short story by ANALICIA TORRES
My chains rattled with an unbearable amount of screeches and clanks. The pain in listening to the metal grate against the stone was enough to drive anyone insane, even me. It was a wonder I hadn’t pried the loose nail in the sconce out and forked it through my skull already. I thought about it, too— fantasized, actually. I dreamt about the day where the manacles didn’t chafe my skin and the sound of feet approaching didn’t make my stomach curl in on itself and squeeze everything inside me to the surface. The torches— or torch I should say, considering the others died out days ago— didn’t give off the warmth I’d hoped they would. Instead, their flickers of life left me with the same guttural pain they always did. Not for the fact that they were murderous flames only held back by a single wall, but the fact that, in some way, I related to that very monster. We were both bound to this dank room of cold seepage and the musty smell of death further down the way without a way of escape other than the person who will carry us out of here. Continue reading MOTHER
by AMBER YOUNG
There was once a vast grove. Tall, towering trees with leaves that blanketed the earth from the fierce light of the sun. Patches of clovers and tiny buttercup flowers were carefully nestled among the green, vibrant colors and strands that were laced with dew. Living within these trees and plants were animals of many kinds. There was Finch, a talkative bird, with soft brown speckles feathers that blended in perfectly to her surroundings. There was Frog, and Toad, the two different but very close friends. There was Squirrel, he was a grey creature that never seemed able to stay still. Lastly, there was Turtle, who was very shy. Continue reading Talk
a short story by ANALICIA TORRES
The great clock in the village’s square chimed. Several thunderous echoes boomed from the high tower that loomed over the bright city. The roarious crowd snapped their heads to look up at the small hand of the clock, their eyes watching in terror as the big arm moved in tortuous sweeps. With the sudden swiftness of a desert roadrunner, the citizens released a simultaneous shriek and ran, their business within the city long forgotten. Dust scattered in the wake of so many hurried footsteps; far off in the distance, a lone child wailed for the parents who had long forgotten him. Doors rushed to close, curtains ripped to shield the windows, shutters slammed shut to block out the darkness they knew was coming. A straggler swept up the abandoned child in his arms and stumbled to an open doorway. His foot crashed crookedly on the bottom step of a tavern; he landed on the ground in a heap of spilled coins and ribbons. The child rolled out of his grip and pulled at his arm to get him back to his feet. Continue reading Shadow and Dust
By JAROD STURYCZ – The Abstract Section
Structure unmoved for 900 years
Has grown like roots and diamonds and tears.
Many kings and leaders have come and gone.
But only he that is true
Will heave the rifle from the stone. Continue reading The Rifle in the Stone
by ANALICIA TORRES
The world is nothing.
Everything is gone and only ash remains. Embers smolder as they die, winds drag along the scent of smoke and death. And yet here I am– alive.
Blood pools around me in a crusted mold. How long have I been here? Where exactly is here? Continue reading Run
By JAROD STURYCZ
The bright lights fade in the distance behind our moving car; my ears steadily pulse with their numbness, but can still hear the faint tape playing from the speakers. Far behind, where the lights came from, a vast structure with interior walls like paintings and windows splattered with turquoise snowflakes, disappears. I loved being in that building and what I got to feel there, a feeling that I felt from the moment I pushed open the doors until the second I pulled them open to leave. I still feel a residual strike from what I felt in that pulsing numbness now moving from my eardrums to the back of my head. Continue reading Villain.coexist
By JAROD STURYCZ
Their ship was larger than our sun.
Their planet was more beautiful and complex than our own.
Their words were older than the first grain of sand on our beaches.
They wandered hopelessly throughout their galaxy, hoping to find someone, searching hundreds of galaxies, finding no warmth of more life. They found only a dozen uneven planets with far apart mountains statically facing multiple other mountains in a circular formation, but they found no one inside those circles, or atop the mountains to admire its white pulchritude. Continue reading What a Difference Distance Makes
By Jarod Sturycz
As always, I awoke, with slow surprise, my body realizing it was still alive. As always I lied on my mattress; it bore a late afternoon sky blue hue and was topped off with a single dark ivy green pillow which held my rebooting cranium. I whispered to myself to get up, go outside and drive to work, but the rest of my body did not hear the words leave my lips due to the sustained gusts of room temperature air respiring from the small fan at the foot of my bed. So I said it a little louder get up, go outside, and drive to work and with that my leg muscles powered on and swung the rest of me out of bed onto the light rosewood carpet of my bedroom. Continue reading Stain of Mauve
By JAROD STURYCZ
“If the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection depends on death, destruction, and violence of the strong against the weak, then these things are perfectly natural. On what basis, then, does the atheist judge the natural world to be horribly wrong, unfair, and unjust?” — Dr. Timothy Keller
The gray-haired gym teacher had just about finished his smoke break when the bell blared its mid-afternoon shrill. The sides of his head had been buzzed in a neat, sharp-edged formation like the blade of a hatchet ready to split apart a weak branch. Taking one last drag from his third cigarette of the front half of the day, he inhaled deeper than when the first cigarette ever touched his lips in high school. He flicked the charred desert orange butt across the aged concrete to join the others that have been collecting quotidianly since 1955, when the school opened. Continue reading Red Hostilia