab chunks peeled from my knees and elbows, miss watching my blood ooze from carefully preserved wounds, mix with summer sweat, and wind down my limbs in quick red rivers. I thought it made me look tough.

I miss wounds small enough for bandaids. Small wounds that gifted scars :  something to be proud of, something to talk about.

Nothing at all like marks left on the inside.

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“I write because talking to myself out loud is frowned upon.” – the writer

About the Bee

By Lois Perch Villemaire

A bee was looking in my window
wings moving at incredible speed
coming so close to the glass
hanging in the air.

It moved away and returned
several times, watching me staring back.
Suddenly I realized
it wasn’t about me at all.
The bee was looking at itself
perhaps thinking it’s reflection
was another bee.

That’s the way it is with people who act
a certain way and I think it’s because
I said something hurtful
or insulting but like the bee,
I’m discovering it’s not always about me.

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“I write because it makes me happy to play with the order of words.” – the writer

Death is Imminent

By Jeff Folschinsky

Death is imminent, was all the email stated. Nothing in the subject line, and just a series of nonsensical characters that made up the return email address.

Janelle looked around the office to see any signs of a snickering co-worker. As in bad taste as it was, she wouldn’t put it past someone to think this was funny. She was the last one in the office though, and there was no sign of anyone hiding out.

She decided to call out, “I don’t think that’s funny.”

An email appeared in her inbox that read, It never is.

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“I am forever arming the weapons of mass distraction.” – the writer