Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard – By Thomas Gray
Flash Fiction / October 25, 2009

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness, and to me. Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds, Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds: Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, Molest her ancient solitary reign. Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep. The breezy call of incense-breathing morn, The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed, The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn, No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn, Or busy housewife ply her evening care: No children run to lisp their sire’s return, Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share, Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;…

Sucking In Magic – By Carolyn Belcher
Flash Fiction / October 18, 2009

I walk down the empty street. The house is in darkness. The windows stare back at me as if to say, ‘Go now. Don’t be a ghost, haunting these rooms.’ I am an unloved, unlovely woman who… who… Gina wouldn’t have understood that her words were as good as a punch in the belly, a punch that doubled me over, and left me gasping for breath, for all she had done was suggest that I throw away the earring board, and sell my earrings at a car boot sale. My daughter enjoys having a good turn out; I do not. I’m a gatherer, a hoarder. I like my clutter, and the earrings on the earring board are a part of the bric-a-brac that I have gathered around me; a special part, for they have magic powers, and you can’t sell magic. A glint, a tug, and will I, won’t I, I’m pulled into one of their stories. There, there, silver imps, winking blinking. They know; they know, those personifications of the mischievous, Lincoln imp, petrified on his pillar. I catch the wink-blink and I’m hooked. Gavin, blonde, long haired Gavin materialises and I am as giddy as any sixteen year…

When the Phone Rings – By Sydney Rende
Micro Fiction / October 18, 2009

She knows it’s him when the phone rings. It’s the redundant, sing-song tone she’s been dreading since the last time he called. She doesn’t want to answer; but she knows if she doesn’t, it won’t stop. The painful tune will clog her ears and permeate the veins in her brain until finally, she gives in, because he never does. So she picks it up, but she doesn’t say hello. That, she leaves to him. “Mommy,” she hears him whisper. She sighs. She’s had this conversation three times tonight, already. “What, Charlie?” “Um, Mommy, are you comin’ home soon? Because Doggy’s scared and there’s something movin’ in the ‘frigerator.” His voice quivers, like the uneven tones of a harmonica. And she knows the tears that fog his eyes are even heavier than the last time. She wants her ex-husband to hear this, but she hasn’t heard from him since that day in the hospital, almost six years ago. “Charlie, I told you – I’ll get home when I get home. Now get in your bed with Doggy and I’ll see you in a little.” Charlie chokes out a coughing sob on the other end, and says, “Okay, Mommy.” She knows he’s…

Weeds – By Sue Reid Sexton
Micro Fiction / October 11, 2009

In the old railway tunnel beneath the park I had one of those moments, the ones that feel like I’ve newly stepped out of a dream. I remember the first time. We were in a Tipperary lane and you’d jumped a fence for a pee and I wondered suddenly how I’d got there and why it felt so odd and yet so ordinary to be defenceless and alone. You were so unusual to me that it seemed likely you were an invention of my imagination, a dreamed-up perfect human. And there I was being undone. But in the tunnel I knew that you were real. I had your arm curled round mine, your warm voice against the rats, and the certainty that you knew the caprice of my nerves. You were ballast at last, and I, without knowing, was your ballast too. The sky opened up above us in a long rectangle and we heard the scrape of briefcases on the platform, the turning of a newspaper, the chatter of commuters from all those places further up the track. We disturbed the hidden starlings imitating trains, the ding-dong of announcements for trains long passed. Few weeds had taken hold but…

Third Wish – By Matthew C. Plourde
Flash Fiction / October 4, 2009

Jake scratched his chin. “I thought genies granted three wishes?” The dark, impish creature grinned and said, “We do… just not like you think.” “How does it work, then?” Jake asked. “You get one wish, then I get one wish,” the genie said. “And, if you survive my wish, you will get one more.” “If I survive?” “Yes, yes,” the genie said. “As I already said – you will have one year to enjoy your first wish. Then, I’ll return and make my wish in your presence. Just don’t expect to make it through my wish.” “I didn’t mean to wake you,” Jake said. “Well, you did,” the genie said. “You have three minutes left to make your wish, or it is forfeit.” “Alright,” Jake sighed and closed his eyes. “I wish…” *** One year later… “I told you I’d return,” the genie said, rows of yellow teeth exposed in a jester’s grin. “Did you enjoy your wish?” “Indeed,” Jake said. “Good, good,” the genie said. “This is my favorite part. Let’s see – how can I most enjoy my next year with you?” Jake glared at the disgusting little creature and said, “Just get it over with.” The genie…

Habits – By Paul Beckman
Micro Fiction / October 4, 2009

I took up smoking to lose the weight that I’d gained when I quit smoking earlier on. Then I began chewing gum, big wads of it, every time I wanted a cigarette and I was able to quit again but I always had a full cheek of Double Bubble. Pinch yourself between the thumb and forefinger each time you have a craving the hypnotist told me. It’s good for food, gum & smokes he said. Soon I was off the gum and the skin on my left hand where I pinched had turned an ugly black which spread. I saw my doctor at a party. That looks real bad he whispered after looking at my hand, come see me first thing in the morning. I don’t like the looks of that one bit he said later on in the evening in hushed tones that scared me. I left the party and had my wife wait in the car while I ran into the 7-11. That’s not good for you she said as I lit up a smoke and put the Twinkies and gum on the dash. You ought to see someone about these weaknesses she ragged. I pinched my hand…