• A dandelion losing its seeds in the wind
    20
    0

    We were surprised but not frightened when the dead came to visit. Our hopes and prayers had been answered. Their return, a gift that death was an elaborate joke, a mistake, a bad dream. At first, we knew them. Lost family members, ex-lovers, neighbors, and friends of friends made their way to our homes. The ...
  • A rain-streaked window looking out over of a city street at dusk.
    29
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    10 At sunset, the black and white dog stopped following the woman in the kitchen. Her ears perked up, and she looked at the woman as if she had the answer. The dog trotted to the front door and stared through her reflection at the headlights of cars driving by the house. None pulled into ...
  • colorful fish swimming in ocean
    53
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    “Geena! How long does it take to catch a fish girl? You’ve been down by the beach all day!” The gulls resting on the sand scatter into the air, frightened by Ma’s hollering. I wave to her but say nothing. It’s better to do that and avoid a fight. Some days Ma gets mad enough ...
  • record play with a vinyl record on the turn table
    89
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    The old woman set aside a yellowed, dog-eared script atop a tower of books by her chair. She sat back and rested her head on a well-worn spot in the recliner, her short, wavy gray hair flattened. Her name, Grace Averill, and a date of June 1957 were scribbled on the script’s first page, A ...
  • Image of a fish tank with a child's face reflected
    60
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    Brennan’s Jetta puttered to a stop when the railroad crossing arms lowered. The crossways fell like a protective parent’s arms to their child. Cold air blasted through the vents, and the wipers scraped jagged strips of ice across the windshield. Raindrops froze in streaks. He blew into his folded hands. Beside him was a thin ...
  • dark alley with red light
    65
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    “Hurry Kitty! I haven’t got all day to spend at the milliner’s.” “I merely desire to browse a little more. Why do we have to leave so soon?” “The rest of my wardrobe for my trip to Brighton must be made today. We don’t have hours to dawdle in one boutique.” I grab the bonnet ...
  • Image of a dimly lit museum showcases
    82
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    The house had aged from the time he’d packed his bags. Simon felt his presence in the home leaving before he physically did. College started the following week. He looked around his bedroom. It had changed little since he had moved in five years ago. Faded to a dusty pink, the red wallpaper revealed only ...
  • hanging Christmas lights
    81
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    “Have yourself a merry little Christmas…” A local children’s choir sings cheerfully, but I hardly notice the music. I don’t even know why I came out tonight. My therapist recommended leaving my apartment at least once a week to socialize. The only problem is I never talk to anyone during these “social outings.” “Man, I ...
  • ski lodge
    77
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    The scent of cedar permeates the air as you stand there, watching the traffic pass you by. Your hair is pulled away from your face in a low-rise ponytail, and the beanie you have on your head is one you have never worn before. You’re not used to the coldness you can feel seeping in ...
  • Mouse in Christmas Box
    73
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    My paws prance upon the hardwood floor. I look around the silent living room, and my nose directs me to a small table where the corpses of half-eaten gingerbread men lie alongside a glass of cold milk. I take nibbles of each spiced cookie so that their bodies don’t go to waste. But, I avoid ...