301 Seneca Ave: A Short Story

Monica Dagwood always stopped to tie her shoe in front of 301 Seneca Ave during her evening jog. Even if her shoelace wasn’t untied and flapping around—aglets whipping at her ankles—she would stop at the tree stump across the street from the 301 Seneca Ave house and retie them. This stopping place was at the top of a hill and by the time she arrived here, her breaths were gasping from the ascent, and the warmth in various parts of her body began to feel uncomfortably humid. After this break, the tightened shoe stimulated the energy in her feet and she imagined flames shooting from her pink Nike’s as she continued her jog, now in the home stretch back towards her house.

Monica always stopped to tie her shoe in front of 301 Seneca Ave, but it wasn’t just because she needed the shoe-tying boost to power through the rest of her run; no, it actually had more (or everything) to do with the 301 Seneca Ave house itself: Monica was in love with it. She never spoke about it, though—Monica kept her obsession quiet and strictly within the scape of her fantasies. It seemed silly to her that she idolized a stranger’s house so religiously, but yet, it was the kind of house that demanded to be idolized.

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The Spider Earrings: A Short Story

Ritter was staring out her kitchen window when, in the distance, she saw a body fly into the air.

The sudden movement in her line of sight broke her trance and caused her vision to re-focus on the wooden fences, tool sheds, and tree trunks outside. The body fell—the movement only visible through a slight crevice between trees in her neighbors’ backyards—and then arms were flailing upwards yet again. She sighed, realizing it was a child on a trampoline a few houses up. The Saturday morning sunshine filtered through cider-tinged leaves and twining branches, peppering her face with bursts of brightness.

“Oh to be a child again, and experience the existential bliss of bouncing into the air,” mused her left earring.

Her right earring scoffed. “Yeah, right! Do you know how many kids break their arms on trampolines each year?”

Both earrings dangled in quite the same manner, each a silver wire-wrapped spider clutching a gem, her left earring encasing a light blue opalite crystal, her right, a black obsidian rock; however, their commentary almost always contradicted the other, which was even more confusing because independently, Ritter often agreed with them both.

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Everything from Nothing

A short fiction story by Slanted Spines

First, there was the skull.

I was young and in a rut, so I felt most at home among the dirt. When my hands were in the soil, I felt meaningful. I was worms; as significant as the spider crawling over my cell phone in the grass. The existential dread did not bother me while my knees pressed into the ground, my skin softening around rocks’ hard ridges. My sweat was sweetened with the mint leaves, and if the squash were growing, I must be, too, right?

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The Hat-Giving Hickory Tree

A slanted story by Brittany Cole

Most days, Rodney never thinks about the baseball hat hickory tree. When Rodney does remember that tree and that period of his boyhood, during which the hickory thrived and blossomed dozens of baseball caps overnight, he still feels somewhat bewildered by its undeniable yet utterly miraculous existence. It seems so long ago now, that he questions his memory—was it all a dream? Something he has misremembered and imagined over the years?

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The Missing Chair

“Things don’t just disappear; they can always be found if you know where to look,” Leslietta Bernadard had said, rather fatefully, to her boss on Monday, as he was searching the office for his car keys at the end of the workday. Perhaps the universe overheard her and fancied itself a prankster, or perhaps her coworker overheard and fancied himself a cynic, because either way, Leslietta Bernadard walked into Donald Troy Insurance on Tuesday and found herself without a chair.

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Miss Mess: A Story

When Maggie and Bianca received a phone call from Elizabeth responding to their Facebook ad for a third roommate, the two young women had no idea they were agreeing to live with a human trash generator. The ad had been listed for a couple weeks and after receiving a few messages from outright weirdos, Elizabeth seemed like a normal college student by comparison, one who they thought they could even potentially be friends with. When they asked her to list a few facts about herself, Elizabeth responded, “I’m a Fashion Design student who draws inspiration from Vera Wang, I grew up in Maine, and I’m an only child.”

Sadly, Maggie and Bianca were not privy to the implications of Elizabeth’s third personal fact. Sophomore college students themselves, the two of them were just moving into their first apartment after having lived in the dorms the prior year, and so their experience with roommates was limited. In their eyes, the worst possible scenario for prospective a roommate was someone who listened to loud, angsty music into the wee hours of the night (or morning, by then) and who didn’t shower but once a week. They had no idea that the worst candidate for a roommate could be a pretty blond girl with French-tipped nails and a love of classical symphony.

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I Fuel the Great Machine

The morning of her first day of retirement, Agnes sat at her kitchen table and let 50 years of labor pull heavily on her body. Steam rose and unfurled from her mug of coffee as she stared at the small, red refrigerator sitting on her countertop. A draft blew from the air vent on the ceiling and stirred a few strands of her white hair, and she gently closed her eyes, her body remaining still. It was a day of grieving; the end of her purpose.

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The House Cat and the House

Once upon a time and whence upon a land, a majestic house cat prowled the expansive planes of 143 Lanted Drive. This house cat stalked the interior of her castle, patrolling for intruders which were few and far between, happily eating and napping at heart’s will, and awing onlookers with her immense fluffy beauty and soft, golden-patched calico fur. She was a queen in her land, and she loved her luxurious life. Continue reading “The House Cat and the House”

A Year of Stillness

Nobody really teaches you how to be still. They teach you how to crawl, how to walk, run, ride a bike, drive a car, but nobody really teaches you how to be still.

I graduated from college and nothing happened. The stillness felt like failure. They teach you how to run, and then you run. That’s what you do–you’re not supposed to stop. But then I stopped.

Stillness makes people uncomfortable; sometimes, it upsets them. The ant must carry the leaf; the bee must pass the pollen. It was a spring day in May I walked across the stage set up at my university’s football field, the fresh electric scent of bloom tickling my nose. Continue reading “A Year of Stillness”