Moving Day

by Dawn DeBraal

Billy Bergen was picked on by the neighborhood bullies. Lunch money, his new baseball, all his marbles. Billy was tired of the whole thing. Those Delaney brothers, all seven of them, were mean and lived a few blocks from him. The brother always seemed to know when Billy was on an errand or needed to be away from his yard. Billy was so relieved when his mother and father told him they were moving. No more Delaney brothers!

“Where are we moving to?” Billy asked.
“It’s a surprise!” his mother and father told him. Billy didn’t care as long as it wasn’t where he was living now.

It was moving day! A big truck pulled up at his doorstep. Box after box went into the back, along with their furniture. The moving men latched the truck door. Billy and his little sister squeezed into the back seat of their car to follow behind the moving truck. As they were leaving, there stood the Delaney brothers all seven of them, looking sad. They were losing their fall guy.

Billy rolled down the window sticking half of his body out of the car.
“So long, suckers!” he shouted out to the Delaney boys. He even flipped them off as they turned the corner making sure his mom and dad didn’t see that part. The Delany brothers chased after their car but couldn’t keep up.

Sitting with his sister in the back seat of the car piled high with boxes Billy rolled up the window. He sighed with relief. A new place, a new start, a new life. Things were going to be great! The moving truck went about six blocks from his old house turning into the driveway of their new house.


Dawn DeBraal lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband Red, two rat terriers and a cat. Recently retired, she has discovered the love of telling a good story can be written.

A Word

by Chelon Sabree

A dialogue fluent in flesh
We recite scorching sonnets
Our voices bared until a desert of inarticulate
Vibrations, rendered hoarse, mouth parched
Your skin drips with syllables
Offered an oasis
Poetry upon my tongue
Breaths whispering desires
Passion echoing through sated hair
We lie on dunes of verse


Chelon Sabree is a mother, a wife, an avid reader and lover of coffee who has decided to try and share her writing.

Here and There

by Helen Chambers

Here, rain splatters on the windows and seeps cold around my ankles. The dark is spreading and the light is departing. People slump in front of screens and turn their backs away from the weather.

There, we walked with a spring in our step and our hearts on our sleeves, and opened our faces and minds to the sun, watching each other in its golden glow. Channeling its energy, we lived summer outdoors like the elements.

Here, life trudges alone with a chill and a shiver, winds whip me round corners, desiccated leaves scrape my face. I cannot bear to stay indoors, but the cold drives me in.

There, we slept out under a light show of stars and meteors, watched sunsets, smelt honeysuckle and tasted salt spray.

Here, damp leaf-mould muffles my steps, and your words turn to dust.
I want to turn the clock back.


Helen Chambers gets creative inspiration when out walking (usually with her head in the clouds) and from her involvement in local writing groups and an Open-Air Shakespeare acting company. Since leaving teaching, she has been awarded an MA in Creative Writing by the University of Essex (2016), has won the Fish Short Story Prize (2018), the Felixstowe Short Story Prize (2016) and the Hysteria Flash Fiction Prize (2014). When she can remember her password, she blogs at helenchamberswriter.wordpress.com

Captive Of Circumstances

by Mileva Anastasiadou

He lost his job the day Athens became the world book capital. That was a sign. He spent that day wisely, filled it like the empty pages of a book he would one day write. He crossed the streets that led to the Lycabettus hill and then climbed as high as his feet and breath allowed him to climb, searching for a place to sit and rest. He opened the book to a page at random, choosing a random paragraph and started the repair, the difficult task of putting himself together.

He then looked up to the sky, choosing the pieces carefully. He started by grabbing a piece of the Attic sky, smoky with exhaust fumes or even tear gas, then caught some city buzz, a honk or even a bird tweet, a few voices or even screams, drops of philosophical discussions that echoed through centuries, and went on grasping pieces of a glorious past. He collected a few sips of ouzo or even of that bitter poison that Socrates once drank, took hold of a couple of contaminated particles of past and future ideologies floating like invisible islands in the air and mixed them with the smell of defeat from the present and a trace of hope from the future.

He mixed the ingredients, improvised, until he achieved what he longed for, until he formed yet another piece which would someday complete the puzzle of his fragmented self, of his broken life, of his lost sense of freedom. And he felt as if he stood firmly on the ground, yet he was flying, beyond the clouds, high in the sky, taking deep breaths, to fill his lungs with oxygen and the book he was still holding in his hands served as a balloon which took him to other places, brighter, less dark than his own gloomy reality. Once he watched the sun set, when it was getting dark, he took the scissors and used it to cut off all the yarns that had kept him high, trying to land as gently as possible.

Once again, he had mistaken lightness for freedom.

He then touched the ground and scattered all the pieces he had collected during the day back in the air, still as confused as before he had started collecting them, unable to find the perfect recipe for his salvation. He remained a captive of circumstances. He walked down the hill, storming into the open stores to consume, to buy all the liberty he could still afford, as long as he could afford it. It was air that he needed, hoping to fill the empty spaces of his lungs, or of the puzzle he hadn’t managed to complete. He went back home exhausted, holding the book tight, as if every hope to find the missing pieces was hidden inside its pages, in the book that had opened another window to the future.

He then closed it firmly and fell to sleep.


Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist, living and working in Athens, Greece. Her work can be found in many journals, such as the Molotov Cocktail, Maudlin house, Jellyfish Review, Asymmetry fiction, the Sunlight Press and others. She’s the founding editor of Storyland Literary Review. You can find out more about her and her work on Facebook

Punishments

by Tony Sakalauskas

The dark wooden door opened to allow the first of the three prisoners to enter the room. Three judges, two men and a woman, draped in black robes, were waiting for him.

The man wore an orange prisoner suit beneath his long brown hair. He had indistinct tattoos darkening his neck. He hadn’t shaved for two days.

The male judge, in the middle, seated behind the long table, shuffled some papers and spoke.

“It says here, from your personality tests, that you don’t like to read. Is that true?”

“Yes, your honor. I never read a book in my life.”

“Okay. It also says that you hated school. Is that true?”

“Yes, your honor. I dropped out in junior high.”

“Okay then. Here is your punishment. You will have to read a couple of dozen school books. Books such as: history, geography, biology and so forth. You’ll read them in jail. After you have read these books, you will be tested on them. Only when you pass the tests, will you be free. You may leave.”

The second prisoner appeared before the judge. Like the guy before him he had long brown hair and some matching brown facial hair. He also had some tattoos marking his neck that you couldn’t make out.

Once again it was the middle male judge who was doing all the talking.

“Your personality tests show that you like listening to Country and Western music. Is that true?”

“Yes, your honor. It’s all I listen to.”

“And that you hate heavy metal music. Is this also true?”

“Yes, your honor.”

“For your punishment, you will be given about two dozen heavy metal compact discs to listen to in your jail cell. You will learn the names of all the bands, the names of their albums, the names of their songs and the lyrics. You will be tested. When you answer all the questions, you will be set free. You may leave.”

The third prisoner appeared before the three judges. He was a clean cut kid with short blond hair and a clean shaven face. He wore silver-rimmed glasses. His neck did not display any tattoos. Even is posture was different; he stood more erect.

“Your personality tests show that you like to read,” said the middle judge. “That you’re a bookworm. Is that true?”

“Yes, your honor.”

“And that you hate boredom. Is that also true?’

“Yes, your honor.”

“The tests also show you to be an intelligent person, a law-abiding citizen. Why would you be involved in a break and enter with these other two prisoners who were here before us?’

“I just moved to the city and didn’t know anyone,” said the third prisoner. “All three of us live in the same apartment building. And um… I don’t make friends easily.”

“I see,” said the judge.

“For your punishment, you will not be allowed to read books or magazines or any other reading material. Also, you will not be allowed to watch television, or listen to the radio or to be on the computer.”

“But your honor, if I can’t do those things I’ll be bored to death. I’ll go crazy.”

“That’s the idea,” said the judge. “That’s your punishment, boredom. We had a difficult time thinking of a suitable time period for your sentence. So, we came up with this. When your so-called friends finish their sentences, you will be finished yours. You may leave.”


Tony is a 63-year-old Canadian from the city of Halifax, on the east coast of Canada. Follow him on Twitter @TonySakalauskas