Windmills, The Boys

Laura Farnsworth

The boys drown in the pond on Myrtle Dag’s property. Windmills, the two of them, arms and rocks and driftwood and pinecones painting the water with rings and diagrams and dusk, and then the postures of dare, pulleys for shoulders, rope for arms, run farther and throw farther, hoot and shout and leap, catch the rock, the pinecone, farther, and still farther. Dive to save the boy who takes the dare.

Sugar Mountain

Stacy Austin Egan

When we first moved to Bellaire, my mom thought that my soon-to-be stepsister Brooke and I were eating “healthy” to get “bridesmaid ready.” Brooke crossed off the days until our parents’ wedding on a kitten calendar that hung in the kitchen. She did this because it endeared her to my mother.

Leslie

Lauren Green

Michael leans over to flick off the heat, catching a whiff of Rick’s half-eaten apple in the cup holder. He had thought the fling with Rick would maybe last a night or two. Fifteen months later, they are driving home to see Michael’s ex-wife, Leslie, who is throwing herself an end-of-life party.

Underwater

Kristine Kennedy

We sit in a semi-circle booth at Max’s Ultimate Sports Bar, nibbling out of obligation on hot poppers and fried mozzarella, silently absorbing the familiar comforts of a chain restaurant.

Cut and Dry

Amanda Auble

I’m not even halfway out the door when one of my girls starts screaming at me over the sound of her hair dryer. I don’t care about her date with her boyfriend; she can close down the salon for one night this week.

Coal

Sara Graybeal

Ángel works at a print shop, casting logos onto sweatshirts, white letters on black tees. TGIF. LONG HAIR DON’T CARE. YOLO. KEEP CALM AND…

Field of Rye at Twilight

Louise S. Bierig

How do you explain to your six-year-old daughter, who stays with you two weekends a month, that you killed a dog?  That while you were returning from market in the van—you driving, she sleeping—a dog ran into the road, and you hit it. The driver has just turned thirty and thought the number would protect […]

The Receipt

George Fenton

Like I usually do at the end of every day, before making the climb up my apartment building’s steps, I reach into the breast pocket of my denim jacket to find my apartment key. Sifting through loose change and tangled headphones, my hand wades through my pocket until the cool brass surface of the key […]

Ode to a Flamingo Bag

Beverly Jean Harris

It’s a comfort to know someone who’s as neurotic as I am. My friend and coworker Jane gives me that particular solace. Jane, like me, tends to get too attached to inanimate objects. I am, however, trying to change. My husband, Walt, and I married three years ago—a first marriage late in life for both […]

College Audition – Novel Excerpt

Emily Eckart

At first, when I heard the crackly voice over the PA calling my name, I thought I might be hallucinating. Over the last thirty days, I’d flown to Boston, to Cincinnati, to New York; I’d explained to dubious airport officials that a French horn was a musical instrument and that no, my conical wooden mute was not for cheerleading. I was starting to hear my audition pieces in car alarms and the inflections of people’s voices.