Displaying items by tag: fiction

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, 18 March 2019 12:53

Joyride by Brian Rappatta

Joyride by Brian RappattaMarco checked the obituaries faithfully every day for a week and a half.  I knew he was up to something, but I didn’t pay much attention to him.  Marco was always concocting crazy schemes and half-baked stunts, most of which came to nothing in the end.  But I knew he was serious when he came straight up to me and plucked the book right out of my hand and announced, “It’s tonight.”

I looked over the tops of my glasses at him.  “What’s tonight?” I asked.

“Your introduction into the adult world,” he said.

I frowned.  “Gee, that’s sweet of you to offer,” I told him, “but you’re not really my type, you know.”

He rolled his eyes, but I could tell he appreciated my bit of smartassery.  “Very funny.  Just meet us at midnight in the graveyard.  Bring your familiar, all right?”

#

Hostetler House was officially a group home that doubled as a boarding school for wards of the state.  Its isolation, nestled as it was on a tree-lined dirt road just outside the city, usually provided enough deterrent to prevent the students from sneaking out.  For the most part, there was just nowhere for us to go, so the few live-in faculty never bothered to maintain much vigilance over us.

Published in Issue 70 Mar 2019

Figure Skating for Supernaturals By Emily FluckigerThey accuse me of cheating, but I can’t help that I was born with wings. Tears streamed down Poppy’s face as she stepped off the ice. Her skates nearly stabbed her calves as she buckled at the knees. Her coach reached with outstretched arms as the fairy collapsed into her. Poppy leaned into her support and the warmth of her body. The cold air was nothing compared with the chill of the crowd’s words.

“This is unfair!” Shouts continued from the audience. Judges stood up at hockey benches and waved to quiet the crowd. They refused to calm down. Echoes rolled across the blank ice rink as the announcer stood silent, unsure whether or not it was safe to call out the next competitor.

“It’s okay, Poppy.” Coach Linda whispered in her ear.

“I didn’t mean to!” Poppy pulled away from Linda’s embrace and wiped beneath her eyes with the back of her wrist.

“I know. It was a mistake.” Linda’s curly red hair bounced as she shook her head. Poppy rubbed the drip from her nose across her bare arm. Though she had just turned seventeen, Poppy reverted to childlike behaviors in times of stress and embarrassment. The name of the next skater blared as the announcer spoke over the crowd.

Poppy’s eyes were no longer on the ice. Her gaze trailed from the stark, white surface to the streak of a blue hat. The judge left his post behind the bench and jogged through the hall of waiting competitors.

Published in Issue 70 Mar 2019
Sunday, 10 February 2019 13:35

The Anatomy of Today by Bekah Landfair

The Anatomy of Today by Bekah LandfairIt was a perfectly normal Tuesday, up until one of Bessie’s toes dropped into Miss Karkie’s coffee mug.

Wait, one of Bessie’s metatarsals, I should say. Or hoof?

Our teacher screeched and slammed the cup down on the her desk, effectively ending her monotone drawl about cellular membranes mid-PowerPoint slide. I swear that I saw her wig, erm, hair, shift on her head, the stringy brown hairs lurching back and forth like a hippie at a rock concert.

Somehow, Josiah slept through the whole event, ratty-sweatshirt-hooded-head laid down on his textbook like always. The rest of us, however, enjoyed this pleasant distraction from physiological stuff or whatever. Everett leaned over me to make eye contact with Connor and let out an exaggerated guffaw, slapping his hands on his neon athletic shorts. I couldn’t help but giggle: partly at our teacher, partly at my goofy lab partner. Even Melanie, normally all business in class, and, well, every other time, quirked her lips upwards. It wasn’t every day that a skeletal cow lost a body part with such excellent aim.

Bessie was Miss Karkie’s favorite possession. The story went that she found the carcass of the cow when she was planting tulips in her garden way back when. Then, she recruited a whole class of poor, unfortunate students to dig it up and wire it together to hang front and center in her classroom. She even had the SmartBoard installed off-center so that she wouldn’t have to move Bessie— that’s how much she loved that cow. She told me the story in elaborate detail my very first day of AP Anatomy, her usual drone shrill with excitement. What a way to start my time at Pleasant View High. I could tell by Melanie’s rat-tat-tat of her pencil on the desk that she was not happy with precious class time being wasted by our inept teacher telling stories to the new girl from Florida. I swear, she’s hated me since.

Published in Issue 69 Feb 2019
Saturday, 09 February 2019 17:02

Out of Silence by Kriss Kirk

Out of Silence by Kriss KirkAs soon as I get to school, it begins.

“Slut,” someone cough-says.

“Bitch.”

“Cunt.”

“Whore.”

I run past my locker to jeers from people who don’t even bother coughing their insults. I swing into a bathroom, hoping to find a quiet place, but who am I kidding? This is high school. In the stall, I can still hear the other girls giggling and gossiping about Spence and his slut freshman. I sit, waiting for the bell to ring so I can finally be alone, but suddenly the girls fall silent as someone else comes in. I know by the rainbow converse peeking under the door that Britt has come in.

“Mick?” she says. I curl my fingers into my palms, needing the pain to stop the hate from leaving my mouth. When I don’t respond, Britt asks the other girls, “She’s here, right?”

“Yeah,” one says.

“Mick,” Britt says louder.

I take a deep breath, knowing she’ll keep trying until I answer. I force myself to respond calmly. “Go away.”

“Oh, suh-nap!” one of the girls says.

The bell rings and I hear the other girls groan, whispering about “Drams” as they leave the bathroom. Britt, I notice, stays.

“Mick, talk to me.”

Published in Issue 69 Feb 2019
Friday, 18 January 2019 19:08

The Note by Sarah Kennedy

Great. Just great.

I was mumbling to myself again. Not anything unusual for an only child. It's pretty much just me and my shadow hanging out, when I'm not with my one good friend.

This was just terrific.

I stared again at the crumpled piece of paper in my hand. The handwriting was a bit messy, but the message the letters carried screamed at me like a bullhorn:

Do you want to go out with me?

I sighed. Any other girl. God. Any other girl. Any other freshman in the whole class would go crazy to get a note from Justin Freeman. Not just any note, but the one I held in my hand. The other girls would be lime green with envy.

Please. Any other girl.

Published in Issue 68 Jan 2019
Friday, 18 January 2019 18:59

The Playlist by Nathan Spicer

She had never met him, or heard his voice, or seen his face, or read a single word he wrote, or knew how old he was, or where he lived, or whether he was in fact a “he,” and she loved him all the same.

Cellphone in hand and headphones in ears, Claire stepped off her bus. The doors hissed shut and it rumbled away. Her breath lifted off her lips, shredded to scraps, and vanished in winter wind.

She hit Play on his recent playlist, and the music started. A warm daydream faded in, of seeing him after he’d flown in from wherever he’d flown, and met her at the airport, and said her name, transforming it from dull to divine.

She walked into her house. Her mom was scrubbing the kitchen with a lemon-scented cleaner that tickled her nose. Her mom saw Claire, rolled her eyes and pointed at her own ear.

Claire took one headphone out, a millimeter, and raised one eyebrow, a millimeter.

“Note from school,” her mom nodded at the table in the living room, cluttered with a heap of unopened letters and bills and magazines.

Published in Issue 68 Jan 2019
Monday, 10 December 2018 12:55

Storm Shelter by Mark Joseph Kevlock

Storm Shelter by Mark Joseph KevlockShe walked into my life only a few days ago. She wouldn't say where she was from. She wouldn't tell me where she lived. All I got was a name: Candy Parker. It was obvious she was running from something. She hadn't come to me looking for a private investigator, she said. What she needed, she said, was a friend. So I became her friend. That's the way this thing began -- not like my other cases. Not like anything I'd ever dealt with before.

My name is Kevin Marcus.

But they call me Kid P.I.

I'm fourteen years old.

You wanna make somethin' out of it?

Anyway, she came around each afternoon this week, Candy Parker did, and we went places together. The ice cream shop. The local movie house. This town didn't have much to entertain you, but if it was there we covered it. I took her to the playground. I even took her to the post office to show her some new stamps I was adding to my collection. Four days of this got me nowhere. Then the clouds rolled in on Friday, just as she arrived at my office. I ran my P.I. business out of a treehouse in the woods behind my house. I figured if Candy wouldn't open up out in public, maybe we needed a more intimate setting. I knew a place to take her. And the weather seemed to be cooperating perfectly with my plan.

Published in Issue 67 Dec 2018
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
Sunday, 11 November 2018 13:07

Good Luck Penny by Alecz Yeager

Good Luck Penny by Aleczandria YeagerThe swimming pool was the hot spot of activity every summer. Kids from all over town would splash, and play, and prune, and turn purple if they stayed in the water too long.

But not you.

No, you had to stay inside and make sure that Penny was entertained. Mom worked late. Dad slept late. Your older brother couldn’t be any less enthusiastic about babysitting. So, that left you to be in charge of entertaining your seven-year-old sister.

Why not take her to the pool? That way, you both could have fun!

Well, that would be a great idea if it weren’t for the fact that Penny never learned how to swim. If you took her to the pool, you know you’d just end up holding her the whole time in the deep end because “Floaties hurt my arms!” and “I’m not a baby! I want to go to the deep end!”. So, instead, you stayed inside all summer long and tried your hardest not to resent your sister for being one of the reasons why you didn’t have any friends.

Published in Issue 66 Nov 2018
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