Category Archives: Fiction

Betelguese by Stephanie Coyne DeGhett

Photo of twisted building in fog
 

  What the sky chart would indicate is that he and his dog, Bella, are looking at is the constellation Orion. But what he sees is the Frozen Butterfly, one of the constellations his sister taught him. Jack had contemplated bringing his daughter out to stargaze with him, maybe do a little storytelling to his grown and unsettled girl. But she was reluctant in the cold, so it’s just him and Bella—named for Bellatrix, the constellation’s third brightest star. He’s looking at it now, picking it out in the Butterfly’s wing. The first time he … Continue reading Betelguese by Stephanie Coyne DeGhett

Cats by Christine Tucker

Black and white photo of baby hands holding adult hand
 

  Hey, son. It’s your Mama. Hope y’all are doing good up there. I’m callin’ cause I’ve got a little problem here. So, did you hear about that storm we had a couple days ago, that derecho? Well, none of us had ever heard of one before, either. It was a perfectly nice day and then the wind starts a blowin’ and sounding like a big ‘ole freight train. The trees in the front yard were all bent over double. I’m telling you, it was like the end of days—I never heard such a noise … Continue reading Cats by Christine Tucker

Speechless by Peggy Schimmelman

Photo of open-beaked bird
 

In the small Appalachian town where I was born lived a squat, bowlegged, hairless doctor. Some called him a quack and a dope fiend, but in 1954 he delivered me on his dining room table, spanked me ‘til I cried, and thirteen years later laid his cigar in an ashtray as his flabby fingers probed my pubescent neck while he peered through Coke Bottle lenses down my throat, past my recalcitrant tongue, exploring the mystery of vocal cords that refused to function. I cringed at his questions, so on point that I wept, as one … Continue reading Speechless by Peggy Schimmelman

Sliced by E.H. Jacobs

Photo of scar with staples
 

Jared lies in bed, propped up by his arms folded behind his head, a two-day stubble peppering his face and neck. One foot dangles off the side of the mattress. Dark, wiry hairs spring out of his leg, exposed by pajama pants hiked up mid-calf, bunched and wrinkled like old parchment because he doesn’t believe in ironing pajamas. You’re just gonna sleep in them and wrinkle them anyway. Besides, no one’s going to see them. No one except Lisa, who’s in the bathroom brushing her teeth with the door open. He half-smiles and says to … Continue reading Sliced by E.H. Jacobs

Like Savion by Bess Wiley

Photo of person on beach
 

He’s in one of my rooms. I pay attention to it now, because his window is closest to the nurses’ station and faces the automatic doors I push my cleaning cart through. I see him as soon as the doors breathe open and the negative pressure ruffles the gown’s paper against my clothes. Everything’s faster in here, no time to catch up on anything or anyone, other than the dying. I stay out of everybody’s way and clean wherever they aren’t. When I peek in his room, the machines and tubes are still at it, … Continue reading Like Savion by Bess Wiley

Maan Singh Gabbar by Reeya Banerjee

Photo of sunset
 

    It was about 2:45 a.m., and Sherin George sat miserably on a ratty sofa in a cabin in rural Uttarakhand State in North India. She was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to lie down and sleep, but she forced herself to stay awake. She was waiting for a knock on the door. She was hoping to hear it soon. It would be much easier to proceed with the plan if it happened before her boyfriend came home. Earlier that night, around 9 p.m., Richie had left, after whining petulantly for a half … Continue reading Maan Singh Gabbar by Reeya Banerjee

Pink Peonies by Alexis Kelleher

Photo of pink peonies
 

    Aunt Maggie laughs with a Marlboro Red clamped between her lips. A metallic party hat sits atop her matted, white hair, fastened with a cheap elastic band under her turkey-wattle chin. Today she’s eighty, and while sitting in the shade of the big farm house, has overheard people say more than once they can’t believe she’s still “kicking”. They say it with astonishment, they say it with disdain. Somehow, she was forgiven by her siblings for selling the surrounding acreage, the family legacy, to a developer who put up McMansions with lightning speed. … Continue reading Pink Peonies by Alexis Kelleher

Word Play by Colette Parris

Photo of old red typewriter
 

  “I’m going to tweet about this, and I need every single English-speaking celebrity on the planet to retweet my tweet. This is monstrous.” We are stopped at a red light. Devon, my husband of ten years, looks at me indulgently and says, “Good luck with that. Also, not sure monstrous is the right word here.” I emit a low growl. “People have seriously got to stop butchering the English language. I’ve already written the tweet in my mind. Listen.” Devon makes his fake “deep-thinking” face, causing me to roll my eyes. “Actual meaning of … Continue reading Word Play by Colette Parris

The Tree by Betty Moffett

Photo of hole in tree's bark
 

There’s this Tree. It’s a Cottonwood. It’s been there longer than forever, a gentle, generous tower on the long green lawn in front of the dorms. Three decades ago, when I was still teaching at the college, I recruited a few of my students to help me measure its trunk—not in feet but in arm-spans. It took six of us, holding hands, stretching our arms, and pressing our faces to its rough bark to complete the circle around the tree. I invited them to imagine what the tree had witnessed—protests against Vietnam, intense games of … Continue reading The Tree by Betty Moffett

Pesthouse by Katie Anderson

Photo of rooms filled with sand
 

  The first year of the pandemic lockdown was the worst for Frankie and PJ. Most of their time was spent worrying about the health of Frankie’s Mom and then PJ’s Mom and then as it turned out all that worry was for nothing because they both died anyway. Due to the pandemic there was no funeral service, but both moms had been fiscally savvy and left considerable sums of which eased the pain a little. Not surprisingly, PJ’s mom went first. Her smoking and general laziness made her a prime target for this strain … Continue reading Pesthouse by Katie Anderson