Stay Good by Emelie Fritzell

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            Stefan didn’t think it would make any difference, seeing his mother dead. She had been ill for almost a whole year and everyone knew this day would come. But suddenly, everything had been switched off to mute inside his head. It was a deafening silence. The kind of silence people always find terrifying; it happens when the aircraft takes off or descends from the sky to land; we blow the pressure out to get rid of this temporary discomfort and be able to hear again. 

            It is rather simple. We all know.

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Snowfall by David Hollingsworth

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            One strange day in my youth, on a Monday, the headmaster, Mr. Werman, interrupted my English class and Mr. Plimpton’s lecture on the Romantics, Wordsworth in particular. 

            We were supposed to have read “Lines” the night before.  I wasn’t paying much attention and was instead doodling lazy daydreams in my mind.  Mr. Plimpton, when he recited lines of the poem, had a sleepy, deep, and sonorous voice. 

            Since I wasn’t paying attention, Mr. Plimpton called on me and asked, “How would you describe the force that Wordsworth believes connects us all to nature and to each other, Mr. Rowland?”

            Before I could answer him, and long before the chilling fear of an audience could sink in, Mr. Werman entered, shuffled across the room, and whispered into the long raisiny ear of Mr. Plimpton.  After a moment of listening, Mr. Plimpton said, “Edward, Mr. Werman would like to have a word with you.”

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Graffiti Birds by Chris Castle

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            Bobby walked out of the house and down the road. Some of the birds were singing and some were not. He wondered why they didn’t sing, the starlings, the blackbirds and thought they might be unhappy. The idea of sad birds almost clouded his eyes but after ma, he had made a Bobby-promise not to make any more tears pop out of his eyes. They were cruel, hateful things, smudging everything, making buildings look like butter and the flowers like ruined photographs. No, no more tears for Bobby, even if his heart trembled and shook like the tracks when a train approached. Ma had always told him to stand behind the yellow lines when they’d gone on a trip and he’d always listened. Would he ever go on another trip now, without ma? He shook his head no, but in his heart, in that secret place where he made his dreams and sometimes fell in love with the pretty girl from the local shop that sold his pop, he wondered.

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PARTY GIRL by Lucille Lang Day

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            Ginger had long legs, jade-green eyes, and hair as red as autumn leaves. These days, at sixty-three, she had to henna her hair, and though it wasn’t as lustrous as it once had been, it was still thick and wavy and reached past her shoulders, a mane she could toss as she danced. The skin now sagged on her upper arms, and her thighs were a bit lumpy, but with sleeves and pants or a long enough skirt, nobody needed to know. She wore size 4, had no stiffness in her joints, and was always raring to go.

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A Night with Gerald by Ben Bellizzi

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            It was Thursday night and once again Gerald was packing them into the Old Town Pub. They came through the door in twos, the men stepping uncomfortably in slacks that had been purchased for them, the women attempting to appear grand in their pearls and summer dresses while they held their men close and claimed them. The couples at the tables settled in and agreed, ‘This is nice, we’re glad we did this,” while those who’d arrived late were forced to either balance on stools or lean against the walls. No one wanted to arrive too early, for the food went right through you, but there were certain sacrifices to be made for a big night out. It was Thursday and Gerald was playing, there was nowhere else to be.

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