Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rogue Raindrops

He didn’t beg as she walked away. She’d expected he would, especially after the past six months of heart-shaped chocolates and beagle puppy eyes.

She cleansed herself with a deep breath, blowing a warm fog over the chilly glass to obscure her view of the station and of him. He would stand there, the bouquet and ring she had refused in his trembling, anxious palm, until the train had slithered its way around the bend and out of sight. There was no need to witness it. She relaxed back into her seat as the conductor announced their departure. Here, anonymous amongst strangers, there were no expectations. She could finally breathe again, and was sublimely alone.

The train slid forward. When she was sure he was out of sight, she wiped away the film of moisture from the glass. Raindrops littered the frigid pane, running down the window diagonally in a predetermined path. Several more droplets followed, careful to keep to the path of the first. The drops merged on their way, creating more powerful Super Drops that bulged together at the bottom corner of the window like trapped lemmings.

Then there were the Rogue Drops. These carved their paths slowly down the pane, stopping every few moments to consider their next move. Each travelled alone across the wilderness of glass, dispersing themselves as they went, until they had stretched their marvellous entirety over the cold, slick surface, ending in nothing.

It was these she liked the best.

by Laurie Theurer

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rusty in Reverse

Cold rain pelted the pond and rickety wooden pier, fewer than a hundred feet from where she worked the shovel.  Despite the rain, she continued digging the grave beneath the tree where she had so often read when the weather was nice.  She wanted it to be deep enough that other animals would not desecrate Rusty’s final resting spot.  With a trembling hand, blurred vision, and mucus running into her mouth, she had put him down that morning.  Rusty had smelled, despite repeated baths; the stench of old dog and pending death clinging like flies to a horse’s eyes.

Before that, he’d slowed down, of course, growing mellow, docile, and constant - a silent partner in an equation that often included coffee and a good book.  Her naturally cold feet had been warmed with his constant presence at the foot of her bed, and lightning, which had always troubled her, was made bearable on many an October eve.

Even earlier, Rusty had consoled her when her husband left, large wet eyes seeming to say she was better off without the clod.  Rusty had stayed far enough from her horse to avoid a hoof but close enough to make clear his loyalties when she and the clod rode together, usually looking for strays.  Baring his teeth when the clod became hostile with bourbon, Rusty had taken more than one kick to the head in defense of his mistress.  Folks who knew them both had been relieved when the clod was replaced in the old, lime green Ford pickup she drove on monthly trips into town - Rusty a mainstay the clod could never be.

As a young dog, Rusty had boundless energy, and she had shed a doughy look as their hikes increased, foraying deeper into the wooded hills behind the cabin.   New found, lean confidence had made the clod leery, as if he sensed she could live without him.  Although without Rusty it was doubtful she would have survived the pneumonia that had stricken her when the clod had been away on a long haul.  The heat from the dog’s body had been her only warmth when the firewood ran low and her strength to get more, still lower.

Many times she had thought back to first finding Rusty, or more accurately, his finding her.  Like now, she had been standing in the rain, but at the end of the pier, her hair matted to her skull and her vision blurred.  She’d been shivering, the cold being the least of the contributing factors, as she gazed into the murky lake disturbed by raindrops that pocked its surface.  It was then that she felt eyes on her - no human for miles around - and she had slowly pivoted.  The Golden Retriever was standing with hind legs in the mud and forelegs on the start of the pier.  He had approached her cautiously, taken the rope that dangled from the cement block in her arms, and pulled her back from the brink.

By Michael Twist

Thursday, April 10, 2014


 She dropped the wine bottle and screamed. The large kitchen echoed for a moment from the double waves of sound. Then silence fell again in this temple of shiny surfaces, latest gadgets, and that massive stove he had insisted on getting.

     “Think of all the parties we’ll give, darling,” he had drawled and then left her to deal with the grunting moving men.

     Now the pure white floor tiles at her feet looked like an abstract painting. She put out one bare foot and pressed down, at first gingerly and then with deep-seated self-loathing as the glass shards cut into her pedicure perfect foot. 
     The second foot followed. The pain was shooting up her legs from her feet. And she felt for the first time in weeks alive, present in her own body. After the one scream, not even a whimper came from between her clenched jaws. Her eyes were unfocused as her whole being turned inward to the pain. 
     This at least was real. This at least filled the silence.

by Rebekah Moors

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Words Are Small

Words are small, written or spoken,
their curve is lost in growing shadow,
they do not carry like they would
in the vitreous clarity of forgotten days,

but loft and founder somewhere
in their search for the one that will listen.

Birds carry the clues to our song
so high above us
where stars bend in behind the parchment of blue
turning their chorus of cold fire in response.

The uncut grass harbors shimmering silk,
these cold nights the spiders climb down
into the pasture’s tiny hearts,
spinning their stories to an audience of stone;

their weightless moorings stream like silver banners
unnoticed in the sinking season.

by Seth Grube

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The bus, the buns and the detour

‘He’s bought a London bus’.

‘How d’ya know? And I’ll have those two bath buns, make a nice change for their tea’.

‘She was in here, buying her bread.’

Monica pulled the string tight around the cake box. The red and green ribbon frayed out at the ends. She has a manicure every week, more often in the summer.

‘One of those big red ones?’

‘Yes. That’ll be one seventy.’


‘She couldn’t say, just said he came back with it, last Wednesday, parked it up their front garden. Then she left with her two sliced white.’

It wasn’t far out of my way. Mum and Dad would be watching Ready Steady Cook, then the Weakest Link. The bus was there. It didn’t leave much of a gap between the gate and back door path. They’d have to watch for the bin men. The house was a drab looking semi. I don’t think anything had been done to the paintwork since they moved in, eight, no, ten years ago. Just after I left school. I do our every two years, but then I would, wouldn’t I.

Our Simon got to know him first. A man like that, I wouldn’t have met him otherwise. I remember the Jubilee street party. We got together to do the decorations. She was busy or ill, or something. He said the way I coiled the wires they looked like snakes taking a well earned rest. I thought it was a shame he was married.

Turned out for the best. If he’d been free, and if he’d fancied me, what would I have done? Simon would’ve said go, just go. Would’ve turned on me with his big brother voice.

It’s been there a year now. The paint’s started to flake. 

I could sort that out in no time. 

by Marilyn Hammick