It’s my favorite time of year, holiday season on the coast. The weather is nice, the days are long, and everyone is happy. The tourists are everywhere. Children, grandchildren, dogs; they’re all waiting in lines at the jewelry shops, the coffee shops, and the gift shops. Especially standing in lines at the ice cream shop where I work every day. Flashing their cash around once and a while, but mostly credit cards. So carefree and careless. And so clueless. They’re all ripe for the picking. Skimming credit card information is how I can live comfortably the rest of the year.
From Guest Contributor NT Franklin
I was eighteen when I met you. I did not like you. When I was nineteen – I kissed you. My feelings changed. When I was twenty – I slept in your arms. My heart changed. When I was twenty-one I slept with you. I did not love you. You broke my heart for the first time. It healed.
Twenty years later, you still call. My heart has been sewn, ripped apart, and patched back together. It has been systematically desensitized from your ploys and is now just existing somewhere between my stomach and lungs. Biological in space yet empty in soul.
From Guest Contributor Lindsey Stevens
It pains me to report that my attempt to traverse the Andes has been an immeasurable failure. My guide, John Trapp, and I were scaling a particularly dubious crag when I felt the compulsion to belt out Tennyson’s “Come Into the Garden, Maud.” Distracted by my ill-timed warbling, Trapp lost his foothold and fell 2600 feet to his death. As I watched him descend, I made a game for myself in which I attempted to finish the song before John’s head exploded on the rubble below. Sadly, I came 72 bars short.
My love to the girls.
From Guest Contributor Amiel Rossin
Daphne has a secret.
She’s scared to speak of it. She doubts anyone will understand, even her closest friends. She only ever wanted to fit in, and so she’s hidden her affliction for more than a year now. She’s bought heavy boots, wears bulky jewelry, and ties herself to her bed at night, to avoid drifting away.
She’s searched on Google to no avail. She thinks about seeing a doctor, but what if they want to do experiments on her?
In the end, she decides it’s easier to float into the eternity of space than to admit she’s gravity immune.
Her spindly hand with purple veins protruding forms a tight grasp around the rigid arm. She had a history with this arm, often leaning against it to maintain her balance. It had been a steady companion over the last several years, which was more than she could say about her children. They never approved of their mother’s new company. A cigarette always hung from her overly wrinkled lips when the two were together, and the last thing she needed was another vice. It’s their loss, she shrugged and gave a tug on that trusty metal arm, waiting for three sevens.
From Guest Contributor Nicholas Froumis
Nicholas practices optometry in the Bay Area. His writing has appeared in Gravel, Right Hand Pointing, Dime Show Review, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing, Ground Fresh Thursday, Balloons Lit Journal, and Short Tale 100. He lives in San Jose, CA with his wife, novelist Stacy Froumis, and their daughter.
Samantha watched the rioters at a distance, curiosity piqued. An hour before, they’d been a united front, marching to the sound of protested chants. The pepper spray turned them into a mindless mass. The desire for destruction and an outlet for their frustration the only apparent bonds.
The police closed in, weapons raised, their eagerness to engage obvious even through their riot gear. The demonstrators scattered like water from a rock, splashing in all directions, following the path of least resistance.
Samantha was surprised to realize she’d never actually been an observer, but had always been part of the mob.
I never did see their faces when they grabbed, raped, and beat me. Nor when they left me for dead in the canal not far from home.
A delusional hermit fished me out – tended to me in his old gardening shed they used to give coal miners. He called me daughter. His tenderness and doting seemed true.
It’s been two years – he is my Dad. And I his Isabella. A cozy shed-home for two.
But now shades of my past have begun flickering through the fog. I had been Anne. An orphaned young prostitute. Alone.
Isabella was lucky.
From Guest Contributor Nicolle Browne-Jamet
Depression lives with me. Locks my mind in a formidable place. It allows limited interactions with the outside world. Pushes aside the people who love me.
When I feel ready to emerge, it tempts me to abandon the thought. I’d peer out of windows opened to the world and sniff the air. Then, recoil. Preferring the comfort of what I know to something new.
Today, its hold is difficult to resist. A backpack filled with textbooks stays put in my bedroom. The bed becomes my refuge. The pillow, a sponge for tears.
The lock on my school locker remains locked.
From Guest Contributor Krystyna Fedosejevs
Krystyna writes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Her work has been published at: Nailpolish Stories, 50-Word Stories, 100 word story, 101 Words, Boston Literary Magazine, From the Depths (Haunted Waters Press), ShortbreadStories, SixWordMemoirs, and Espresso Stories.
I stroll around the park, mulling over my next 100-word story.
A scrawny bald man hurtles towards me.
“10K training, 8 laps of the park – my 99th half-marathon’s on Sunday.”
“But no full marathons now after my knee surgeries.”
“Yeah, impact injuries.”
Divorced, kids grown up, running has been the constant in his life.
“Still running, Ian?”
“Just jogging and some yoga.”
“Get back into it!” he says fervently.
Telling me his Facebook address he sprints off.
Leaving the park, I watch him running around in circles, the perfect subject for my story.
From Guest Contributor Ian Fletcher
Born and raised in Cardiff, Wales, Ian has an MA in English from Oxford University. He has had poems and short stories published in Schlock! Webzine, 1947 A Literary Journal, Dead Snakes, Short-story.me, Anotherealm, Under the Bed, A Story In 100 Words, Poems and Poetry, Friday Flash Fiction, and in various anthologies.
Lillith’s earliest memory is of her nail poking at her father’s love handle. As if her finger was able to inject happiness, and heal the month-to-month worries that emerged as dollar signs in his eyes, just around his pupils.
In high school, Lillith filled out a career questionnaire while watching her mother dust her two-thousand-square-foot ball and chain. What did she want to be? She simply wrote: free.
On her thirtieth birthday, Lillith’s parents pulled up to her one-hundred-and-forty-four-square-foot tiny home. As Lillith washed the sand off her feet, her mother whispered to her father, “When’s she gonna grow up?”
From Guest Contributor Susan Shiney
Susan is a writer, painter, and teacher originally from Southern California. She is now living in Lille, France.