The Went

By Kelvin M. Knight

He didn’t know where it went. He no longer knew what it was. Maybe it was him? Maybe it was others?

He looked blindly around. There was no one here to tell, nothing here to remind him who he once was, what he now was.

Now. Change had occurred. Change was the only constant in life. He dwelt on that word. Life was love. Life was loneliness. Love and loneliness lingering before something else.

It went.

It wasn’t.

It couldn’t be.

Nothing could, without hope. Yes. He clung onto that word even though its meaning went. Where, he didn’t know.

––––––––––
“I write to shine light into the shadows.” – the writer

Suffering

By Alisha Davlin

“I could be a rabbi,” she muses.
He smiles out of politeness, not knowing this language yet.
“Other people’s pain doesn’t bother me, perhaps because mine happened so young.”

Suffering opens an armchair beside you before a shimmering fire. Sit here and hand me your heart. I will cup it in both hands. Suffering recognizes itself like mercury beads recombining after being scattered across an eternity of ground.

But innocence abhors suffering.
Winged, rosy-cheeked, breathless,
it disappears into the hollow of a tree without even glancing back.
While this new you stares after it with arms

outstretched.

––––––––––
“(I write) to make a ripple in the silence.” – the writer

The Four Turrets

By Patricia Furstenberg

12th century saw cannon fodder too. They arrived on wings of hope. Making it alive over Styx River. The deal, protecting the eastern border of an expanding kingdom.

At first, fortified churches sprouted. To each guild, a tower. To build. Defend.

Not castles in the air.

This folk came for land. Stayed for freedom. The Saxons’ skills at building stone fortresses brought them countless privileges. An autonomy that, in an Europe of monarchies, was matchless.

See the four turrets adorning the church tower? It’s the stamp of a city who earned the right of capital judgment.

Who’s crossing Styx now?

––––––––––––
Writing, putting pen on paper seems to be a necessity I’ve embraced wholeheartedly. It clears my mind and helps me understand the world around me – or the past. Writing is my morning espresso, although the two are not exclusive.

The Beach

By Jim Bates

Waves crashing on the shore,
Windswept sand blowing,
Dad with his camera,
Taking photographs.
I was barely aware of him.
Instead, I looked out to sea,
Over the pacific to the horizon and beyond,
To the infinite possibilities awaiting a young man.
Me, looking at the world,
Dad, framing his shots.
While in the magic of the moment,
I gathered sand dollars half hidden in the sand
Later, as the sun set,
Dad and I set aside our differences,
And walked into the last light of day,
And we started talking, really talking,
For the first time.
It was beautiful.

–––––––––––
“I write to try and bring a bit of happiness to people.” – the poet

Quiz Me

By Phillip Pettit

“What thyroid hormones are found in the blood circulation?” He asked dutifully from the passenger seat.

“I really appreciate this,” she said. “Lending me your car; helping me cram, even though…”

He knew the rest. Their relationship was on hold, maybe ended, after the death of her cousin.

“So you don’t know the answer?” He tried not to sound bitter.

“I’m serious.”

He flicked sullenly through his notes. The next question, thought but not asked, “What is it that connects this uneasy feeling deep in my chest and this fuzzy pain behind my eyes and this tightness around my mouth?”

–––––––––
Phillip Pettit lives in Perth, Western Australia where he enjoys reading and writing short fiction as a welcome diversion from his work in software.

I’ll Be Staying, Thanks

By Patrick Higingbotham

Name’s Mortimer Brontide. My family’s been on this land for generations. I don’t know how you came into possession of the place. Regardless of what the law says about current ownership, I’ll not be removed. So, kindly put away the candles and the incense. And didn’t anyone ever tell you that Ouija boards don’t work?

––––––––––
“I write because I love it and it’s cheaper than therapy.” – the writer

Flow

By Fiona H. Evans

In the days of bursting ripeness,
my breasts aching,
wondering how it might feel
to be swollen with child,
I yearn to surrender solitude
and drown in love,
devoted and selfless.

Then waking normal again
in the calm after the storm,
I’m relieved to be
slim and whole and vibrant,
my dreams of motherhood
and hormonal regrets
all washed away
in a red torrent of
wasted blood.

–––––––––––
“I write to make sense of my feelings, and I hope to help others do so, too.” – the poet

It’s Only Teenage Wasteland

By T.L. Tomljanovic

Eleanor reads the invitation again. She hasn’t seen Tom since high school. Spinning her wedding band around her finger, she checks yes to the RSVP, underlining it twice, heart thudding in her chest.

The ceremony is brief. At the reception, Eleanor’s husband taps his smartwatch with a look. She swallows a sigh and scans the crowd. Tom sees her first; their eyes lock. Pulled together by a hundred what-ifs, they embrace goodbye. The years melt away to when they were teenagers before she chose someone else, and everything was possible. They hold tight for several seconds longer than they should.

––––––––––
“As a kid if I was in the middle of a good book, I would fake being sick to stay home from school and finish it. I aspire to write stories that compel readers to finish them.” – the writer

Submerged

By Josephine Rudolf

Another rejection, another sleepless night, another dagger in my heart. I stumble and fall; I don’t feel anything.
My vision ripped from me I plunge into darkness; I don’t feel scared.
I whimper, screaming inaudible; I feel numb.
Something appears in the pit of my stomach; it crawls up my throat; I feel a sensation.
As I begin to taste it, I beg my throat to keep it; I feel a tingle.
The words burning into my tongue, I cry out for you; I feel fear.
I know you won’t come; now I feel everything.

––––––––––
“I write so I can breathe.” – the writer

The Fear in These Times

By Kate Mahony

My seat on the bus faces the back. A man with red and green facial tattoos, wearing a black singlet and no mask stands up. He speaks loudly as if in conversation with someone on a non-existent phone. He bends down behind a young woman in the seat in front of him. Ear buds in, she’s unaware.

He coughs over her shoulder — deliberately, dramatically — into his sleeve, near his elbow. Then he does it again, phlegm rattling. He stands up and begins to move towards the front door. No one speaks. People look away. All is quiet on the bus.

–––––––––––
“I write to make sense of life and sometimes my own reaction to life.” – the writer