The Lie of Diving Down
by Frederick Charles Melancon
Those days, we believed the reef called just to us. The rocks and coral speckled with wave-cut light drove us to swim down. We even harassed the divers about their suits because they carried their air. Clearly, forsaking breath after plunging under was the only way. One time, we swam out to the deep. Down there on the bottom, an old ventilation duct lay on the sand. No one spoke of the game we played, but I was the only one to swim through it. The rest cheered when we got back up above as if touching bottom meant something.
Blood, Sweat, and Tears
by A. Zaykova
Gym-Bunny-Gill posts a picture of her butt on the internet. The caption says it took blood sweat and tears to get this look, but hard work always pays off.
Miri works hard to keep the lights on. She bled too when Dad, fighting his whiskey demons, broke her lip. She sure as heck sweated, washing dishes at the restaurant all summer because rent was due. She didn’t cry when they lowered her mother into the ground. Not until later, when there was nobody to witness the deluge. Now Miri feels cheated because she’s got no picture to show for it.
by Saaiqa Malik
Brown-hued leaves crunched underfoot like stolen crisps in her mouth, the crackle of secretly opened snacks in the dark.
Chill wind tendrils slithered down her neck and up her sleeves. The tingle of fear as the cupboard light flashed on.
The ragged gasping breaths persisted, except only one set now. Her feet pounded out the beat of the drum in her chest.
Spindly dark trees waved an enthusiastic hello, welcoming her away from the angry voices floating behind.
A friendly root tipped her into the warm embrace of forest debris. Burrowing quickly, she left the cold and horror behind.