Guilt

By P.M. Souza

It’s a mortal sin to eat meat on Fridays—a seven-year-old girl was taught by the Church.

Then one day it happened. She ate a piece of meat.

In the dark of the night, the girl knew, unless she confessed this terrible deed, and ask forgiveness, she was going to hell. Thrown into a pit of fire.

Burn for eternity.

The child cried, night after night, into her pillow.

“I didn’t mean to eat the meat. I forgot it was Friday.”

The child grew old.

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

The old woman died with her guilt.

May she rest in peace.

Amen.

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“I write because I’m a writer.” – the writer

Heirloom

By Mia

With family gathered, she recounted her most colorful memory threads, using them to painstakingly stitch the assorted swatches of the very fabric of her life into the precious heirloom. She bled with each prick of her conscience. Sweat beaded on her forehead, tears streamed down her cheeks. All loose ends tied up, she smiled, deeming pearls of wisdom not trampled by pigs worthy of passing on to future generations. She’d done her best and had poured her heart into her life’s project. With its final beat, having given her all, she whispered, “It is finished.”

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“God told me to write, so I do — plus, the written word is my preferred method of communication.” – the writer

Held Together by a Thread

By Kim Hart

Pushing pins into vintage fabric
you remember
before,
and hear her laughter
echo down the stairs.
You sew a tiny dress
of floral cotton,
pink peonies and
yellow daisies.
A request,
“Please Mummy
Delilah needs something
pretty for my party.”
So you thread a needle
and stitch,
Misty-eyed at memories
of mud pies and makeup.
You lift
the finished piece
and hope
they’ll love it.
“Ellie honey,”
you call,
“I have Delilah’s dress.”
You follow the giggles
upstairs
and open the door
to a room,
where dust motes float,
refusing to settle
on an empty bed,
still waiting
for her.

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“I write to entertain and to see the thoughts running through my head take shape on paper. I love the thought of others reading my words, interpreting them differently, reading a myriad of meanings into the letters I’ve placed on the page.” – the poet

Midhowe Chambered Cairn

By Michael Bloor

On the small Isle of Rousay in the Orkneys, there lies a great chambered tomb. Five-thousand and four-hundred years ago, the farmers and the fisherfolk of the island laboured over many years building the tomb, the better to house and honour their dead. It sits in a field corner, alongside the farmer’s pile of black plastic sacks, storing the cut grass that will become the silage for the animals’ winter feed. That black plastic might seem unsightly, but it is surely also a reminder that human kind are still working this field after more than five-thousand years.

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Michael Bloor lives in Dunblane, Scotland where he first discovered the exhilarations of short fiction.

Things Change

By Avril Tan

Young, spry, happy,
A miracle of life is born.
Unbeknownst to the harshness of the world,
Ignorant to the cruel and vicious.

Rebellious, immature, stressed,
Welcome to the precursor of adulthood.
Troubled by their looks,
Fixated on the materialistic, instead of idyllic.

Tired, worn, drained,
The corporate rat race is on.
Tormented by the thought of dismissal,
Enticed by the green paper.

Aged, seasoned, wise.
Congrats, the chase is over and you’re a veteran at life.
Cared for and loved by the next generation,
Unaware that the hunter has become the hunted.

Things have changed, haven’t they?

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“I write as a way to de-stress from all the chaos and melancholy of life. As a student with a love for the arts, writing is one of the few things that still brings a smile to my face.” – the writer

Aristocatfishing

By Jeff Hill

The girls and I have a system
They are the beauty
I am the brawn
But we are all the brains
We don’t go against anything or anyone who gets hurt
And we don’t do it to anyone who doesn’t deserve it
We aren’t vigilantes
We aren’t modern-day Robin Hoods
Because we don’t kill
And we don’t share our wealth
But we do take their money
And we do hurt them in the place that has the most impact
Their wallets
We match
We chat
They book the hotel
I show up
We collect
And we eat the rich
Together

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Jeff Hill writes stories and helps others write their stories.

Love at the Laundromat

By Karen Southall Watts

Both walked with a rocking gait born of carrying too much weight and illness. As they washed and hung a wardrobe of generous and forgiving polyester clothes and flowery bed linens, we chatted. They told me about their approaching anniversary. Fifty-two years. They made light about cost of living, fixed incomes, and fear of falling. The dryers weren’t hot enough. We commiserated over how many quarters we’d wasted. I knew I’d be hanging my towels in the living room overnight to get them dry. As the couple slowly loaded their car, I drove away, alone and green with envy.

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“I watch the world. Then I write.” – the writer

How Long is Forever?

By Avril Tan

People thought we would last forever,
To their credit, they got it partially correct.
Even months after the desertion,
I’m still exactly where you left me.

The pages of the calendar continue to turn,
Yet, I still harp over what could have been.
The time I spend grieving,
Is well past the times we’ve shared.

I want to escape from this wretched hole,
But a force pushes me back in every time.
What I harbour within me will last an eternity,
Which really begs the question,
How long is forever?

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“As a student with a love for the arts, I write as a way to de-stress from the chaos and melancholy of life.” – the poet

Wandering

By CJ The Tall Poet

Wandering around the planet
Trying to find my way
It may take me a while to understand but
Everything will be okay
In the end

Wanting atonement or closure
Doesn’t matter to me
As long as I regain my composure
And gain an understanding of what I lack
Then everything will be okay

Self-doubt consumed me but I’m still here
Depression consumed me but I’m still here
Trying to find my way

It may take me a while to understand but everything will be okay

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Even as a young child, CJ The Tall Poet would conjure up stories with his weird imagination, sharing them with anyone who would listen.

New Beginnings, Old Endings

By Asha Rajan

Shattered dreams at our feet, like confetti on our wedding day. We sign divorce papers on each other’s backs. The pen scratches your signature into my skin and I remember our younger selves, lying naked and happy, the feel of your finger tracing your initials the same way. Memories do that don’t they? They edit out the arguments and silences and forced confessions. Carefully curated scenes of idyllic bliss are all that remain – two dimensional caricatures of a flattened reality like sepia photographs of travel adventures.

You post a selfie titled “New beginnings.” I unfollow you. Same old endings.

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Asha Rajan is a South Indian-Australian writer who writes “to make space in her head for new worlds and new words.”