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June 2019: “The Great Unknown” Call For Submissions

“Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn’t exist yet, but soon will, and will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again.”
– Ray Bradbury

Share your original flash fiction, non-fiction, or poetry piece that fits our theme by Sunday, June 30 for a chance to be included in our publications that following week.

Be sure to send in your work via our Submissions page!

Here’s a word list to prompt some inspiration – try writing a 400 word description or stream of consciousness for each one, then go back and expand on an idea that stands out to you the most:

The Discovery
The Encounter
The Exploration
The Revelation
The Search

Never Again

by John M. Carlson

I really can’t afford to be here! Rick thought, as he sat down at his favorite table in his favorite restaurant.

Indeed, he knew he’d be lucky if he could avoid having to go back onto his college ramen diet. At the same time, though, he wanted to have a nice lunch to celebrate the fact that his divorce was now final. Of course, there was the small matter of alimony (which was why he’d probably be eating a diet dominated by ramen soon). But the miserably unhappy marriage itself was ended, and he was free to move on.

He sat, thinking of the marriage that had just ended. Never again, he thought. I’m done with relationships!

Of course, he’d said “never again” when his last two relationships had ended. But this time he meant “never again” when he said “never again.”

Indeed, he thought, it might be best if no one had relationships. Based on what he saw with his family and friends, relationships more often than not seemed to end badly for all concerned. A bitter divorce if one got married. Or if one was only dating there would be a vitriolic breakup. But maybe he was just cynical.

He now remembered back to when he was 12. Back then, relationships seemed so crazy. Then, he became a teenager…and suddenly the most important thing imaginable was having a girlfriend. Relationships remained hugely important even to the present day, even though he’d learned from bitter experience that today’s relationship was tomorrow’s expensive trip to divorce court.

I understood something at twelve that I think I forgot: how crazy relationships are! he thought.

Oh, well. At least, his last relationship was finished, and he’d never, ever, ever have a relationship again.

***

After lunch, Rick headed back to his apartment. A woman was moving into an apartment down the hall from his. She was, Rick noted, very beautiful.

“Hi!” she said. “I’m Danielle!” She smiled a smile that absolutely glowed.

Rick introduced himself. They chatted a couple of minutes. Rick could sense she was interested in him. Very interested.

A few minutes later, Rick headed down to his apartment. All he could think about was Danielle.


John M. Carlson lives in the Seattle area. His stories have appeared in a variety of online publications. More of his work can be seen on his website.

Refuge

by Fabrice Poussin

It is hard to catch up with the character she plays
running from word to word, passing a period
down to another paragraph to the end of a chapter
so eager she is to reach the grand finale of her own story.

Always she wants to close the cover and find refuge
within the sheets of the unfinished romance
in a perilous cliff-hanger safe from the rest of us
alone in the dark corner of our unwanted thoughts.

Timid to the outsider she never looks from the page
dark spectacles give shelter to those disturbing gazes
hearing not a sound, she awaits the moment
when she too will commune with her dreams.

Peace is the only aim of this trembling soul
once trapped in the vise of a frenzied mob
life flows in her crimson rivers as in torrents
and all she wanted was an instant with her knight.


Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and many other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications.

Inkling To A Stranger

by Heather Bellinger

Light curves like a question mark
as it enters a stranger’s mouth.

It dives, like a confident downstroke,
and commas to kiss the tongue.

It soothes the throat with assonance,
alliteration, drops ellipses of rhyme,
reminding him he’s more than a forlorn epithet.


Heather Bellinger is a recent Corban University graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in English. She enjoys writing poetry of all sorts, flash fiction, and plays, and can be found roaming around in bookstores, theatres, or her kitchen pantry as she attempts another British dessert. She plans to continue writing as she pursues teaching, graduate school, and theatre.

One Night At Barry’s Nightclub

by John Grey

I was intrigued by
an asymmetrical surface
shaped by the quirks
of ancestral DNA.

A combination of forehead,
cheeks, ears, nose, mouth
and chin
with a neck base,
and bordered by long brown locks.

It operated with some kind
of hinge mechanism,
because it proved capable
of both looking in my direction
and then turning completely away.

The back view
was smooth, covered over,
and far less detailed.
It wasn’t capable of smiling.
Or of much beyond a resounding “No.”


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Midwest Quarterly, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review and the Dunes Review.