End Times

Melanie Moyer

I stare at my therapist’s coffee cup the entire time she talks to me about the importance of communicating.

Tend

Natalie Gerich Brabson

Sam’s final aching breaths, and the silence between, woke Miri, and she rose from the tangled blankets she slept on beside his hospice cot to hold his hand until it went cold in hers.

Head On

Bill Hemmig

The construction truck in the opposing lane, exceeding the speed limit, careers into my lane and right at me. I am immobile, staring, my hand not getting the signal to blast the horn. I might manage to dive onto the shoulder but the truck’s driver stops doing whatever distracted him and sees me and, with two car lengths between us, slides back into the correct lane. We pass each other and continue as we were.

Comedians

Sarah Westbrook

Standing before a group of strangers is the closest thing Angela has to achieving her dreams or making her mark on the world. She seesaws her arm, delivers a joke about a merman who pools his money with a sea urchin to get a triton.

Litter Entries

Dog Cavanaugh

On the first two days, we did what they called shadow dumps. Several of us were in training. We followed people around outside different government buildings and watched them pick up litter and trash.

Clay (Second Place Winner of the Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction)

Patricia Sammon

Sam asks, “What are we doing here?” and you don’t know if he means here, in Flanders, or more generally, here on God’s green earth, which here, in Flanders is not green but mud-covered and cratered and incapable of sending up any other crop but barbed wire. Or if he means still here, at the edge of this pit—because the horse that was drowning in the mire is now still.

Acorns

Ramona DeFelice Long

Dennis can’t believe Terry and I will give up a vacation day to visit the family cemetery, but once I convince him that I’m not kidding, there is silence on the phone.

Where The Rubies Live

Tyler Barton

The night before I became a failed salesman, I was wired and awake in Derek’s room, gazing out his window, reading his Anatomy textbook, and eating peanut butter with a knife.