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Brent Robison

      The vultures stand in a semicircle, shoulder to shoulder. They shift their weight almost imperceptibly from foot to foot. In each unblinking eye, behind the solemn dull luster, is a greedy gleam. The prostrate, senseless body at which they stare still breathes, one long, shuddering gasp at a time.

      As one, old and young, the vultures tremble with an electric dread, an eager pain. They crane their necks in, leaning closer.

      And then it is time. As if by a prearranged sign, the doctor at the head of the bed slowly reaches out his hand and turns off the machine.

Brent Robison's work has appeared in a handful of print and online literary journals and has won the Literal Latte Short Short Award, the Chronogram Short Fiction Contest, a Fiction Fellowship from the New Jersey Council on the Arts, and a Pushcart Prize nomination from Silent Voices.



Nemesis
S.E.V. Fitzgerald

     From the other room, I hear them reassure each other and croon.
     "She'll come around soon," Mom says. Dad agrees.
     "Just a matter of time."
     I pace the living room, circle the couch, kick toys away. Extra force whacks the screen door shut. On the dark lawn I wait, but nobody comes. No running reprimand, no angry questions. Then I see the shadow on the curtains in their room: one silhouette of three forms joined, the little one raised up between them. Together complete.
     That's when, with a four-year-old's estimation of determined malice, I name a nemesis. The plotting begins.

S.E.V. Fitzgerald is a freelance short story writer and staff at Tufts University. She studied physics and math at the University of Oregon and now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she works on a collection of literary science fiction stories and two novels-in-progress.



Advice
Steven Levery

Try using a little imagination, my father said to me on his deathbed. Dad, ever the charming visitor, was taking off for the last time. His words reached me slowly, as though broadcast from a far-off country. At seven I had no ideas about death. I could imagine life without him, but couldn't picture where he was going. Years later, he appeared to me in a dream and described the room he was staying in down to the last stick of furniture, but failed to mention the address. I'll send you a postcard, he said, which would have been nice.

Steven Levery was born and raised in Queens, NY; educated at Northeastern and University of Washington, and now teaches chemistry at the University of New Hampshire. His last story appeared in The Greensboro Review over ten years ago; he couldn't be happier about writing actively again. Visit the website The Unguarded Asylum. Visit his blog at 91st Place.



You Changed Your Mind
Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz

      Without being called, your three teenagers are at the dinner table.
      They want something, you decide. With a knowing grin, you ask, "What now?" though the look that passes between your children confuses you.
      It is bold, defiant fifteen-year old Andrea who says, "We wanna know which of us you wanted to kill."
      You thought yourself alone in the house that afternoon, on the phone, confessing that considered abortion, changing your mind in the clinic restroom before they called your name.
      You turn away. You cannot look into their faces and not the one you once thought never to see.

Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz is a fiction writer and poet. Her work has appeared in various online and print journals, in eight anthologies and on coffee mugs. Her chapbook Mother Love was recently published by Unlikely Stories 2.0 Press. Visit her blog at Gwennotes.