All posts by Erika Raskin

For Sale on eBay by K.E. Ogden

Clothing rack with hangers
 

K.E. Ogden is the 3rd place winner of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Short Fiction Contest. One short-haired, German Rex single-owner cat about one year-old, up-to-date on shots, I think, although Mom got a little lax toward the end. Listen up, buyers: This is a great, sweet cat with a spicy character. Shut in a small, Vegas apartment with my mom since its birth, the cat retains a distinctive, sophisticated look even after hiding for two weeks in my mom’s closet under a pile of dirty laundry, next to an eight-foot high stack of sci-fi and fantasy … Continue reading For Sale on eBay by K.E. Ogden

What Do You Feel by Julia Ballerini

People staring at each other in a circle
 

Julia Ballerini is the 2nd place winner of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Short Fiction Contest. I was persuaded, if not coerced, to join a group therapy session. My boss was concerned about my mental well-being. I panic when I have to speak in a setting with more than two other people. I rarely utter a word during meetings unless obliged to give a report or am asked a question. On these occasions, I flush bright red from my face down to my neck and chest. I jumble words. My discomfort is highly visible and audible. It … Continue reading What Do You Feel by Julia Ballerini

Announcing the 2019 Short Fiction Winners

Necklaces with pendants of different shapes
 

Co-judging the annual fiction competition with Suzanne Freeman is a little like being each other’s plus-one at a silent auction. We independently review the wares that are displayed on a virtual table, offerings as distinct as intricate necklaces and catered dinners for twelve and bulky Irish sweaters. You never know what you are going to come upon next. Suzanne and I look and re-look and then rank those manuscripts that speak to us most. Then we compare. While one woman’s masterpiece is another’s Ikea instruction manual, there is always overlap. Which is so interesting. Are … Continue reading Announcing the 2019 Short Fiction Winners

Firedamp by Tonja Matney Reynolds

Photo looking up at birds in the sky
 

The canary was still. It was too late to run. Too late to escape. Too late to pray for God’s mercy.   Matt had been one of the lucky ones, one of sixteen coal miners chosen to work on a Saturday morning. His boy Luke brought the count to seventeen. Matt expected him to be excited for his first day of work, but Luke had been dawdling all morning. When they finally stepped inside the mine, the other men were already gathered a hundred feet ahead. Their carbide headlamps shone on the uneven, rough-cut earth … Continue reading Firedamp by Tonja Matney Reynolds

Postcards and Authors by Anita Martin

Collage of different postcards
 

You are quirky in a very classy way. Postcards and trinkets and such. You make it all so interesting. Unathi to Anita Dear Debbie, Is your spirit smiling as I work on my third act? It’s been over ten years since the ovarian cancer took you away, and much longer since we brainstormed Mail Just for Me. Do you remember? It was before websites and social media and we were going to create a correspondence for kids. The plan was to learn about the girls and boys, individualize the notes that we sent. I loved … Continue reading Postcards and Authors by Anita Martin

Talisman by E.H. Jacobs

Abstract painting
 

Morning hunkered over the house, gray and unyielding, pressing through the spaces between the drawn shade and the window frame. Wes sat on the edge of the bed in underwear and socks, next to a newly cleaned and pressed suit, still in dry-cleaner’s plastic. The only other furniture a three-drawer dresser and two nightstands of unfinished pine. His closet door stood half-open, exposing the dimly lit shelves and the t-shirts, sweaters and pants piled upon them. In searching for a belt, he had noticed a bright blue fold of fabric slumping over the shelf at … Continue reading Talisman by E.H. Jacobs

Gemini by Charlotte Morgan

Photo of stars on sky avove a tree
 

When that technician pointed out two heartbeats and two precious teensy penises on the screen, I was over the moon. Buddy leaned over and kissed me and cried real quiet-like, like he wasn’t actually crying, but I knew he was. Right away the names Elvis and Jesse popped into my head—Mama raised me on Elvis—but I didn’t say that out loud. Buddy would’ve immediately made frying egg sounds and said in a high sissy voice, “This is your brain on baby.” I’d been a total ditz when I was pregnant with Kayla, but so far … Continue reading Gemini by Charlotte Morgan

Vena Amoris by Kathleen McKitty Harris

Photo of hand with wedding rings on ring finger
 

When he put this ring on my finger, my skin was smoother, and more supple. My hand was thinner, and less freckled than it is now. When he asked me to marry him, he got down on one knee in front of the London flat where he had once lived, and where our love had blossomed—when we were both study-abroad college students living on Dunhills and half-pints of lager and takeaway curry fries, and falling outrageously in love with each other. On the night we got engaged, we lay in a hotel bed after too … Continue reading Vena Amoris by Kathleen McKitty Harris

Salmonella Summer by Suzanne C. Martinez

Photo of person in sky hanging from a parachute
 

I spent four days and nights smashed against a bus window in transit to my first husband’s family reunion half nauseous from breathing in the diesel fumes and the aroma of the chemical toilet a few feet behind us. The vinyl seat stuck to the back of my thighs, as he seeped into my half of the bench I was sharing with him. He was a big guy, Swedish-Norwegian and a lapsed Mormon. Six months earlier he’d announced it was necessary for him to move out so he could enjoy anonymous sex, drugs, drinking and … Continue reading Salmonella Summer by Suzanne C. Martinez