Search results for: best summer ever

Wednesday, 07 October 2020 17:01

Best Summer Ever by Curtis Bass

best summer ever-Robbie-

I’m drowning. The wave had smacked me down and rolled me. Now I don’t know which way is up. Forcing my eyes open in the stinging saltwater, I can detect a watery brightness in what I had thought was beneath me. I’m completely upside down. Eyes burning, lungs on fire, I struggle toward the light and air. I’ve swallowed so much saltwater I’m nauseous. I’m afraid I’ll puke underwater. The pull of the water is too strong. Where is Jeremy? Jeremy could save me. If he would. He was as likely to hold me under. But Jeremy hadn’t come to the beach this year. Pre-college courses and summer work gave him little free time. I’m on my own. And dying.

A soft click and hum jolted me. Cool air blew across my damp chest. I was lying in bed. It had been a dream. But my eyes still burned, and the nausea overwhelmed me. I cracked my eyes, and the light cut like knives going through my head. This isn’t my room. Where am I? I noticed a nearby ensuite bath. Good. I crawled out of the bed and monkey scrambled to it, reaching the toilet bowl just in time. I spewed the contents of my stomach, hot, acidic, and pink into the bowl. My entire body convulsed with the effort. The brief respite from the nausea only amplified the hot burning behind my eyes. And there seemed to be a spike bisecting my brain from side to side, a hammer pounding it in time with each heartbeat, like some sadistic Anvil Chorus. My body convulsed again, but there was little left to come up. I spat a bit of green bile into the bowl and flushed the evil smelling mess. I rested my forehead on the cool ceramic of the toilet. A chilling ache ran over me as I broke out in a cold sweat.

Where am I? My thoughts were fuzzy and slow, each produced in agony. Why don’t I remember anything? Am I sick? Maybe malaria or Ebola? Or maybe I have amnesia. No, I remember my name, Robbie, and I’m sixteen and live in Foxborough, Mass 02035. Unless that’s part of my delirium. I stood up like an old man. I looked down at my body. I’m in my Calvins, the way I always sleep, I think. My body looks young, though I feel ancient. I glanced in the mirror. Yes, I recognized the kid there, face bloated and creased from sleep, watery blue eyes red rimmed and bloodshot, unremarkable straight blond hair, currently sticking up. Your basic dork.

Published in Issue 89 Oct 2020
Sunday, 14 June 2020 08:56

Something New by Morgan Horst

Something New by Morgan Horst

“What’s mine is yours,” Lila told me the day I moved into the 1050 square foot apartment; the one I shared with the girl who would soon prove to me that these first words were a life-altering lie.

My arms ached from carrying all my belongings up to the fourth floor earlier that afternoon. The sun had only been absent for maybe an hour, but my first class of the semester started early the next morning, and I just wanted to shower and crawl in bed. It was a relief to see the roommate I’d been assigned seemed nice, but her talkative nature was exhausting. Hoping she’d eventually take the hint, I stayed silent and nodded as she pointed out and asked my opinion on the decor she had accumulated in the week since she’d moved in.

“It’s not much, I know,” she chatted on with a wide white smile. Flipping her strawberry-blonde hair over a bony shoulder, she seemed completely comfortable sitting in her swimsuit in front of a stranger. She had come in from a welcome party at the campus pool when I was unpacking my last box; there was little doubt in my mind she had walked all the way back with nothing to cover up but her beach towel. I found this fascinating and slightly annoying. “I figured we could spice the place up together, right?”

Published in Issue 85 Jun 2020
Wednesday, 18 March 2020 17:23

The Crate by David Rich

the crateI cruised out of BLE’s house in my crate. A teenaged girl like me, she was one of few people I’d ever seen in person.

I stopped my crate in no place in particular to flat out break the law. I was so good at hacking crates that I’d reprogrammed mine to open upon command. Crazy illegal!

All crates were programmed to protect everyone’s fundamental right not to be seen. Basically, they remained closed until confirming you were in the presence of only legally sanctioned live contacts. Then you went back in before seeing any unauthorized people.

History recounts that long ago, people judged one another by things such as gender, ethnicity, occupation, personal transportation vehicle, etc. But the modern American Political Union, our beloved A.P.U., made that intrinsically impossible.

Published in Issue 82 Mar 2020
Wednesday, 18 March 2020 14:29

The Church of Rainbow by Philip Charter

The Church of Rainbow by Philip CharterBeyond the cracked sidewalk, and the telephone pole with layers of flyers in a rainbow of colors, and the patch of dry brown grass there stood a ten-foot-high concrete block wall, caked with dozens of coats of paint. There was a small shrine at the foot of it, with burnt-out candles and dead flowers. One word of graffiti-filled the wall, red letters on a gold background: Rejoice!

A boy stood facing his audience in his best white shirt. “Took me three weeks to finish it,” said the kid, motioning to the gigantic word behind him. “Had to use six cans of paint, but Daddy don’t miss one off the back of his truck every few days.” He fanned himself with a wad of posters then admired his handiwork. “So now, we may rejoice.”

The Monson twins looked back at the boy, who stood on top of two palettes. Then they stared at each other, dumbfounded. They were too young to read the posters he’d drawn, perhaps too young to even understand the word rejoice. One of the girls, Shannon-Lee traced the outline of the word on the wall with a stubby finger.

Published in Issue 82 Mar 2020
Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:52

Screams and Shots by Trisha McKee

Screams and Shots by Trisha McKeeThey say in horror films that the ditzy, beautiful girl always dies first. In Kimberly’s case, that did not happen. She survived. Survived in the sense that she did not die that night. 

That night.

It had been a month, and that night still haunted her every thought, her mood, her speech. The only reason she was returning to campus was because her parents were driving her crazy. Their response to her trauma was to project their fear and panic onto her, just pile it on as if she were not already a trembling mound of jello. 

The psychiatrists and support groups had not really helped. They made her seep in the trauma of that night, the terror settling into her bones, her teeth chattering with the all too recent memory.

She remembered the gunshots, the screams… the crying and begging. She remembered the chaos, flashes in the suddenly blackest of nights, the thumps as bodies fell to the ground. That pool party had been packed, until suddenly she had felt all alone, running for her life. She had tripped over an exposed root, her body pitching forward, her face crushing against the Earth. All sense of direction, all ordered thought, had vanished as she tried to focus on her own escape and not the screams and shots. Dear God, not the screams and shots.

Published in Issue 81 Feb 2020
Monday, 16 December 2019 11:59

The Student from Xenor by John Mara

The Student from Xenor by John Mara“Aaaaand …. begin!” the SAT proctor says, and settles in for a two-hour nap. 

Five minutes later, Gyro stirs the proctor awake and hands her his test. “You’re done already, Einstein?” she says.

“Woulda been done sooner, Ma’am, but this archaic pencil-based technology –- filling circles and all – slows me down.”

“Back to your seat, smart alec,” the proctor mutters. “You can’t leave now.”

Gyro returns to his desk, the one in front of Spike, the 300-pound captain of the football team. Only a freshman, Gyro showed up for the October SAT session anyway for a few minutes of mental calisthenics, and now he’s stuck here. To pass time, he fills the circles on Spike’s test too, which turns out to be a good bargain all around: the proctor gets her nap, Spike gets his answers, and Gyro gets to keep his left arm screwed in its socket.

When the SAT session mercifully ends, Gyro passes beneath the drowsy proctor’s icy glare. He heads across the hall to Tech Prep’s banquet room, filled with round tables for this fall’s parent’s weekend luncheon. Every year, the headmaster loosens up the parents with a playful wager: he’ll send the entire student body on a Bermuda junket if the school’s brightest freshman can solve a near-impossible math problem. He’s never paid up, but this year Gyro has the student body abuzz.

Published in Issue 79 Dec 2019
Friday, 18 October 2019 13:01

Asteroid Hobbit Hole by Jason Lairamore

Asteroid Hobbit Hole By Jason LairamoreJezenel Wilson pulled a hair tie from the chest pocket of her loose-fitting mining suit and gathered up the delicate strands of her long, red hair. Her pale, freckled face broke into a smile as she angled the spaceship toward the rough cave mouth that marked the entrance to her Grandfather's asteroid mine.

She landed the little ship and got dressed to go outside. After a quick whoosh of air, she exited the airlock and hopped to the asteroid's craggy surface.

Inside the cave, there was a circular port door that marked the entrance to what Grandpa called his hobbit hole. She had asked him when she was little what a hobbit was and he had told her it was from a book he had read as a boy.

"Lost my copy of that book way back in 2185, when I had that mine fire that nearly killed me," he had said. "Let me find another print copy and you can read it just like I did when I was a boy back on Earth."

He never had given her that book.

"Grandpa, I'm home," she called once she was inside. She eyed the dark path leading into the heart of the asteroid before turning toward their living quarters. The mine down there was deep and curvy and still full of ore, even after nearly forty years of extraction.

"Grandpa?" she called.

He wasn't in his room and his bed was made. A red light blinked on the com. She picked it up and punched in the message code, fearing the worst.

Published in Issue 77 Oct 2019
Monday, 06 May 2019 14:34

Izzie’s Secret by Kirsten Quarforth

Izzie’s Secret by Kirsten Quarforth

Izzie squeezed her red solo cup, pressing her drink up until it almost spilled over. The wind ruffled her hair, raising goosebumps on her arms. However, even this far away from the party, the bonfire’s heat pressed into her back and kept her from being completely chilled as she stared into the trees this time of night. A few shrill beats wandered her way, threatening to break the boombox Jake had bought at a vintage store last week. First, record players were hip again, now the boombox. At least the record player sounded less tinny.

Jake’s hand slid onto her shoulder. Izzie turned, letting her cup regain its normal shape. She smiled up at him, her boyfriend. Boyfriend. A year later it still thrilled her to say it, even to herself.

“Why are you so far away from everyone?” he said.

Another gust of wind shot through her. “I was looking at the trees.” She crossed her arms.

“You need another drink?” He twirled his empty beer bottle.

She looked down at the only drink she’d had the past two hours. “Nah. I’m good with this.” She’d been wandering out here to pour away the drink bit by bit, so it looked like she was drinking, but she supposed she still couldn’t keep up with the boys’ habits.

Published in Issue 72 May 2019
Wednesday, 17 April 2019 13:22

In the Shadow of Your Wings by Geoffrey Lee

In the Shadow of Your Wings by Geoffrey LeeI’ve been trying not to think about you these past few months. It’s only now that you’re gone that I realize I have a thousand questions I needed to ask you. It’s horrible because it makes me doubt if I ever really knew you.

This morning, before dawn, I woke up crying. Honestly, it’d be more accurate to call it uncontrollable sobbing. Buried beneath the pitiful sound of my whimpering was a sentence. Two sentences, actually.

I’m sorry. I miss you.

The worst part is, I’m starting to forget. The times I shared with you are decaying. But I don’t want to lose any more of you. To that end I’ve started writing about you. About us. They’re flawed: honestly, they’re more about me than you. They’ve all I’ve got though. Because when those memories of you fade, what’s there to prove I ever knew you?

Published in Issue 71 Apr 2019
Monday, 10 December 2018 12:24

Eastside Player by Richard Gnann

Eastside Player by Richard GnannSince I wouldn’t get my driving permit for another month, Dad offered to drop me across town at the Eastside rec center for my Lakers first game.

Dad had to get to work, so I’d have to get there early. It was enough I got talked into being basketball coach for a bunch of hard-headed kids. I didn’t want to hang around with them, too. Anyway, even though I wasn’t worried about it, I figured it was a good thing to go on over a little early. See how everything runs.

Dad drove us all the way through downtown and bumped us under the train trestle before saying anything. “You guys home or away?

“We’re home.” I dug out the schedule from my back pocket to make sure. “It’s not a big deal. Home just wears white.”

Dad started laughing. “Oh yeah. It’s all a big deal.”

I didn’t see what the big deal could be. It was just some little kid basketball game, and I was pretty pissed at Dad by the time he pulled up next to the outdoor court. I knew I wasn’t really pissed at Dad, though. I was pissed because that’s where I should be, on the court balling with real Eastside players working my own game.

Published in Issue 67 Dec 2018
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