Self-Preservation

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By F. J. Bergmann

Zombies retain vestiges of self-preservation instinct; they didn’t follow me when I leapt from the cliff as a last, desperate measure. I’d rather die than become a zombie. Badly injured by the fall, I could only crawl. Pain-filled hours later, a cabin came into view. Its windows glowed through the dusk; help was near! Muddy, bloody, but with renewed hope, I dragged myself to my feet and shambled along the fence. Through my smashed mouth, I called for help but could only moan indistinctly. The door opened. “Here comes one of ’em!” A gun muzzle poked out, became a zero.

     
F. J. Bergmann looks forward to becoming independently wealthy via sustainable energy practices by recycling zombies as biofuel in the post-apocalypse.

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Earliest Memory

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By Richard Woolley

Her father’s thick hair caged in his thick fingers. Her father hunched on the edge of his bed, an attitude she would one day recognize in flight safety literature. And the sound of her own voice as she ran across the landing, shouting down the stairs at her brother. Shouting in response to what her brother was shouting, a game they were inventing, something. The brace position, thick fingers whitening. The sound of her own voice, which her husband would one day accuse her of loving. A game in which the rules changed faster than she could think.

     
Richard Woolley’s stories have been published in the Nottingham Review, The Pygmy Giant and Shotgun Honey.

Table for One

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By rlmcooper

As usual, my back is to the restaurant’s kitchen door, a lone diner always parked in some out-of-the-way location as though I might, if seated amongst them, infect the other patrons with the “friendless” virus. Yet, as I glance across the thick-carpeted room I’m sad for the couple, long married, who no longer speak, for the parents attempting to rein in a disruptive child or get a sullen teen to eat. I celebrate young lovers and blindly happy newlyweds. No, I do not dine alone. Life’s comedy and drama unfolds before me, and I am content.

An Open and Honest Dialogue

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By Paul Thompson

“You go first,” he says.

She opens the envelope and holds up a card.

I still miss my Dad, it says.

He falters.

“Now open yours,” she says.

“No, yours is more important.”

“Open it.”

He opens his envelope and holds up a card.

I think we should divorce, the card says.

They place the cards down and turn to the camera, speaking in unison.

“OK guys, hit like and subscribe, and remember to leave your comments below.”

They lean towards us and switch off the camera, hands touching briefly as they do so.

Meeting Momma

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By Mary Ellen Gambutti

Maybe I felt her tentative touch before I was swaddled and taken away by the sister. Does my mother recall whether she held me? Her eyes are moist and puffy, her face flushed with some unknowable emotion. Flood of recollection or regret? Maybe pang of pride, confusion, or anxiety which I’ve inherited? I take charge of the feelings and hug her. “Hello, Momma! So good to see you!” She yields to my warmth, and murmurs something – perhaps not meant for me, but for the gods. I wonder if she is hurting, and if we can ever be happy.

     
Mary Ellen’s stories appear or are forthcoming in Gravel Magazine, Wildflower Muse, The Remembered Arts Journal, The Vignette Review, Modern Creative Life, A Thousand and One Stories, Halcyon Days, Nature Writing, PostCard Shorts, Memoir Magazine, Haibun Today, Soft Cartel Magazine, Carpe Arte, and Borrowed Solace.

She Offers Her Beauty and All That Matters

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By MD Marcus

At surface level, the water is smooth enough to reapply lipstick. Up here, all reflection is lost in dusk. Never good at estimating measurements, whether it’s fifty feet or a mile, she has no idea. But she knows she’s high enough. No longer the tepid refresher of summers past, the water will be frigid this time of year.

Her brother thinks of the river, shivers, then presses her doorbell. The chime echoes back from the empty hall within.

     
MD Marcus’ work has appeared on Salon as well as in Rat’s Ass Review, Communicators League, and Subterranean Blue Poetry among others.