A Tiny And Colorful Literary Journal

October, 2021

Night Terror by Marcelo Medone

Their eyes met wildly in the restaurant. They sneaked out into the night alley. She, dressed to kill. He never imagined it was literally true.

Marcelo Medone is a poet and fiction writer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. His works have been published in more than 30 countries around the world.
He loves women with provocatively painted nails.

Through the Fire by Charlotte Kim

The house fire burned my legs and heart. Watery tinsel adorned widened eyes as my angel fled back to hellish flames. Tears couldn’t save dad.  

Charlotte Kim graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in Communication. Her work has been published in Fifty Word Stories, and is forthcoming in The Parliament Literary Journal and Five Minutes.

Three pieces by Edmund Fines

Steel Waters Run Deep

We swam downstream from the forge outlet pipes where the water was warmer.  Afterward, we smoked cigarettes and admired the metallic sheen on our skin.

Pigment of My Imagination

The new oil painting was white.  But at different times of day, it took on various hues.  The violets alone made it worth the money. 

Nomad’s Dream

He wandered the world searching for the one thing his nature wouldn’t allow, a home.  She thought he was selfish.  He wished she’d come along.

Edmund Fines lives in Toronto with his wife, daughter, and versatile pug.  He recently had a short story published with Acta Victoriana.

Two pieces by Elizabeth Zahn

Shake Your Palm, Palm

Hubby’s texts harped on. Appliances beeped, buzzed, pinged, and peeped for my attention. What? Calypso music? On Saturday morning? I leap for my lover’s call.  

Find Your Fire  

Savannah’s holly bush never bore berries. When she learned holly’s dioecious (needs a mate), she planted a male. The bush fruited. But Savannah has not. 

Elizabeth Zahn writes short fiction from Long Island, NY, for now. She thinks James Taylor’s right, “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”  Find her at www.elizabethzahn.com 

Three pieces by Abigail Lyman

St. Lucia Lilac
First spring dawn, tangled in branches.
Can’t tell her this year, not on top of Dad.
Would she even remember?
Sunlit, paper petals look alive.

Flying Solo“…evacuation slides will not provide flotation…”
Just enough air to keep itself above water. None for you.
Pilot over intercom: “It’s been a long day.”

Do You Sea What I Sea?
Waiting on lunch, we stroll the marina.
Two boys dangle off prow, poke fish dead white in seaweed.
Boys.
He hooks the stiff fish. “Bait.”

Abigail Lyman is in a world spoken by her Creator, and she’s overjoyed to live His art and create her own. Neither of them plan on shutting up anytime soon.Her inspirations include ND Wilson’s “Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl”, the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Emmanuel Sander & Douglas Hofstadter’s “Surfaces & Essences”.Her short story “Bioluminescence” won the William Faulkner Literary Competition, and her haiku “Fractal” placed first in HSLDA’s poetry contest.She can be reached at abigail.sarah.phil4.8@gmail.com.

Happy 10th Birthday, NS!

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A decade ago I put myself out there on a whim. I wondered if people would be inspired by nail polish colors as titles, and if that could prompt stories of exactly twenty-five words. I prepared to be ignored, or worse, laughed at. I had been submitting short and very short fiction pieces, nonfiction essays, as well as poetry to literary journals for a few years, so I’d grown accustomed to rejection. Instead of being ignored or laughed at, I was delighted to find people excited about and enjoying the act of reading and writing nail polish stories. It was difficult to write them! But gratifying. Fun even. I was relatively new to micro-fiction, but my aesthetic had always been spare, un-flowery and emotionally bare. This idea that you need not many words but simply the right ones in the right order had long resonated for me.

What began as a weekly post on my regular blog, http://www.writenic.wordpress.com moved to a monthly post at its own home, http://www.nailpolishstories.wordpress.com. As submission numbers grew I switched it to a quarterly–four issues a year was all I could manage. My kids were 11, almost 10, and 6. I was also in the throes of intense personal turmoil with a medical diagnosis in my family. My life, as most lives are, was more complicated than most people knew. But this tiny thing, this little online world, burned bright. And I knew I belonged in it.

Many times throughout the last ten years I’ve considered what would be the “right” time to let go of NS. No one wants to keep a thing afloat past its prime. In the literary magazine world, ten is like dog years–quite old, but endearingly seasoned, well-loved, and intricately connected to everything you care about. It’s not time yet.

The thing I most enjoy about curating this tiny journal is interactions with submitters. I’ve written before about the initial motive for doing this, and it remains the same. I am consistently inspired by that thread that connects us as humans. The shared human experience, the universality of pain, longing, loss, joy, and love that is rendered through the arts. Via music, film, photography, painting, illustration, all of the various art forms, not the least of which, the written word, we truly see ourselves in each other, and more importantly, we are able to truly see each other.

I want to say happy tenth birthday to NS, to its readers and contributors. I want to thank every person who has ever clicked on the link to take a peek, even if it wasn’t your cup of tea. I want to thank those who have come back again and again. I want to thank professors who have used nail polish stories as a writing exercise for creative writing students. I want to thank family members and friends who have supported any and every writing and editing endeavor I’ve taken on simply because they believe in me, or simply because they love me. I want to thank writers, emerging and established, who have given NS a look, and who have taken on the challenge, and those who have supported from afar with a like or a comment on Facebook. I see each of you.

 

I make a practice of thanking submitters for trusting me with their work. As a writer myself, I see it as a unique and intimate honor to read your words and make a decision whether to publish them here. I viscerally understand the vulnerability of putting down words and sending them off for someone to make decisions about. Thank you to the submitters whose work I’ve accepted. Your talent reinvigorates me. Thank you to the submitters whose work I have not accepted. Your grace and understanding humble me. Thank you to those who just today clicked here for the first time. I’m glad for every connection. Happy 10th birthday, Nail Polish Stories, a Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal.

With gratitude,

Nicole Monaghan,

Founding and Managing Editor, NS

 

July, 2021

Three pieces by Suzanne Cottrell

Whirln’ Twirl

Whirligigs spun like in the movie “Twister.” Sirens blared. We dashed to the bathroom, wishing for a basement. Our property soon “Gone with the Wind.”

In Plane View

We pressed our hands to our ears.  The hum intensified.  We’re in a horror film, “Invasion of the Red-eyed Bugs.”  The cicadas vowed to return.

Over the Edge 

Sometimes in life you need a little nudge, but not when you are perched on a treetop obstacle course’s platform forty feet off the ground.

Suzanne Cottrell lives with her husband and one rescued dog in rural Piedmont North Carolina. An outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, she enjoys reading, writing, hiking, knitting, Pilates, Tai Chi, and yoga. Her flash fiction has appeared in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature; Dragon Poet Review; Flash Fiction MagazineNailpolish Stories, A Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal;  Dual Coast Magazine; and Inwood Indiana Press anthologies. She’s the author of two poetry chapbooks: Gifts of the Seasons, Fall and Winter and Gifts of the Seasons, Spring and Summer (Kelsay Books). www.suzanneswords.com

Purple by Prapti Gupta

Whenever I pass from here, I still remember that day we last met. How good it would be if I survived that accident with him.

Prapti is an 18 year old girl from India.

Hush of pink by Emalisa Rose

“Red stiletto,” through the night hours. When sunlight returned, he wanted her pale, blushed and innocent; pigtails in her hair. On his dime, Melissa obliged.

When not writing, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting and drawing. She volunteers in animal rescue, and tends to a cat colony in the neighborhood. She lives by a beach town, which provides much of the inspiration for her art. Some of her poems have appeared in Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Spillwords, Origami Poem Project and other spirited places. Her latest collection is “On the whims of the crosscurrents,” published by Red Wolf Editions.

Pink Bikini by Sara O’Brien

With the confidence that only comes with age, she stood on the dock choosing between her chilled wine and a plunge into the chilled lake.

Runner, traveler, book-lover and accountant by trade, Sara lives in Maple Glen, PA with her husband and two teenage boys.

Two pieces by Emma Foster

Butterfly Me to the Moon

“Little Butterfly,” Grandpa called her. She twirled in bathroom slippers, fluttering colors, constellations. Passing on, Grandpa’s words eternalizing, she kept his heart in the stars.

In Stitches

Sunday morning, we muse on life over chicken and dumplings. We joke over heartache, regret, because it’s over. We realize we were made into monsters. 

Emma Foster writes as much as she can about monsters or innocence or both. She’s been published in The Cedarville Review, Voices of the Valley, Ariel Chart, and is forthcoming in Sledgehammer Lit. She plans on attending graduate school for creative writing in England. 

Five pieces bySal Difalco

Mind-full Meditation

Night contains measures furthering otherness. The truly unhinged tend toward silence. Their demons deem it a noble alternative to the clanking chains or passing screams.

Topless and Barefoot

A reflection occurs in a surfeit of metal surface, whereas chagrin casts an elephantine shadow before it, followed by a scream from the troll bridge.

Funny Bunny 

We offer a process—a whip or pail of bloody ice. Tinhorns and tinny drums confirm tone deafness. Beat the drum, Clown. Beat it now.

Strike a Rose

It hurts, adultery. But once the sinking feeling departs the chest puffs up and out. Yet his puffy sleeves are those of a man condemned.

Zoya Pixie Dust

Yes, it takes a queer intensity to preserve your equilibrium, fighting the same inarticulate fear you felt on the cuckoo bus to the county asylum.

Sal Difalco thinks he lives in Toronto. He refuses to paint his toenails.

April, 2021

On Behalf of a Grateful Nation by Deborah Robinson

Rifles fire skyward.  The widow sobs.  Praying for sufficient air, she raises the trumpet, holding back her own tears.  A nation listens.  The hero rests.

Deborah Robinson is sixty-two-years old.  Writing prose is her greatest passion.  Flash Fiction is her newest pursuit, and she is happy to find this website.  She is a bereaved mother and widow.  Her guys are war heroes, and she continues to honor their memory.

The Affair by Barbee

Leaving the Café before he did, she forgot the gifted flower, but no bother; she had taken his last spare apartment key when saying “Yes.”

Barbee lives on Lake Norman with his wife, five cats, and two hounds.

Unholey Ends by B.J. Thompson

“That hole, by our feet. Was it there before?”

“No.”

“And up there. Was it…”

“No.”

Echoed murmurs cascade up and down. The implosion begins.

B. J. Thompson is a retired public relations liaison and currently a Calgary, Canada-based literary novelist and short story writer. B. J.’s works examine the process of death — of an historical icon, an ideal or an event — in a Trumanesque non-fiction novel delivery, to reveal an answer to a long-held mystery or a societal question, for it’s in life’s final moments that truth plays the only role.

Disco Ball by Kiesa Kay

Like the last Gibb brother staying alive,

I slap my hands together, wiggle and dive,

Dancing between beats of a broken heart,

Shredding mended polyester.


Kiesa Kay, playwright and poet, dances and fiddles in a cabin in the Appalachians. 

Sheer Happiness by Andrei Preda

The media’s success stories stoked the man’s envy until he dreamed of emulating curated happiness. His wife’s tears dismantled the success he was blind to.

Andrei is a writer and actor based out of Toronto. His first published piece – Too Many Boxes – can be found online at (mac)ro(mic) beginning March 31st. 

You’re a Catch by Bob Hood

The traveler closed his eyes

and prayed the Lord his soul to keep

the Thug smiling, coiled his silken rumal

another addition to his list

Bob Hood is a retired IT contractor and computer programmer with a History Degree, who made parts for Concorde in the 70’s, and spent the 80’s as a motorcycle courier in London. Now busy honing his writing skills through poetry, short stories, and his second full length novel.

Clear by Jamie Peterson

There was beauty to me in your crumpled socks gathering dust under our clean bed. Now my sheets are rumpled and I never wear shoes.

Jamie Peterson is a teacher and writer; publisher of weekly newsletter “GoGranny!”; author of Stories for Women Who’ve Had Many Lives

Violet Sky Holographic by Edmund Fines

Diminished by the northern lights and endless skies, he gazed across the tundra and wondered when he’d be home again.  A steely gust roared, “Never.”  

Edmund Fines lives in Toronto with his wife, daughter, and versatile pug.

Riddle me

Not cut, or burnt, or drenched, or dried. 

Not cloaked in smoke,  

or shrouded in dust,  

or wombed. 

Sheltered from every wind; 

What am I? 

Kris Spencer has written seven books, most published by OUP. He is a regular contributor to magazines in a journalistic career that spans over 20 years. His poems have been published in a number of journals; most recently, Acumen and the Balloon Literary Journal. He’s a Headteacher living and working in west London. He was born and grew up in a village outside Bolton. Previously, he has studied, worked and lived in Hull, Cincinnati, Oxford, and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

Blue Eternity by Kevin J. Miller

President-for-Life Thorondsen bans post-high school education.

My Blue Eternity brain microchip cures the schizophrenic epidemic.

Oh, and makes IQs 200 after I push this button.

Kevin J. Miller has taught community college academic writing for twenty years. He has sold 100 poems & short stories (and yes they have been published, smart aleck) oh and a Welsh theater performed a play he wrote and put in on YouTube.

Crawfishin’ for a Compliment by Joshua Nash

I suck the head, pinching it a little, savoring every delicious moment, including Carl’s dumbfounded expression. It’s the nicest thing he’s ever said to me.


Joshua Nash is a writer from San Marcos, TX. By day, he does his best to interpret state tax law and communicate this complicated subject to everyday citizens. By night (and sometimes during a lunch hour), he methodically places small groups of words together with the intent of telling an intriguing story. He enjoys his night job more.

Pearl of Wisdom by Hugh Allison

Gloria Estefan once said the rhythm is going to get you. I didn’t believe her until I couldn’t stop sambaing. I’ll dance on her grave.”


Hugh Allison lives in London where he writes a lot and dreams of theme parks.

Happy and Healthy by Linda McMullen

Trevor demanded Kate run with him, and abjure alcohol and sugar. 

Protests. 

“It’s good for you!” 

She dumped him post-marathon, recovered with marshmallows and mimosas. 

Linda McMullen is a wife, mother, diplomat, and homesick Wisconsinite. Her short stories and the occasional poem have appeared in over ninety literary magazines. She received Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations in 2020. She may be found on Twitter: @LindaCMcMullen.

Three pieces by Fiona M Jones

Seaglass

Louisa searches the tideline carefully, collecting diamonds and emeralds. One day, soon, she will bring them out, tell her parents their money worries are gone.

Deep Water

Janey knows what happens if you dive off the rocks. You turn into a mermaid, beautiful like your blonde-haired stepsisters, but invisible forever. Worth it.

Breaking Wave

Alistair tries to imagine his parents’ arguments as breaking waves: each one sudden, terrifying, then gradually diminishing. But the waves keep on coming. Getting stronger.

Fiona M Jones writes very short things, most of which you can find through @FiiJ20 on Twitter and Facebook.

Two pieces by Susanna Lepow

We’ve Got History

Name after name in the Shoah records; “murdered” next to each one. And in the comments of my post, something once again not worth repeating. 

Find Me an Oasis

The sky weeps bitter tears. Ahead, horns blare and lights flash, the city at night a living postcard. I wilt, and you carry me home.

Susanna is a writer and sometimes runner outside of Seattle, Washington. In her minimal spare time, she watches too many Netflix documentaries and pretends she knows how to cook.

Two pieces by Allen Ashley

Earl Grey 

North Sea swim. What is that whooshing past my legs? Common seal head emerges ten yards away, sniffing air. I back off. It’s your domain. 

New Dawn 

Only one local church agreed to their wedding because they were divorcees. A shame as this was a remarriage. Twenty then; sixty and wiser now. 

Allen Ashley is the founder of the SF group Clockhouse London Writers and is also President of the British Fantasy Society. 

Cashmere Pink by Thea Pueschel


“You are a girl,” they say.
“No!” I yell.
“I read your body,” they declare.
“Those are parts,” I say.
“Those are girl,” they rebut.

Thea Pueschel is an emerging nonbinary writer and artist. Thea was the winner of the TAEM Flash Fiction Summer 2020 Contest. Thea has been published in Short Edition, Abstract Elephant, and DNA Magazine.

Topsassy by Adebisi Amori

He smiles. In that moment, I know. 

That the end of us is near though we’ve not begun. 

Who cares though? I walk towards him.

Adebisi Amori is a writer from Nigeria whose work has appeared in various publications. She’s inspired by everything and anything. Follow her work online on Instagram @thereal_adebisi

Polar-izing by Christina Lesnewich

She drinks Starbucks from a reusable mug, reads the Times. He sips Coke, scrolls through the Post.  Their feet bump under the table, worlds away.

Christina Lesnewich is a writer and teacher living in suburban New Jersey.

Cloudy Blue-Grey by Jefferey G. Moss

A thousand sea lions

bark into the mist. 

Up the coast

sea elephants molt and fast. 

I pray tonight

The Big Dipper reveals

pathways home. 

Jeffrey G. Moss was born and bred in Brooklyn, USA. After 32 years urging 13/14 year olds to craft their worlds he is branching out and attempting to follow some of his own advice. He has pieces forthcoming or published in Bending Genres and 50 Word Stories. 

Flaunt it in Fitzrovia by Stephen Oram

London’s best kept secret village, they said. The crowds flocked. The Fitzrovians were flattered. Developers rebuilt, advertising a revamped village. A bland corporate nothing. Dead.

Stephen Oram writes science fiction. He is a founding curator for near-future fiction at Virtual Futures and a writer for SciFutures. His Nudge the Future collections have been praised by publications as diverse as The Morning Star and The Financial Times.

Golden Hour in Green Park by A.N. Myers

She strides through the grand gates, royally attired, delighting her grateful crowds. In her shopping cart are all her earthly possessions; all her putrid treasures.

A.N. Myers’ short stories and flash fiction have appeared in numerous publications including 101Fiction.com, Speculative66, the Eibonvale Press Anthology The Once and Future Moon, and BFS Horizons. His novel The Ides is available fromAmazon and his website anmyers.com. He lives in London where he enjoys writing humorless bios.

Funeral Wake by Flint Argus Claymore

Water flowed from her eyes, his eyes. Candles blew out, spirits making their way. The casket gasped. Oh, he’s alive! Alive! Candles lit once more.

Flint Argus Claymore currently gathers ideas for his future horror projects. He loves learning literature and watching dog videos.

Ballet Slipper

At dawn, hungover and broke, he stood, hopeless, as objects and curses rained down from her bedroom window.  Then it flew at him, ribbons fluttering. 

S. Britton runs a downmarket AirB&B, near YYZ.

My apologies to readers and writers–the April Issue is delayed. Because I want to give the time each submission deserves (and because of the greater than usual number of submissions this quarter), the issue will not be ready to go live just yet. Please check back in the coming days.

Thanks, as always, for your support, both by reading and submitting.

All Best,

Nicole Monaghan,

Founding and Managing Editor, NS

January, 2021

Amethyst Ablaze by Swati Moheet Agrawal 

My fiancé’s mother picks out two necklaces – opal and gold. I’m disappointed. I stand still as he clasps the amethyst I’m too afraid to choose.

Swati Moheet Agrawal lives in Mumbai, India. Her work has appeared in Café DissensusFriday Flash FictionActiveMuseSetu,KitaabStorizenTwist & Twain, Indian Economy & Market MagazineLife Positive and elsewhere. When not buried between the pages of a book, she likes to dabble in decoupage art. Follow her on Instagram @ swatiwhowrites

ONYX Pure Acetone by Josh Urban

January rain falls, an icy clatter as I start packing.  Has God poured acetone over the city?  A trace of color runs in the gutter.

Josh Urban is a writer and musician about to move away from Washington, DC.  

Two pieces by Ramona Scarborough

Break the Ice

Instructions for parties

Deep breath to relax

Select small groups of one to three people

Rehearse opening lines in your mind

Move forward and speak

Sheer Nirvana

Death by Chocolate ice cream

Donuts oozing filling

Pie smothered in whipped cream

Nutty fudge

No calories, no cavities, no guilt,

And scales without numbers

Ramona Scarborough has used other’s life experiences as well as her own to author eleven books. She shamelessly eavesdrops, peeps through windows without being arrested, and plunders material from books, movies, and the news to write her over one-hundred published stories. Her imagination wakes her up at night. She rushes to her computer to write the words tumbling out of her brain. She’s especially fond of her husband, Chris, her five kids, and her two rescue cats.

Three pieces by Jim Bates

Swagger Like This

She looked at the ventilator where her philandering estranged husband lay dying. That’s what you get you big jerk. She adjusted her mask and smiled.

Scallywag

He was a gun waving drunk. She hid his bullets but for one. The one he played Russian Roulette with while she cheered him on.

Quiet Time

Winter wind blew cold across the snow-covered garden where colorful tulip bulbs lay waiting for spring. Like the hopeful old man watching from his window.

Jim lives in a small town twenty miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His stories have appeared in CafeLitThe Writers’ Cafe MagazineA Million Ways, Cabinet of HeedParagraph Planet, Mused – The BellaOnline Literary Review, Nailpolish Stories, Ariel Chart, Potato Soup Journal, Literary Yard and The Drabble. You can also check out his blog to see more: www.theviewfromlonglake.wordpress.com.

Best of 2020

What a painful year. So much suffering and loss, however, does not quell the human desire to create. Rather, it so often stokes the flames. I am grateful to the writers, the artists, the photographers, the film makers, the actors, the dancers, the musicians for doing what they do–cobbling together a beautiful thing from the pieces of their shattered hearts, and unifying all of us in the process.

Best of 2020” stories were selected for their unique use of language, breadth of story in so few words, emotional impact, and the complex and original relationship of the titles to their stories. Congratulations to the writers whose work was selected for this special issue.  And thank you to every submitter, contributor, and reader of 2020. Nailpolish Stories wishes you an abundance of good health and a most happy 2021.

from October:

999 Happy Haunts

Mother dropped my cake, the word happy in chocolate ruins. She said she wouldn’t fail next year, eyed the half-empty champagne. So many next years.

Brooding In Burgundy

When Mom finally came back, she had me rearrange her room. Just like before, she said. There were always spaces, no matter how I tried.

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others. 

from July:

Blueberry Pie

It’s picnic weather. We emerge from our house, cheeks burning and jaws sweating beneath our masks. The public pool is empty, filled with poisonous spit.

Kelsey Styles (she/her) is a Media Technologist with Wilmington University. She has an undergraduate in Communications Studies and Creative Writing from Widener University, and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Communication Management from Wilmington University.

Plum Passion by James Bates

Six feet apart in line our eyes met, twinkling.
“I like your face covering,” she said.
“Yours, too,” I replied.
The pandemic just got bearable.

Jim lives in a small town twenty miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His stories have appeared in CafeLit, The Writers’ Cafe Magazine, A Million Ways, Cabinet of Heed, Paragraph Planet, Mused – The BellaOnline Literary Review, Nailpolish Stories, Ariel Chart, Potato Soup Journal, Literary Yard and The Drabble. You can also check out his blog to see more: http://www.theviewfromlonglake.wordpress.com.

from April

Cliff Hanger by Suzanne Cottrell

Starlings swirled.  Annette covered her head and dashed to her car.

Hitchcock’s The Birds weighed on her mind.

A bloody beak pecked at her windshield.

Suzanne Cottrell, a Buckeye by birth, lives with her husband and three rescue dogs in rural Piedmont North Carolina.  An outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, she enjoys reading, writing, knitting, hiking, Pilates, Tai Chi and yoga.  Her prose has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Bearing Up,Exploring, Pop Machine, Unwanted Visitors, Empty Silos, Dragon Poet Review, Dual Coast Magazine, Parks and Points, and Nailpolish Stories, A Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal.  She’s still riding her writing wave.

from January:

Making Harmony

Parlor ivories, garage drums. Rounded, mellow, brash and dissonant. From opposite sides, brother-sister duets ease the house’s tension, music keeping our newly shaky familial peace.

Kelly Kotewa is a college instructor in Madison, Wisconsin. When she’s not writing, she is riding her bike.

October, 2020

Two pieces by Yash Seyedbagheri

999 Happy Haunts

Mother dropped my cake, the word happy in chocolate ruins. She said she wouldn’t fail next year, eyed the half-empty champagne. So many next years.

Brooding In Burgundy

When Mom finally came back, she had me rearrange her room. Just like before, she said. There were always spaces, no matter how I tried.

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others. 

Pearl of Wisdom by Alexandra Paskhaver

Straight back. Chin up. Smile. She marches to the altar and says the words. Two countries sealed by marriage. Her eyes burn with bitter tears.

Alexandra Paskhaver thinks, therefore she is.

Don’t Be Spotted by Suzanne Cottrell

We donned our urban cameo costumes for a Halloween city block party.  Then screamed and ran when artist, resembling Liu Bolin, emerged from a mural.

Suzanne Cottrell lives with her husband and two rescued dogs in rural Piedmont North Carolina.  An outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, she enjoys reading, writing, knitting, hiking, Pilates, Tai Chi and yoga.  Her flash fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Inwood Indiana Press anthologies, Dragon Poet Review, Dual Coast Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Nailpolish Stories, A Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal.  She continues to enjoy her writing journey.

Three pieces by Tyrean Martinson

Sundays

Red sun rising in a smoke-hazed world.
We stop our trek. Lift hands. Pray for clear skies.
We see hints of blue sky and rejoice.

Fearless

I climb the cliff’s back. 
At the top, my family’s laughter mingles as they leap into glimmering water. 
I breathe in, jump. Stifle my scream.

Topless and Barefoot

Car: Topless.
Toes: Bare.
Time: Sunset.
I drive the shimmering dark country roads into the blue-black night.
Someday: I will see you again, my love.

Tyrean Martinson has words in her soul, in the marrow of her bones. She can’t stop writing, and won’t. Currently, she is at work on a sci-fi novella series, a fantasy novel, and a mish-mash of short works. 

Space Replacement by Alicia Yau

“Approaching destination. Rockets off.” 

“Done.” 

 “Red button!” 

 “What?” 

 “Fired!” Clapped.  

 “Sorry…” Pressed.  

“Not you. The space debris!” 

 “But…” 

  “What?” 

  “I pressed your red eject button.”

Alicia loves to read and write fiction and science fiction. She has publihed in 365tomorrows.  

Foil Blast by Anita Khabiya

I kept saying it’s ok, kept adjusting; balanced acts only for others.  One fine day there was a blast over the rooftop. And everything changed.

Anita Khabiya from India is a Chemical Engineer by academics and a trained Montessori Directress by heart running a Montessori House of children from a decade. She expresses best through words and ends up impressing others with her food.

July, 2020

Whole Lotta Seoul by Connor Orrico

My roommate’s Instagram bloomed in beau monde last year, or the year before. I don’t remember exactly: his spirit always had pride, flag or not.

Connor is a student who likes listening to stories of how we endure.

 

 

Two pieces by Kelsey Styles

Diamond Ring

The pandemic is a rolling national holiday for President Bezos. Our packages line the garage. Our bubble wrap chokes turtles caught under his ex-wife’s Yacht.

Blueberry Pie

It’s picnic weather. We emerge from our house, cheeks burning and jaws sweating beneath our masks. The public pool is empty, filled with poisonous spit.

Kelsey Styles (she/her) is a Media Technologist with Wilmington University. She has an undergraduate in Communications Studies and Creative Writing from Widener University, and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Communication Management from Wilmington University.

 

 

Plum Passion by James Bates

Six feet apart in line our eyes met, twinkling.
“I like your face covering,” she said.
“Yours, too,” I replied.
The pandemic just got bearable.

Jim lives in a small town twenty miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His stories have appeared in CafeLit, The Writers’ Cafe Magazine, A Million Ways, Cabinet of Heed, Paragraph Planet, Mused – The BellaOnline Literary Review, Nailpolish Stories, Ariel Chart, Potato Soup Journal, Literary Yard and The Drabble. You can also check out his blog to see more: http://www.theviewfromlonglake.wordpress.com.

 

 

Mandy by Moinak Dutta

Mandy had been a fine girl. She could have been a good wife too. Only that her man went to another town. She waited. Eternally.

Moinak Dutta is a published fiction writer having two romantic & literary fictions to his credit namely ‘ Online@offline’ and ‘ In search of la radice’. Many poems and short stories written by him got published in several dailies, magazines, ezines, anthologies. He works as a teacher.

April, 2020

 

Cliff Hanger by Suzanne Cottrell

Starlings swirled.  Annette covered her head and dashed to her car.

Hitchcock’s The Birds weighed on her mind.

A bloody beak pecked at her windshield.

 

Suzanne Cottrell, a Buckeye by birth, lives with her husband and three rescue dogs in rural Piedmont North Carolina.  An outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, she enjoys reading, writing, knitting, hiking, Pilates, Tai Chi and yoga.  Her prose has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Bearing Up, Exploring, Pop Machine, Unwanted Visitors, Empty Silos, Dragon Poet Review, Dual Coast Magazine, Parks and Points, and Nailpolish Stories, A Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal.  She’s still riding her writing wave.

 

 

Forest at Midnight by Mehreen Ahmed

There were no lights, but sparks of ubiquitous fireflies in the forest of a midnight. Only a fire raged to a jaundiced sky. Denizens perished.

 

Mehreen Ahmed can be found at:

http://authorshout.com/2019-reader-ready-awards-winners/, amazon.com/author/amazon.com.mehreenahmed,

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5267169.Mehreen_Ahmed, http://www.midwestbookreview.com/sbw/may_17.htm#fiction, https://theeditorschoice.wordpress.com/, https://novelwritingfestival.com/?s=Mehreen+Ahmed

 

 

 

 

Blue Gray by Yash Seyedbagheri

Nancy sends emails to old friends every Friday. Asks for personal communion over coffee or beer.Spends the evenings refreshing email. Refresh, refresh. Shuts curtains.

 

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His story “Soon” was nominated for a Pushcart. Yash’s stories are forthcoming or have been published in Cafe Lit, Mad Swirl, 50 Word Stories, and Ariel Chart, among others.

 

 

 

 

Two pieces by Kate Jeong

 

Getaway

The ocean waves chopped under the bobbing boat. Foam fizzled, and the rays of the sun kissed down freckles on their skin. It was summer.

Slater Gray

Crumbling walls caved in on her sides. All she could feel was her limbs pressed onto her flesh. Her lungs burst for an intake.

Kate-Yeonjae Jeong likes her nails practical and clean, and rarely paints them a bold hue. She is a published author, and her poetry collection, Glitter Dust, (releasing soon!) will donate proceeds to a local hospital. Kate hosts free platform Book Bugs to encourage literacy education for English Second Language, which can be found on Youtube.

 

 

 

 

Be More Pacific by Monica Crumback

 

Just once

in San Francisco

accidentally found

Land’s end

lost on a path

fleeing great art

running from Rodin

finding white Boulders

gnashing green sea.

 

Monica Crumback lives in Michigan where she writes and teaches children how to read.

 

 

Two pieces by Briana Hernandez

 

I’m Not Really a Waitress

 

I move swiftly between tables, eyeing each patron carefully. As I turn, I feel someone grab for the small pistol barely covered by my uniform.

 

Silver Slippers

 

She dances on the stage, spotlight on her, silver slippers gleaming. Little did they know that her legs and feet were peppered with bone tumors.

 

Briana Hernandez is an aspiring author who’s work has appeared in Breakwater and The Ice Colony. She’s currently wrapping up her MFA, and spends her free time writing or experimenting with glitter polish.

 

 

 

 

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