Have a look at the flash fiction, short stories, and nonfiction of our latest issue.
An Unfinished Prayer
When June opened the Bible, pages chattered in the wind. After much flipping back and forth, she read at random, words far above like a plane with a sign at the beach. She tried to light a candle, but the flame wouldn’t catch. While she sang, his picture from the war slid off the casket. No matter. She went on, my snappy little sister, who flew in so we could say there’d been a crowd. I was the one who never got away. Screwed early, the proof with the sitter until three that afternoon… READ MORE.
Judy spotted him the minute he walked in. Young and beanpole lanky, he reminded her of a storybook Viking with his long yellow hair and straggly beard. Dressed like a combination hippie and beach town slacker, she felt sure he’d knock over a display or topple the soup cans as he bumbled through the tiny campground store. By the time he came to the counter she had him pegged as one of the endless migrating surfer “college” students who roamed the California coast every summer in search of the best waves, the best parties, the best drugs. He probably had a third-hand van (either rusting or outrageously painted) planted on one of the campsites, pup tent beside it or maybe just a rolled-up mat and sleeping bag… READ MORE.
“Look! He’s standing behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the window!” Grandma Jazz yelled as she pointed her frail bent finger towards the living room bay window.
I got up to look, even though I knew I wouldn’t find anyone or anything. “Grandma, there’s no one. Don’t worry.”
Her shaded gray eyes were sparking with expectant hope, and her gaze never left the window, “Come away…” she murmured softly, “Come away, my lover…..” It was no use; she would never give up… READ MORE.
The Woman at the Well
The week after, I hiked along a river and sat in front of a waterfall while strangers ate lunch. They each packed sandwiches (not in aluminum foil –but I imagined they did and then made them into alien creatures to float down.) It felt like we were worshiping. I half-expected Jesus to resurrect in the water. To climb, baptizing, from the churlish water-ruck… READ MORE.
The old woman stands in white-haired waiting, feathery snow landing on a ragged jacket the color of dry earth. Her only entreaty is the sign of the cross, two fingers and thumb pursed, painting brushstrokes of blessing in the air. She holds a glass jar, ready for change. A ruble? A kopeck?
No ruble, no kopeck. I ignore her because though she is beautiful, she isn’t real. She is only an ornament on this perpetual trek, along with the pastel buildings and the tattered Orthodox church and the statue of Lenin that watches me, hawkish, as I pass. In order to stay sane, I must deny reality… READ MORE.
Holy Wisdom Emptied
I entered the domed museum, Hagia Sophia, hoping to be inspired of its namesake, ‘Holy Wisdom.’ It was originally a Christian church built in Constantinople before the city was renamed Istanbul.
Holy Wisdom was the largest church in the world and its circle of windows were meant to symbolize unity. But this grand worship space overflowing with its diversity of people looked vacant to me. A naive reaction could have glamorized an appearance of peaceful harmony among Islam and Christianity now sharing the same hollow space. However, its surface carried a meaningless veneer of wax… READ MORE.
On the Floor
I nearly trip over the guitar and the tubes of paint and the piles of clothes and the cords running like river tributaries on a map on my way to the bed to wake him up. I almost twist my ankle getting there. Is it my job anyway? He’s old enough. He shouldn’t need me to wake him every morning. Isn’t that the alarm clock I hear blasting on the shelf? How can I hear it from the next room and he not hear it five feet away? So I snap, and he mumbles amidst the piles of curly hair. As I trudge away, I realize the guitar, which had been a Christmas gift, is dismantled. I sigh, shake my head, and find my way to the sanctuary of the laptop… READ MORE.
Recycling Good Will
“For just 15 dollars a month you can change the life of a needy youngster,” came a pleading voice from the TV screen. “Won’t you open your heart to the need of a youngster in poverty?”
My children looked at me. “Can we, Mom?” — “Oh please, please, can we send some money to a poor little kid?”
I smiled. “I’ve already called the 800 number for details. Would you two be willing to pitch in?”
After nodding enthusiastically, my daughter opted for a girl, while my son had no such preference… READ MORE.
From the Depths
My faith in God has been challenged before but never more than that fateful June night when I knew I would never again see my older brother and best friend, at least on earth. All of my fondest memories of childhood involved my older brother, Scott. We were best friends, though as kids one doesn’t think about that so much. Everywhere he went I would follow, and he didn’t ever seem to mind. He and his friends would play with me and my friends in our big playground– the outside. We grew up in the era where we’d play outside during the summer all day– just coming in to eat lunch, and in the evening, for dinner… READ MORE.
Read Issue Four:
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