By Ryan Dowling
I used to get my kicks scaring kids on Halloween.
Leaping from the bushes, I’d roar behind a mask and swing an ax left and right. I’d send the little monsters screaming down the street.
Well, most of the time.
Then came a boy who didn’t even flinch between his Frankenstein bolts. Instead, he extended the twisted branch of his arm—his real arm—at the end of which was a crooked hand with three crooked fingers. He took a Reese’s from the bowl.
“Thank you,” he said.
How do I say this?
I just wasn’t myself anymore.
The music almost kills me today.
It is a childhood memory. The song that would play as my father hunted and brought local wildlife back to the garage. It would play as I cried for my mother, begging her not to go to work, terrified of spending time with this hulk of a man.
Today, when that song comes on the radio again, I can smell that garage. Hear those birds.
My tears almost cause an accident on the motorway. When I pull over onto the hard shoulder I sit for twenty minutes, thinking about my mother.
By Polly Mayforth Krause
I’m starting to piece my past together
And at this point
If my past should have been left in pieces
When I open up the wounds of my past
I suffer again
Having gained an understanding of why I suffered
But worth the pain
Understanding leads to forgiveness and healing
Healing is about wholeness
It’s about picking up the pieces
And putting them back together
One shard at a time
Fashioning something new
When the light hits the jagged edges
By Jonny Booker
She looked like she’d been a prized greyhound in another life. She used the word “need” when ordering food at a restaurant. She’d married someone who was afraid no one would marry him; who was brilliant and shy and not even homely, and who blossomed with age. Together, they wrinkled, and the cashier was perplexed whenever she saw them come in—whenever she endured the woman ordering for herself and for her husband, and whenever she received a kind smile from the man, who never finished his drink.
By Captain 575
First love. High school sweethearts. The whole bit. Sometimes joked they shared a brain: Even bought each other the same Christmas gift—three times! One year it was tennis rackets. Ha! That was a laugh. They were still having sex then. Then it was iPads, which were cool. But! She left hers at the beach, he lost his charging cord thingy. Didn’t bother looking for it. Last year it was a book. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
By Swatilekha Roy
Summer holidays meant wagon rides and a delicious break from school.
On the run for letting the poultry loose, my brother and I were making a hidden treehouse.
Later, we would have gone to the bank, devoured stolen nuts, nailed floorboards, as punishment. Together, we would have made jokes. Of weak spots on the fence and Granddad!
However, the treehouse being too feeble, our hands slippery from juice, hearts too unwilling, he fell to death.
Standing on the desolate bank, I glance at the familiar walnut blooms at Johnson’s. I wonder how we never discovered the weak spot in life.