Category Archives: Short Stories

Verse: Part I of VI

BY JAROD STURYCZ – The Abstract Section

Do you know why is —– so quiet today?

                                                                                   He said his dad is gone.

He died?

                                                                                     No, on the way to school, I heard his mom say

                                                                                     “Your father’s still picking you up after school

                                                                                    and taking you home.”

Oh, well hopefully he’ll be alright for

rehearsal later.


Do you know where —– is today?

                                                                                     I’m not sure. Nobody came to pick me up this                                                                                               morning and he texted me that his parents didn’t                                                                                       come home last night.

Woah. He mentioned something about

that in his new verse he showed us

yesterday, I think.


Hey… my mom told me that there was a

fire at —–’s house last night.

                                                                                          What happened!?



Verse: Part II of VI

BY JAROD STURYCZ – The Abstract Section

It’s been five days! Not a word from —–!

Why won’t anybody tell us anything?

                                                                                Who knows how bad that fire was? I just want to                                                                                        see  him. I can’t focus on anything.


—–! You’re OK! Oh my god, we were-! —–,

your face…your hair…oh.

                                                                              [—–’s voice has become strained and raspy. Part of his

                                                                                 neck and head have been badly burnt.]

It’s good to see you guys….I got a haircut, I guess.

                                                                           Ha ha ha ha agk agk! [a nasty-sounding cough comes

                                                                               over him]

Hey, woah, are you alright? Be careful.

                                                                            Yeah, I’m OK. I just have to keep drinking water and it

                                                                            should get better–not gone–but less painful.

That’s good because we need you on these new

tracks, man. We’ve been worried sick about you

and, well, the nerves sort of pushed us to make

this beat that we think you could say your piece on.

                                                                                …I’ll try.


Nat’s Blog Entry 1: Top Dog


Everyone loves a good underdog story. The wimp finally racks up enough courage to defeat the school bully. The timid girl with the frizzy hair who always sits in the back ends up becoming a super famous neurologist or something else important. But what about the people like me? The “top dog” as some people may call us. The people whose entire story you think you already know because they have dozens of friends and get straight A’s, so they must have everything together, right? Wrong. You can listen to other people’s perception of my story if you’d like. They’ll probably tell you that I’m always happy and that I’m going to become like a doctor or a mathematician one day because my best grades are in math and science, so obviously that means that I want to do that for the rest of my life, right?. But if you want to hear my actual story, hear it from the person who knows it best, me. Continue reading Nat’s Blog Entry 1: Top Dog


by JAROD STURYCZ – The Abstract Section

On every surface in my bedroom

Sit bouquets varying in size and age,

Each one sent by the same girl who

Met me at a rare healthy stage.

From August to March, I did not move them;

We danced in an empty shell.

The green lines of music weakened my eardrum,

And heightened my senses, the flowers I smell. Continue reading Rattle

The Rainbow After the Storm


The rain was coming down hard as Hazel burst through the backdoor of the restaurant, her eyes welling up with tears, making it nearly impossible to see. She only managed to stumble a few steps before collapsing on the ground.  Her thin sweatshirt did very little to protect her from the now pelting rain. She struggled to crawl to a big oak tree a few feet away standing strong against the roaring wind. She leaned against it, relying on its sturdiness to support her entire being, while the rain began to let up. She held her head in her hands and finally released her anger and her tears.

Meanwhile, back at the restaurant, Davis contemplated going after the girl he just saw storm past him. Even though he was on the clock, he felt urge to see if she was okay. She did not seem like she was in a good state of mind and he didn’t want her getting lost or hurt. Continue reading The Rainbow After the Storm

Why Do I Feel This Way?


I was given the task of writing down my emotions and apparently it’s supposed to make you feel better? Well let me tell you that’s what’s happened at all. Drum roll…



If anything I feel worse about myself.

“Oh Samantha. Just give it a try. All you have to do is write. Even if you want to separate your thoughts, go for it ”

Thanks for the advice ‘Doctor Know It All’ but… the only thing this accomplished was the fact that I am making fun of you.

I know.

I know!

Fine I will give it a chance… Continue reading Why Do I Feel This Way?

City of Dreams


Stop trying!”

“You’ll never amount to anything in life!”

“You have to pay the bills, you know.”

These were the words swirling in Natalie’s head as she walked out the door of her bedroom, maybe for the last time. Math equations, English vocab, and Spanish tenses could go in through one ear and out the other within minutes, but these phrases clung to Natalie’s mind like a child to its mother on the first day of kindergarten. She wanted out. She needed to get away from the place where these words were uttered to her daily.

She grabbed her sweatshirt and purse off of the counter. Her purse contained her license, phone, headphones, debit card, and about $20. That’s all she would need, right? That and determination. She was set. She looked in the mirror at her scrawny body and thin, messy brunette hair and sighed. The image of herself in her head never matched what she saw when she looked in the mirror. Continue reading City of Dreams

Beautiful Sun


April will forever be my favorite month, not because the vibrant white flowers would grow in the school yard. And not because the light scent of rain was in the air. It was because this was the month I meet Sun. She was a new student at Northbrook Academy, and like her name she brought light into the dimly lit life. And I remember her so well.

Ms. Keaton looked up blankly from her desk. My teacher reminded me of a reptile. She was very skinny in her teacher’s uniform and had horrible posture. Her skin was dry and looked like she was constantly shedding it. She had thin hair that sat unevenly on her shoulders. Sun entered the room and was greeted by Ms. Keaton, who stared at Sun for a good five minutes until her monotone voice escaped her lips.

“Oh…Ah…Class this is…” Ms. Keaton’s brain was moving at the speed of a sloth, “this is…is…this…is…uhhhh…ummmm…this…is…Sun.” Ms. Keaton continued with the introduction, “She is from…is from…is…she…is…from…ummm…ahhh…Sun…is…she…is…from…Japan.” Continue reading Beautiful Sun


a short story by ANALICIA TORRES

My parents had just left the house when the emergency broadcast blared throughout the house: “WE INTERRUPT THIS BROADCAST TO ASK VIEWERS TO REMAIN CALM AND STAY INSIDE. LOCK ALL DOORS AND WINDOWS AND DO NOT ANSWER THE–”

The room went dark. In the back bedroom, the twins began to cry in their cribs, their music no longer lulling them to sleep. My heart leapt into my throat as I crawled toward the kitchen to take my phone off the charger. Sparks shot from the blackened screen and spat crackles along my hand. Outside, rain pounded down on the house, lightning tore blinding gashes in the sky, and thunder roared so loudly it sounded as if the world was being ripped apart. Continue reading Dreams

A Game

a short story by ANALICIA TORRES

It’s just a game, they said. That’s all it was. Nothing they said should have been taken to heart. The laughs, jokes, jeers, posts to Instagram and Snapchat— it was all just for fun, they said. Just a way to kill time and have fun. So if it was just a game, why didn’t Mila come back to life?

I sit in a metal chair that freezes me to the bone and stare blankly down at the steel table. The shine has worn off its surface, leaving large scratches and dents open for the visitors to see. “Let’s go over this again,” says Detective Brown.  “You and your friends— there were four of you before the accident, yes?— got bored hanging out and decided to search on the Internet for a game to play. You saw posts on social media and decided to try one. Is this right so far?” I nod. “Then the four of you went out into the woods to do what exactly?”

Something wet drops onto my hand. It’s cold, unmoving— like Mila. Dead, I think. She’s dead. Continue reading A Game

The Crazy Wants Out


Anna trudged up the steps. Another day full of boring school work and meaningless “friends” was over. She got ready for bed. She grabbed her two most prized possessions, her walkman and her headphones, and headed to her room to escape from the monotonous world.

Once she had her headphones in and her music playing, she finally felt free. Free from school. Free from people. Free from stress. Nothing but her, her music, and her thoughts. She closed her eyes and let her mind wander into the all too familiar abyss. The same abyss she escaped to last night and the one she would escape to again tomorrow night. Continue reading The Crazy Wants Out


a short story by ANALICIA TORRES

To the students of Blatown High,  the girl with the muddy boots and ragged army jacket was odd. She never spoke, never ate lunch, never smiled, and never looked up from the floor. Some people wondered if she breathed. She was so pale and skinny that she always caused people to do double takes when they glanced at her: she looked like a ghost. And maybe she was. She’d gone to the school for all four required years, but never once had she raised her hand or been called on, nor did the teachers pay her much attention. No one knew where she lived, except the school administrators, who weren’t allowed to divulge a student’s private information; very few people knew her last name, for that matter. To the townspeople, she was an enigma, but nobody bothered to crack her. Continue reading Covers

Open Your Eyes

a short story By REAGAN BECKER

The pills seemed to call him as he stared at the medicine bottle on the nightstand. Josh peeled his bed sheets back and stood out of his bed. He walked over to the nightstand swaying forward, his hospital gown trailed behind him. His dirty black hair was messy and his dark green eyes illuminated the empty hospital room against his dark skin. His sharp facial features were a slight reflection of his 19 year old body, from his skeleton like collarbones to his frail ankles.

“What? This wasn’t here a moment ago,” he thought. Josh moved his head from one side to the other like a rabbit hiding from a predator. He grabbed the bottle, his curiosity was satisfied. Josh studied the container and to his surprise the medicine had his name on it. Examining the label further Josh discovered a chilling note.

Take this and find out the truth. Continue reading Open Your Eyes


a short story by ANALICIA TORRES

In the small town of Contention, things that went bump in the night walked on the streets in the daylight, and the monsters that hid under beds sat at breakfast tables and ate with their families. Whenever something went wrong, it wasn’t their fault: it was Mrs. Rose’s.

Since her arrival to the small town, nothing had ever gone right for the residents. Power grids went up in flames, the schoolhouse caught fire, the fire station was swallowed in a sinkhole. To the people native to the town, it was all her fault. When people vanished into thin air, they blamed her. Some said she practiced witchcraft, others said she was the devil himself. When she walked down the street, the shadows followed her steps and cast out the sun. When she laughed, thunder cracked, and when she cried it rained. Everything, no matter how big or small, was her fault. When she flipped her beautiful blonde hair over her shoulder, another man left his wife. She was young and beautiful and always the talk of the town, but never in a good way. Continue reading Roses


a short story by ANALICIA TORRES

Imogene Wallis was a woman of many things, but kind was not one of them. She sat across from me at the silver table in the silver room of the silver hall, her hands neatly clasped before her and her head tilted in concentration. I could tell by the look in her eye there would be no chit-chat or sugar coating. Today, something was wrong with her and she wanted answers. How or if I would give them to her, I wasn’t quite sure yet.

“We found you wandering the streets after Statewide curfew,” the Director went on, and the computer above us showed us her every word. “Before you were detained, where did you come from?”

For the millionth time, I sighed. “ I don’t know.” Continue reading Defects

What Depression Taught Me


My depression taught me how to express myself

Whether on paper with ink or on my skin with a blade

Depression taught me how to make friends

The friends I make have the same disease constantly following them around

Making them feel trapped

Maybe I make these friends because I know I am unable to help myself

So I try my hardest to help them derail from the fate I know I have

Depression is my high school teacher

Pushing deadlines at me and making me go in circles to solve a problem that never ends

I always push depressions deadlines

One more day, please;

I need to see my friends

I need to pet my cat

I need to say goodbye

One more day turns into 2,3,4

Until depression is screaming at me to just

Finish my assignment

Finish myself off

Depression taught me how to learn

Learn how many painkillers it takes to overdose or where the vein is on my wrist

Learn how to make everyone hate me so maybe, just maybe,

They won’t care as much when I finish my assignment

Depression taught me to defend myself

From the outside world

To put myself in a space where I get told

When to eat, sleep, and get hand fed my meds

Depression taught me  how to love

Love everyone but myself because they all deserve it

But I don’t because depression is a constant reminder of how useless I am

Depression loves me

Depression loves me because I am the one

Feeding it day by day,

Night after night

Until it is fully satisfied

But it never is.


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



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

Shadow and Dust

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



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



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

What a Difference Distance Makes


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

Stain of Mauve

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

Red Hostilia


“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