5 MINUTES
Of the over 5,000 numbers in the English language, it is the number 14 alone that has come to hold a special place in my heart. I’m not a superstitious woman, or a woman at all for that matter. I ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The liftoff is like an elevator.

You know that feeling you get when you’re going up? Like your stomach is getting left behind? It feels like that. Remember when we were kids and we were ... [+]

3 MINUTES
There is no cheerful clatter of pans, or old Beatles records spinning in the living room. No warm cinnamon smell fills the air – only burnt coffee. For a moment, I’m half expecting Papa to swoop... [+]

1 MINUTE
It had been nearly fourteen years, but there you were on my morning commute. On your way to work like nothing had happened. Both of us on our ways to work as if nothing had happened.

You looked... [+]

5 MINUTES
When I get home from Sunday Service, I strip my pressed white shirt in the living room. I step out of my slacks. Peel off the tight black socks. I fumble naked for my dive skin, the black and blue ... [+]

3 MINUTES
The garbage can is full again. I drag it inside and empty it over the floor, adding to the foot of water already standing in the house. The bathtub and the sinks have been running nonstop for ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Outside the sun is shining.
A wonderful Spring has already begun, birds are singing and many flowers in warm and shimmering colors can be admired.
It’s a perfect world....

But for ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The impact of the raindrops on the metal was echoing on the sides of the lantern hung on the fiacre. A stormy rain was raging outside, the deluge crashing down upon the roof of the closed carriage. ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Yet it was there, right there, in the corner at the back of the kitchen.
Emma could not understand. Her fridge, which she had opened just an hour ago to take out a tub of blueberry yogurt, was ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Bella had long brown hair that swayed behind her as she walked down the library aisles looking for some books. Suddenly out of the corner of her eye she spotted an old tattered burgundy journal one of... [+]

5 MINUTES
Disclosure: This story was prepared for a Tall Tales speech contest. However, This is a true story about a real personal encounter with the supernatural. Read at your own Risk.

On a long summer... [+]

1 MINUTE
Isn’t it tiresome to watch the world and all the meager dwellings of man below? At night, you’ll see that even the most vibrant traces of life are dimmed. Is it particularly interesting, then, to ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Antiopa couldn’t breathe.
She writhed within the thin membrane holding her, unable to determine what was her and what had been her body, a thick soup which held her, constricting, and shifting ... [+]

5 MINUTES
“I can’t understand what you want if you won’t talk to me!” April stood in the middle of her bedroom looking at her husband Frank lying on the bed.

Frank pulled the comforter over his ... [+]

5 MINUTES
“Finally. Finally. I found you my queen of the world. Gaia mother to all that is now and to all that has been. Your temple which has been lost for so many years has finally been found, I have found ... [+]

5 MINUTES
That night I woke up with a start.
The phone, resting on the bedside table, marked four thirty-six.
I turned to my husband to make sure he was asleep and then I stared at the wall facing the bed... [+]

3 MINUTES
Monday

“That’s my chair.”

The old man stood before the girl and adjusted the blanket draped over his arm. Mocha-schmocha something swirled around him and everyone else in the coffee... [+]

1 MINUTE
I smell the spices on the skin of the young man in the window seat next to me, the acrid odour of fear permeating his shabby robes. Essences of unbelonging.
His anxiety unnerves me. I hate myself ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I sat on the shaking wooden bench of the ship watching everyone else dance and drink. All my friends made me go with them on this cheap “cruise”. In reality it was an old creaky boat the people ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Mama used to tell me greed was for the dogs, but it went in one ear and poured from the other. Now look at me, slobbering all over this brown woolly coat of hair while barking at every creepy sound I ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Aaron cares for much less than hope could ask for. There is a leash tugging a collar of a tag with his name on it. There are the subtle communications he gives with a pull to keep me keeping up with ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Kenny approached his midterm exam with all the confidence his older sister had whenever she paraded into a dressing room with size 4 jeans. It was the Monday after spring break, and Kenny's professor,... [+]

5 MINUTES
Colleen sat in the window seat of the second row of first class, watching the jet bridge tremble slightly each time a passenger stepped from it onto the aircraft.
Four hours earlier, as she was ... [+]

3 MINUTES
"Sit, sit!" The girl said, pulling out a chair. I sat down as the five-year-old placed a plastic teacup in front of me.
"How is Princess Lillian doing today?" I asked her.
"Lovely. How is ... [+]

1 MINUTE
The faded white of my bedroom walls filled my vision as I awoke in a cold sweat. The street lights outside causing me an uneasy feeling. No matter how many attempts I made to escape this hellish place... [+]

5 MINUTES
The imagination is a wild and wonderful place. It helps you envision the world in a beautiful array of colors, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells. It helps you see the world like no one else. Even ... [+]

3 MINUTES
“I am here today to see you off. I myself am too old now for this trip, too old and too far afield from most people. I was mainstream once, back when my age was less than the number of countries ... [+]

5 MINUTES
It was the summer of 1944, nearly two years after the occupation began, when we received permission from the Office of the Military Governor to leave the city. As soon as my father had the official ... [+]

3 MINUTES
.......5 hours Earlier......

I was jolted awake by an incessant banging. My eyes popped open as I struggled to remember which day it was.
“Hey V, let’s go!” Marissa’s boisterous tone ... [+]

1 MINUTE
As soon as I go outside the cold bites every bit of my exposed skin.
“Two minutes away.” My dad reports on the distance of our rideshare.
I can’t wait to get inside. As soon as it ... [+]

3 MINUTES
The sound of the clock ticking was deafening compared to the otherwise silent room. The door, that had once seemed strong and resistant, now felt paper thin. The darkness consumed the furniture, ... [+]

1 MINUTE
I am a balloon. I am born without anything inside-Ideas, opinions, choice. As years progress I am inflated with more. I soar the more I am filled with knowledge. Eventually I am off the ground. I am ... [+]

3 MINUTES
For her, sleeping on the ground but ‘safe’ was enough for now. A reflex emerging from another time, makes her look for a small place a little high to install her alarm clock. She went out and ... [+]

3 MINUTES
She already felt like a terrible daughter. She didn't call regularly. She didn't visit. She hadn't really spoken to her parents since she moved out. That was years ago. She knew her two younger ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Once upon a time, 11:30 to be exact. A decision was made. One that would change the course of history forever. Amadeus didn’t pick up lunch. Oh, and two hyper-nuclear reactors in the mariana ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I watch my sister as she tries to hack her way out of the oppression we are facing. The footsteps in the hall get quieter. They are listening for her typing.

“Sis!” I hiss. “Type ... [+]

3 MINUTES
“A healthy baby boy! Congratulations!”

Miriam looked up at the doctor and gave a forced smile.

The doctor sat down beside her bed. “You must be pretty tired.”

Miriam ... [+]

1 MINUTE
When I was in Grade Eight at Lakeview Elementary School in Regina, Saskatchewan, our teacher, Mr. Graham, used a miniature hand-cranked generator to demonstrate electrical current for us. We all held ... [+]

3 MINUTES
She summoned the courage to approach the altar, bowing her head to see the plaid of her skirt grazing red carpet. There, she heard the whispered calling of undulating silk robes and the mournful sighs... [+]

3 MINUTES
In another universe, much like this one, lies a world where everyone has a soulmate. In this world, everyone is born with a black mark on their body signaling the first place their soulmate will touch... [+]

5 MINUTES
“My mom was bitten by a vampire bat! For real! Mom, please mom, tell the story.” My nine years old child insisted with pride. She wanted to impress her friends, as she had seen myself doing many ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Her fingers are now knurled like the branches of an oak tree in winter. Those once graceful hands, united her with piano keys, and paint brushes to create an impact of her life and living is now a ... [+]

5 MINUTES
It was a reunion of sorts. The eight of us had spent a week together the previous winter, sailing around the Grenadines on a time-share catamaran. It was Grayson and me, Ben and Alicia, and two other ... [+]

5 MINUTES
It had been a mild Spring, Cool, gusty winds had kept the air feeling alive, fresh, almost disguising the lack of rain. The mild weather had not lasted. Weather-beaten faces looked to the sky, hoping ... [+]

3 MINUTES
“Why?” She screamed, “Why are you doing this? You know you don’t have to!”

“I know” I responded calmly in a barely audible whisper. “I know I don’t have to but it will be ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The alarm buzzed, “beep, beep, beep, beep,” as the sun shone down through my bedroom window. It was a normal day, and like all normal days. I smacked the snooze button and I was up.

”Get... [+]

5 MINUTES
Yellow light pushes through old plastic domes on the ceiling. Streaks of rain on the window glow at the edges with color from a traffic light hanging outside the apartment. Red... yellow... green. ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Have you ever had a feeling where you feel like something happened and it’s an ongoing memory? Like Deja Vu? Or kinda like nostalgia? Yeah me too. But the difference is that mine won’t stop. There... [+]

5 MINUTES
Humpty Dumpty was described by his peers as a well-rounded, anthropomorphic sphere of worldly proportions. Over the years he had let himself go, sagged and gotten a little ellipsoidal—a bit eggy as ... [+]

5 MINUTES
While I wait for news, and now my hands have stopped shaking, I want to record the incident that happened tonight.

My parents had gone into London to see an opera and still aren’t back at ... [+]

5 MINUTES
We all wonder from time to time if there is truly someone out there for us. It's what they would call, "SOULMATE". When I was younger, I use to dream about when and where I would finally meet my ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I pick it up, stare at it and try. To forget what I had lost. To let go. It wasn't easy but I knew I could not hold onto something that wasn't there anymore. It all began a long time back. A time when... [+]

5 MINUTES
Six year-old Douggie ran down the hall to his room to complete his costume, then dashed downstairs. He ran out the door by the building's telephone carrying the sword and papier-mâché helmet his ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Like an island in a vast sea of freshly mowed grass, it rose like up like a temple.  I wonder if it would be accurate to say that I worshiped that place. For the countless hours that I spent there,... [+]

1 MINUTE
A girl feeling so alone and out of this world, there’s no sense of hope. With her parents being dead and she being in the foster care system, the girl doesn’t have family. Emily is her name. ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I. I once had this dream that a meteor was going to crash into earth and that we only had one day left. Upon hearing the news, my friends and family apathetically retreated into waiting rooms. ... [+]

3 MINUTES
It was 1946 and Jimmy was 12, and ready for adventure. He lived on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay and dreamed of someday sailing on one of the merchant ships moored in the Baltimore harbor, loaded ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Andy Green promised herself she would do three things when she got out of hospital. Throw away her crutches, take a hiking holiday and learn to ride a bicycle.

When Andy opened the door to her ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Once upon a not so great time, lived two small kids in one big neighborhood. Yes, I’m talking about a seven year old and a ten year old. Of course they had no idea that today would be considered ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Occasionally, it would be too dark. It wasn’t the intense shade of the sky that worried Julian though; it was the glaring hole in it.c The moon felt powerful when it was dark, like it could take in ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Hiro couldn’t even remember the first time that Murai-san, took him out into the garden and walked him around the house, because they had done it so many times. It was one of the favorite times of ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Shhh. I won’t hurt you. No hiss, no pain, no second bite. See, only shhh. It’s a terrible ache, I know. The wrapping will comfort and warm you. Ensconced in my finest silk. I’ll remove it when ... [+]

3 MINUTES
The Lemon Drop Kid was out of Cincinnati. Tall, rangy guy with near white curly hair and pale skin, almost yellow which is how, I guess, he got his name. He had been in Joliet for armed robbery and ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Rudolph Jäger boarded the 9 o’clock to London. It was a dark night—with his coat flapping in the wind and his black cat at his side, Jäger seemed more Dracula than dancer.

Jäger was a ... [+]

5 MINUTES
She opened the inside door cautiously. The old man stood on the stoop, in the unseasonable warmth and clamor of the November afternoon. Lean and unbent, he looked like an ancient villager in a ... [+]

5 MINUTES
On a dark and stormy night a boy laid in his bed hiding under his space cover shivering and wincing after ever strike of thunder. As he lays still he hears a creek coming from somewhere in his room. ... [+]

1 MINUTE
A single boat, tossed like jetsam in the huge waves, fought against the sea. Within it was a man possessed. A desire to find the irretrievable lured him to the lighthouse. It had taken months to ... [+]

1 MINUTE
The phone is ringing again. I’m sure it’s Alice calling for the third time. I won’t answer. I’m not listening to her or any other sister tell me what to do. They think it’s their right ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The three little boys loved the big bed that their daddy had found discarded in the alley. They knew what it was and where it had come from and didn't care. They loved how big it was and how they ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Always, father was superhero for me. In my eyes, he had never lost his toughness, and his voice was always full of self-confidence. When I was young, he used to grill some sausages in backyard.
... [+]

5 MINUTES
She was a shapeless blob. A huge, shapeless blob. Her kaftan flopped around her gouty ankles. Her midriff was a Michelin tire – not at all resembling the sensuous pear-shaped form of the Earth ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The sun slowly peeked over the horizon, illuminating the forest. The old oak trees loomed overhead and the pines stood idle in the light. Mushrooms littered the floor, and they seemed to glow with a ... [+]

1 MINUTE
In the days when an ice cream cost much less, a 10 year old girl entered a coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of her.
“How much is an ice cream” ?

... [+]

5 MINUTES
Juniper’s pudgy limbs army crawled through the soggy mulch and rolled under the Palmerton playground’s dinky bridge to join Nellie, who was too busy sucking out all the jelly from her Uncrustable ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I was taught an important lesson at a young age, life is hard we must be strong. With that instruction I fought my way out of a small First Nation community to create opportunity. I pursued higher ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The clicking footsteps echo in the narrow hallways. Flickering lights cast an eerie glow, reflecting off the cheap linoleum tiles. Rusty wheels squeak under heavy gurneys carrying dead and injured. ... [+]

3 MINUTES
My hands are sweaty.

So sweaty, in fact, that it feels like two shallow pools have formed in my palms, eager for patrons to take a dip in my fear. Beads of sweat are doing elaborate dives into ... [+]

5 MINUTES
By late August 2005, the backpacker had seen nearly every great cathedral, famous statue, roman colosseum, fishing town, frescoed ruin and great organ that her Eurail pass could take her to. In just ... [+]

5 MINUTES
David walked up to the kiosk and punched the 5 minute button. He waited anxiously as the machine spat out the long scroll of paper and wondered who came up with the idea for this contraption. When ... [+]

1 MINUTE
I looked out my window to see a shadowy figure outside of my door. I knew in the back of my mind why he was there but for some reason I couldn’t make myself believe that this was happening. I hear a... [+]

3 MINUTES
We were running down the halls, my brother and I, racing to get to the bathroom. When he shoved me into the closet, I landed with a loud boom. The wind from my brother whizzing past slammed the door ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The red candles caste a flicker of light as the nurse went into the room and gave the patient’s wife a cup of tea and biscuits. The nurse knew the rules, but she ignored saying anything about the ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Frustration blended with exhaustion as my vehicle inched forward two feet. Construction had several miles of the interstate heading towards Memphis moving at a snail’s pace. Looking out the ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Close your eyes. Listen. Listen to the waves, occasionally coming up to splash your feet as the ocean sings it’s a lullaby. And, listen to the serene swaying of the trees. Listen to the whispers of ... [+]

1 MINUTE
I had taken some time off and when I returned I found that I had been locked out. Somehow, I’d forgotten the key to my own place. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I always am. ... [+]

3 MINUTES
I fell in love with a girl in the arcade. A thin girl with her blond hair in a bob under a black hat, in a black dress and black boots, unlike the pretty girls in designer jean shorts and hightop ... [+]

3 MINUTES
I wake up at 8:30 on a Sunday morning, the smell of waffles fill the house. I walk downstairs, my mom by the stove. The table is made all nice and my favorite breakfast is being made. My mom is ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Sasha had no intention of living in her mother’s apartment. It sat above a day care center and a pet shop. Sasha never had children, and she had no intention of buying a pet as a surrogate for not ... [+]

5 MINUTES
A Message For The Future
July 4th, 2030

The Earth has officially run out of hope.
Where do you go?
What do you do?
Who will you be?

Earth, 2035
After years of fighting ... [+]

5 MINUTES
“Under the blood-red Moon, it towers over us. Without a voice, it makes itself understood. The front door, to the denizens of the unknown, creaks open...”

“Really, Phil?” David was ... [+]

3 MINUTES
You know you’re a child of the 50s and 60s when you wake up on the morning of open heart surgery and all you can think of is the Bugs Bunny Show theme song. Couldn’t remember it all and had to ... [+]

1 MINUTE
The hardest thing I will ever do is to let you go.

I’m thinking of holding you, your sweet weight in my hands so fragile-soft and impossible. New. Your eyes were the blue of the babies who ... [+]

3 MINUTES
One night, as the party at the campus’s hostel was slowly losing its vigor, I decided that it was time for me to call it a night. It was late, and I was lucky to be able to catch the last tram home.... [+]

1 MINUTE
Do you know how it feels to be replaced? Its like your heart is being squeezed. Like your lost with nowhere to go. seeing your friends laughing with someone else. seeing him with his arm around ... [+]

5 MINUTES
It’s been eight months since I’ve known her. We met through mutual friends; our first date was at a coffee shop off of 15th and Grand. We sat at the window seat and watched the cars go by. ... [+]

5 MINUTES
It was a black sky that I saw when I finally put the pen down. There were times when I almost ended up asking myself why I did this, day after day. Why I chose to spend my nights in solitude, hunched ... [+]

3 MINUTES
I am floating through a black nothingness. I can’t see anything. It’s like a thousand shadows are covering me.

Wait, I think I see some light. What is that? What am I seeing? Is that my ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I lost my job on a Friday, and I went home with this strange, weighted feeling about me.
Jim, my now-former boss, is a good guy. He let me know about the situation instead of just canning me.
It... [+]

5 MINUTES
An offensive beeping sound shatters my dreams. I could easily drift back to sleep again once the cacophony ceases, but the movement of My Love stirs my old bones to attention: the comforting weight of... [+]

3 MINUTES
After having already died once, I had hoped that I would be less upset about the prospect of doing it again, but that has turned out not to be case. As I lay in this rather uncomfortable bed listening... [+]

3 MINUTES
The yard adjacent to his porch reeked of ragweed with every step he took. Gnats would alight from the prickled stems. He shook his head at the imprint his foot left.

“Growing fast this ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Once there were a group of teenagers in the woods looking for this mysterious creature called the alpha they heard about in the news while they were looking around they say glowing red eyes in the ... [+]

3 MINUTES
I perched in my usual spot in the family room, listening to the sounds of the house flowing around me. In the next room Bailey’s nails clicked on the tile. She slurped from her bowl, lapping, ... [+]

1 MINUTE
The dazzling, sandy yellow Brazilian beach stretched as far as the eye could see. The enlightened, fresh and cold sea was calm but there were giant waves.

I was holding my pale-blue surf-board;... [+]

5 MINUTES
To Whom It May Concern:

If you're reading this, then it means i've failed. More appropriately stated: I've failed to find the source of silence and the peace it brings. My life's work feels ... [+]

3 MINUTES
I can’t believe that I’m sitting here with man whom I was going to marry and I love my cat more.
Or do I? it’s not exactly loving the cat more, maybe its just understanding him through his ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Today was the day, there was no question about it. I was near the front of the exit and it was Saturday night, nearing 11PM. The doors would swing open for just a few seconds and I had secured an ... [+]

1 MINUTE
I saw a man, a handsome man. He was with a boy clearly his son who may have been about 15 years old. The boy had the same features as his father though more delicate. He has fine blond hair and ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The slapping of raindrops...
For several hours it is the only sound he has been hearing, this heavy rain that from time to time hits the barrel of his musket.
He sits there, only protected by ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The taxi stopped where the road came to a dead end, at the cliff’s edge. The driver offered directions in a charming Scottish brogue. ‘The cottage is down there. Follow the path to the rocks.’ ... [+]

5 MINUTES
“Arabic For Dummies”? The Qur’an? What the hell are these disgusting books doing in our house? You’re still associating with that .. that .. savage, aren’t you, Gloria? Answer me!”

... [+]

1 MINUTE
He was standing on the roof of a house waiting for the opportunity to punish the naughty, ill-spirited family inside when he noticed him. It was what looked like a child clad only in a pumpkin-orange ... [+]

3 MINUTES
The night terror reaches up high for just one bright star. The wind whispers a screaming tune, warning the stars to run. Every day Sun comes back and the stars go hide, dreading the next time Moon ... [+]

5 MINUTES
He knew he shouldn’t be here, and couldn’t find himself a reason to step in the house. He couldn’t find any reasons not to either. So, against his better judgement, he followed her to the door. ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The sound of typing rang out throughout the New England Times newspaper office. Reporters knew stories had to be written before the companies annual Christmas Party, only two days away.
Mattie ... [+]

5 MINUTES
It was Christmas Eve, Ben’s favorite day of the entire year. He loved to help decorate the Christmas tree and watch his mom bake cookies.
“I wish more than anything to see Santa’s sleigh ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Her name was Love. She said it with a mischievous smile breaking on her face, like a joke, a trick. The trick certainly worked on me. She was the first Love I had met.

We met in a bar. She ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Sylvia and Jeremy had the perfect life, or so it was thought by their friends and associates. They were super rich. They owned an ocean going yacht, as well as properties in Switzerland, California , ... [+]

5 MINUTES
She stepped out onto the porch and shut the door behind her in a quick yank. A whoosh of air smacked her back like a wide plank of wood. She slightly lurched forward in a jerk of surprise. A dense ... [+]

5 MINUTES
With nary a customer in the store, the woman leaned her butt against the sales counter, folded her arms across her chest and stared into the distance, bored by the insipid banter emanating from the ... [+]

5 MINUTES
And then I wake up. I have no memory of what I was doing, but I’m sure I hadn’t fallen asleep last night. That memory is important, something that deserves to be remembered. It’s gone now, no ... [+]

3 MINUTES
The forest, beyond the first lines of trees, was black, empty. Or to some, full of beasts from a time long forgotten. Each tree held a story. Some had burgundy leaves with browns and dull greens that ... [+]

3 MINUTES
He brought a chair over to the fireplace. It was late at night and residents were supposed to be sleeping by this time. But he was smart--that was something the fog had not taken from him--he knew the... [+]

5 MINUTES
It’s 2 a.m., and so far, this has been the most unusual night of my life. I died at 11:03 p.m. of a heart attack. Just minutes before, the pretty lottery girl drew the numbers for the $657 million ... [+]

3 MINUTES
I was walking down the street that seemed to only fit one car, going one way, when I noticed the small café. It had a couple sitting under the balcony with light the color of a dark yellow sunset.
... [+]

3 MINUTES
For her, it was flying; for me, it was just falling. She loved it. But I didn’t know her then—I only heard about her life from other people. She loved to jump. She said it was like dancing on the ... [+]

5 MINUTES
“When did parents start giving their children everything and expect nothing from them? I hate to say it, but so many of them are disrespectful." Kelly sat in the parent's group with tears streaming ... [+]

5 MINUTES
She hated to repeat herself. But much to her surprise she learned to love it. The rhythm of repetition remembers forgotten forgivens fondly. Not that she did it all the time but the occasion had ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Once upon a not so great time, lived two small kids in one big neighborhood. Yes, I’m talking about a seven year old and a ten year old. Of course they had no idea that today would be considered the... [+]

5 MINUTES
Hello, this is Liza, but that’s not important now. The calendar ends here. “ They” want to find us and hurt us. But let’s start from the beginning, okay?

One gloomy day, little Gretta ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Everything sparkled. The sun, the snow, the air, white and clean and perfect. Beautiful.

Five minutes after we made the turn from the main highway, the road leading further north to curl ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Gasp! I struggle to catch my breath as I am tossed around the raft, gripping whatever sturdy object is closest. Where am I? Why am I here? Who are these people? My head is throbbing and my arms are ... [+]

1 MINUTE
I remember Christmas morning years past with the yellow canary flying around the living room. I remember the tree, smelling like evergreen in a damp forest, the hot chocolate and the melting ... [+]

1 MINUTE
After the accident they were at my grandmother’s house, my mother and brother and sister, my grandparents and my old uncle. They wandered around the house, keeping away from my mother, who had ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The bell rang to end third period on the first day of school. I had one class left, English with Mr. Thorne. I met up with my friend Jeremy on the way to his room.
“Hey Stuart, are you going ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The fog that descended that day still clings to me. It followed me from intensive care, where the man I loved drew his last breath, to the morgue, where his body was reduced to ashes and returned to... [+]

5 MINUTES
Devan often came to the pond when he was a teenager in the late fall or early winter. His father now allowed him to hunt on his own without his supervision, a privilege which he cherished dearly. He... [+]

5 MINUTES
Manuel, jolted by the radio alarm blaring next to his ear, awoke with a start. His arms jerked sideways, swiping the previous night’s dinner dishes off the coffee table and sending them crashing to ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I didn’t feel any older today, but I was. The fading yellowed calendar hung from a bent nail on the wall, flipped to the month of July. The red circle around the number nine, like a bullseye, drew ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Gray, everything was totally gray, the railway steel cable, the trains passing by without seeing her, the subway, only one parked car, the sky above. A solitary universe of gray.
Like a piece of ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Marnie liked melodies. In her city room facing nowhere, the routine was the same. At night, she sang naked out the open window. It was a way to get inside. A chorus, she thought, might feel the ... [+]

1 MINUTE
"And they lived happily ever after." With these last words, she set the pen down. Wearily, she rubbed gritty eyes and yawned.

Such bullshit, she thought, staring at another finished fairytale. ... [+]

1 MINUTE
"Baby, did you eat all those chocolates?"

A pile of wrappers swept out from under the bed stared at the child. She blinked and smiled beatifically.

"Not me, Daddy."

"Sweetie, if you ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Chloe and Emily have been friends for nearly three years, they flat share, both work for the university, and share the journey into work - in Emily's car. Chloe isn't a morning person, but Emily has ... [+]

1 MINUTE
For any casual onlooker, they painted an idyllic picture. Sitting close by, hands clasped, eyes locked - two people so in love with one another that they were blind to the world.

He held her ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Tony straddles the rail. “All aboard!” He straightens his conductor’s hat. Pumps his chubby fist just above his shoulder, “Toot, toot.”
Miles away, the westbound train’s whistle ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Joshua.

He likes me, but I don’t like him because his fingers are always cheesy. He pulls up his socks too high and is always breaking bones.

When he was in a body-cast I used him as... [+]

5 MINUTES
“Nem, come here.” My mother bent down and held out a box. “You’re growing up, so I thought it was time for you to have this.”

I took the package from here and slid the lid off. The ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Why does the concept of extraterrestrial life feel so alien? What if I told you that my father lives in Mars, a small town in Pennsylvania? Is truth really stranger than fiction? Are you certain?
... [+]

3 MINUTES
Jason asked his dad if they could build a tree house.
“That will be a lot of work,” Dad said. “Where should we build it?”
“Oh Dad,” Jason scoffed. “There’s the perfect tree for ... [+]

3 MINUTES
My good man, how much for that nothing?

Sir, that nothing is VERY expensive.

I’ll take it!

Sir, I mean no disrespect, but I am certain you cannot afford this nothing. Perhaps I ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I quickly walk into the Amal School for Children, with my mother’s words on repeat in my head, “The quicker you get inside the school, Zahara, the better.” I make my way to the back row of ... [+]

3 MINUTES
When men and women in the Africa oil richest community, finding their own way to a poor power supply, and incessant fuel scarcity. These people deserve more than what they are getting from the ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Married to the Sea
The 60-year-old Dellarae had been to nearly every port in the world, and she loved her sailors, perhaps even a little more than she should. Dellarae had a fondness for those... [+]

3 MINUTES
I could feel the panic soaring in my body. Mustering all the courage I could pluck up, I soldiered on across the hallway with my head bent down, wary of making eye contact with him. Every second was a... [+]

3 MINUTES
The thing you need to understand right off the bat is: this isn’t real. The world you and I live in. We’re in the Re-World, we’re on the do-over planet. For the Bretz, it’s a nasty world, that... [+]

1 MINUTE
I’m burning. It started with a whiff. Everywhere I went people said ‘What’s burning? Can you smell that? Something’s burning.’ And I caught it. It wasn’t like cigarette smoke. It tasted ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Take heed, dear heart...
William Shakespeare

The last shining sun, flyin' over the sea, is going to celebrate a spectacular sunset at Cape Loneless. On the seaside, at the sand, a Gorgeous ... [+]

5 MINUTES
She walks on high heels, her eyes cast down, determined, oh so firmly, to do the right thing. Her dress is ironed, and even though short, it nicely swings around her beautiful legs with each step and ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Sixty-seven, sixty-eight... she’d be under the bed, shoving shoe boxes and scraps of clothing out of the way. Trying to make space. Trying to be smaller.

Seventy-two, seventy-three. Or ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Each day he wakes hungry and makes his way to the crossroads, where he holds a sign that says:
I’m hungry
anything helps
God bless.

People driving by give him their leftovers, hand ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Why JP called his whippet “En-soi” was never known. He explained why he, an amateur, pollarded his own ash trees into terrified stumps, why he broke up with the woman in the gypsy skirt and, ... [+]

5 MINUTES
It has been a long day for all of them. Mo sits back in his armchair. The sky is filled with thousands of stars. Here on the hilltop, a bit out of town, he feel so much more in touch with God. "Dear ... [+]

1 MINUTE
“There is a swarm of bees amongst the whales. Or at least I thought there was at first.” Dr. Pete Pistil paces, puffing his pipe, “I first noticed it recording mating beluga in Antarctica. Then ... [+]

5 MINUTES
A few miles beyond Vasai Creek, the outermost boundary of Mumbai, Samanea trees had taken roots on a twenty acre, unclaimed, unoccupied plot of land. This place, near Kanjari village, was simply ... [+]

3 MINUTES
1.

His choices are stark: between a greater degree of fragmentation and incoherence – a further breaking down of the prospects for insight and understanding as commonly accepted – or a ... [+]

5 MINUTES
On that Saturday night, like every other weekend in the connection house, with very few exceptions. Sunny Bonga stood at the door of the ghetto, he was looking handsome in casual black trousers and ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Anthony rushed home, very early. He went to the bathroom. He did not heat the water on a cooking stove but simply removed his black trousers and T-shirt. The cold bath that evening felt good to him.... [+]

5 MINUTES
Dalton met Lucy on the median of a Chicago boulevard, with an aggressive winter thawing around them. Both were in their late teens, but feeling older. Dalton had his hood up for warmth and his pockets... [+]

5 MINUTES
Crescent moon began to hover over Lake Ponchartrain. Crescent City couldn’t settle down. It awaited a bombshell, a bold chartreuse, a legendary star ascending her own sky. Soon, Basin Street blues... [+]

5 MINUTES
“We’ll have to hurry to get there and back and still make Keiss this evening. Quick photos this time.”
“We’ve already see two castles today, Dan. What’s special about this one?”
... [+]

5 MINUTES
After work, after dinner, the decompression of day sliding into place with the remote control and some movie offering on demand. He didn’t care which digital mind scrub landed on the television, as ... [+]

1 MINUTE
I picked up Mom’s ashes at the funereal parlor and took them home. My brother Donny was there. We’d have our little ceremony before we scattered her ashes.
Mom was Irish, a real lady, but she ... [+]

1 MINUTE
I got out of bed
I never knew this day would have so much dread
I went to school
This day was anything but cool
I practiced for the test
I wanted to do my best
I came home from the ... [+]

1 MINUTE
As we make our ways to say goodbye,
All our memories will fly high.
Some will ask, “Why, Why, Why?”
Others will just give sighs and joyful replies.
Some might ask, “Are they ... [+]

1 MINUTE
When you look at alphabet you notice how the letters go A, B, C and D. I feel as though the letter B represents the way that you are born or your birth. It is a very bright and beautiful time. It is ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Today, Monday of all Mondays, she slumps on the frigid bench without brushing off the deep snow. All that moves in this bitter air is her breath. His fresh emotional manslaughter swirls through her ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Sitting on the grass from the inside of the flowerbed, as if the metal bows were there to protect her, not to prevent her from trespassing on the garden, she concentrated on the phone screen. A young ... [+]

5 MINUTES
According to the first law of narrative dynamics, when two improbable events happen concurrently, they mean business.

At dusk, I was collecting Unc’s mail from the mailbox at the junction his... [+]

5 MINUTES
Does a young girl’s life, like tufts of tumbleweed spiraling in a twister, fall apart in flight or can she land safely in the end? How many tears before tear ducts dry out? Will the endless ... [+]

1 MINUTE
I showed my mother the Tiger Beat picture of Donny Osmond standing at his well-stocked, orderly fridge, his wholesome smile as bright as the fridge light. I begged my mother to fill our fridge with ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Dark. That’s what I see now. My hands and legs, both, can’t move freely. Just my nose and ears that opens. Ticking of the clock and their swear starts feel familiar to my ears. Cold temperature ... [+]

5 MINUTES
There’s not much to do in the caravan park, and Mum says me and Alannah should go out for a walk, she needs to get on and make our dinner. Alannah’s been quiet all afternoon, sulking most ... [+]

3 MINUTES
He finishes his drink, and briefly makes eye contact with the man across from him at the table. He excuses himself and stands, giving a stiff nod to the men at the table as they continue their ... [+]

3 MINUTES
“I want a divorce “, she yelled at him, while picking up the purse, and slamming the door before his perplexed eyes. That morning she woke up at the same time and did the same routine like every ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The bow slipped from Amélie’s hand—the sheet music forgotten.
Eyes fixed on the stranger at the back of the crowd; crimson crept up her neck. She squinted at the brightness of the day. What a... [+]

3 MINUTES
Dear Big Brother,

The day I found the body was the day I got back from my first year of college. I came home expecting a welcome home party I assumed mother felt obliged to throw. She had ... [+]

5 MINUTES
We heard the elevator coming down and both rushed to open the doors. It was about the time Mrs. Tar went for her lunch and my brother and I both wanted to get the tip. She always tipped well for ... [+]

3 MINUTES
She took the short cut to the shops, taking a path through a small park. It was just starting to be spring and crocus bulbs were sprouting their purple tips to the world. She had walked this path ... [+]

3 MINUTES
How did you find your wife or husband? What led you to her/him or her/him to you? The following is my story of how I met my future wife.

One day when I was waiting in the dental office, I ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Prologue

You press the button on the machine. It whirs gently as the paper curls from the slot like a puppy’s tongue.

You gently hold the coiled slip in your hands. You scan around. ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Did I say something wrong? I don’t get it.

Well, I do get it. I understand I say things that people don’t necessarily expect. It’s been 4 years since the accident, and it’s taken me ... [+]

3 MINUTES
“So, there I was, walking through the forest from Timmy's house. You know Timmy, right? He's in Mrs. Folsom's class. His dad owns the hardware store. Anyway, me and Timmy -”
“Timmy and I, ... [+]

5 MINUTES
For days at a time, he is underwater, although how many he can never be sure, floating just below where the sun or the moon or the crisscrossing searchlights of boats can penetrate and filter through.... [+]

3 MINUTES
Karl and Martha, two German scientists, work together in a research laboratory. Their work focuses on poisonous snakes, studying their most dangerous specimens in order to develop bite antidotes. ... [+]

5 MINUTES
"Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, why did you walk into mine?"
"Because it’s yours."
I touched the cigarette on my lips; I lowered my chin and looked at him beneath ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Dora Terra-Mangle was a lion tamer in Leeds from 1947 until May 15th, 1960. That was the day of the catastrophe when Dora, at home in her family caravan near the big top, dropped her thick green ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Peace, quiet, glorious peace, quiet, solitude, and so much time. Growing up with four older brothers had made the experience of working nights as a rentacop a welcoming and comforting change of ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Dante got ripped.

"And that's deep to left center field!" Vincent said with loud excitement, as the baseball flew off of his metal Easton bat on a high curve ball by Dante that never curved. ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Ignorance... bliss?

Kenneth Shippe was my grandmother Rita's first cousin. Kenneth's wife Olivia and he lived in a large, one-story ranch-style house in a small town called Maple Junction. ... [+]

3 MINUTES
The contractions in my lower abdomen became very sharp and I doubled over with pain. Yet again, I willed my seventh about-to-be-born child to be a boy this time; “Please God please”, I prayed ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The cat came insinuatingly and brushed against her leg, leaving white hairs on her dark blue jeans. She stiffened and after a pause, gave some crumbs of her cheeseburger bun to the stray. Then she ... [+]

5 MINUTES
“Name?”

“Cora Canalyl.”

“Age?”

“24, but I’ll be 25 next week.”

The interrogator nodded. “Now when exactly did your...” he said, searching his mind for a ... [+]

5 MINUTES
1.
I knew she was trouble when she walked in the door. The perfume. The lipstick. The low-cut dress. And most of all – the attitude. She was sin herself. I knew she was going to be my ruin. I ... [+]

5 MINUTES
What could be above the surface and why would someone even want to go up there? Humanity had learned to survive for hundreds of years within the dome communities that graced ocean floors across Earth.... [+]

3 MINUTES
I make toast - beautiful, browned bread, evenly crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside.

I made my first toast for you after you returned from your honeymoon in Detroit in 1947. I... [+]

3 MINUTES
Sonny Ramsingh was an only child born of Indian parents who came from India as indentured labourers. They worked in the canefields of a small and picturesque Caribbean island until they gained their ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Wade Harmon died Saturday, driving his John Deere eastward on the back fifty. The tractor idled until it ran out of fuel, and when he didn't come in for lunch, Mavis walked outside and saw it, green ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I nervously walked through the main entrance of the Parkway Nursing Home. The first thing that hit me was the smell. I can’t explain it except that it was sour. My newspaper bags were heavily loaded... [+]

5 MINUTES
It’s a Mexican thing. You have to be Mexican to understand the mixture of sadness, joy and resignation we associate with death. We don’t want to die, but we respect our relatives who have gone ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Aisha, come down the serve tea to the guests’, her mother called. Taking a deep breath and fixing her veil over her head, Aisha slowly went down the winding staircase. The guests were sitting in the... [+]

5 MINUTES
The wind blew with a gust making the black veil slip from Saira’s head; she grabbed it tightly and covered her face, trying to make herself as inconspicuous as possible. Finally she reached the ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Behind the white washed villa stands a rugged barren hill and as you slowly walk up the incline you feel the sensation of clay, sand and silt trickling in-between your toes through the gaps of your ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I had been there for almost three weeks when I first saw her. It would have seemed sort of bizarre, I guess, if everything else about the place hadn’t been so strange. I suppose I hadn’t really ... [+]

3 MINUTES
They had taken a drive out into the far plains where the distances looked wavy and desolate. Her name was Abigail and though she had once loved him greatly, something had changed down deep. His name ... [+]

5 MINUTES
“Stop right there, Sailor. Sailor Sam here will pick up his own property.”

Nudged by the long menacing stick gripped in his hand, Sailor Sam was encouraged to pick up his own property: ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The mirror is an object of lies. As I stood in the bathroom looking in the mirror, I seen the lies through the piece of glass. I couldn't help but look at myself and see all my insecurities come to ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Surly is what comes to mind when traveling through an airport in the early morning hours. 5:15am Detroit Metro surely fits the bill.

The old school clock radio, standard equipment in most ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Marcel started small cons to get by, improving his craft one step at a time.

He’s not a thief.
He’s not a robber.
He’s not a thug.

He’s just trying to get his spirit ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Stirred from his sleep by the ringing telephone, the plumber lets out a sigh after glancing at the clock in this early morning hour. He had hopes for a quiet Saturday, maybe go to a movie after a ... [+]

3 MINUTES
I have a trove of photographs from when the kids were small. I keep them in an old Hush Puppies box in the den underneath the cramped shelf where our old unused turntable sits.

It's a sad ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Every year, Koosie, every year we warns the tourists. Don’t get out of your vehicles. You can’t cuddle a leopard. You can’t caress a cheetah. Elephants don’t want you to pat them.
You ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I had just managed to sit down and make myself comfortable for the 6 1⁄2 hour flight overseas.
He was one the last passengers to board our Boeing 737 bound for Honolulu.
Red faced and ... [+]

5 MINUTES
“Why would you have an egg in your hand at school?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

My sixteenth year as principal of Merriweather Lewis Elementary School was off to a swimming start. ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Why did I get up that day? When I opened my eyes, I could only hear their disproportionate and incomprehensible screams. I thought about going to see what they wanted, but then I figured it would be ... [+]

3 MINUTES
I have two sisters.

Let’s call them Jill and Jane.

Jill lives in Manhattan and is an attorney in a prestigious law firm that represents people in show business. Jane lives in Brooklyn ... [+]

3 MINUTES
His death certificate says rhabdomyolysis and kidney failure but what really killed Jamie was words, couched in two bromides available over the counter - You Can Be Anything You Put Your Mind To and... [+]

5 MINUTES
I live in a train. I have food, warmth, a place to sleep.

I feel certain that I am its sole occupant, for if there were anyone else on it I would know by now, as I have lived in this train my ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The girl's tears are soakers. They never flow enough to nourish me but that is not part of our bargain. She confides the secrets no one else can learn. I help her as much as one can by listening, ... [+]

1 MINUTE
“Bill,” John said, in lieu of hello.

“John,” Bill replied, nodding his head.

“How are you,” John asked.

“Oh, the economy, you know.”

“Yeah, it’s not good, ... [+]

1 MINUTE
I sat down. It was at the small square table. The chairs around me were completely empty; and the only thing in the room was me. I continued to wait. Something was supposed to happen — Something. ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I meet her in Starbucks. Starbucks in London. London, Ontario. She's sitting just inside the glass door, on the corner of Dundas and Richmond Street.
Let me take you into the moment. It’s a ... [+]

3 MINUTES
A tower of packages teetered back and forth in the Bunch family sitting room. Boxes of unusual shapes and sizes were piled high on top of one another, a great beast that hung over the room like a dark... [+]

5 MINUTES
Her shoes glare at me as I wait on the couch for him to pour the wine. Though she is absent her shoes fill the room with her presence. Jay and Marina’s apartment is quiet, and lushly decorated with ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Gordato Paré lost the ocular part of his vision when he was nineteen years-old. Luckily, he had a gift for second sight. He might have been precognitive or maybe even a bit psychokinetic. I never ... [+]

1 MINUTE
Before I was born, I wanted to be a photograph. At that time, I didn’t know whether it would be of my childhood, youth, or adulthood. Or of when I am dead. What mattered was that I had a negative ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Allan Krantz walked up the driveway hoping to pick up the truck he’d placed a down payment weeks ago. His brow furrowed.
Old Tomas, sat in the shade of an open garage, his black and white border... [+]

3 MINUTES
Darlene Brash retired early from education. Winning a lottery mega jackpot made that possible. Her friend Marcie Kilpatrick remained in the classroom. Wednesday evenings they met with the Closely Knit... [+]

3 MINUTES
I happen to be in a fairly fragile relationship right now. My boyfriend – if I can still call him that - is way too decent and way too kind and way too loving for someone like me. I know I ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The first time, it’d taken almost 45 minutes and a full bundle of rags to get the grease off the mirror, the twine from the bundle wrapped loosely around his wrist, hand working in ever-widening ... [+]

3 MINUTES
When you first open your eyes, all you can see is the brightness. You don’t know what it is, but you feel your stubby fingers reach for that light. Pale clouds of cream dot your vision as you ... [+]

3 MINUTES
You remember the ride, don’t you? It was heading towards the campus along Stevens Creek Boulevard. It was a short trip if you dismiss the waiting time but the wait was rather long. You couldn’t ... [+]

1 MINUTE
The road was filled with ruts and weeds. Whispers from the past could be heard amongst the chirping of birds, the buzz of jumping grasshoppers, and butterflies that dotted the wildflowers.

The... [+]

3 MINUTES
We didn’t know he had Asperger’s then. He didn’t, and we didn’t. His parents hadn’t noticed, and what they happened to notice they medicated with anger, and Ritalin.

The late ... [+]

3 MINUTES
I woke up on my last living day. Early, if you could imagine that. I figured losing a few hours of sleep wouldn't hurt, not today. I made coffee to drink on the porch step while the sun rose. The ... [+]

5 MINUTES
The word “family” conjures recollections: Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas around the tree, rented summer bungalows by the shore. I have those in my memory. But I have an added image: three or ... [+]

3 MINUTES
Behind an old building was a girl, crouched in between the alley wall and a dirty, snow-covered dumpster. She was tucked away from the cruel chilling wind. The girl, still just a child, shivered ... [+]

5 MINUTES
Sitting at the black, wax-encrusted table in the back of the spiritual shop I felt foolish. I had wandered into the front of the store, as I always do when visiting New Orleans, looking for ... [+]

5 MINUTES
It was a hot summer day and the fans Brian had in his room weren't helping at all. The curtains were covering his window which was slightly ajar but the air was warm and stuffy, making him sweat even ... [+]

5 MINUTES
I couldn’t shake the feeling that the funeral was for me. I’m not the best with details anymore, but I do know that I’m still alive. I think. I wore a baggy suit, dark gray with a navy blue tie.... [+]

5 MINUTES
Blackness was everywhere.
Well, okay, so maybe blackness was almost everywhere.
At the very least it was dark.
The darkness was quite complete. Except, of course, for those three points of ... [+]

5 MINUTES
When Pat grew up, he worked his way out of the glades to the Gulf by feeding on a variety of fish and vegetation but seemed to have the most luck with bluegill and blueberries along the waterways and ... [+]