Category / Fiction

Kara Oakleaf The astronauts’ baseball league is forever losing balls to low orbit. A line drive sails over the right fielder’s outstretched glove; a pop-up foul arcs backwards and never drops, and the game pauses as someone retrieves another ball from a storage compartment inside the shuttle. The moon’s moons, the astronauts joke as the […]

Curtis Smith A pool in the hills. The city below. Tall buildings and a moat of smog. A smothering that made her think of stillness, yet she knew this wasn’t the case. The pool clean, a shimmering of captured light. The movie star on a raft. A naked drift, a daring of the paparazzi and […]

Leah Jane Esau When I was a kid, we had bad teachers. The teachers ate lunch in the staff room and left us in our classrooms, unsupervised. One year there was an incident: some boys started a food fight, culminating in someone throwing a textbook, which was heavier than they anticipated, and they’d hit the […]

Lucas Church Most of my history took place in high school gymnasiums: Hard breathing punctuated by squeaks from sneaker rubber. I preferred not to be called Coach—who was I to shape the palsied actions of our nation’s youth?—but we all agreed on Movement Advisor, which I thought could explain more of me than not. Amanda […]

Emma Bolden So I know that Jennifer’s hair was on fire, and it was totally embarrassing and maybe dangerous, but I shouldn’t have been suspended. Like, I get that smoking is against the Honor Code, but Mr. Balfour is always standing right there on the lawn, just openly smoking. And we look up to him. […]

Julia Dixon Evans   For Suzanne On a December morning, when all the sea creatures beach themselves over and over again until they fall apart, bones and flesh and innards spilled on the sand, I realize: Yes, I’ll survive never letting go of him. The noises from the ocean: hissing waves, primal moaning, agony. The […]

Jennifer Fliss The adjectives are the first to go. Pretty. Lovely. Sad. Angry. Then verbs. Walk. Talk. Breathe. Later adverbs. Eventually your hearing is whittled down to strict nouns, not even pronouns. He and she and I dissipate into the noise of the world. When you begin to lose your hearing, you think this is […]

Amy Bilodeau Use second person so the reader is fully immersed. Think of your worst ex. Not the one who refused to clean toilets and accused your little brother of stealing his pot, but the one who slept with your best friend and called your mom an infamous whore—he loved the word infamous. Imagine him […]

Sarah Clayville He loves her in stages. The first one begins with her favorite lilacs from behind the butcher’s shop on Walnut Street and mocha chips so she can make her special cookies for the orphanage. He didn’t even know orphanages existed anymore until he followed her from work and watched her kneel in recklessly […]

J. T. Bushnell It will be a spring wedding. Her bridesmaids will wear rain boots and hold daffodils, and the downpour clattering on the tin roof of the grange hall will nearly drown out the ceremony. Afterward she will be delirious from happiness and relief and admiration from others, and it will last into the […]

Emily Lackey Everything red in my closet had disappeared. That was the thing I noticed first. It happened slowly—so slowly I figured the missing things had been claimed by the greedy dryer we shared with our neighbors or our new puppy. But then I noticed they were all private things: a pair of underwear, a […]

Primitivity Amy Sayre Baptista Melvina said all her best recipes, and the two marriages that worked, began with an axe.   One of a Kind Scott Nadelson When I claimed it was no big deal that you gave away my favorite jacket—brown leather, wide lapels, bought in a vintage store long shuttered—that I’d be able […]

Marianne Villanueva Against Sunshine’s better judgement, she went to see a fortune teller. The fortune teller’s name was Willow. The sign in front of her dilapidated house said RUNES, TAROT, PALM READINGS. Afterward, the first person she thought to call was her husband. The husband who disappeared almost a year ago. It was habit. Both […]

Dana Diehl When our husband disappears on the eve of the Indiana vs. Henderson polygamy court case, we have no choice but to drop the kids off at their grandparents’ and flee. We are sister wives. But when we’re on the run, we pretend we’re just sisters. It’s an easy lie to pull off. We […]

Sarah Schiff This is the story of how I fell in love with the characters he played rather than the man himself, of how I was seduced by a dream, a man who I thought could bend the world to his will and bring me along for the action. When I was the one he […]

Kathy Fish My mother said, This is the world we live in. She said, If I had a dollar for every time that door slammed. She said, You’ll understand when you’re older. She said, You have to pick your battles. This is called taking one on the chin, she said. This is called compromise. This […]

Cara Dempsey When the first one falls out, you swallow it on accident. By the time you feel it on the back of your tongue, it’s too late. The little thing is sharp, scratching at your throat all the way down and cutting you all up inside. It’s hard as—and then the guilty thought strikes […]

Lindsay Fowler I knew two things about babies: that I should submit their pictures to contests, and that I should always support their necks. I could never remember that second thing. The baby screamed in its cradle the moment my phone began to ring. This happened so often that I thought about changing my ring […]

Sara Lippmann We go to Eric Frank’s house after school. Eric’s mom lives behind the high school parking lot and she has an open door policy. The basement latch is left unhinged—it’s like a troll door—or else, the key is kept under a rock, honor system. By now, the honor has spread to include seniors […]

  Kelly Magee 1. Weather If the sun is out, remind the cute girl you have just met that you once heard that sunlight is best absorbed on the wrists and back of neck, but when she challenges you on this point, immediately lose confidence and take it back. You’ve already turned your wrists over […]