The Keyboard Promise

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By Michele Fox

The Keyboard Promise is an oath I made to write some damn thing every day, working through pain, not to be prolific, but to become intimate with the keyboard. Mine has missing keys, (several I burnt unusable when slumped over in a painkiller fog). Sometimes my cigarettes would burn down between my fingers, and I’d drop them on the keys or sit upright to the sound of one hitting then rolling across the linoleum floor to a location deep between two old boxes. I’d retrieve the smoldering butt with a pen and continue to honor the promise, night after night.

            
Michele Fox has published one novel and several short stories and poems and continues to write haiku.

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The Woman Wears a Wolf

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By Marissa Hoffmann

He insisted on listening to her pitch in his hot tub. He’s an apex predator. Before she sliced his warm belly open he said “I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.” The weight of him draped around her shoulders is familiar but what’s new and fresh and hot is the rivulet of blood that draws a line down her naked spine, over her buttocks, along the inside of her thigh and pools under the arches of her feet. She did say no, and when he was on top of her she said, “I don’t want to do this.”

           
The author writes because “there’s so much to say.” Her work has been short-listed at Bath Flash Fiction Award and variously long-listed. She has words at Bending Genres and forthcoming at Milk Candy Review.

Share Your Peanuts

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By Stephen Harris

Then it was the end of the world. Fire, brimstone, four horsemen, armageddon outta here, the usual drill. We’ve all been there, am I right? The world ends all the time, it’s not any big deal. Like any other bowl of cherries, the pits need to be burned in order to sprout. It’s a little scary the first time, but as soon as the brand new sun pokes over the brand new horizon, it all comes back, and you get it. You turn to the primate in the seat next to you, and smile knowingly, and you share your peanuts.

           
“I write because all those words gotta go somewhere.” – the author

From Pin to Pin

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By Alison Colwell

Sitting on the bottom stair of our suburban house watching my dad add another pin to the map. He adds a pin then stretches the red wool a little closer to his dream of India.

Each dollar in the jar measured by ruler on the map. Airplane Tickets.

Me and my sister. My mom, in a last attempt to save their marriage by embracing his obsession. It takes two years. My piggy bank emptied of nine years of birthday money. My sisters too, till we had enough. Tickets bought.

Three months living his dream. Then we come home without him.

           
Alison is a passionate community builder and writer living on a small island in the Salish Sea. She writes short stories and is currently working on a YA novel series.

In Light of What We See

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By Sandra Arnold

Snow melting on the mountains. The first white stars of plum blossom. Daffodils, snowdrops and bluebells pushing green spikes from the wet earth. Dark nights receding. Light returning. The air sweet with new grass. Lambs tumbling in the fields. Push the new green shoots back into the ground. Delay the return of the sun. Stop the cherry blossom frothing the trees and silence the newborn lambs. The shimmering light of spring proves the world has not stopped turning. It is full of this time last year she did this, this time last year we did that.

           
Sandra Arnold lives in New Zealand. Her novel, Ash, and a flash fiction collection, Soul Etchings, are forthcoming this year.

Here Now

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By Roy Gomez

He always stood at one corner. This short black man with a greasy face owned a shopping cart piled high with junk. Often, when driving to work, I’d toss my wife’s lousy lunches to him. I did it all summer, until I finally left her. That day I bought him a hot roast beef sandwich with chips. But he was gone. And I felt … kind of lost. Another day I drove a different route and found him a block away. Surprised, happy to see him, I told him I’d wondered where he’d gone. He said he was here now.

            
Roy Gomez has been kicking words around for a while now. He lives with his wife and their pets on a hillside overlooking Medina Lake, Texas, directly in the center of the Milky Way.

Thursday Evening Blues

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By R. Hegland

There is something to be said

for the dull ache in your belly

that always appears when you think of home.

The longing so heavy in its familiarity

that you can barely stomach it.

           
R. Hegland is a student from Norway pursuing a BA in History – for what purpose remains unknown.