1
MERCY

MERCY

They all deserved to die. They were cruel, ruthless, driven by greed...

2
MARGARET

MARGARET

There were advantages to being cremated.

3
FOR SHE’S A JOLLY GOODFELLOW

FOR SHE’S A JOLLY GOODFELLOW

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

4
LAYING DOWN THE LONG SHORE

LAYING DOWN THE LONG SHORE

"Me and Pangur Bán, my cat, 'tis a like task we are at," said Da.

5
FIGHTING

FIGHTING

"You're next!" coach screams. "He just finished it with a rear naked choke."

6
ON A CLEAR DAY

ON A CLEAR DAY

Jenna only crosses the footbridge on clear days.

7
IT’S ALL BEEN DONE BEFORE

IT’S ALL BEEN DONE BEFORE

He was about to begin his next great masterpiece. Then it hit.

8
THE TEXAS WIFE

THE TEXAS WIFE

Theo sat facing backward on a crate in the ox-wagon, feeling not liberated, as he had expected...

9
THE SPOT HE HIDES IN

THE SPOT HE HIDES IN

My father went missing during the traditional holiday party.

0

MERCY

by R. C. Capasso

Yet they fought death to the last, raining shells upon their attackers, setting the stores on fire, slicing at limbs with swords and scimitars, curved blades from the islands, rope or wire for a garrote. Blood everywhere. Screams, confusion, and the acrid smell of smoke.

1

MARGARET

by Max Detrano

There were advantages to being cremated. Lord knows the dead have enough time to think. An obvious advantage was being portable. An urn is easily moved about from house to house. Taken along when a relative moves. Less convenient, the dead wife buried under the apple tree.

0

FOR SHE’S A JOLLY GOODFELLOW

by Elizabeth Hopkinson

Lord, what fools these mortals be! They can’t even get a simple story straight.

1

LAYING DOWN THE LONG SHORE

by Michael McGlade

Da shifted the pickaxe shaft between his hands and stuck sparks off the curved spike when it punctured the stony surface, and he rocked the embedded spike to break up the surface and then moved along a few inches and repeated and continued and repeated until the line of the shore was etched in the earth.

0

FIGHTING

by Steven Boulet

“You’re next!” coach screams. “He just finished it with a rear naked choke.” Jesus, why am I doing this? My heart’s beating so fast I can’t hear myself breathe. Am I breathing? Breathing is the most important thing. Slow your heart rate.

For the briefest of moments, the panic wells up and threatens to consume me.

3

ON A CLEAR DAY

by Hermine Robinson

Jenna only crosses the footbridge on clear days… She avoids the bridge on bad days, when the world looms gloomy and dark, or fog rolls in with wispy tendrils of despair.

1

IT’S ALL BEEN DONE BEFORE

by Jonathan Danielson

It hit magazines and newspapers around the world which, for weeks and months prior, had printed fewer and fewer pages until none went to print that day at all. It hit television stations which, for years, played fewer and fewer new shows until prime time was nothing more than reruns. Family discussions around the dinner table had become so infrequent it was almost unnoticed when everyone finally fell silent. Blogging ceased. Tweeting stopped.

2

THE TEXAS WIFE

by Margaret Donsbach Tomlinson

Theo sat facing backward on a crate in the ox-wagon, feeling not liberated, as he had expected, but snared within the boundless landscape that receded around him. Scratching his two-month beard, which would be gone blessedly soon now, he tried to appreciate the music of Texas, so different from the flapping of sails and whining of passengers aboard ship. Oxen snorted. Wagon wheels creaked. The drover snapped his whip and bawled curses. Theo supposed they were curses.

1

THE SPOT HE HIDES IN

by Christopher Cassavella

Admittedly, it was a shame it took so long before we knew my father had gone missing, since he was the brave one who always put in the effort to get us all together. We were all huddled in the living room, right near the tree, drinking lousy beer, when one of my cousins finally noticed my old man wasn’t in the room with us. Nobody else had known this until my cousin, not even me who was arguably his favorite son.


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