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.
By Eva Rivers
Mama was always having an existential crisis.
‘What is the purpose of my life?’ she’d say.
Papa said maybe it was to cook and keep house. A clean shirt now and again. But mama never saw it like that. She tried to adjust but mostly she just spent her days tearful or asleep. The last time we spoke she was lying in a hospital bed.
‘Baby, why did God put me on this earth?’
Not for forty smokes a day and all the Jack Daniels you can swallow, I wanted to chide. But I didn’t. I just held her hand as she cried.
Eva Rivers’ fiction has appeared in Fictive Dream, Sick Lit Magazine, Penny Shorts, The Drabble, 101 Words, Firefly Magazine, Storgy and Scribble Magazine.
By Alexander Hill
We’d read the diary you wrote and visited the Secret Annex hidden behind the bookcase in the tall building on Prinsengracht. Everything is sepia in these narrow rooms, brightened only by the few color photographs you collected, movie stars, princes, pictures of your family and oddly DaVinci. There’s an old man gazing at the marks on the wall of your changing height. A tear runs down his wrinkled cheek, caught for a moment by a shaft of light and briefly a rainbow, smile shaped, curves across his face.
Perhaps there is hope for us after all.
First, you must shed the detritus of your life. The car will be the last worldly belonging to go: donate it. Toss your phone in the river. Photo albums, love letters, diaries: burn them. Cash out your bank account, stuff the cash into your couch cushions. Drag the couch to the curb, put a FREE sign on it. Flush the pills. Tie your wedding ring to a helium balloon, wait for a gust, and let go. Don’t watch. Swallow the hurt.
Now, walk away and don’t stop until you’re gone.
By Cap’n 575
Only to survive
a nanosecond longer
mountain battles sea.
Someday (not today)
We all become the mountain
We are all the sea
By Michael Bloor
Sixty years ago, it was still commonplace for ministers in rural Scotland to call on all their parishioners, welcome or not. Mother would seat him at the kitchen table and put the kettle on, while I listened at the door as they discussed father’s behavior. After one particularly disreputable episode, the visitor concluded:
“Weel mistress, you’re nay marrit. So my advice wud be just to put him richt oot the door.”
My mother pondered this a moment, “Aye, minister, I’ll do as ye say. Can I ask a favour though? Would ye collect his pay packet for me every Saturday?”
Michael Bloor’s work has appeared in Breve New Stories, Ink Sweat & Tears, Fictive Dream, Platform for Prose, Flash Fiction Press, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Fiction Pool, Scribble, Occulum, The Copperfield Review, and Dodging the Rain.
By Paul Beckman
I misplaced my keys again, Annie. Have you seen them?
Not in a while, William, Not in quite a while.
I checked to see if I left them in the car and the car’s missing. Did we lend it out?
No, William. You sold the car.
A little while ago.
Two plus years.
You’d think I’d remember something so important as selling my car.
I’d think what?
You think you should wash up for dinner?
I do and let’s take a walk or go for a ride afterwards.
I’d prefer a walk.
Okay, me too.
Paul Beckman’s stories have appeared in Connotation Press, Spelk, Raleigh Review, among many others. His new collection, KissKiss, is due out March 18th