Flash Fiction by Hayden Kahler

The pounding of drums seemed to barrel its way through the hallway, waking me up from my sleep. As consciousness rushed back through my head, I could hear the drums getting closer. My tired eyes fell upon the door separating me from what was outside, and I quickly threw my blanket over my head as the door began to open, pretending to be asleep. 

I could make out footsteps, small and timid, treading the carpet to make their way to me. I heard a slight giggle, one I’ve heard many times before. As the footsteps drew nearer, I readied myself. The footsteps stopped right next to me. I threw the blanket over them, grabbing them, and bringing them into the bed with me. From inside the blanket trap, I heard a giggling scream. Keeping them tied up in the blanket, I revealed their face. 

Looking up at me were two bright blue eyes. “What are you doing in my room, silly?” I told her. She kept laughing. “Let me go Daddy!” I obliged, and continued to unwrap her from her prison. 

“I wanted to watch some cartoons!” She said. 

“Okay Em, but not before you eat something. Lets go make some breakfast.” 

Hearing that, the six year old rejoiced loudly, and ran off. 

After making some quick eggs and pancakes, and setting a bouncy child in front of the television, I managed to start getting ready for the day. I took a brisk shower, then put on some shorts and a t-shirt, along with some shoes for running. As I grabbed my phone and earbuds, I yelled out to Emily, saying I was going on a run for about thirty minutes. My hypnotized daughter replied back with a simple “Okay”, and I made sure to check in with her again so she knew where I was. After confirming that she would be fine, and that she knew what I was doing, I started on my run.

 I felt the breeze through my hair, and heard the passing winds as I listened to my music throughout the nearby neighborhoods. While I jogged along the sidewalk, I started to take a path that strayed from my original route. It felt oddly familiar, but I didn’t remember coming through this neighborhood before. I decided to continue with my jog instead of fighting myself on my path, and went the way my body seemed to take me. 

There was an odd sense of deja vu, but it seemed stronger, and more intense than that. This was something I had felt before. I started to fill with dread. My steps became more heavy, and my lungs seemed to shrink. When I eventually stopped, I found myself before a house I remembered. Except now, there were patrol cars and police on the lawn. I noticed the strings of lights hung along the front porch, and how many of them were broken now. I recalled how nice they looked the night before. When I was here. 

Things started to come back to me, and my mind began to fill. It was dark, not quite midnight, but getting there. There wasn’t anyone else outside, that always seemed to be the case. Her lights were on, strung up in a way that seemed to make her front porch look like a fairy hideout. It was alluring. She walked out with some trash bags, carrying them over to the bins for them to be taken out in the morning. The bins were next to her mailbox. The one that displayed in very colorful typography, “Whitaker”. 

Once she finished dropping off her trash, I followed her up her driveway. I felt my eyes burn in that moment, and change. Everything began to tint, and become red. Her front lights no longer felt like a safe haven for the magical creatures in this world, but like a home for the damned and disgraced. 

My blood seemed to course through my fingertips, lacing my nails with iron. The woman reached for her door, but I got to her first. I snapped back to the present, and saw her sitting on the side of her door with glossy eyes. Her door now filled me with unease, and seemed to still be dark in the light of day. 

I noticed a camera positioned along the exterior wall of the house. It would have caught everything that happened on that porch last night. My anxiety tightened my chest, despite what I knew. That what they saw on that camera, wasn’t me. It was… something else. I took a deep breath, and began my jog back home, remembering the metallic taste in my mouth.

THE LETTER by Shiann Roark

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I lost track of how long I’d sat on the damp curb. Staring. Just staring.
The envelope looked so much less important than it was in my limp, quivering fingers. It amazed me how much power a processed strip of dead tree had over me, over my entire life, past, present, and future.

My dreams and hard work stared back at me in bold, purple letters, on the same plane as my own name, enticing me to look inside and behold what lie ahead.

I took a deep breath to catch the heart I felt leaping up from my chest. My numb fingers peeled up the flap. I took another breath to pull the fateful letter out.

– Photo and Words by Shiann Roark

BRIAN & KAILA by Matt Bullen

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Editor’s note: Matt read this short story to Mrs. Fryar’s 1st period class last week. The class erupted into uproarious applause and celebration. We re-enacted Matt’s victory lap in the above photo.

Everything in my head was fuzzy when I was woken up by a strange ringing sound. My eyesight was blurry when I struggled to open my eyelids, so I took my hands and rubbed them for more clarity. When I became aware of what was going on, and when I could feel all five senses, the first thing I realized was how tired I was. My eyes didn’t want to wake up, they kept trying to force their way shut, and at one point I thought I heard them say, “shhh, it’s okay, just go back asleep…” but I built up the strength to keep them open.

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FINGERTIPS by Emily Fraser

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My house – big for our small family – had always been a place of comfort.

It was just me and my mom – my father walked out on us when I was young, but at a year and a half old I didn’t really miss his presence. Mom was the only around to raise me, and she often came home from work ready to collapse. As soon as she was through the front door, she would bee-line for the couch in the living room. She would flop down, the cushions absorbing her tired muscles. I would come down from my bedroom. She’d look at me and say “My baby girl’s here!”
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SNOWBLIND by Camper Ruybal

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The wind had been howling nearly all day long yet everything about this night seemed almost enchanting, from the crunch of the snow under your feet to the apparition of steamy breath right in front of my eyes. The patches of moonlight were illuminating my street broke through the thick layer of clouds that covered the city. It had been nearly a year’s time since we had weather as amazing as this.
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THE DATE by Victoria Sandoval

 

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Marcus’s dirty grubby fingers better not touch that popcorn. We were at the movies watching The Internship, Marcus was on my left and Anthony was on my right. I honestly don’t even understand how I got into this with the boy I have despised since the 8th grade and the boy I have been in love with since the 3rd grade sandwiching me in the these small red chairs.

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