Special thanks to Jessica Standifird for her editorial assistance. This week’s artwork is by Rachel Warren.
by Rachel Warren
One day I saw a fish with red lips, dragged the creature from the water, puckered up and kissed it. It turned into a woman so beautiful, she stole my breath, and I gasped and gasped but could not get enough air. She picked me up and threw me in the water where I grew gills and fins and scales and ate minnows until enticed by a squirming worm on a hook. Against my better judgment, I went for a bite, and was ripped from the water, falling ashore, gasping again. And it was her there with the fishing rod.
by Lisa M. Moore
Alaina’s father brought home a bear cub when she was three, saying it no longer had a mother. Alaina named the bear Chocolate Milk. He followed her around like a loyal dog, cleaned up food she spilled on the floor, served as a pillow when she napped. Chocolate Milk took such good care of Alaina, that the child didn’t notice her parents’ disappearance until days later when the police came to her door with sad news of how their bodies were found in the neighbor’s yard, mauled to death by a bear.
The Tree Girl
by Tomas Hendry
He cultivated the tree from the time it was a sapling, training each new twig until it took her shape. Finally the tree stood tall, its legs twisted together, arms straight out, leafed fingers pointed skyward. A great bouquet sprouted from behind the twisted twigs that gave shape to eyes, nose, mouth. She smiled. She was ready. He felled her with an axe, spread her twisted legs, and planted his own seed deep within her as she shrieked. He bathed her feet in water as the child grew. Nine months later it emerged, covered in blood-soaked moss, green and shaking.
by Daryl Bailey
A crimson trail trickles from my nose, crawls over my lips, and drips off my chin into the sink. I plug the sink to see just how much I’m losing and soon there’s an inch of thick, red liquid. A pounding headache gives way to bits of rubbery, gray brain matter falling out with the flow. In the mirror I see my skull collapsing. Bits of bone come out next. Then I watch as my eyes sink back into their sockets. Everything becomes a swirling red storm until I’m in the sink, staring up at the ceiling.
by Jerry Nunez
“That’s one ugly child,” said Myrtle, holding the photo of Eustace’s first great grand baby.
“You blind as a bat, woman,” said Eustace, snatching the photo back. “You wouldn’t know about it anyway. Your uterus done shriveled up like a prune before you could get any man to look at you.”
“Let me see that picture,” said Pearl.
“Now you tell me that child ain’t gorgeous,” said Eustace.
“It ain’t gorgeous,” said Pearl, wincing. “That child’s a dog.”
“Girl, it’s got floppy ears and fur. They sent a picture of their new puppy. Didn’t you read the back?”