Chick Secrets by
B. A. Llewellyn
Jung once said the meeting of two personalities is like the
contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both
are transformed. Which
means that all contact has the chance to be a profound and
uplifting experience. I
am a regular witness to this fact.
I have found that true love and magical moments regularly
touch our days, often in the most mundane circumstances.
of a Needle by
Well, Kade was a good cook, a really very good one. So much that everyone marvelled, wondering if he was a woman in man’s skin. You know when a man can cook better than a woman, he could be an aspirant for the throne of a kitchen goddess. Anyway, Jade was worse than Kade, doing far more badly. I mean he was more stupid and lazy than a pig on a vacation.
Grandmother by Asther Bascuña-Creo
“I miss Lola, Mum,” my five-year-old Anya said woefully, referring to her grandmother who was in another country.
She was echoed by her three-year-old sister Thea who had gotten bored of her activity book and was looking sadly out the window. Out on the street, the trees swayed as the wind howled. It was not a pretty sight for children who had grown up amidst the tropical climate, where the sun was almost always out, and where everyday was ideal for outdoor play.
“Me too, darling,” I said, swallowing a sob that was caught in my throat.
The Click Camera by Ravi
Bedi (1,043 words)
After having bought a car, a second-hand Standard herald, for the first time somewhere around 1968, my better half and I decided to undertake a trip to the hills.
Frankly, we were very proud of our acquisition. It was the best I could afford as a young Flight Lieutenant. Very few Flight Lieutenants could sport a car in the sixties, two-wheelers being the most common mode of transportation. The Leave-Travel grant that the Government doled out was not generous enough to take care of the estimated expenses so, due to lack of funds, I disposed off a few bank shares (gifted by mother) to raise some dough.
Glance Out of the Window by
Green (1,055 words)
She was sitting on the tram when she sensed the man by her side.
He stood quite close to her since it was four o'clock in the evening and the tram was packed full of tired people, making the journey home from work.
She considered her luck in getting a seat, one of the perks of having a job on the outskirts of
Prague ... perhaps the only one.
Time by Dianne Hardwick
The mantle clock sits on my study windowsill because I have no mantelpiece. The regularity of its satisfying tick, smooth and precise, beats out the passing moments as I work. Each second is unrecoverable, spent, passed, and part of the long tunnel that is my history. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. I find it pleasant to pause from my work and note its march or drowse in the night to the chime of the hours.
Manuela Francesca Yee (1,147 words)
In their dilapidated $60 per
week flat, Confusion propped the window sash open on an old
brick, like a drained eye built of matchsticks. She gazed,
not at the grey sky but, at the few lacklustre coins that
rested in her palm. Four times, Confusion counted and still
only two dollars and ninety seven cents. That’s all she’d
saved and tomorrow loomed her wedding anniversary to
Stillness. Slumping on the ragged couch that doubled as
their bed, all Confusion could do was weep, inconsolably.
This was the first time she’d cried since marrying her
Bed and Breakfast
by Shelley Banks (1,153 words)
The river was dry. Charlie
couldn’t remember the last time water had flowed along it.
She couldn’t remember the last time it had rained either and
the tanks were almost dry. She’d have to order water in
again and that cost money, something she didn’t have a lot
of. How much longer could they hang on? The property had
been in her family for five generations so the thought of
selling made her feel physically sick. But everything was
dying. And since her brother decided he wanted nothing more
to do with the farm and left, she’d been struggling. Her
parents were too old now to do the day to day work and it
was hard to hire help. People were leaving the country, not
moving to it. Charlie had been praying for a solution but,
so far, none appeared.
Julian by Nicole
had been harder then I expected.
You quickly forget the sweat, tiny cuts on your hands,
broken possessions and heavy grunting from the last time you
endured the task. However
my new “across the hall” neighbour, Julian, at least
provided entertainment ...
I Wrestled a Pith-on by
I knew this bench. Hard marble. Set
against the tile wall of the corridor, outside the Principal’s
Office. No back, but who cared. This bench wasn’t for lolling. It
was for crying ... and shame … and waiting for your mother to arrive
… because the Principal had called her … again.
I knew this bench well. I had suffered its humiliation often, like a
Puritan felon in the public stocks.
Why? I didn’t know. I mean, I was just a kid. Seven-year-olds don’t
judge; they ARE judged. At least, in The New York City Public School
System. At least, in 1950.
Why was I a bad kid? Well, I’d heard words: "Slow”, “Unruly”,
“Discipline Problem”. Never directed at me. Directed at my mother
about me … by my second-grade-teacher, Mrs. Lang.
I wasn’t quite sure what she was saying, but I knew it to be true.
Of course it was true. I was a kid; she was a Grownup.
Jean Kawak (1,247 words)
After pushing the walker to one side,
Jack eased Sarah into a comfortable sitting position on the side of
her bed. After placing her overnight bag on the bed opposite, he
helped her to take of her "sensible" shoes and put on her well worn
but comfy slippers.
"Now don’t worry about the bag," he told her gently but firmly.
"I’ll empty it just as soon as I’ve made you a nice cup of tea. Then
you can have a nice little nap."
In the kitchen Mary, was already pouring the boiled water into the
fine china teapot, the tell tale teabag strings, Sarah’s only
concession when making tea, dangling, over the side. "What are you
going to do, dad?" she asked.
How Did You Know? by
“How did you know?” the man asked the
elderly woman seated across the scarred kitchen table from him. They
were a juxtaposition at every level. He was tall, muscular, full of
life. She was older, a little hunched, flabby, and exuded a quiet
“Know what?” she asked.
“That Uncle Matt was the one.”
“I remember it like yesterday, I noticed him at church sitting with
his family. I didn’t hear a word the minister had to say that day.”
The look on her face transformed her and he could see the beauty she
was in her youth. She was the eldest of five sisters, the
responsible one, the one who never had suitors because she was
always looking after the others. She was an old maid when she
finally married at age thirty; not old by today’s standards, old by
those of the times.
“He looked nice.” She glanced at her hands. It was like she was
remembering something special and private.
Of A Talking Bird
(Dedicated to the Tsunami victims) by Daniel
Akinlolu (1,338 words)
It was few days to New
Year. At that time I was young, and we were living in a tent.
There were many people living in tents like us. Those who survived the storm couldn’t help than to live in tents, and mourn their lost loved ones.
Lines in the Snow
by Gary Kemble (1,357
As the days grew longer, so did the look of longing in her eyes. I’m an old man
so I can see these things, but Jack missed it, the poor fool. He was too busy
thinking about picking a ring in Jonestown and whether Pip Sullivan’s barn would
be big enough for the reception. Lucy, meanwhile, was eyeing the sleigh she’d
rode in on, watching the blanket of snow on Main Street growing thinner each
I was over at the stables, sweeping up, the morning she left. He ran out of his
store wearing nothing but his long johns and jumped out into the street, barely
noticing the snow biting his toes. He held his hand over his eyes like a sun
visor and stared at those two lines in the snow, like railroad tracks, heading
in Bethlehem by Daniel
Akinlolu (1,424 words)
Four days before Christmas locusts were about to invade our
village, somewhere in Bethlehem province. Everyone panicked at the news. The late rain had caused the locusts to target their invasion towards the Christmas season and at our village. The farmers were confused because the warning came in during a weather forecast in the evening News.
Linda - Part 1 - Brief Encounter by Paul
Curtis (1,425 words)
Snow spattered, unseen, against the steamy glass
As the train rattled out of the station
It was a fairly crowded train, but not full
With weary shoppers, shopping bags bursting
And commuting workers the weeks work done
Journeying homeward at the dark days end
A cheerful crowd though
Pleased with themselves bright faced and hearty
Full of seasonal cheer anticipating the holiday
Dogs, A Cat, 9 Fish
... Fortified with his published novel, “2 Dogs, A Cat, 9 Fish”, and a letter for interview at a reputable publishing firm, Claude felt his dream was sure. That Monday morning he decides to wear a tie-less shirt, with double-breasted suit and a pair of loafers; clean-shaven and smelling of Dior cologne. He wasn’t a novice in the book industry.
Anthony R Pezzula
She popped her head up, instantly alert. Something wasn’t right, a faint odor,
but, more than that, a danger she sensed, unseen, but present nonetheless. Her
eyes widened, pupils dilated while her head swivelled around looking for the
threat and her nostrils flared seeking the origins of the weak odor. She moved
her ears forward and back in an effort to hear the thing’s movement, but nothing
stirred. Her entire body tensed as the invisible presence grew stronger. She
would need to do something and pretty fast.
Her clan mates were not reacting, but that was not unusual. She didn’t know how
she came to this clan, but the other members were not like her. The strangest
cats she could imagine. They were very big, and they walked on their hind legs
only, and not on their toes, like her. They hardly had any fur, especially the
alpha male. His mate had some fur on her head, but not much anywhere else. And
the poor things had no tails at all. She had no idea how they could balance
themselves, what with walking on their hind legs, no tail and no whiskers
either, it was a wonder they didn’t constantly fall or run into things.
Kathy’s dad is with us from
Saskatchewan, Canada. Bill is 84 and we are lucky he can still visit
us, as he has most years since we’ve been married. We lost Betty,
Kathy’s mom, over ten years ago.
We drove to the Piatti Locali restaurant in Danville in two vehicles
- not enough seat belts for all of us in one. Our daughter, Liz,
drove our son, Scott, and his girlfriend, Sylvia, in one car. I
drove Bill and Kathy. It is her birthday.
I remember when we met. It was the 4th of July 1975. I’d come into
Belize City from the ranch.
I’d been in Belize since October 1974, when I arrived with my
family, Jay and Jeannie, my sister Erin, and brothers Mike and Matt.
I’d agreed to help them relocate to Gold Button Ranch to work on Roy
Carver’s 20,000 land development project.
My family had rented a house in Belize City on A Street. Jeannie set
up housekeeping there so we had a place in the city.
Jeannie had met a number of people in the city including Jack and
Eve Garden. Jack was a retired RAF pilot and ran the USDA certified
meat-packing plant, an important asset to market beef production
from the ranch.
Jeannie told me, “Pat, when I was at the Gardens, I met a really
delightful, young woman - Kathy Scott. She is a Canadian and works
on the Canadian Aid project to bring water and sewerage systems to
Belize City. I think you’d like her.”
A Different Love Story by
I remember the day I met my mistress clearly. It was love at first sight. When I
spotted her, I did everything I could to get her to look at me. I played it
cool, smiled and made eyes at her. Confidence works. She took one look at my
sleek, well muscled body, my brown eyes and long lashes, and she was hooked. We
went home together twenty minutes later. Neither of us ever looked back. We’ve
been committed to each other for six years.
Sure, I know what the others were saying, “Why him? What’s he got that we
haven’t got?” Nothing really. It was a matter of picking her out from the crowd
and focusing my powers to get her to cross the room and realize she was in love.
When Julie and I became partners for life, as I like to think of it, it was the
two of us against the world. Before you could say “Bob’s your uncle” we
established territory and routines. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why she
named me "Bob". She pays the bills and pampers me to the best of her ability; I do
all of the things she won’t do for herself.
Oh, you might think that I’ve got it easy and I don’t take my responsibilities
to her seriously. I do. Just because I’m a terrier-poodle mix doesn’t mean that
I don’t have responsibilities. For the last six years, I’ve protected her from
untold numbers of cats who wanted to use her flowers as a sandbox, numerous
newspapers that were in danger of being unopened and unread, and every delivery
person who has knocked on our door.
Writing by Jessica Edelman
Once upon a time there was a girl. And she was forced to write a story.
Well no one was forcing her as such. But she felt she had an obligation.
No one forces parents to love their kids.
But they kind of have to.
It’s a bit like that.
She wanted to be a writer, so she had to force herself to write.
That was that.
Pete and Ellie teased each other about the conch shell for months, their
laughter rippling warmly through the calm waters of their loving relationship.
The huge shell came from the charity shop where Ellie worked as deputy manager.
From the state it had been in when she first saw it, she guessed that the
previous owner had used it as a flowerpot. Deciding it was unsellable the
manager had dropped it onto the forlorn pile of rejects, but later that day
Ellie rescued it and brought it home to the flat.
While Pete watched, she attacked it with a bottlebrush and the pearly pink
beauty of the shell’s interior emerged - gleaming, from the crust of filth that
had covered it. Pete was amazed at the transformation; he told her she was lucky
to find it, because conch shells were collectors items and usually very
expensive. She placed the shell, carefully, in the middle of the mantelshelf,
under the gold-framed mirror and each day her morning face was reflected above
it, as she hurriedly made up for work. They got into the habit of tucking their
lottery tickets into it for luck.
Pete searched the Web to find out where the shell might have come from and
printed out some pages for her. The pictures showed an opulent holiday home in
the Bahamas called Conch'd Out, promising views of the ocean, "from every room".
The dreaming island of Eleuthera floated, pink-sanded, in the clear sparkling
loveliness of Caribbean waters. Ellie laughed at him, and looked at the printout
and a Good Night's Sleep
B. A. Llewellyn
Bob was unhappy. He
hated having to sleep. Every
night he was tucked into bed, and away from all the adventures
he wanted. He
hated it. Bob hated being tired.
couldn’t understand why his wonderful days had to end like this
... in bed. Being tired
meant being away from everyone and everything Bob loved. Being told to sleep meant he had to go sleep and no
asleep meant missing everything for the entire night!
No Hidden Heart by Dion J. Crowe (1,543 words)
I stared with overwhelming despair
through a small glass window in a door.
"The doctors say her catatonia hasn’t improved," said the nurse
standing next to me.
I nodded slowly.
"She doesn’t seem to be responding to the drugs we’ve given. There’s
a part of her that won’t accept our treatment. There’s new drugs
being trialled but our only other option is to try electroconvulsive
I shook my head, "No, no! We’re not going to hook my wife up to
electrodes and shock her body, okay? That’s not an option."
"It’s the only way she’ll recover from her mental degrading," said
I raised my index finger up to the nurse and said clearly, "Look, I
don’t care what you want to do. The fact is she’s my wife and you
are not convulsing her body with electricity."
The nurse sighed. "Well, what do you think we should do then?"
I ran my hand through my hair and thought hard on it.
"Let me talk to her."
Lyell (1,547 words)
Countless infinitesimal glittering diamonds sparkled from the sea like an iridescent paua, swirling in a multitude of colour. The soft breeze hugged the coastline, caressing the bright red flowers sprinkled amongst the pohutukawa's crop of shiny green hair. Skipping over the top of the bush, it climbed the incline seeking out the family that had just poured out of the car. It curled its fragile fingers around her hair, lifting and knotting the long strands with ease. She wrestled with its grip, struggling to tame her hair, ensnaring it into a dark baseball cap.
Homeless Angel by B. A. Llewellyn
pulled a can of baked beans and half a loaf of bread from
her nearest bag and offered to share her meal with me.
It was a simple and genuine offer that shook me to
the roots of my being.
and Coo by B. A. Llewellyn (1,559 words)
and Coo were white, fan-tailed pigeons who taught my husband
and I to love them, as we also taught them how to fly.
They were supposed to be a Valentines gift, released on
that special day as a symbol of our love flying into the
heavens, safe with one another.
It was a lovely thought, but the pigeons had no idea
that they could be airborne.
They were startled by the possibility.
I think they thought we were being purposefully cruel,
throwing them up into the air … and not catching them.
Man of Straw by Dion J. Crowe
Alva stirred the pot as she gazed out of her kitchen window at the white surroundings, clear sky and frozen ground. Tall trees grew heavy with the weight of snow on their branches. Grey boulders had white caps. Tall grass that grew in summer was now buried under snow. The stream that tinkled over smooth pebbles was now iced over. Everything that once had life was now covered in a bleak colour. Alva couldn’t help but feel the same.
A hand made from straw placed itself upon Alva’s shoulder. Alva patted it as she turned to the man of straw.
"It’s okay, my love. I’m just thinking."
by Ronda Del Boccio (1,641
When I moved to the Ozarks, I never imagined that the magical land would have magical inhabitants. Nor would I ever have guessed that one of the creatures, right out of myths and fairy tales, would befriend me – and annoy me!
Breath of Fresh Air by Dion J. Crowe
So, what’s your
"I’m sorry. What?"
"Your name. What is it?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"So I can introduce myself."
I blinked, confounded by this girl’s forthrightness.
"Peter. My name is Peter."
An enchanting young woman with a sparkle of life in her eyes and two braids in her hair offered her
hand, "Nice to meet you, Peter. I’m Julie."
Debbie McCurry (1,798 words)
beam of bright light, created by the sun reflecting through
the glass of the window, seems to highlight the colours of the
material Maureen is manoeuvring in her hands on the sewing
machine. Her mind
keeps telling her that the red, black and white tartan pattern
looks familiar, and she starts to rack her brains to recall
the memories that seem to want to rush back to the past.
Flying Solo by
Willis Whyte (1,830 words)
New York City, April 1953
It was a cold, grey, spring day in Manhattan. The dense cloud cover
made it impossible to catch even a glimpse of the sun. Wednesday
night’s torrential downpour made the sewer run-off drains overflow.
This caused the water to back up and cascade into the gutters all
along East 82nd Street.
Nancy stood at the corner of Third Avenue and East 82nd Street, her
mother close by her side.
“I said ye should have worn yer boots. Look at that water gushing
down the street. Ye’ll be coming back with a cold from getting’ yer
feet soaked. And besides do ye even remember the things we talked
about this morning?”
“I know, I know! Look both ways when I cross the street, and don’t
talk to anybody I don’t know, except for the police. Momma, I
promise I won’t forget. Can I please go now?”
“I’m not sure I want ye goin’ off like this on yer own. Who’ll be
lookin’ after ye? What if somethin’ happens, how would I ever know?”
Nan Kelly squeezed her daughter’s hand.
When Love Strikes by
Wisneski (1,842 words)
“You don’t look right.”
Bill turned his head to the left, cocked his chin up, tightened his
lips, and gave an evil stare at the woman who just said that to
him. Who did this woman think she was? Talking like that to a
“This is why I don’t walk to work,” Bill thought to himself, “Nuts.
These people are all nuts.”
“I know you heard me,” the woman said again.
Bill grabbed his tie and pulled it. He hated the thought of talking
to someone and not having his tie perfectly aligned.
“Do I know you?” Bill said to the woman. “Now, before you open your
mouth again, why don’t you stop for a minute and think. You
shouldn’t talk to people you don’t know. But since we are talking
now, want to know something funny?”
“I’d love nothing more,” the woman replied.
“If I wanted to, I could make two phone calls and have you not only
arrested for harassment, but I could sue you for every penny you
probably aren’t worth.”
Bill felt great. He loved talking to people like that. He was one
of the best lawyers in town and took pride in beating people down
with words. He waited a few minutes, staring at the woman, hoping
to see tears. Tears always made him feel even better.
“That’s nice,” the woman replied. She turned and looked forward. No
Secret Joy by Charity
Moore (1,933 words)
Becky breathed in the strong scent of pine and wood, her hazel eyes looked forlornly through the sweeping branches out onto the rolling green pastures. The trunk of the towering pine trees offered her a place of safety, of comfort. She swept another tear from her eye with the back of her hand, reliving the nightmare.
Unexpected Angel by Caroline
Stevenson (2.028 words)
The silence in the room was palpable; it hung ominously over the slight red haired woman sitting alone in the darkness. Cleo stood behind her shimmered slightly, her wings curved protectively around the small form. The angel could sense the dark tendrils of fear, suffocating and oppressive. She has stood over Kate many times as she cried, her sobs heart rending in the silence of the night. This time is different; the despair she can feel radiating out has never been this strong before. She has been mentally and physically broken.
The Angels of Mons
and Le Cateau
by Paul Curtis
It was August 1914 when Commander-in-Chief, Sir John French ordered the newly
arrived British Expeditionary Force under his command to launch an offensive
against the German Imperial Army at Mons and so began the BEF’s first major
action of World War I and its resulting carnage.
We were heavily outnumbered and, despite the fact we killed or wounded three of
theirs to every one of ours that fell, we were forced to retreat to our second
line of defence.
Mercifully, the Germans chose not to pursue us immediately but elected instead to
lick their wounds.
It was during the respite from the day's exertions that the stories started to
spread through the ranks of weary and bloodied soldiers about the "Angels of
It seemed that every man had either witnessed the event or personally knew a man
My Own Prince Charming by
I have two
great loves in my life, I think. There is the man I married
and with whom I share the suburban dream. You know the one:
2.3 kids, house, picket fence, dinner by six every night.
The man I married loves me more than I have ever thought of
loving him. He does anything and everything in his powers to
bring me what happiness he can, but it isn’t enough, we both
know it but never talk about it.
Then there is the love of my life. We have limited time
together, but when we are alone together I know that I love
him far more than he loves me. He has the most perfect
smile, it lights up his entire face and you can see joy
coming out of every part of his body. People have no problem
telling when I have had quality time with “him”, but it is
hard to get to be alone with him and, when we are, it is
stolen time. The kind of time where there are whispers of
promises in the dark, sighs and soft touching.
How did I get here? Who is to
blame? I blame it all on Walt Disney and the Brothers Grimm;
they are both responsible for the state of my marriage. Ok,
I know I really can’t blame them for it, but my marriage
feels so empty of what every little girl dreams about. We
all know the dream, the one of the unattainable Prince
Charming, the one true love of my life.
Violet and the Big Bed by
Price (2,142 words)
I saw her and I was transported back
to the first time. The first time I slept in the Big Bed.
I don’t know where Mom and Dad had been. I was only six or seven,
not old enough to be left alone. But I had known, instinctively,
that they were not in the house. The details are hazy. It could’ve
been midnight or nearing dawn. Maybe they had snuck out to an early
breakfast, thought they would be back before I woke up.
I remember rolling out of my twin-sized bed, knocking softly on
their door. It was as if there was an ellipsis hanging in the air,
like the ones in my Manga books that hung over characters heads to
indicate speechlessness. Boldly I entered.
And beheld the revered bed.
King-sized. Fit for a king. Forbidden to me.
It was not a curtained canopy bed. There was no frill or mystery to
it. But it was a behemoth of a bed, big mattress on a metal frame.
And it was off-limits.
Linda - Part 3 - From Eve to Eve by Paul
Curtis (2,314 words)
It was Christmas Eve and the house was decorated for the season
A large fresh cut tree stood in the corner and perfumed the room
Adorned by a myriad of assorted baubles and lights
Christmas cards of all shapes and sizes adorned every surface
And more hung on bright red and green ribbons from the picture rails
Bright coloured Christmas garlands hung gaily criss-crossing the ceiling
While outside through a break in the dark clouds
A shaft of week winter sunlight shone through the window
Reflecting off the garlands and painting random patterns on the walls
I sat watching TV in my favourite armchair in the front room
Of the house I shared with my wife and soul mate Linda
The woman I loved more then life itself
story is very beautiful but it does involve subject matter that some
people might find confrontational and upsetting.
Hens and 1 Rooster
by B. A. Llewellyn
first home came equipped with half a dozen baby chickens.
The previous owner had removed several adult chickens but
he’d met the “nice, young couple” buying his house and decided
we needed to start our life on the land properly - with these young
chicks. He even left us
their rat-infested cages.
didn’t want chickens. We
didn’t know what to do with chickens. Especially baby chickens!
And we certainly didn’t want rat-infested buildings
standing so close to our own abode.
Our new, and very old, home was already crawling in
cockroaches and red-back spiders … rats were not allowed onto that
list! Down came the
buildings … smashed, annihilated, taken to the dump. But one building must stay … because we have chickens.
Than a View by Nicole
I had two minutes to get to work on time. I opened the front door of my apartment to be greeted by the smiling face of my neighbour, Harry. Not noticing my harassed expression, Harry launched into a detailed story of his upset stomach, brought on by an Indian feast last night.
I smiled, mumbled responses and squeezed past him to the stairwell. Mrs Knightly, from three floors up, was on her way down the stairs. She was carrying a beach chair in one hand and a fluorescent green umbrella in the other, therefore consuming all space on either side.
Fairy Tales by
"Tell me again about the
Fairies, Gran," the tiny girl knelt at her
great-grandmother's feet, picking the lavender blossoms
that sprung up among the meadow grasses.
A tan doe and her spotted fawn grazed quietly nearby,
undisturbed by the presence of the humans encroaching
upon their territory. The old woman had always been one
to blend in well with nature, being from the Highlands
of the Old Country, she'd spent most of her life amongst
the wild things. The little girl, too, being cut from
the same cloth as her grandmother - or so she had always
been told - was as comfortable in the meadow as she was
in her own kitchen.
"Which one is it you want to be hearin' about, my wee
one?" The old woman asked with a smile on her lips, for
there was only one for which the little girl ever asked.
"Tell me the one about the Fairy King," was her reply.
A chuckle rumbled deep in the old woman's throat, as she
stroked the spun gold of her granddaughter's hair,
letting the silky strands slip through her fingers. "Oh,
aye, I'll tell ye then. The Fairy King, he was a grumpy,
old codger ..."
"What's a codger Gran?" The tiny girl interrupted with
her standard question and her great-grandmother chuckled
"It means he was grouchy all the time, with a nasty
"Weel, he was old as the stars and his bones creaked
with his age, ye see. It took him a whole of a half hour
to rise from his bed in the morning, his joints ached
him so. Now hush until I'm finished, my wee one."
Present for Angelia by
“I can’t remember, last I
had a present,” Angelia said.
The old rocker wheezed on beneath her. Down the narrow
road came a swirl of dust, twisting lazily in the hot
August sun. Angelia tilted her head, thinking.
“I know there was something ...”
From across the road, far back beneath a horizontal
tangle of hoary old live oaks and eglantine, came the
drawn-off cries of children. Angelia straightened and
turned her deep-set eyes toward the sound. The rocker
“Well I remember that day down in Rockville, you know
when we all got sent on with Mr. Thomas to see the
twilight dances. That was when he got the fever, you
know. Of course Misses Johnson always did say he weren’t
doin’ himself no good at all, stepping down in them
ditches with the field hands. I wasn’t so old then, but
I know she was right that time. I know she was ...”
by B. A. Llewellyn
There were too many people
in the room.
She had been oblivious inside a magazine article
for about fifteen minutes, and now the room was packed.
“Not packed”, her
husband would insist if she tried to convey her
He would demand she view the room, and life, from his
She would find no safety in love and empathy.
There was none to be given.
She felt the panic rising in her chest.
She knew it would soon travel into her throat and
she would want to scream.
There was a door
on the opposite side of the room.
The chairs and couches had been pulled to the
walls, and she was buried in the folds of one of the
many uncomfortable lounge chairs.
Someone had bumped against her, not bothering to
apologise for the personal invasion.
It had brought her mind back to the room, and all
the people who now crowded its space.
She would have to wrestle her way out of the
straightjacket chair, and walk determinedly through the
people and out of the door.
Then there would be a corridor where there might be more
people, and then the elevator might be another endurance
she had no choice.
Whatever dignity and sanity was still available to her
was waiting on the roof.
The roof would give privacy and peace.
It was her secret garden.
There were plants and fountains and comfortable
grounds surrounding the building were compact and
shadowed, but the roof held sunlight and starlight.
It had been her sanctuary ever since her husband
had joined The Company.
When It Rains, It
The drops of rain fall
like acid onto his cardboard house. In the minute and
twenty-three seconds you spend stopped at that traffic
light, you watch his home, and most of his life,
disintegrate around him. The rain seeps through his box
and, even though the light turns green, you can’t help
but stay and admire the decay.
He’s wearing a black pea coat he probably found on the
ground, or stole from one of the other homeless men
lining this street. The coat looks almost as old and
withered as he. This is the only satisfaction you’ve had
in weeks - at least you aren’t him. You manage a weak
smile, as you drive a third lap around your block.
You continue to contemplate everything that’s happened
in the last year, as each raindrop beats your window
like a savage, fighting to obstruct your view of the
road. It’s a tempting thought to just shut the wipers
off on your silver B.M.W. 320 coup. You wonder what it
would be like to finally give up and let the rain just
take you in.
Bitter. That was the
earliest sensation I could remember. Before sight,
sound or smell, there was a bitter taste. Years later, I
learned that the bitterness from those earliest memories
was my first taste of the Imp’s Milk. It was a foul ichor that burned, first down the throat and then
through the rest of the body, through the veins and
muscles and bones. A thousand hot needles clawing
The clacking of the train rumbled in his bones as it
rolled across the steel rails beneath the undercarriage.
The hills and trees ran past the window next to him.
Blurs of green, brown, and blue cobbled and mixed as the
train shook and rumbled through the land. Noah looked
out the window, seeing the world beyond. Forever and
ever beyond his reach. He pulled out his pocket watch.
Its soft ticks were out of tune with the shudders and
shakes of the moving train.
The watch was plain, its cheap brass frame polished yet
stark. No marks of distinction to indicate it or its
owner as anything more or less than ordinary. The owner,
while not short, was skinnier than the rails the steam
engine travelled upon. His gangling limbs seemed almost
too long for his reclined body. His brown eyes were
calm. He turned his gaze from the cabin window and to
the watch. He then spoke, out loud, for the only other
occupant of the cabin, “We are two hours into the
train’s journey.” His voice was controlled and even. He
put away the pocket watch and looked across the cabin to
the older man seated before him.
story is exciting, well written and ultimately uplifting but it does involve
Linda - Part 2 - One Special Night by Paul
Curtis (2,927 words)
I found myself stranded in a strange town
With less than a week to go before Christmas
Stranded two hundred miles from home
With a seriously ill car in the garage
And a lack of will to contemplate train travel
In truth I was in no hurry to return home
To the empty soulless house that once was home
But now held no comfort for me
Whalen (2,932 words)
"Can you meet me at lunchtime, Emma?
"Love to. See you at the usual place."
Emma sat on the park bench waiting for Brad, enjoying the fragrant
pink and white carnation display, the dappled patterns of swaying
gums on the path. Why did Brad want to see her? The phone call came
as a surprise but, after being together for three years, perhaps he
wanted to pop the question.
Brad strode over, grim-faced, his eyes evading hers, and flung
himself down beside her.
"I’m sorry, Emma, but it’s over."
She flinched, "What’s over?"
"I’ve met someone I want to marry."
Oh, Carol, I Am But A Fool by Norma
Jean Kawak (2,980 words)
Carol … I am But a Fool." I still hear Neil Sedaka
occasionally singing that song on the radio, a chord that never
fails to delve deep into my memory reminding me of a story about
love and courage, but mostly about human endurance in a society
which seeks self righteousness from its benevolence.
It all began many years ago when Brisbane was still struggling with
its image of a being just a big country town. My sister, Barbara,
and I left our home in Brisbane seeking the excitement of big city
Sydney. With suitcases in hand and a head full of dreams we headed
straight from Sydney Central railway station to the Salvation Army
Hostel for Women in Paddington, a place we knew would provide us
with the cheapest accommodation in Sydney.
The French Connection by
Rod Gibson (2,980 words)
It’s a miserable, annoying sound, the noise of a
whipper-snipper. Especially when you’re trying to sleep
in, on Sunday morning, and you’re desperately trying to
recapture one of the most beautiful, mysterious dreams
of your life so far – a sloth, your favourite animal
from that wide animal kingdom, is dangling from a tree
branch and seems to be undulating in front of your
dreaming eyes. Undulating has to be the right word for
it; the sloth is like languorous streams of water
pulsing through your warm dreams, and his movements
appear to be saying something to you; it’s not sexual,
but like some sort of indecipherable code about the
meaning of life, or something serious along those lines.
Anyway, try as you might, you can’t recapture the dream
so, now, you must be officially awake, with only the
miserable sound of the whipper-snipper to drive you out
of bed and into the day. But you dally beneath the
sheets, while the torture continues until, finally, you
force yourself to get up.
Who are you? You’re Dr. Cynthia Rowntree, a country G.P.,
and tomorrow begins another week of fourteen hour days,
hospital rounds, and performing surgery all day on
Thursday. There will be short consultations, longer
consultations, and really long consultations, and
scripts to be written. There will be prognosis,
diagnosis, and even a bit of halitosis when one of your
patients inadvertently breathes on you. There will also
be misdiagnosis, possible law suits, and large
overheads. All this because you thought working as a G.P.
in a country practice might be good for you.
by Gary Kemble
Rob sat up in bed, surveying the scene. His bedroom was a mess. His sheets were stiff with sweat, damp yet rigid from a week’s worth of bad dreams. All about the mountain. It was one year since he didn’t quite climb Everest. These days it was all he could do to climb out of bed in the morning and stay vertical for the 12 hours or so necessary to assure his parents he was getting his life back on track.