Cave Diver

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By Phyllis A. Still

My eyes crave light. I’m floating alone—waiting for the light they say will come. I loved him. He said the cylinder was full. His was when he left. The darkness is silent and peaceful.

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When The Heat Went Out on New Year’s Day, We

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By Erica Plouffe Lazure

booked flights to Florida, walked the dog, drank leftover party nips, spent three hours online shopping at the café sipping Mexican hot chocolates, wore knitted hats in the bathtub, turned our oven on to broil, wore mittens to bed, emptied the fridge making stew, went to the mall and bought nothing, called the super again, learned the workmen weren’t getting overtime, put another cape on the dog and gave him a blanket, ran the hairdryer over our hands his paws, ate ice cream to warm up, made love under eight layers of covers, invented new words: fridigious, ice-is, colden daze.

     
Erica Plouffe Lazure’s flash fiction collection, Heard Around Town, won the 2014 Arcadia Fiction Chapbook Prize. Another fiction chapbook, Dry Dock, was published by Red Bird Press in Spring 2015. Her fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the Greensboro Review, Meridian, American Short Fiction, The Journal of Micro Literature, Fiction Southeast, Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine (UK), Southeast Review, and elsewhere.

Humans

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By Anthony Rose

I’m just a simple explorer, floating in the endless sea of space, observing planet XC-3450 from the comfort of my pod.

The primary life form calls this planet Earth.

The primary life form seems to be an emerging intelligence that my species could potentially share inter-dimensional travel knowledge with.

After all, the primary life form has developed satellite-based nuclear weapons.

Oh wait, they turn the weapons on themselves.

Never mind …

On The Beach

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By Gerard McKeown

I scratched your name in the sand with casual strokes of my big toe. Like I’ve done on every beach I’ve visited since we met. As I wiped cold sand off my feet and put on my socks, I saw people in the distance, walking my direction. I looked down at your name and wondered if, by some chance, they knew you.

I pished the letters away before they arrived. The tide was coming in, but not fast enough to erase you. I couldn’t be bothered waiting. Besides, you were already gone, regardless of ways I try to evoke you.

     
Gerard McKeown’s work has been featured in The Moth, 3:AM, and Litro, among others. In 2017 he was shortlisted for The Bridport Prize.

Inversion

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By Richard Helmling

As the ash piled up on the sixth day, they finally decided to head south.

“Por favor,” they made their son practice as they drove.

They avoided El Paso because the last radio broadcasts they had received said it was impossible to cross there.

So they found a seemingly desolate stretch of the wall. They approached with rope ladders slung between them, slapping their thighs, and he winced, remembering his vote in the previous election.

On the other side, he looked back over his shoulder at the six-foot high graffiti: “No les des de comer a los Americanos!”

     
Richard Helmling’s work has appeared in English in Texas, The Rio Grande Review, Fiction Brigade, Black Heart Magazine and Arsenic Lobster.

Little Old Bird Lady

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By Salvatore Difalco

Uncanny pewter light, late winter afternoon: snow falls. Snow falls and the ambience follows suit, tiny tinkling bells, crystalline swells, a ruby glow from someone’s hearth.

“You’d best be leaving, lady, blizzard blowing in.”

“I can wait. I like the white.”

“You won’t make it through the night in those feathers.”

No sign she understands. Later, she blasphemes the gusts.

Such are the imprecations of conviction. We spin the globe but often return to the middle space, where we exist, side by side, with ideas about flying south next winter or building a warmer nest.