String of Pearls – By Jennifer Walmsley
Micro Fiction / July 26, 2009

On her twenty first birthday, the same day as their first wedding anniversary, James presented Emma with a pearl necklace. They were picnicking in Fosters Wood and all around them dappled sunlight played through spring leaves down onto a bright carpet of yellow Celandines. ‘Formed by angels for an angel,’ he said, fastening the pearl necklace’s silver clasp. Then he kissed the nape of her neck and let her long, brown hair fall around her shoulders. Now more than six decades later, Emma touches those same pearls, remembering. ‘If I don’t return from the war, promise me you will find someone else to love.’ Horror filled her at that unthinkable thought. ‘Promise me, please, Emma,’ he’d insisted. She’d nodded, unable to utter aloud such a promise. James departed the following day. After he left, Emma wore those pearls as a reminder of his love. Like a rosary, she touched each pearl when, every evening, she prayed for her young husband’s safe return. Then one day the necklace broke. Pearls fell and scattered like small frightened creatures. While far away, on a beach in Normandy, James lay mortally wounded. Unaware of his life ebbing away, scrabbling about on hands and knees…

Recession Reverend – By K.J. Hays
Flash Fiction / July 26, 2009

Passing his hand over the masses from his height to hush them, he stood firm beneath a stone that will never roll away. A rock that will never move under a miraculous glow leaving a reformed whore to say: “Jesus.” The man of the collar projected his sermons lavishly to the huddled masses that reached up to him with hands blooming with blisters and puckered their lips for blessed rains and burnished idols of tiny gold things they worship in hope that he might lend them more symbolic clout. In unison the teeming grassland of filthy fingers below him seemed to murmur in a droning tone the one evident mantra that they all showed in their empty cups: “Save us. Save us. Save us.” He held up his hands and opened them so that they might see the Truth. He wanted them to know he had nothing and had nothing to hide. Then he gave a sermon on the suffering of Job full of pretty, pink words so that even a flirtatious sophist would lament the momentary death of Reason at the furtive hand of Aesthetics. When he finished the sermon he had them take meditation. Crows overhead scrambled through…