Category Archives: Fiction

Keeping Score by Lawrence Farrar


 

While sitting with Lena at their kitchen table the Sunday before, Carl Mobley had experienced the annual burst of optimism that marked the beginning of bowling season. But not now. With the Thursday Night Classic Bowling League only days away, he’d found out somebody was after his job as League Secretary. The very thought of it transformed his face into a billboard of betrayal, hurt, and worry. Carl couldn’t understand why anyone would want to take this from him–and he didn’t know what to do about it. At fifty-two he was a worn-down, vague looking … Continue reading Keeping Score by Lawrence Farrar

Away by Juditha Dowd


 

“Here we go,” Roberta croons, lifting her granddaughter from Bethy’s arms. Dora has been what Roberta would term ‘colicky’, but the pediatrician claims colic appears around three weeks, and Dora’s only ten days old. “Thanks, Mom.” Bethy’s eyes are ringed with the gray stigmata of motherhood. Technically, she’s on maternity leave, due back at the law firm next month to defend a big Swiss client. Roberta thinks it would have been wise to delay having another child, but Bethy had always wanted three and was concerned about her age. Across the table, Bethy’s husband begs … Continue reading Away by Juditha Dowd

Boulder, Rock, Score by Jenny Ruth Partica


 

Boulder. That’s how Maddie will find it easiest to describe the 8-pound chunk of petrified earth that explodes into the car. She will come to think of it as a boulder. But at this moment it’s an explosion meant to eject them from the earth. Her. Mom, asleep in the passenger seat. Dad, playing Angry Birds in the back. Game over. It will be a boulder that smashes Mom’s face, deflating her head like Maddie’s pink soccer ball their half-blind golden retriever mistook for a cat and collapsed when he sunk his teeth in. No … Continue reading Boulder, Rock, Score by Jenny Ruth Partica

Out of the Country by Sam Zafris


 

Ben had wanted to leave earlier but his brother couldn’t take any more time off. Ben glanced at Willy, who was leaning against the passenger-side door, smoking like a chimney. “Can we stop for food?” Willy asked. “What time is it?” “Quarter to ten. I didn’t get to eat dinner.” He exhaled out of the window. “If we see a place, maybe.” A mile up the road there was an exit marked with a knife and fork. They’d make it quick. Plus, Ben needed the coffee. Willy had said he could drive, but Ben knew … Continue reading Out of the Country by Sam Zafris

The Arithmetic of Love by Deborah Prum


 

The day Septima left, she said, “I believe I am a promise you are tired of keeping.” Minutes before, Turk had pitched a bottle of beer at her. He had missed, but only barely. Green glass and yellow ale splattered against the kitchen wall. For once, she did not bother cleaning the mess. Septima packed her red valise: toothbrush, comb, talcum powder, three faded cotton housedresses and seventy-two dollars. As she left their home and ventured into the driving rain, she muttered, “The lies we tell ourselves.” She’d met Turk, a sailor, at a bar … Continue reading The Arithmetic of Love by Deborah Prum

No Good by Jody Hobbs Hesler


 

At the old house, Leslie had walked to school. Here, the school was closer, but she had to take the bus. The old house had been on the outskirts of a smaller town, not a former murder capital of the world. Leslie’s mother had grown up just a few miles away from the new place and worried about drug crime crossfire and dirty old men. “It isn’t safe,” was her excuse for everything. “Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.” The two of them had moved right before the end of eighth-grade, in time … Continue reading No Good by Jody Hobbs Hesler

Granny by Sharon Harrigan


 

We had just learned how to answer the phone. We liked to grab it first, before it woke our parents. That made us feel like spies and more grown-up than five. We flitted from flimsy top and bottom bunk, almost as soundless as we were sleepless. We lit like two squirrels on a telephone wire, our blonde or auburn hair banded into bushy tails. Red-checked, flame-resistant nightgowns scratched our scabbed-up, tomboy legs. Who would call us so early, the sky still dark through yellowed curtains? We knew who. Both tottering on a single metal chair … Continue reading Granny by Sharon Harrigan

Catalogers of the Galaxy by M.X. Wang


 

Later, when asked to speak about what happened for the second time, Harlen recalled that it was in fact a single object, faint and blurry one second, close and vibrant the next. It hovered overhead: two blazing parallel rods, about a hundred feet across, connected by a transparent, egg-shaped disk that expanded and collapsed like an inflating and deflating balloon. There was a lot of pressure, as if giant hands were pushing down on his shoulders and scalp. “As soon as my knees gave, the pressure left and what I saw changed. I mean, I … Continue reading Catalogers of the Galaxy by M.X. Wang

The Hairy Man by Laurie Billman

salmon
 

It was midnight of our last night in the cannery, and all twelve of us who had been assigned the fish house had been working since seven that morning. All day and into the light-filled night, we had been cleaning fat salmon as they slithered out of the tin chutes directly from the salmon boats. White fish bellies were burned on my lids when I closed my eyes, and my ears sang with an exhausted hum. When the warning bell rang, down slid silver salmon, spilling, wet and shiny, onto the long, wooden tables. We … Continue reading The Hairy Man by Laurie Billman

Home Schooling by Sydney Blair

illuminated illustration
 

Del was in the kitchen, opening the bottle of wine his second wife Catherine had given him earlier in the day. The cork kept splitting, the sign of a true amateur, he thought, except that he was an amateur in few areas of his life these days, unless you counted the endless pursuit of happiness—or rather, the achievement of that happiness—as one such minefield. But perhaps this time happiness was just around the corner, in the literal and figurative form of Juliana. “What are you doing?” Juliana’s voice drifted in around the corner of the … Continue reading Home Schooling by Sydney Blair