By Teresa Grabs
Carl unwrapped the present and gave his perfected “gee, thanks” smile.
“It’s a family tradition,” his father said.
Carl nodded and placed it with the other useless gifts that littered his bed. Thirteen was a bust but so were the first twelve, so it came as no surprise.
Later that evening, Carl opened his new book more out of boredom than interest and gasped. Feast, famine, war, imprisonment, and death flooded his mind.
His mother crept into his room. “So, how’s your future look?”
Future? His? Lie. Just lie. “All my dreams come true.”
She clasped her hands and smiled.
By Rebecca L. Holland
Want to see a magic trick?
Watch me disappear
How’d she do that?
Here’s the secret:
All it takes are dark glasses
All it takes is an illness
All it takes is a white cane
To erase five years of experience
To strip you of a master’s degree
To make people avert their eyes
Want to see another magic trick?
Watch me reappear
I thought I was a woman
But when I hide behind this slender cane
No one can see me
And I thought I was the one who couldn’t see.
You didn’t know I was magic.
Rebecca is a visually impaired writer and disability awareness advocate from Pennsylvania. Her chapbook, Through My Good Eye: A Memoir in Verse, was published in 2018. She is a staff writer for CAPTIVATING!
By Ran Walker
The sign posted at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, stated Africans arrived there in 1619. Kwame glanced at the American flag, flapping majestically in the wind, on the pole behind the sign. “The White Lion” was the name of the Portuguese ship that brought Africans to the spot where he stood.
Kwame turned to face the bay and stared out on the endless horizon of water. In the distance he noticed a barge marked “China,” stacked high with shipping containers, sailing out toward the Atlantic. He couldn’t help but wonder if that was the route The White Lion had taken.
Ran Walker is the author of sixteen books. He teaches creative writing at Hampton University.
By Kendall Jaderberg
I noticed my dog look up.
why was this act so unnatural?
There wasn’t a squirrel in the trees.
Why had he been so intrigued?
He plays from a box of actions,
motivations of which not earth shattering.
But a glimpse to the sky, leaves me questioning-
Why? This says too much about me.
I envied his joyous observation,
the self-made scientist in this family.
Where he spotted this opportunity,
I failed my curiosity.
This set in motion unexpected passion,
not knowing where my notes would lead.
I tested and believed I’d emptied,
a theory disproved by this story’s ending.
Kendall Jaderberg is an Analytical Chemist for a flavor company, where donuts abound. She enjoys bitter Chicago winters with her corgi mix and crafting poetry in her head while running on the treadmill. She has only tripped once and blames the donuts, not the poems.
By Kelvin M. Knight
She loved clouds, loved wandering through the sky with them as she meandered through this wood. Clouds were the sky’s lungs, and she breathed the sky.
When the sun shone, so did her smile. When rain fell, her eyes belonged to the imminent rainbow. When a rainbow blossomed she felt lightheaded and giddy. When thunder clapped, she sang. Songs from her past. Songs from her present.
Now the sky danced around her. Lost and found, she sat cross-legged in her parent’s wood. Twirling leaves in her fingers, she flopped open her notebook and lived this poetry swelling her soul.
Kelvin has been drabbling for nearly three years. His first collection of flash fiction, FAITH in a FLASH, is out now.
By Mike Lee
I was sad, so I went to the bridge, and about to jump when I realized I left the pot boiling on the stove. Upon arrival, there was mail. I had to read them. Then I pet the cat. He is needy. FedEx then arrived with a package. After he left I remembered the clothes in the dryer. After folding and putting them away I was hungry.
After eating. I took a nap.
When I woke up I did not feel the need about some damn bridge.
Mike Lee is an editor, photographer and reporter for a trade union newspaper in New York City. His fiction is published in Bending Genres, Ghost Parachute, Reservoir and others.
By John L. Malone
He was having an off day.
No reports came in.
The odds were heavily against it,
Astronomical, in fact, he knew
But there you were,
Blue moons, black swans, a win
In a billion dollar lottery.
But it didn’t help his mood.
Perhaps he should stop wearing black.
Lighten up a little.
Wear something trendier.
T-shirt, chinos, loafers perhaps?
He had become something of a cliché.
What would his boss say?
Could he be fired?
His shoulders slumped.
His scythe dropped.
He let out a sigh.
No one had died on his watch
John Malone is a South Australian writer of short stories, flash fiction and poetry.