By Tremaine L. Loadholt
he came home to an
his condo, a quiet, chaotic hole
that gripped him tightly.
the memories of Claudia
pained him throughout each day.
he could see her swollen eyes,
clogged with tears, then
her mouth drawing in from pain.
the chemo had dulled her
insides—crushed her soul.
her voice, now an echoing
everywhere he went.
By Russell J. Armstrong
Dr. Warner misjudged destiny’s resourcefulness. Badly. In a market where the lab once stood, police shackled and dragged him from the gathering crowd. He couldn’t place the Asian dialect over blood pounding his eardrum.
“Slavery? Genocide?” he’d obsessed. “That’s privilege’s ground zero.”
His wife scoffed. “Playing field needs more than leveling to change things, hon.”
So he designed a FastWinder, to rewind through history, and black hole bullets, to blast every European settlement from reality. But West to East, China instead had colonized the America he fast forwarded home to, slaughtering the indigenous population, barring foreigners, and enslaving illegal immigrants.
By Julie Bloss Kelsey
It occurred to me
eventually, we all wake up
outside the Garden of Eden.
So many promises
unfulfilled and broken:
illness and death,
earthquakes and heartaches,
a myriad of misery
accompanies this human form.
It is our daily choice
to rise from the ashes
and accept our truth.
Go forth and be fruitful –
multiply our happiness
as best we can.
Friends are key –
ones you can text
a single swear word
in the dead of night
and your phone pings back
with emojis of love.
It is then we realize:
maybe a tiny piece of Eden
has followed us home.
By J. E. Kennedy
Old Mrs Bergman’s roses were the envy of the village. The bushes bloomed in a congregation of scarlet and coral, sun-flare yellow and delicious tangerine. They spilled over the walls and lit up the pavement with their scattered petals, like delicate wishes skipping along the breeze, destination unknown.
Mrs Bergman plucked and preened, watered and fed. She whispered sweet nothings. She told the roses all that she would have told him if he were here. And they bloomed.
At night she would take the fading telegram from the drawer: Missing in action.
And she waited to meet him again.
It was times like these when he wished he’d gone camping more.
Hoisting the stone back up, he struck again as hard as he could. After several more attempts, flames finally burst into life. He fell entranced watching them lick the air in greedy consumption. It wasn’t till he heard the thump coming from the trunk of his car that he was brought back to reality.
Right, he thought. Thanks for the reminder.
By J.R. Night
The late hour had come and all were released from their graves. The first thing she always did was head home.
Only one window burned yellow. It went out, the window opened, and two legs edged out. Her son landed not two feet away from her.
“No sweater? In this cold?” she shouted as he passed through her, unaware.
By David Pablo Cohn
The empty length of the hallway beckoned. There was, he supposed, a word for it; there was a word for all compulsions, a word for everything. The range and flexibility of the English language was as unlimited as the breadth of inexplicable human behavior. And there was so little of Simon’s life that anyone would describe as “inexplicable.”
A blade of late afternoon sun sliced in through the door at hallway’s end, held just ajar by a misplaced door mat. Over his shoulder, laughter rose in the wake of another toast. The sunlight whispered of undiscovered country.
David Pablo Cohn’s first collection of short stories, Eight in Three Weeks, was published in 2017 by Montemayor Press.