By Jeff Hill
No one cares. That much is obvious. But then why are we here? And why am I so damn lonely all the time?
I stumble in a crowd of thousands. In order to avoid oncoming traffic, I bump into a homeless man with a sign that says “Why Lie? I Need Booze.”
Then he looks at me, looks through me, and says “It’s okay. I used to be a person too. Just like you.”
I hesitate. Then a taxi almost hits a biker and a fight breaks out between two drunks on the street. I go on.
Jeff Hill is a moderately reformed frat boy turned writer/teacher splitting his time between Nebraska and New York. He is currently pitching two novels.
By Roy Gomez
I would’ve bet a heart couldn’t ache any more. But I was wrong. There my boy sat, alone, waiting in that silent chapel for someone, anyone, to show up for his dad. Danny gripped flowers. Even wore my favorite tie. The knot was tight, off-center. That too was my fault. I wished I could cry. I was grateful to Bud, though. He was late – almost missed it all – but he came. As shovels of dirt thumped on my coffin, my old cellmate consoled him. Telling whoppers. That hurt worst … my boy feeling proud of his old man and all.
R. Gomez has been kicking words around for a while. He lives with his wife and pets on a hillside overlooking Medina Lake directly in the center of the Milky Way.
By Tyrean Martinson
My father’s eyes hold the stories of the ages. They hold innocence and knowledge. They hold the sky. They hold the sea. They hold the rain. They hold laughter and tears the color of water. They hold rivers and lakes and dusty trails beneath tall pine trees pungent with sap. They hold books read by campfires and lamplight. They hold his whistle and his jaunty walk, as well as his embarrassment and his slow shuffling gait – every step measured for balance. They hold hope for moments of quiet conversation. In my father’s eyes, the stories are real.
Tyrean Martinson is a writer, teacher, daydreamer, believer who lives in the Pacific Northwest (near Seattle).
By Mayumi Cruz
At first, it’s the little things. A name. Some place. A memory.
Then it becomes a few names. A lot of places. Many memories. It’s like, you step into a merry-go-round which has just started spinning, and then it speeds up, round and round and round, and you get lost and dizzy as the objects fly around you again and again and again, until they all become blurs, flashes, smudges, while you remain rooted on the ground, confused and disconcerted.
At first, you panic. But then, you become numb.
Even when you don’t recognize the face looking back at you.
Mayumi Cruz lives in the Philippines with her husband and three sons. Her work has appeared in Philippines Graphic, Medium, and AdHoc Fiction. Her short story, “Black Love,” won Bookbed’s Fictory Contest in 2017.
By John L. Malone
I’ve come to mistrust the little guy inside my head. He used to be calm, dependable but over the years he’s become a little loopy, his thinking transgressive. Now I hardly know him. He’s a loose cannon, an IED waiting to be stepped on.
Look, I say, let’s be reasonable. You can’t say that! And you definitely can’t do that! You want us to end up in prison? Sometimes I give him drugs to quieten him, talk him down, get him to see reason. I love the little guy. I just wish he was more like me.
John Malone is a South Australian writer of short stories, flash fiction and poetry
By Maja Bodenstein
I am fetching a glass of water when the walls of my house crumble around me. Before my eyes the clutter of my daily life reverts to its natural state: my ankles sink into the dirt that was once the floor as the house’s support beams shoot up into the sky, trees once more. In this primeval forest, I am the intruder; I have no choice but to sink into the morass and surrender to decay. But even as I dissolve into the sticky, primordial ooze, I sense life begin anew as a solitary bud sprouts from my little toe.
Maja Bodenstein is a Chinese/German screenwriter, obsessed with language and mythology. She lives in London, UK.
By Dianne Moritz
Teasing the dog
The chicken coop
To distract myself
Stench of the farm,
Uncle’s mongrel seized
My thin wrist, bit down hard.
My cries were smothered
In boozy serves-you-rights,
While blood spilled,
Staining my summer smock.
Auntie brought me milk
Straight from a cow.
I ran to the rusty sink,
Spit it out as Mother’s hand
Shot out, slapped me hard.
I raced outside.
The slam of that screen door
Still echoes …
Dianne Moritz dreams of publishing a drabble collection one day. She writes poetry for kids and is a frequent contributor to Highlights children’s magazines.