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by Thomas Elson
Elaine’s mother had survived the Spanish Flu, but she was barely surviving nine children clamoring around the house — four children of her own and five from her husband’s first marriage. She was not ready for the tenth.
But the father knew the baby was his miracle. Elaine. His little baby girl. A joy to behold. The apple of his eye. His gift from God.
Three days ago, Elaine, now an adult, hundreds of miles from home, and married to a man the family did not want her to marry, her clothes and hair aflame, barely escaped from her burning trailer before it exploded.
Yesterday, Elaine, nearly a cinder, was carted from a hospital to a freight car.
Today, her father, alone on a wooden platform, waits for the train carrying his baby girl, while the rest of the family sits inside the station wrestling with each other over who is to blame.
Thomas Elson’s short stories, poetry, and flash fiction have been published in numerous venues such as Calliope, Pinyon, Lunaris Review, A New Ulster, The Selkie, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and Adelaide Literary Magazine. He divides his time between Northern California and Western Kansas.
by Craig Dobson
Always in the afternoon, a buzzard started calling. From the bare sky, blue and vivid and all day silent, that call would suddenly come — searching and lonely and reaching everything beneath it — and he would look up to see, far above the woods of oak and ash, the ragged, dappled brown wings circling slowly, scouring. As the days went by — each one silent till the pair of searching wings appeared from nowhere — he knew it was looking for him, finding him in the hidden country, hunting him until he couldn’t stay in the secluded house in the small valley, but would have to leave — that cry still in his ear, every day waiting for the silence to be broken and for the empty sky to find him again.
Craig Dobson’s been published in British and European magazines such as Poetry Ireland Review, The London Magazine, The Interpreter's House, Poetry Salzburg Review, Neon, and The Rialto. He’s working towards his first collection of poetry.
by Clive Aaron Gill
Sandra worked in a women’s clothing store where she loved to give customers and coworkers the joy of her energetic laughter. People smiled, giggled or laughed at her amusing one-liners.
Deanna started to work with Sandra. Her booming laugh sounded like the honking cry of a wild goose.
The week after Deanna began working at the store, Sandra stopped entertaining people.
Born in Zimbabwe, Clive Aaron Gill has lived and worked in Southern Africa, North America, and Europe. He received a degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and lives in San Diego. More of Clive's stories are available at amazon.com/Clive-Aaron-Gill/e/B00FADQIR6
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