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 Night Watchman: A Book Review

Note: This book review contains plot spoilers, but I will denote **SPOILERS** for any section containing secret plot info!

For the month of May, the Slanted Spines Book List reading is The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, which is about a handful of characters who live within a Native American reservation in North Dakota in the early 1950’s. In this story, Thomas, one of the main characters, receives word of a new bill that would terminate their reservation and effectively ruin an entire Chippewa community’s lives. Many of the residents are poor as it is, but the government—and one senator in particular—is determined to seize their land. While also working a job as a night watchman, Thomas goes to work writing letters and organizing the community in hopes that they can put a stop to this bill.

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