(to read any of the stories below, click the story's title.)
By Robert Ciesla
"Today she doesn't really mind the morning cold. Underneath the many blue daylight scarves, close to her long neck, it is always warm. Yet Angelie enjoys the planet's warmth more on its own these days. She feels them all the time. Her family is returning. And to celebrate the occasion, she will get herself some treats today."
By Samantha Enns
"Red-checkered curtains fell against the soiled windows, and he knew it was time for dinner. He tied a knot in a weed, then tied the next one to it, and the next to that one, and the next and the next and the next until there was a tuft big enough for God to notice."
By David Gaffney
"O'Donnall took me to Pontoon Four where the accident had happened. It was the first time I'd been to the well. The substance in the steel liners was exactly the colour I expected— luminous cornflower yellow. But the consistency was not the blobby, custard-like goo I'd imgined as a child—it was disappointingly thin, like a consommé."
By Theresa Cecilia Garcia
"Old Cuba at sunset brought pachangas, festive gatherings at Auntie Sofia's house. Conga and merengue rhythms, strung-up chili pepper lights that illuminated door frames and darkened rooms, Cuban cigars, meat patties, Coca-Cola, sandwiches made with deviled ham and cream cheese, and even some gambling on the side."
By Kathryn Gossow
"We had decided. I gave it no thought. No thought, that is, until the worm whispered to me. I saw it in the garden, wondered about its relentless direction in life. I scooped it up with a handful of dirt. It pushed from the light in panic. When I brushed the dirt off my hands, it had disappeared."
By Cyndie Goins Hoelscher
~Editor's Prize Winner~
"I stare at the five flat flying fish on my canvas. Why did I choose five? Is it a random number? There should be significance to the number five—something methodical and meaningful like the verses in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Is there perfection in my five fingers and my five senses?"
By Jason Jackson
"So Cassie and Ike, they're going to bump into each other, right? I mean she's got her head held back, lost in the strangely cementy taste of the raindrops, and Ike, desperate for shelter, is moving too quickly to notice her. Some things in this world are just meant to happen, and this is one of them."
By Craig Terlson
"At his car, Judd still wondered about the lip balm. A gust blew through the parking lot and cooled the beads of sweat that had formed on his forehead and upper lip. As he pulled out, he said, 'Six cans of tuna, six razors,and six tubes of Lypsol.' Then he laughed. 'Groceries of the beast.'"
By J.A. Tyler
"There is a vein in the meaty part of my palm, just below my thumb, and it's shaped like an "S." I watch it sometimes. It's a vein that runs close to the skin so that the pulses of blood are both urgently blue and truly beating. And I think about how when I am dying, if I look to that vein in time, I might be able to see it stop pounding."
By Didi Wood
"I knew this would happen. Leo sees ghosts everywhere, anywhere; on the train, at the bank, in the supermarket. He'll stop dead in the aisle, peering at nothing, while irritated shoppers wheel their carts around him. If they had horns, they'd honk. If they had guns, he'd be a ghost himself. "