Commuter Scene

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By Gretchen Bernet-Ward

It’s nauseating. I usually don’t read on public transport. Sentences sway like a line of melting ants. I look out the bus window, watching cars whoosh along one level, trains on another. Soon train tracks swoop down, crossing the road. Ding, ding, ding, shrills the signal. A teenager ducks under the falling boom gate and sprints across the tracks. Impatient, foolish. Two seconds between life and resembling dog vomit. Platform security guards move in. The teenager projects nonchalance then slumps onto a metal seat. The bus moves off and my eyes fall to the formicine words.

           
“The written word has been a big part of my work-life, never for personal fulfillment. The birth of my blog activated the joyous freedom of self-expression. I use public transport and, oh, the things I’ve seen …” – the author

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Lonely Photographer

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By Bello Olabisi

Those that say weddings are only stressful for the bride have never been photographers at my sister’s wedding. Relatives call you from every direction to capture their precious moments on film. Guests scream at you to include them in the pictures even though they have no emotional tie to my family. That isn’t the worst part to me. What truly hurts me and stresses my heart beyond its limit is knowing that with every smile, every tear, every memory I capture with the snap of the camera, future generations will never see, never know, the lonely brother behind the camera.

           
“I write because it is one of my ways of giving back to the society. It is really comforting knowing that someone out there understands your experience and pain. It makes you feel less alone.” – the author

Roll of the Dice

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By Louise Callan

Sweat forms beads on his forehead.
Sheila will surely leave, take the kids.
What will the neighbors say?
The shame.
Why can’t I stop?
Stupid, stupid man.
I need this win.
An inviting voice ushers across the table, “Are you ready sir?”
Silence.
“Yes,” he replies. “Roll the dice.”

           
“I just enjoy putting pen to paper and experimenting with ideas.” – the author

Being There

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By Jack Field

The hospital letter said the appointment was to ‘rule things out.’

When they called his name, she kissed his cold hand and let him go. He chatted to the nurse, turned and waved goodbye.

The appointments, the scans, the blood tests — the relentless certainty of events. She read to him and said she would look after the garden and their son was coming to stay.

She was only gone a minute when he finally woke up, looked across at the empty chair to see a dent in the cushion where her bottom had been and closed his eyes forever.

            
“I write to hear myself think! I am busy working on my second novel, but whenever I need to shout something, I write a short story or flash fiction to stay connected to the outside world.” – the author

The Wicked Therapist

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By David Derey

When they lay down on the couch, and open up to me;

They have no clue what they’re letting in.

The deep-rooted problems they bring up – I make grow.

It’s my drug.

Then she comes.

From the first session, I have a bad feeling.

Every angle I play her with, she spins around – and thanks me for the perspective.

Every evil seed I plant, blossoms into beautiful flowers in her mind.

I try my best, but she just won’t break.

She wants seven double sessions a week.
Lately, the few times I sleep:
My dreams are bleak.

Why’d You Make Me?

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By Vivian Paide

“Why’d you make me hit you?” Daddy said. He looked so sad.

“I’m sorry, Daddy. I’ll try to be good.” My ear still hurt, but I knew not to rub my head. Even though I had been bad, he bought me ice cream. I didn’t deserve it, ‘cause I still kept being bad.

“Nobody will ever love you like I do,” Daddy said. I knew it was true, but then Todd appeared. Married at eighteen, safe.

“Why’d you make me hit you?” Todd said.

            
Vivian Paide lives and writes in Hamilton, Ontario.

Error: Reload, Replace

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By Henry Bladon

It’s annoying that he always goes home before me, so every evening the last thing I do before I leave the office is to remove all the paper from his printer tray. I also save his empty ink cartridges when he throws them away so I can put them in place of one of the full ones.

Every morning I watch from the corridor as he reloads with fresh paper. Then he opens up the printer and yells at his ink for not lasting. He tells everyone he is cursed.

I swear one day I ‘m going to divorce him.

           
Henry Bladon is based in Somerset in the UK. He teaches creative writing for therapeutic purposes. His work can be seen in O:JA&L, Fewer than 500, Tuck Magazine, Pure Slush, The Ekphrastic Review, Spillwords Press, and elsewhere.