Patterns

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By Scarlett Sauvage

The patterns on her skin disturb him. They might be scars. They might be moles. But he thinks he sees numbers. Sixes. Three of them.

She knows he sees them. She wants him to see them. She wants to plant a seed in his mind. Just the smallest suggestion.

She doesn’t want to scare him. Not yet. It’s too soon. He’s not ready. She’ll reveal herself slowly; shed her skin, one layer at a time.

Cornelius and the Machine

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By Ryan Stone

Click. Cornelius lay in bed. Clack. Unable to sleep. Click.

The infernal clickclack came from the billboard outside his window; neon winking on and off until midnight. After a month of broken sleep, Cornelius raised a petition. His movement gained momentum – Power to the People! A nationwide boycott sent the company broke.

The billboard came down. Cornelius slept well for the first time in weeks.

The following month, a new billboard went up. With its competitor gone, a rival company expanded its empire. Their profits paid for a billboard twice as large; one that never switched off.

ClickityClackity. ClickityClackity. Clickity.

The Small Sheep

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By Jane Berg

There was once a sheep so small it defied the laws of nature. People traveled from far and wide to say, “that is a small sheep.”

The creature was well treated yet for some reason it ailed and died.

The farmer didn’t know what to do. People would not pay to see a small, dead sheep, and he did not want to eat it.

They tried to donate the body to science, but science had other interests, and so it went into a crudely marked grave which was assumed by later generations to belong to a family ancestor.

Planet Nitrous Oxide

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By Michael Rivers

Reclining in the sterile chair
far from planet Earth
somewhere near planet nitrous oxide,
curved drills
burrow into my molar.

Pain echoes
in my tongue’s living half,
dying memories
screaming across time;
one last brilliant gasp for life.

In these death throes,
as the Endodontist
mines my jaw,
the assistant sings along
to Hall and Oates’ “Rich Girl.”
“I always thought they were black …
Not saying white people don’t have soul.”

Excavating my tooth,
obliterating its nerves,
the Endodontist replies,
“No, I know what you mean.”

I am a million miles away in space and humming along with the tune.

These Lines

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By Alanna Pass

THESE LINES
from my pencil
anchor me to this earth
like a kite on a string.
These lines
form words on these pages
giving shape to my thoughts
running wild in my head.
These lines that form words
are lassoed into sentences, then paragraphs
a calm order brought from the spiraling chaos.
My soul is tamed
At least for a while
From the simple act of writing.

Hunting Grounds

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By John Davis Frain

I was six when he ordered my “racially undesirable” family killed. Mother. Father. Emil. Sonia.

He put me to work. Said I was quick. The gall to compliment.

I’m a law-abiding citizen. Seven decades I’ve hunted. Vowed justice as he scurried around the globe. Tonight, we share the same hotel in Bucharest. It’s difficult remembering his face. He carries a new name. But that voice.

Herr Kaiser.

My plan is fuzzy. Add coolant to his drink? Inject him with ricin? My time on Earth is too short.

Acquiring the Glock was easy. I’d imagined pulling the trigger would’ve been harder.

The Ferocity of Silence

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By Montaffera

As I wash my hands –
Watch soap slip silently;
The thrill of cold water
Numbing to nothing –
I can see a spare sock
Stuck under the doorframe
Just a little bit;
The rest too thick to fit.

And our child, standing,
Staring at that sock;
Pondering his next move.
Flexing a narrow finger.

The weight of your absence
Is ubiquitous here;
A fierce silence, rent
By pointless everyday.
And I dry my hands
On a soggy towel,
Suddenly knowing that
I’m finished with typical.