House

By Heather Sager

She had a friend, but she was too depressed or anxious
to see him.

She was too twisted up, so she let years of friendship
slide into the gutter.

He was her favorite, and she couldn’t reach him. In fact,
she thought he hated her, didn’t care about her,
though that was not true. Not true at all.

Wind rattled the panes of her room’s window
one dark morning. She listened. Too depressed
and anxious, she couldn’t leave her house.

She is reading this right now.

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Heather Sager writes poetry and fiction. Lately, she writes to dream, or to hold up a mirror, or to share a feeling or interest.

Curtains

By Cheryl Snell

In the fabric store you stand there staring at the pink damask. The pattern is woven through with threads in a darker, angrier pink, like the face of your high school sweetheart. There are boys like him going through their ugly phase everywhere, living like spools of fabric, tightly wound until they can be sprung. You turn from the pink folds toward the bolt of black, and a sour-faced woman in an orange smock slices off the amount you need to make blackout curtains. How else can you darken the sun? you ask her. Somehow you think she might know.

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Cheryl Snell writes as revenge against reality.

Leaves

By stevieslaw

Why not write
about it,

she said with that grin.
It was the last

friendly day
of the season

and we sat
on a weathered

log overlooking
the creek

that would
freeze by midweek—

about the time
her Greyhound

would run her
back to the city.

I come here
sometimes

for inspiration,
though I’m more

likely to find
words

on a crosstown
bus.

Here
there is nothing

I need add.
Pure description

is second-hand
news.

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I write because it is fun. A blank page is a challenge. I write and revise and revise. Often I get to say, “where’d that come from.”

Angel

By Monique van Maare

The green-grey eyes of her newborn look at her intently. She wraps him tightly in everything she has. Below, at street level, there is shouting and waving. She kisses the child on his bronze forehead, whispers his name, and lets go. Eyes pressed shut, two, three seconds in which there is no sound, no feeling, only her heart, clenched. At last, she opens her eyes to see her angel, held up for her to see, safe. She crumbles down against the hard balustrade.

A single, piercing wail joins in the chaos around her. Flames are licking the cracked balcony doors.

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“I write to hear the little songs that my mind wants to sing.” – the writer

I Dreamt Last Night of The Dead Child

By Thomas O’Connell

I’m not sure why, it’s not like I knew him well. When I started dreaming, he was there – sitting across from me at some mall food-court. “What are you doing here,” I asked.

“I came to see you.”

“Why?”

“We’ll figure that out together.”

Then he pushed his chair back from the table and left. “Wait,” I called. It’s not like I was still drunk. Like I am the only person who’s ever run a light. Like the city shouldn’t have put in a cross-walk years ago. I woke unsettled. My lawyer says she won’t put me on the stand.

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“i write so that i do not forget…” – the writer

Unsaid

By L. J. Caporusso

I cross my arms.
Well do you like me?
What?
Do you like me?
Of course I like you.
Well I don’t know.
He smiles. What do you mean?
I mean. I don’t know.
You do know.
Well. You never say anything.
I’m always saying things.
About how you feel.
I say how I feel.
No answer.
Maybe I could say more. But we’re still getting to know each other.
I know.
Don’t I show that I like you?
You show you’re interested.
I’m interested because I like you!
His laugh makes me smile.
He’s interested because he likes me.

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“(I write) because I can’t not write.” – the writer

Hollow

By Ren ElisaBeth

A thing sits inside me. It is large and takes up space and when it is there, there is absolutely no room for anything else. Even though I feel the edges of it pressing against my insides and pieces of it get wedged in my throat, the thing itself is hollow. It is simply empty and barren and in that respect we are painfully the same. The thing inside me and I often cry ourselves to sleep, and in the morning my pillow is stained black, my body heavy with all the things that are no longer inside it.

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Ren ElisaBeth (she/her) is an emerging writer who enjoys exploring short fiction as a way to reflect on things that have happened throughout her life.

Siberia

By John Leo Malone

We arrived late. That may have been the reason. Or maybe our reputation preceded us.

Either way we ended up in Siberia, Room 313, next to the storage area where the cleaning ladies gather at nine in the morning.

Adele, the desk clerk, tried to be genial but hit the wrong note.

Eventually, we got our keys and lugged our baggage down the corridor, the shadows hulking and ominous.

When we got to our room we were stuffed,

We agreed to sleep at separate ends of the king-sized bed.

That’s when we discovered we had a companion between us.

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“I’m writing a collection of tales with geographical titles. This is the first.” – the writer

Adventure

By Ken Poyner

He imagines the flashes of light a signal: a woman with a lantern, her hand in front of it, saying, “Come here, I need assistance,” or “Stay away, this place has dangers.” Quibble has yet to work out if the flashes are Morse code, and, if they are, which are dots, which are dashes. Natalie over his shoulder sights the light, scanning the landscape around it. “It is McClellan’s porch light, and wind in the trees,” she tells him. Quibble is beginning to decipher dots and dashes, writes the sequences in his newspaper’s margins. He does not know Morse code.

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“I fear the explosion that would result if I did not write.” – the writer

The Inside Scoop

By Dianne Moritz

So you sold your first book.

You are thrilled and eagerly spread the news to family and friends.

I’ll plan a book party, you think, then quickly send off press releases to the local media. The evening of the event you decorate a table at the bookstore, set out wine, cheese, crackers, and fresh sushi.

You wait nervously until a few people trickle in, exactly five. A few folks drink some wine, no one eats. You sign one book.

After an hour of this fiasco, you pack up and leave. You vow to never do this again.

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“I write to capture indelible moments in time.” – the writer