The Landscape Artist by S.T. Otlowski

The painter sighed as he surveyed his newest project through the dusty windshield of his battered truck. This job, he thought, was going to take a lot longer than his original estimate. He reminded himself to never take another commission without first walking the ground. The area was mostly rolling hills etched with dry gullies.…

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The Queen Firefly by Dave Gregory

One summer night on the family farm, in 1975, a lightning bug followed us inside. My mother switched off the overhead light so my two brothers and I could see the firefly better. Mesmerized, we crouched to watch the insect walk across the brown carpet as the tip of its body blinked a random sequence.…

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Smoke and Ashes by Stephen Spotte

My father’s cigar-smoking, or rather its imminent threat, had caused our banishment to the porch. After supper, Dad had taken a cigar from his shirt pocket with the practiced deliberation of an actor. Mom, recognizing the cue as hers, stood and began clearing the dishes.             “Marcel,” she said, “you’re not going to smoke that…

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Kaleidoscope By Susan Cornford

           “I’m going to throw up. I’m going to throw up. I’m going to throw up all over my wedding dress!” I said.           “Breathe,” my friend, Monica, replied.           I breathed. I didn’t throw up. It was past the time of morning sickness so something else was wrong. The woman in the mirror in front of me reapplied the…

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