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Paper Death Sentences

a short story by Diana Clark

Synopsis: Living in a world where death sentences are delivered in the mail, two childhood friends fall in love. But even they can’t avoid the inevitable.

They give us eighteen years.

It’s enough time to learn how to talk, how to walk, how to count to ten, twenty, a hundred. It’s enough time to ride bikes, to string together sentences and paragraphs across paper. It’s enough time to create friendships that culminate in hand-laced bracelets and summer camp promises.

They give us eighteen years before our names get printed in black ink on a tiny piece of paper. Eighteen years before we become next in line to die. Continue reading

H. non scripta Junction

a short story by Kaitlin DiPatri

Synopsis: Polly shows up uninvited to a masquerade party in the woods. In a futile attempt to flee the scene, she finally learns to put on her jukin’ shoes and enjoy the party.

A pale yellow glow permeated the woods. Violins, cellos, and horns softly sounded all around Polly. Strings of lights wrapped around the oaks and the large wooden gazebo. Men and women dressed in elaborate ball gowns danced all around Polly, without acknowledging her. The women wore black feathery masks with long silver beaks. The men wore rich green and gold Colombina masks. Two young identical twins ran up to Polly and played with her hair until their mother shooed them away. The accordion player waltzed around her and laughed as he twirled away. Continue reading

Long Distance Memory

A short story by Chuck Erhardt

Synopsis: Charlie recalls long-forgotten conversations and memories when he hears a familiar voice from the past.

“Should I wake him up?”

“Oh, no! I want to watch him sleep.”

The muffled voices are those of Pop-Pop and Mom-Mom. I’m awake now but I’ll lie there with my eyes shut for a few more minutes. I’m with them for the weekend at our little lake house in Southern New Jersey, an hour from home, or just “down-to-the-lake.” I used to think it was one word. We’re going downtothelake, like that was the name of the place.

“Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay. My, oh, my, what a wonderful day!” sang Mom-Mom sweetly on the car ride the day before. The three of us are in the front seat of a 1970s blue station wagon, the kind with the wood on the sides Continue reading