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.
By Jeffrey H. Toney
My little pet is beguiling. I love it. I hate it. I fear and respect it. It drew me in at first, sweet, beautiful, but could bite if I didn’t meet its increasingly unreasonable demands. One night, as it lay next to me, it knew that I decided that it had to go. It began to pulsate, first very slowly, then picking up strength. I thought I was going to faint. My heart and pet began a terminal tango, each pumping wildly, pausing, undulating. Silence. My heart flat lined. Peace wafted over me as a cold breeze. My pet beamed.
By Ian Fletcher
House plants are odd
for though some thrive
others will not survive
despite the attention
administered to them.
Who’d have thought
for that matter
the one we bought
to adorn our balcony
whose flowers faded
according to the season
but whose leaves then
withered without reason
to languish out there
with stems so bare
winter through spring
despite our tender care
would prove to be the latter?
So it is with our love, my dear,
which like the plant outside
howsoever it is now tended
can never be revived.
Ian Fletcher’s work has appeared in Tuck Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, 1947 A Literary Journal, Spillwords Press, Dead Snakes, Literary Yard, Your One Phone Call, Schlock! Webzine, Short-story.me, Anotherealm, Under the Bed, A Story In 100 Words, Poems and Poetry, Friday Flash Fiction, and various anthologies.
By Jenn Benningfield
A bone-dry Monday. Ten into twenty into thirty. A full month of dots. A month full of dots.
Her body greeted each introduction (and farewell) with pique. She wanted to scream. What would she need to invent, ingest or incinerate in order to return to the start?
A shut mouth, a level head.
Oh the lesson was well-learned.
When the psychiatrist asked her to draw a picture, she simply pressed the nub of the pen to the paper three times.
By Robina Rader
“You’ll be sorry. You could have married me and had status and respect.”
“I’d rather die!”
“That can be arranged.“
He dragged her to the camp chief and said, “I’ve brought you a volunteer, sir.”
Two men held the girl while another fastened the suicide belt around her.
“You will go today to Paradise,” said the chief. “Find a crowd in town, where the infidels refuse to honor Jihad. Then press this button. Allahu akbar!”
The girl snatched the detonator and screamed, “Allahu akbar, Pigs!” as she pushed the button.
By Linda Imbler
Kevis’s official death was June, 2161. He had previously died on November, 2016.
In his afterlife, he got a tattoo every time there was a massive group of sins committed. The big kind involving lots of people, hatred, brutality, and hopelessness.
Over the centuries, he received enough to cover his entire body. He developed huge asymmetrical lumps all over his body. Ink replaced his blood.
Gordon took his place. He expected centuries of pigmentation on his body. Instead, his first tattoo covered his entire back. It depicted a dead, still planet. The pain would always be excruciating.
By Christine Goodnough
“Mrs Derringer?” Officer Menzies flashed her badge when the woman opened the door. “Guess you know why I’m here.” She’d found starting this way could elicit some interesting reactions.
The old lady gasped. “How did you find out? I’ve been so careful.”
Menzies raised a questioning eyebrow.
“You don’t know what it was like living with that man. He was cruel in every way. I just couldn’t take any more.” Her eyes teared up. “I suppose one of the neighbors suspected …?”
“Mrs Derringer,” Menzies interrupted gently. “I’m here to tell you your driver’s license is expired. Time to renew.”