Pulling up Stakes - Bret Carter
Take Off - Robert Swartwood
The Road to Freedom - Christine Otto Hirshland
Twenty Years Later - Greta Igl
He stood tall amid lines of flashing repellor ribbon, gas guns, pigeon spikes and ultra-sound generators - plastic cats with terror-eyes. After many summers relegated to the barn, here he was - fresh straw and clothes, turnip head.
The plaque read: Simon the Crow-fear—Traditional Bird Scare.
A group of children stopped to admire him. Simon missed the ragged breeze, bleaching Sun and rain. He felt sad when he heard the guide explain to little ones how there used to be creatures that flew through the air and fed off crops in fields.
Simon remembered birds. He missed them too.
Oonah V Joslin was winner of the Micro Horror Trophy 2007 and most read author of Jan 2008 in Every Day Fiction where you can read an interview with her. Bewildering Stories has included three of her pieces in their reviews and in May she adjudicated in the Shine Journal's 2008 Poetry Competition. She has also had work published in Twisted Tongue 8 & 9, Static Movement, Lit Bits, 13 Human Souls and The Linnet's Wings and The Ranfurly Review. The Polish Sailing publication, Zeszyty Zeglarskie (Sailing Letters) recently featured a poem by Oonah, in English, translated into Polish by Alexander Rybczynski from Toronto.
Pulling up Stakes
Brimley Circus had pounded into Dunville weeks ago. Hank was anxious for the hubbub to leave. It had drained his barbershop of customers, the whole town filing into the blaring big-top.
So he was surprised when the bearded lady huffed through the door and perched on his chair. She leaned back, closing her eyes. "Shave it off."
Afterwards, he could honestly say she looked lovely.
She paid cash and smiled. "People dream of running away and joining the circus."
Just outside the door, she glanced at the commotion, turned the other way, and strolled into the evening.
Bret Carter is a teacher in Colorado. He has published one short story in the Crosstime Science Fiction Anthology. Bret's novel Lesser Light was a finalist in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's Contest. He is currently at work on several short stories and a new novel.
My son and I watch the plane crash down in our backyard. He looks up at me and asks if I think anyone is hurt. I tell him I hope not. We approach the plane slowly, carefully, and then bend down to inspect it. Inside the tiny cockpit the pilot waves at us and says he's okay. He asks us if we'll give him a hand. So my son and I pick the plane up, run across the grass, and throw it into the sky. We watch it fly through the air, until it's only just a dot, then gone.
Robert Swartwood lives in Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in such places as Chizine and Every Day Fiction. He can be found online at RobertSwartwood.Wordpress
The Road to Freedom
Christine Otto Hirshland
Things might have turned out differently if the twins had known how freezing temperatures affect bananas. They had planned their escape carefully, pilfering bus fare over several days so the lighter wallets would be less noticeable, and sneaking the forgotten Army sleeping bags out to the shed for warmth until darkness fell. The packed-away provisions, too, had been thoroughly considered—chocolate for energy and fruit for good nutrition. But when D-day finally arrived, the twins found the baker's chocolate bitter and the bananas black and inedible-looking. Their stomachs grumbled uncomfortably. The runaways went back inside for Mommy's meatloaf and potatoes.
Christine Otto Hirshland loves frozen bananas, especially in blender drinks with little umbrellas. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, daughter and big brown dog.
Twenty Years Later
I find her at that same table, her hands still stained, still busy with a Virginia Slim and a vodka tonic. Twenty years. The sharp twist in my chest says yesterday. Lord, how we'd laughed, everything a joke to her, even stuff that wasn't funny—angry, desperate stuff steeped in youth and alcohol.
She sees me, gives the same wide smile that once owned me.
I catch myself. No. Not this time. But I cross the room anyway. Her arms open up. Something in me weeps, something long-buried and scared, heart flung desperate. I go to her, hungry for home.
Greta's short fiction has been published in Long Story Short, Tuesday Shorts, Word Riot and Six Sentences. Her flash fiction story, "The Burning Black," has been accepted for an upcoming issue of Every Day Fiction. For more about Greta's writing, please visit her at her blog, For Write or Wrong.