photograph of spiderweb with droplets on the threads

Bad Babysitter by René Ostberg

I was good at it, I want that known. Even if I was only called after all the nicer, neater neighborhood girls said no. Even though I made a dollar less than my lawn-mowing brother. (“Well, boys do work harder than girls. Everyone knows that,” he’d tell me.) I was loved—by children, pets, houseplants. I…

photograph of a basil plant

SarahAlex, AlexSarah by T. Guzman

We couldn’t decide whether we wanted a baby or not, and I don’t like cats, and she hates dogs, and neither of us can stand hamsters, so we bought a plant. To keep alive. As a test, like one of those robot babies soon-to-be parents buy to know what to expect when expecting, except those…

photo of Walmart shopping carts

People of Walmart by Epiphany Ferrell

I could be a werewolf. I could be, you don’t know that I’m not, you can’t prove it. I could be dangerous, secretly. I could be wild inside, fierce, deadly. You look at me with that contemptuous smirk while I’m here in Walmart dressed in sweats and house slippers, sloppy, a bit fat, trying to…

photo of rotting green apple on grass

Stab Apples by Molly Bonovsky Anderson

The shirtless boys on Snow Street have sharp sticks. They jut ‘em up as we walk by. “Wannan’ apple?” What they’re offering: Rot. Overripe, bad juice dribbling down dirty wood into dirty fists curled tight around the only things they know. Red as a beating heart, brown as earth, stuck on the tip of a…

photo of a pile of caught fish

Wild Things by Ashley Kunsa

Once the sirens stopped, Max picked himself up from the pavement, donned a bear suit, and trudged across the 10th St. Bridge in search of food. Never in his life could he recall feeling such a hunger. It gripped his cavernous insides like moss to a stone wall. Beneath an overpass he nosed at a…

photo of aurora borealis

No Bobs by L. Soviero

The notice was pinned to the cafeteria bulletin board next to the company luau flyer. NO MORE BOBS! Bob ate his croissant on his coffee break and stared at the bulletin. When he asked Carlos what it meant, whether it was some kind of joke, Carlos shrugged and went back to reheating his curry in…

photo of cafe sign

What’s Meant To Be Kept by Dan Tremaglio

Chapter 1. One hell of a turn out You order your coffee from the ghost that looks almost exactly like the barista rather than the barista herself. Originally an honest mistake, this has become the running gag between you three. You and the ghost snicker while the barista acts left out, then you all laugh…

photo of a yellow #2 pencil

What Remains by Michael Snyder

When Sally McReedy broke up with me, she used a slingshot. It took a team of surgeons three hours to exhume the ring. “Does it hurt?” Sally wants to know. She’s sitting in a plastic chair opposite my mechanical bed, grinding molars, twirling a #2 pencil around her thumb. I try to nod, but the…