She had not seen a human before. She had read about them, of course, and heard endless stories from her father, The General. How they had saved the remaining few, bringing them back before Earth finally died.
The humans had not adapted well to their new home. Father said the trauma of what they had done marked their souls, and the majority did not survive long. Sometimes you heard reports, sightings…
He was as clumsy as the books suggested, but his eyes shocked her most. Shapeless, lonely grey eyes. Only regret was left. It was too late for anything else.
From Guest Contributor, Amy Evans
Road curling up the mountain. In the rearview a city smears towards a gunmetal ocean. Escaping its saliva slip is rebirth.
Ahead a dust truck grinds up the incline. Slapping flapping ropes fail to keep a torn tarp from exposing garbage bag cleavages, coyly winking. She lay on a tiled floor back there. The tidal slappings audible, not to her.
A stretch opens up. Open road. Serpent ropes reach out, a single newspaper sheet escapes, rises up; twisting, turning, laying itself flat, across his windshield. Centre fold, it’s her, smiling sweetly at him. The heavy saloon hurls itself into space.
From Guest Contributor, Matthew Evans
The old man who lived on the hill was named Mr. Hill. He was so stingy, he even begrudged giving affection.
At the bottom of the hill, there lived an old widow. She was named Mrs. Bottoms. She was extremely lonely because no one from the town ever visited her.
The town social worker, her name was Mrs. Church, decided it would be a good idea to get Mr. Hill to marry Mrs. Bottoms. She concocted a very complicated plan to bring them together.
Although Mr. Hill and Mrs. Bottoms did indeed marry, their union brought neither of them happiness.
The prince lives in a gated estate deep in the Hollywood Hills. The paparazzi shadow him everywhere, heralding his arrivals and departures. His office, now purely ceremonial, still holds the attention of the populace, many of whom harbor secret hope his family will one day be restored.
The prince, despite being quite eligible, has not settled on a bride. His handlers have broached the topic of a reality TV show, a graceless suggestion that has not sat well. Discretion has always been important to the prince.
Also, he likes to sleep around. The prince is a slut. A discrete slut.
The rain fell lightly upon the pavement. Benfer was dry in the bus shelter, but he was trapped as well. He watched as the moisture slowly seeped closer and it wasn’t very long before he’d been forced onto the bench.
Across the street, even in the dim light, Benfer could see the tiger. This was not an ordinary tiger, of course. It was the tiger that had been stalking him his entire life.
The difference between tigers and Benfer was that tigers weren’t afraid of moisture. Benfer’s last, sad thought was that he’d expected his story to end very differently.
My toes wrap precipitous edges. Points of shale and limestone gouge my feet, painting blood trails. Struggling to stand, I traverse the narrow path. Black canyons rise below– inviting me to swim in their depths. Immense. Cold. My hands flutter through gray smoke, displacing sacred dancers who vanish in gasping silence.
Our last meal rustled as we pulled cardboard food from tattooed paper bags. You scrawled the plan across my brown napkin, freezing me.
I thrust myself into blankness, crystal ice. I discard hope, the weak’s weight. Growing lighter, I embrace your last etching, scratched upon my fading horizon. Goodbye.
Karen Burton recently received her MFA from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. She currently serves as the managing editor of The Lindenwood Review.
It begins innocently. His eyes meet hers from across the room and suddenly everything feels different. The blue and green lights swirling overhead seem brighter somehow, the bass booms deeper, and the voice escaping from the speakers is now the voice of an angel. The crowd weaves back and forth, splits open, then creates an unencumbered path between them.
He is mistaken about all these things, of course – a glance is sometimes just a glance – but he won’t realize this until it is far too late to save his heart from the inevitable crushing pain that accompanies first love.
From Guest Contributor, Dan Slaten
It was a Saturday morning when it happened. The flea market regulars arrived just after daybreak and found the entire lot filled with lamps. They came in all shapes and sizes, some barely recognizable as lamps at all.
The vendors debated where they might have come from. Perhaps they were delivered to the wrong address. Maybe a shipment had been stolen by the Stevedore’s Union, who’d decided these lamps couldn’t be unloaded.
That was when the invasion began. It seems normal now, but in the beginning, no one could have dreamed of an alien race that looked like desk lamps.
This story was written in response to this photo prompt.
November spreads gray across sticky sidewalks as acrid smoke from burn barrels warms frigid hands and stings sleep-weary eyes. Winos huddle wary knowing tempers can flare as quickly as last week’s newspapers tossed in the fires. On the streets a life is worth a pint of Mad Dog. Desperate men commit despicable acts for a drink. Women trade sex and dignity for comfort under blankets. Robert the Shank holds jagged metal to a girl’s throat. Bettie slams a bottle against his ear. He cuts her bad. An ambulance takes her to County. She smiles bleeding, thinking of a clean bed.
From Guest Contributor, Jeff Switt
Jeff is a retired advertising agency guy who loves writing flash fiction—some days to curb his angst, other days to fuel it. His words have been featured at Dogzplot, Boston Literary Review, Flash Fiction World, Nailpolish Stories, 50-Word Stories, and Shotgun Honey, and have appeared at lots of places that take whatever you send in.
The expedition lasted for several weeks. The scientists carried all their own supplies, which consisted mostly of food and batteries. After week two, they set the record for deepest penetration into the Earth’s surface. By that point, they had stopped trying to map the cavern, and just kept going further down.
Finally, the heat prevented them from traveling any deeper. They found a promising stalactite and began taking measurements.
“The readings are positive, sir.”
Even here. It was truly hopeless then. The rise of hipsterism was complete. There was literally no place left on Earth that wasn’t dripping in irony.