A Calculated Wish

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By Heidi Ball

The angle and distance between my lips and the flame were just right. I had practiced to ensure they would be. The time required to extinguish the flame had been measured, which allowed maximum concentration on what was really required.

I hovered, watched him from the corner of my eye, as he again leaned in to blow out my birthday candles. And in three quick motions: I blew, retracted my face from the vicinity, and hooked the back of his head with my right arm, using his own kinetic energy to propel him face-down into the buttercream icing.

Vanishing Point

There is the rush of oncoming traffic, and with it death. The speed of the impact becomes stretched out to hours, days, years, as memories burst to the surface. Reality melts away into another world, a different life: A long life full of all the little happinesses one could hope for. And as they’ve reached the end of this life and they feel their heart beating slower, time compresses as before and the white light becomes the light of rebirth, a third new life begins. A person lies dying in the road, dying in infinity.

 

Modern Dating for Modern Divorcees

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By David Cook

Left. Left. Left. Right! Match? No. Left. Left. Left. Sigh. Left. Left. Right! Match? No. Left. Left. Right! Match? Yes! Hi! Date? Yes? Yes! Wait. Wait. Today! Shower. Best outfit. Go. Meet. Uh-oh. Boring. Weird. Drink. Nod. Smile. Drink. Leave. (Alone.) Home. Sleep. Up. Breakfast. Left. Left. Work. Lunch. Left. Left. Right! Match? No. Home. Left. Left. Left. Microwaveable lasagne for one. Left. Right! Match? Yes! Hi! Date? Yes? Yes! Wait. Wait. Today! Shower. Best outfit. Go. Get stood up. Leave. Home. Consume half-bottle of own-brand supermarket vodka and a Pot Noodle. Cry. Sleep.

Up. Hangover. Breakfast. Left. Left. Left.

Bio: David Cook’s stories have appeared in print and online in places including Flash Fiction Magazine, Spelk and Sick Lit Magazine.

Iron Impersonation

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By Bella

I am black metal
Graphite
Gray lines separating good and evil
Right and wrong
(I am made of in-betweens)

I am magnetite
Crafted of iron and strength
Dark hues that try to hide glittering eyes
I act worse than I am
(Try-hard)

I am raw hematite
Ugly, unpolished
Never sharp
Some days, I’m more talc than iron
Some days, I’m all talk

Who I want to be and who I am
Are two opposite poles
There is no way to meet in the middle

Crows

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By John Grey

Dress like undertakers,
drop from phone wires
to the roadkill below –
their caw is light on melody,
high on triumph –

ELLA
I still have
the record
she left behind
though I haven’t
seen her in years.

I play it
from time to time,
think of her
now and again.

Do them both together
and I run the risk
of dancing.

JEREMY
Lolls all day
in a beat-up rocker
outside a rusty trailer,
drinking and cackling away.
He has no kids of his own
to ask what he did in the war.
If he did,
they wouldn’t have to ask.

      
Bio: John Grey’s work has recently appeared in Front Range Review, Studio One and Columbia Review. He has work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex and Midwest Quarterly.

Post-Apocalyptic Gardener

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By tyreanmartinson

Summer is here. No matter how the world changes, the seasons cycle onward. True, some of them have become more or less extreme with all the global climate changes, but my cat still watches the birds from the deck, the raspberries still rise in the soil I’ve created for them, and I still sit in my rocking chair on the porch. I ignore the wastelands beyond the hills, although I see the smoke rising still. The Wasted Ones haven’t bothered me since I planted my bombs in the earth beyond my fields. They make good fertilizer for my thorn hedges.

Praying, Praying

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By Kelvin M. Knight

He prayed in the morning. He prayed at night. Words that came to him. Words that did not. Praying was his backbone. Praying was his life. Giving through prayer gave his life meaning. Until she came along. She showed him the truth. All those years spent developing his relationship with God – how could He have gotten it so wrong? She didn’t answer his heartfelt question, just brushed aside his spirituality with a wave of her hand, then crumbled his faith with these haunting words:

“An affirmation monster,” the light in his new vicar’s eyes danced. “That’s how I discern you.”