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A Mother's Tears

A story about drugs, hate, control, and fear of a child

Brandi N. Astle

© Copyright 2014 by Brandi N. Astle

Photo of a woman cowering before a man.

I remember sitting in a bedroom with the door locked holding my five-month-old looking down at her face wondering why are we here? How did we get here? And why can't we leave? I guess the hardest thing for someone to figure out when they have absolutely no choice in anything is how, what, where are you going to get help from? I remember looking out the windows at the water thinking how I wish I could just walk out into it and not come back. But then I looked back down at that baby's face I was holding and I knew that I had to do something....


Will Rogers Entertained 
With Words

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2015 by Dale Fehringer


Photo of Will Rogers.

There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”

 --Will Rogers

Will Rogers, who developed into one of America’s favorite celebrities in the 1920’s and 1930’s, didn’t start off well. He fought with his father, dropped out of school after the 10th grade, and went from one venture to another, trying to find something he was good at. As much as he disliked school and studying, he probably had no idea he would wind up entertaining the country with his words....


Binkie Saves The Day


Ellie S. Thomas


© Copyright 2015 by  Ellie S. Thomas



Photo of a woman holding a little girl's hand.

Afterward, it would have been difficult to say just where it all began. Who would have thought that such a small quest as searching for one's relatives could plunge a person into a web of intrigue and crime that destroyed some reputations, made others, and involved so many people? In questioning whether it was all worth it or not, she had to admit, it had brought her Paul, hadn't it? Plus a family of wonderful people, and friends of sterling quality. What more could one want?

Surprisingly enough, small Binkie was likely the catalyst the morning she spied the fair head bent over a table in the library window where Marilyn was busy at work....

1 of 2 Groups

Carl Winderl

© Copyright 2015 by Carl Winderl


Student at green board with math problem.

In high school, or so it seemed to me, all of the students could be put into 1 of 2 groups: those who were really good at math, the 1’s who were whizzes at it actually, that it just came to ever so naturally, effortlessly: always, all the impossibly right answers, right away, and with such an air of sprezzatura as well; and then there were those who just never got it at all. No matter what.

I was in that 2nd group....



Brendan O'Brien

© Copyright 2015 by Brendan O'Brien


Photo of a rainbow over a Christian shrine.

        No matter how hard I try, light floods through my closed eyelids. I hear the faint sounds of conversations and floorboards creaking overhead. I strive to see my God’s face in rags and hear His voice in the blare of sirens. It is only now as the pen falls from my hand upon an open notebook that I realize the silence swarming me.

            I long for God to see me fall on my knees in worship, to hear my silent yearnings for strength and faith and self-confidence as I face the struggles of everyday life. I long for Him to know the smile that plays at my lips as I reflect on the blessing of living, to feel the air that fills my lungs as I praise His name. I wish for Him to wipe away the tear that wells in my eye as I fathom the pain He endured to save me from sin. But mostly, I long for Him to know the doubt that has now risen from my certainty and threatens to replace my belief....


Seeking a Lion's Historian

Brendan O'Brien

© Copyright 2015 by Brendan O'Brien

Photo of two hunters with a dead lion.

  The ocean water stretches on for days, onward and upward until intermingling with the pale blue sky. But teasing them apart proves impossible, with the beginning of one easily mistaken for the edge of the other. The relative stillness of waves and absence of clouds betray nothing of the passages they once observed. A stone castle hovers over the horizon, perched high above surrounding sandbars and small fishing boats. The chatter of seagulls and villagers are mere whispers amidst the crash of waves on the rocks below, the only sounds of the world beyond to breach this fortress. No words escape the stone block or gentle breeze or uninhibited sun, but they know.

            The horrors of the past are palpable in a place like this. The blood has dried on the walls and the chains have ceased to rattle, but the castle speaks nonetheless. Whatever Ghana’s future, it would inevitably be linked to the centuries-old happenings of Cape Coast Castle....


We've All Had Our Lauras...

Carl Winderl

© Copyright 2015 by Carl Winderl


Photo of teenagers slow dancing.

. . . and we have all been Laura. To someone. To perhaps several someone’s.

And I was to one someone in particular, in high school, during my senior year. Unbeknown to me, for she never told me face-to-face, or otherwise: to Carol Campbell I was her ‘Laura,’ in a manner of speaking.

But before Carol Campbell, or during the time I was Laura to Carol, I already was a Laura to Cindy Greco and Julie Rivers, and I suppose also to Lynn Van Ness....


Michael Lacey Says Good-bye

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2015 by Dale Fehringer



Painting of Michael Lacey.

Imagine how hard it must have been for our ancestors to say good-bye when they left home for America. They were facing hardship, loneliness, and knew they would probably never see their families again. This is Michael Lacey’s story.

On the shore of Ireland, in 1878, an 18-year-old named Michael Lacey is about to board a ship and sail to the United States.  He stands on the dock with his parents.  It’s cold and he’s nervous, but he doesn’t want to get emotional.  He hugs his siblings and shakes hands with his father, promising to write.  Then, all that is left to do is to kiss his mother, and that's when Michael loses it. He blinks back tears and tries to keep his voice from breaking as he tells her he loves her.  Being away from his mother will be the hardest part of all....


A Half-Empty Mayonnaise Jar

Carl Winderl

© Copyright 2014 by Carl Winderl


Photo of a jar half full of coins.

A half-empty mayonnaise jar sits on the top of my chest of drawers in my bedroom. In it, about to the halfway point, coins nestle together and up against the glass.

Taped to the glass, on the outside, a small rectangular piece of white notebook paper with blue lines bears one hand-printed word: “Mom.”...


Slip-Sliding Away

Cynthia Close

© Copyright 2015 by Cynthia Close


Photo of an old woman driving a car.

It was a trip faced with a mix of trepidation and sadness. I managed to get a cheap flight out of Burlington through Reagan National on to Sarasota because the Burlington flight left at 6:00 a.m. requiring a trip to the kennel to drop off Ethel, my canine companion, the day before. I also booked a cab service that would make the hour long drive from Sarasota/Bradenton airport to her door for $50 less than the regular Limo drivers I’d used in the past....

Read on...

Good People

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2015 by Dale Fehringer


Photo of Dale's father in his Marine uniform.

Nelson Mandela once said “the brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” If that’s true, my father was a brave man.

My father loved the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). He was proud of his overseas service during World War II; and, to him, the VFW stood for country, the flag, and a belief that the U.S. is great....


Ghost Trilogy

Lisa Rehfuss

© Copyright 2015 by  Lisa Rehfuss

Photo of a horse barn on fire.

After narrowing down a lifetime of ghost stories to these three, I wasn't able to choose
which one
to share with you.  These are true stories with witnesses ready to confirm
events as reported....

Seen From The Road


Ellie S. Thomas

© Copyright 2015 by  Ellie S. Thomas


New England rural road.

If you're an outdoor person, and you're avid for nature, then it's hard to beat living in the country. We didn't exactly live in the country because our home was on a busy highway and when we were advised to walk for our health's sake, we felt it wouldn't be beneficial to walk along that particular route where our lives would be endangered by speeding vehicles and we'd be breathing noxious fumes. It so happened that there were other, more remote roads, all over the place and we took advantage of their isolation whenever we were able to for our constitutionals. Little did we realize how attached we'd become to these forays, the secret vistas, the wild, (and domestic,) life found along their reaches, and all the other things that make life meaningful for people such as ourselves....



Robert Flournoy


© Copyright 2011 by Robert Flournoy



Photo of a dead squirrel.

It is a hard thing for people now to understand living in a 1000 square foot house in the middle of a sea of cotton and corn, with the nearest paved road 5 miles away. Or how a 4 and 1/2 foot 10 year old child could get lost in 11 foot tall corn. Only a call from the farm house porch kept him from walking in the wrong direction, the sound of his uncle's voice giving him saving orientation. And who was to know that the "cotton dust" used so liberally on that corn would not only kill all of the birds, but would eventually cause the leukemia that would take his grandmother's life before its dioxin was discovered to be deadly....


Dispatches from the Trenches

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2015  by Karen Radfird Treanor

Photo of Harley, the kitten.

We have recently moved from Western Australia to Tasmania, which involved preparing our former home for sale. Murphy’s Law at once came into force and things went wrong in the plans to have a quick and smooth transition from one side of this big dry island to the other. August found us indulging in a pastime that goes back into the dim mists of our family’s history: plumbing the depths of the septic system and drain....


Miles From Home
Jerry Vilhotti 

© Copyright 2015 by Jerry Vilhotti                                                     


     Photo of facing (chest game) Knights--one black and one white.

"Perdón. Does the midnight train to Nuevo Laredo stop here? We just came a hundred miles busing from San Mig-” 

Johnny was going to tell the man they had traveled hundreds of miles of back country with many many passengers carrying chickens with them....


Toffee-Coated Dreams

Anusha Nachiappan

© Copyright 2014 by Anusha Nachiappan



Photo of toffee being poured into a pot.

...I have always loved the rustle of chocolate wrappers. A myriad of colour, twists, slowly, revealing every facet of the gleaming silver wrapper, as it catches and dances in the sunlight. The little chocolate tumbles out, in all of its simple complexity, with its flawless curved surface. The aroma explodes into its surroundings, in a woven tapestry of the fantastical flavours that teleport every adult from their dark, barren workplace to paradisiacal green fields and sandy beaches, where the cool breeze once whipped through their hair as they flew down a hill in their youth....


An Ending and a Beginning

Ellie S. Thomas

Copyright © 2014 by Ellie S. Thomas

Photo of a woman alone on a bench.

A loved one was gone--been gone the past six weeks, two months, it makes no difference because six months later, we would inform people 'he's been gone six months ago today' but not really believing that. It's been a total disruption of our lives but its still us, to me. Good people and well-wishers tell us that 'its gonna fade and you will heal'. All true but they leave out the most vital issues of what it's like to lose your mate, your parent, your sibling....


Then, Too...

The Sequel to
An Endling and a Beginning

Ellie S. Thomas

Copyright © 2014 by Ellie S. Thomas

Photo of a woman alone on a bench.

After weeks, months, of harsh mourning and grieving I began to think that just maybe I was going to survive, that things were going to go all right, perhap I could cope but then, I really am naive. After the first month's grace period, I was introduced to reality with the news that I'd lost $1,000 a month with pension and social security re-apportionment. That was a blow but I thought I could handle it because I had no desire to go anywhere anyway, had plenty of clothing, and my needs were very small but I congratulated myself too soon because that wasn't the last of the bad news. Within a month, I received notice that I must find another group health insurance plan by the end of the year!...

Blue-eyed Soul

Richard Bishop   

© Copyright 2014 by Richard Bishop 


Photo of Michael Bolton's Soul Provider album cover.

Wikipedia has identified this music as primarily Afro-American “rhythm and blues” but performed by white performers. The music itself was in the genre of Motown and Stax record labels. It was performed heavily in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The British used the name more than we did in the Americas but now, apparently, it has become a generic classification of music, i.e., it has generated a List Of Blue-eyed Soul performers in Wikipedia. ...


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