Déjà Vu

by Beth Cato

Daniel remembered all too well the painful experiences of high school that drove him to the brink of suicide, but it was a thousand times harder to see his son endure the same thing. True to form, the school had dismissed the reports of bullying, saying boys would be boys and that the main bully – a school board member’s son - denied doing any wrong. Daniel’s fingers trembled as he held the camera steady on the tripod and watched his son pinned and mobbed by other boys waiting for the bus. As much as he ached to run to the rescue, he knew he couldn’t, because he knew that bully would bear twenty different sneering faces, and Daniel wouldn’t be able to stop his fists until each one of those faces was bloody and broken. All he could do was look through the lens, and weep. Justice would come.


Beth Cato is from Hanford, California, but now resides in the wastelands of Arizona with her husband and son. More of her writing can be found here.

View of the Marketplace

by E.K. Mortenson

This would have been, as near as I can tell, about where my small table would have stood, next to the window, overlooking the marketplace where the vendors would haggle with grandmothers or where the fruit sellers would slip a fig or dried apricot into the hand of a child and wink. I would have been on the third floor, looking down, aroma of roasting almonds drifting upward. Now, I lean against what remains of the crumbling wall. I see the bus that carries mothers and children from the settlements splinter into fiery shrapnel. I hear the voices of the merchants gone startlingly silent. From underfoot I choose a scrap of paper that might have been from yesterday’s news, or from the news of the day before that, and on it I begin to write a description of the torso of the child’s doll I had kicked carelessly when entering: fleshy pink garish against blackish char.


E.K. Mortenson is an MFA candidate at Western Connecticut State University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Third Wednesday, RATTLE, Defenestration, Chantarelle’s Notebook, The Centrifugal Eye, Connecticut Review, Red Clay Review, Broken Bridge Review, and Connecticut River Review (for which he is now Assistant editor). He was the 2008 recipient of the Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize. He lives in Stamford, CT with his wife, son, and two cats.


Money Plot

by Zoe Storey

If anyone knew that she wrote this book in the living room, with her boyfriend on the sofa, Goldeneye on TV, it would crush her. She fancies herself as a bit literary, and often writes with a weird voice, for some imagined audience of high brow critics, who, let's face it, critique because they can't make it themselves. So here she is, finally writing something, she's not sure what it will be about but she'd better hurry because she's been implying it's something else for months. Changed her whole career on a whim, and even while writing this, she's grossly aware of the fact she can never write for herself. The girl of flounce, the Einzelkind, has all vanity necessary for a writer, but none of the profundity. So she continues, biding her time, waiting for the money plot, knowing she lost the agent on the first line.


Zoe Storey lives in London, and, alongside a sensible occupation, is also trying to write.

Way Up High

by caccy46

Listening to music often takes to me another place, usually far away. We sat there listening to a jazz twist of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," the young woman belonged in a smoke-filled piano bar with the clink of glasses instead of our local community center; but her voice was lovely and rich as I sat with my eyes closed drifting back, back, back to a time long ago when I listened in a darkened theatre to the girl who sang the mournful tune on her farm. I was very young, very impressionable and very frightened of so many things that happened on that huge screen. I never knew a house could fly in circles and take you to a different land of color - that my mother wasn't honest about witches; they really did exist as I watched one shrivel under the house that landed on her. Horses changed hues, and life would never be the same for me. If I could only click my heels, I wished, as the lights switched on at the end of the song; so many things could be different.


caccy46, whose full catalog is here, is a mother of two who's been married for 33 years.


Bon Voyage

by Aaron Rowley

I drove her to the airport. It was one of those ugly spring mornings after the snow thaws but before the world comes back to life when everything is a dull, muddy gray. We spent the drive talking about nothing. I stopped in front of her terminal and let her out. She begged me to take her back. I said no and felt terrible because I didn't feel worse.


Aaron Rowley lives in Mississippi with his wife.

You Tell Us We Are Angels

by Ben Brooks

We sit outside in darkness waiting patiently before burning kites and crack addicts. I am here and you are there and between us there is this thing called “mmm” which makes us both feel relaxed though the situation would likely evoke shit-yourself-ness had we not had the protection of “mmm.” A homeless man says he wants your wallet and you get scared but then I go “mmm” and you say “I’ll give you a fucking wallet” and he hisses and walks away. It’s just us now; watching the Ogliarchy serve up clean needles and broken dolls. I wonder if the sky will wrap itself around me like it did at home in Vermont, when the sun radiated “mmm” and the whiskey was colder than snow. I wonder if you will ever let me go.


Ben Brooks is a young author from the south west of England. He has work forthcoming in Willows Wept Review, Succour, Paperwall and Dogzplot. His first novella will be released online in July.


Hit and Run

by Lindsay Taylor

Driving through suburbia in a trance, Isaac is unaware of the steadily climbing needle on the speedometer. He is in his apartment, now the home of a stranger, three hours ago. He knows he didn't cheat and she knows he didn't cheat, but here he is driving, burning gas instead of that $200 dress he bought her. Isaac takes a corner at 55. Still seeing her guiltless face, his surroundings are skewed until, with a jolt, it's clear again. Isaac backs up and drives away.


Lindsay Taylor hails from New Hampshire and wishes she lived somewhere more interesting.


by Ted Elrick

Checking the dimes in my pocket, I could buy a Coke or a lottery ticket. One'll quench my thirst and it sure is hot out. The other's a dream. I go for the dream. An easy decision. The painful ones usually are.


Ted Elrick is a freelance writer and author of "The Los Angeles River: Images of America."


The Importance of Tradition

by Connor de Bruler

In the South there are only three occasions in which we are culturally obligated to wear very nice clothes: our high school proms, our weddings, and our own funerals. We only have three occasions because we are not typically Catholic, fail to meet the Texan standards of extravagance when we are wealthy, and do not celebrate young boys or girls coming of age as the Mexican and Jewish traditions call for. Curiously, it is the funeral which takes the most planning and preparation, and ends up being the most expensive. With my rental tuxedo hanging in my darkened closet a few days before the prom, I wonder how nice I'll look when I'm married. When I'm dead I hope they dress my body in the finest clothes yet, and, like my friends at school and the wedding, I hope everyone notices just how good I look dressed up. This is imperative not because I am vain but because the suit will most likely be, once again, a rental.


Connor de Bruler grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and has lived in Indianapolis and Nuremburg, Germany. His work has been published by Bending Spoons Literary Magazine and Fictional Publications.

Side Effect

by Robert Clay

I built the device with the best of intentions, after all, what better motive could you have than to save the world, the human race and all the other species that live here. The details are complex, but the principle is simple enough, the device uses the Moon as an antenna, scans for artificial power sources that emit carbon dioxide and when found, wraps them in a compressed bubble of time and space dilation, in effect, shoves them off into some other universe. I know that seems drastic, but we need drastic, we're just going to have to get by using less energy, sorry folks, but that's the decision I've made. Unfortunately there has been a side-effect, because right now it is mid-day, and the sky is clear, it is also black, I can see the stars. The sun has vanished, I'm not really sure why, it doesn't emit carbon dioxide and it is not artificial as far as I know, but I suspect it is shining right now in some other universe. One thing is for sure as I stand here watching a layer of ice form over everything in sight... global warming is no longer a problem.


Robert Clay, whose full catalog is here, is a Seafarer now stranded on land. He lives in Cornwall in the UK.


Everything Mike Does Is Wrong

Yet He Wins the March "Six of the Month" Award!

Find more videos like this on Six Sentences


Congratulations to Mike Whitney whose "In the Middle of the Night" takes home the March Prize! (And yes, that's multi-talented Mike on guitar - enjoy!)


by Ajay Vishwanathan

The sight of yellow against white was beautiful, triumphal. The bubbles started forming, swirling, bursting here, some more there, as the stream steadied. As I watched the conquering act, many clamored to get to where I was and I wished they would be quiet. Distraction could be its undoing I thought, while I focused on the little miracle unfolding in front of me. It had started as a stubborn drop, then another, then a nervous spurt, fidgety, then another, gruelingly staccato. A jubilant smile quivered on my lips when it was over, as I sighed with relief, zipped up and flushed.


Ajay Vishwanathan, published in over forty literary journals, finds release in writing. He works with bugs that he cannot see, and on experiments that might find a cure one day. He lives in Georgia with his lovely wife and lovable twins.

Hung Up on the Details

by Matt Lurie

I cannot stand hot dogs — I don’t need to explain why. Listen, a man doesn’t have to have a reason for these things. I mean don’t you just irrationally hate something? No? Hello? Are you still there?


Matt Lurie is often asked if he'll ever stop thinking about only himself.


Night of the Living Bedspread Demon

by Madam Z

When I was seven years old, my family lived in a small, ramshackle house that had only one bedroom, which mom and dad used, while my sisters and I slept on a bed in the living room. Mom always put us to bed way before I was sleepy, and usually I would just lie there, bored and disgruntled, until I finally fell asleep; but one night mom had left a pile of folded laundry on a table by our bed and right in front of my face was Mom’s peach-colored chenille bedspread, which, as I lay there contemplating it, gradually revealed an evil face in the folds. I couldn't take my eyes off of the face as it stared back at me, and then it spoke, in a deep, crusty voice... "If you touch this bedspread, you will die." The next day, Mom put the bedspread back on their bed and from then on, whenever I had to go into the bedroom, I would stay as far away from the bed as possible, as I could feel the malevolent presence of the demon and knew it was daring me to touch it, so it could kill me. One day, mom was doing some rare housework and wanted me to help, telling me to make her and dad's bed, but I refused, knowing that if I touched the bedspread I’d be dead; but she persisted, yelling, "I TOLD YOU TO MAKE THE BED,” and again I said, "NO!" She blew her top and grabbed my arms, forcing me toward the bed, while I fought and screamed, terrified as she pushed my hands onto the bedding and dragged my trembling arms across the bedspread, pulling it into place as I squeezed my eyes shut and prepared to die, though amazingly enough, I didn't die, and I've never been afraid of a bedspread since.


Madam Z (the one-and-only, and whose full catalog is here) maintains a must-read blog. Stop by.

A Theology of Leaving

by Christopher Cocca

She told him she was leaving like the way he thought St. Peter broke bad news to Mormons. Ten years later it was Evangelicals. Next year it will be Post-moderns and and finally he'll start to think that bad news only comes when you're expecting it for others. That we're always leaving, a school district, a state, a god, a vice, an idol. Short hair, long hair, blond hair, bad skin, thin and fat. Leaving one thing for another and sometimes coming back.


Christopher Cocca lives in Allentown, PA and stays up way too late. His work has been published in Elimae, Boston Literary Magazine, Geez Magazine, Brevity, and The Lantern (the literary journal of Ursinus College).


Full Stop

by Jessica Patient

No period. No warning. It was final like a full stop. No more tears every month over blood specks, knowing the likelihood of having a baby had slipped through her fingers. All the chances had gone. Diana emptied her bathroom cabinet and filled a carrier bag with stockpiled pregnancy tests.


Jessica Patient writes here. She lives in Bedfordshire, England.

Frozen Memories

by Laura Giroir

Picture frames only hold a moment. Now two eyes carefully advert my own, and I can’t possibly sleep. Never blink. Pretend that words can be rewritten once they’ve escaped your lips. I pull the blanket toward me, being cold. I can be without you.


Laura Giroir is a student at Louisiana State University.

Death: Thought No. Four

by Doug Paul Case

Sometimes I like to think about what he’d do if I killed myself. I picture him lying naked on his bedroom floor, clutching the Polaroid he took of me in Miami. It was hot the night he took it. I never imagine him crying. He’d move on, but he’d never find what we had. We were a one-shot deal.


Doug Paul Case studies writing, literature, and publishing at Emerson College. Sometimes he remembers to blog here.


Roll Your Eyes; It's Chick Revenge

by Lyn Michaud

She became my nemesis. Her eyes gawked to witness something juicy for the gossip circuit. I’m open about my sexual escapades. Caught naked under a tree beside Long Lake with the man she wanted. To injure my reputation was also sure to injure his. She held her silence ‘til the wedding then rose to say, “I do object.”


Lyn Michaud holds a Bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry, and publishing credits in the Encyclopedia of Global Health, Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Encyclopedia of Stem Cell Research. She enjoys rollerblading, mountain biking and hiking.

The Imploding Empress

by Kirsty Logan

A million pounds will buy a lot of things, and the empress had most of those things. Trust me said the salesmen, and she did. She believed that objects were the opposite of emptiness. But objects have their own gravity, and greater objects mean more gravity. At the moment the empress added the final jewel to her pinky finger, she flickered out. The rings fell with a clatter to the white marble tiles.


Kirsty Logan lives in Scotland with her girlfriend and the rain.


Lament of a Former Toys R' Us Kid

by Adam J. Whitlatch

When did this happen to me? I clearly remember - as if it were only yesterday - digging in the sand, dirtying up the knees of my good jeans, riding my bike around the yard with the dog nipping excitedly at my back tire, climbing mountains of hay bales in the barn, playing in the snow for hours on end, not caring about the dampness or the chill, and making countless snow angels in the front yard. Why then does taking time out from my busy day to play in the sandbox seem like such a chore? Why do my knees burn with pain when I kneel to play with my son, or ache when I ride a bicycle? When did the snow become something to fear and curse through sealed windows, instead of something to cheer and celebrate amidst the falling flakes? I swore it would never happen, so how did I let it slip past me - tell me, please... when did I grow old?


Adam J. Whitlatch fondly remembers a time when life wasn't about medical bills, high gas prices, needless wars, and vehicle maintenance; it was about having fun. His shorts stories have appeared in Six Sentences Volumes 1 & 2, New Voices in Horror's Underground Stash, Shroud Magazine, Dead Science, Northern Haunts: 100 Terrifying New England Tales, and Crossed Genres Magazine.

Momentary Lapse

by Jon Blistein

At the moment right before nightfall and just after dusk, scattered storm clouds bruise the sky black-and-blue contusions that wander across the body of the atmosphere. On the steps leading up to the backdoor of Church of The Ascension, ash from a cigarette and shallow puddles of spit tattoo the concrete. For the first time in maybe a week everything doesn’t seem so dark, which surprises you a little as you look at the hot orange tip of your Marlboro and the matching pale light hanging above the stoop. And then that moment above passes as quickly as it arrived, and that sensation you hadn’t felt in days escapes you, all at the same instant when you’re no longer alone on those steps and you have to force yourself to cough up a succession of words, fragments, and sentences to the two people you can’t bear to look at. A week ago you told him how you felt, and saw him fucking her the next night. Back in your room, sitting naked on the linoleum floor of the bathtub, hot water running down your face not unlike tears, you look at your upper arm: the same color as the clouds at the moment right before nightfall and just after dusk.


Jon Blistein is a student. He likes to write and take long walks at ungodly hours of the night.



by Angel Zapata

My son calls me up and tells me he’s lost his first tooth. This saddens me something fierce. He’s only five years old, and already the man inside him is pushing his way out. His mother and I divorced before his very first birthday. There’s an equal amount of prodigal fathers for every would-be prodigal son. The Tooth Fairy appears while he dreams, but nothing will fill this cavity.


Angel Zapata was born in NYC, but currently resides just outside of Augusta , Georgia. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Powder Burn Flash, Doorknobs & Bodypaint, Every Day Fiction, Every Day Poets, Membra Disjecta, Flashes in the Dark, and The Drabbler. He is husband to his blond goddess and father of four boys obsessed with all things ninja. He occasionally blogs here.

Another Night in Patagonia

by Joseph Grant

Even in the best of worlds their lives were already damaged, he thought as he cut the engines, pulling silently into the entrance of the starlit harbor. This wasn't the best of worlds for Catherine and him to start a new life and he was glad that she stayed behind this time; things were getting dicey out here any more with pirates and privateers getting in on the action. He was well aware he literally drifted in dangerous waters these days; he'd even heard the barroom stories of boatloads of unsuspecting Americans virtually disappearing on moonlight cruises and that returning crews were either too frightened to talk or were paid off, but either way, the hotels and travel agencies denied such hearsay, but he knew rumors ran as deep as the waves around here and reached shore with about the same regularity to this maritime town. This was the reason he paid Pablo well and kept a gun in the hold, but he was well aware if the circumstances ever arose, he would probably never even get the chance to use it. The spark of a flashlight flickered in the darkened hills surrounding the sleeping marina and he signaled back as the vaqueros began their descent. It was a hell of a way to make a living trafficking in narcotics, rum and stowaways but until things got better, it paid off his debt to the Argentinean drug cartel and was the insurance that kept both he and Catherine very much alive.


Joseph Grant rocks the 6S mike with force and frequency. His full catalog is here.


Housecleaning (Part II)

by Diane Brady

Do you remember the sweeping of bugs, the washing of dishes and clothes, the routines I so easily accepted in the tropics? Well, friends, one of those chores took a drastic turn Saturday night, and while fellow volunteers were probably raising a green Belikin beer bottle embossed with a Mayan ruin, I was raising a tall green Suretox can decorated with a giant roach. But it wasn’t the roaches I did battle with that night; it was the termites – thousands of them swarming out of the hot walls and ceiling, dropping onto the floor; they were everywhere – under the table I use for a desk, in the bedroom, storage room, living room and kitchen. For more than an hour it was man against insect, and I felt outnumbered but determined to hold my ground. We have all retreated now, but the battle rages on in more subtle ways; while the termites hide in my wooden home, waiting for another opportunity to horrify me, I am waiting, too, for my landlord to fumigate the crawl space with a chemical more powerful than what I sprayed that night. And so, please keep me in your thoughts and pray that I win this war long before the ceiling falls or the house collapses, on another hot Saturday night in Paradise.


Diane Brady, author of Housecleaning, is a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Belize, C.A.

Winter Beach

by E.K. Mortenson

Here, at the edge of the world, all that breaks the seamless gray is a thin line: the palest of yellows. It is all that separates the oncoming front from the outgoing tide. There is a lifeguard chair, its thin metal legs rusting into the sand, its wooden bench, warped and splintered. It stands mute watch over the leaden sea, the steel sky. This time of year a man might climb into that seat, clench each cold armrest and watch the armies of surf and sky amassed before him. He might, then, place all of his hopes in that band of light floating upon the horizon, and wonder if it will be enough.


E.K. Mortenson is an MFA candidate at Western Connecticut State University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Third Wednesday, RATTLE, Defenestration, Chantarelle’s Notebook, The Centrifugal Eye, Connecticut Review, Red Clay Review, Broken Bridge Review, and Connecticut River Review (for which he is now Assistant editor). He was the 2008 recipient of the Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize. He lives in Stamford, Connecticut with his wife, son, and two cats.


Colder Nights

by Cullen Gallagher

It was so cold that even the smog, hovering perpetually above New York City, seemed to solidify and then fall down to earth under its own weight - but it was only snow. It was so cold that even the rising stink from the subway and the fuming exhaust from cars and buses couldn’t melt the snow. It was so cold that the snow stayed, and that the people all stayed home. It was so cold that at just a few minutes past eleven p.m. on a Wednesday night, there were only two people passing under the shadows of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. And it was so cold that one of their bodies wouldn’t be found until well past dawn the next morning by someone who couldn’t afford to miss a day of work and who had a long train ride ahead of him. It was so cold that even the blood was frozen, and tonight promised to be even colder than yesterday.


Cullen Gallagher lives in Brooklyn, NY where he is a film critic. He also blogs about crime fiction at Pulp Serenade.

Apple a Day

by Michelle Davis

Fuck Apple! Technology at your fingertips... the fruit of temptation so aptly named! Just one flick of your thumb and all that knowledge is yours! Try it... just one little bite won’t hurt; but once you do bite, you are hooked, and then it is too late. Yes, you can hold the knowledge of the world in a sleekly designed, silver rectangle... you are no longer ignorant... oh yes, you will know everything... except of course for the lives and the world right in front of your face. Yeah, fuck Apple!


Michelle Davis is guilty of biting, but is taking preventative measures so it doesn’t happen again.


Her Sloppy, Headlong Journal

by Gabriel McCaslin

Her sloppy, headlong journal will be characterized by very dirty, smudged writing, crazy messes of ink everywhere and omitted or embellished words roughening the rereading. No verb to support the rules of grammar here, there no modifier or noun, here an uncalled-for flourish at the end of the phrase "damn the hermit," there a drawn-out series of ever-larger periods. And headlong, headstrong ideas, no-holds-barred, full-bore ideas with no regard for common decency or other, less common restrictions. Every dash will be wild and dripping with drastic ink, indicating insane leaps of logic or vast springing bounds over the fences of faith and belief. A period indicates a collision, because with no brakes the only stopping comes by way of ramming into the next sentence. A comma is the last ratcheting second at the top of the big drop, before the final fatal rolling, swinging, head-over-heels plunge.


Gabriel McCaslin is a student in Munich, Germany.

Unholy Baptism

by Lucile McKenzie

For the third time, he lifted her out of the lake. She gagged, coughed, then drew in huge, frantic gulps of air. Holding her dripping body, he let her stand shivering in the turbid water. He smiled when he saw the stark terror in her eyes, the pleading, desperate hope that he would tire of this game and let her go. Once more he forced her under the water until tiny air bubbles made their way to the surface, then vanished. Still smiling, he waded to shore without looking back.


Lucile McKenzie writes both fiction and non-fiction. She likes to write flash fiction because she's blessed with a short attention span.


Six Deaths

Six Sixes by Ken Wohlrob

Ken Wohlrob lends his talent to our "Six Sixes" series, and adds a personal touch. To view the magazine, just click the document. You’ll be taken inside, where you can turn the pages by clicking the arrows to the left and right. Enjoy!


Six Sentences, in death, comes to life.


Writer's Block

by Laurita Miller

As a writer, fate has conspired against me. I had a happy childhood devoid of any hardship or tragedy. I have never suffered any horrible illnesses, or struggled with addiction of any sort, nor have I been a victim or perpetrator of any crime. I have no long lost siblings or children, no vengeful lovers, no bitter enemies. I have never been abducted by aliens, and even the neighbour’s nasty little dog refuses to bite me. I am doomed to failure.


Laurita Miller is doing her best.

Economic Downturn

by Barry Basden

I am at breakfast this Sunday morning, a perfectly good morning, though a bit cloudy, and a perfectly good breakfast - some sort of baked casserole of sausage, cheese, and eggs - with fresh fruit chafafah on the side. The Hendersons are not here and the hosts, my brother and his new wife, surely miss them, but we speak awkwardly of family we haven't seen in years, although it is a small world and my other brother - no, not Larry - says his neighbor, an ex-DEA agent, once arrested our cousin who has since died in a one-pickup crash. That poor guy had already suffered plenty of homemade bad luck, leaving one arm hanging in a barbed wire fence he ran his motorcycle through late one night so loaded he got up and was trying to untangle it one-armed and put it back on when his daddy found him and screamed for him to lie down. But we are mostly here looking out across a lovely backyard pool and the water hazard on the empty 13th fairway beyond just to say goodbye to all that and, regretfully, to our sweet yellow Lab who will be staying here with my brother and his new wife when we remove our shoes and fly off to the lowlands of Central America this afternoon, the ultimate downsizing - well, no, that's not quite right, but I don't want to think about the ultimate. No, it's not that bad yet, but we have to go now or I'm afraid it might be; we'll hole up down there while the rest of our stash slowly leaks away because this stuff ain't close to being over yet. I hate to leave but we really must go and I'll be sure to write when I'm not busy praying for all those Wall Street fuckers to jump.


Barry Basden writes mostly short pieces. Some have been posted here and in other online venues. Some have not.


Slightly Irregular

by Melanie Browne

He thought about her as he examined the new package of slightly irregular socks she bought for him at the closeout store. Putting them on and staring down at his feet, he wondered if 'slightly irregular' was something akin to 'bad vibes' because every time he wore them he thought about natural disasters or the fact that Wolfman Jack was no longer on the radio. He had quit smoking again and his skin felt itchy. Even his eyeballs itched. Just as he brought his fingers closer to his face she appeared in front of him, stark naked and smiling broadly. If he could find where she hid his cigarettes he just might be able to forgive her for the socks.


Melanie Browne's poems have appeared online in various journals including Madswirl, Gloom Cupboard, Word Riot, and DecomP. She has a poem forthcoming in Pank Magazine. She lives in Texas.

Just Like My Daddy

by Rebecca Buller

My temper flares like a Texas wildfire, just as my mother pours dishsoap into the sink. She shakes her head, muttering, "Just like your daddy, lose your head if it wasn't screwed on." An insult? Maybe, but I don't wish to debate with her at this early an hour. I retrieve a stale donut from the cookie jar decorated with roosters and leave the house, awaiting the customary slam of the front door before stomping down the porch steps like a petulant child. My day's already ruined, and it's only eight a.m.


Rebecca Buller is currently training to become a professional fiction writer. She lives in Oklahoma.


The Cosmic Horror

by A.M. Fontana

He falls asleep in front of the television set as an old ghost story plays in black and white. There’s a bump in night in the form of a car alarm and, startled, he bolts upright; turns off the set; sits back down on his bed; and rubs his eyes in the dark. He does not picture old rocking chairs, tucked away in attics, that begin moving on their own during lightning storms, however, or old gray ladies cackling about local legends of the dead come back to haunt the living. Instead, he recalls a clip he watched on his computer screen at work about the millions and millions of eons it took to form the universe, and how it would take one, traveling the speed of light, 13 billion years to reach the edge. Humans, the video noted, arrived rather late in the game; only very recently birthed such terrestrially historical stalwarts as Socrates, Shakespeare and Albert Einstein; and, despite this, may still go the way of the dinosaur if the overwhelming self-destructive behavior continues. An ineffable terror suddenly grips him, causing a single desolate tear to run down his cheek, as he realizes that his life and death will mean next to nothing in the vast expanses of space and time; that nothing he or anyone else has done or will do will ever know the immortality known by God’s true children - the planets, the stars, the cosmos; and that maybe there’s no use in even bothering to try...


A.M. Fontana lives and writes in Los Angeles. As a devout agnostic with heaping handfuls of existential angst, he tends to believe that both the religious and the atheistic, alike, have taken leaps of faith.

Slow Dance

by Al Sacoman

It was my first high school dance and I was hanging out with the guys pretending not to be looking across the room at the pretty girl standing amid a gaggle of other girls pretending she wasn't looking back. I was just learning to dance (secretly in our basement with the help of a buddy) and thought I might be able to fake my way through a slow song which was why I wanted to scream at the DJ for spinning one fast song after another and would have if he hadn't finally played something slow and now I looked for the girl wondering if I had it in me to take the long walk across the room (it seemed a thousand miles wide) because once I went beyond the point of no return (the middle of the room where I could safely detour to the boys room without calling attention) what if she turned me down and embarrassed me in front of guys and make me want to die on the spot. In the end my raging teenage hormones overrode my fears and I started the long trek keeping my eyes focused on the girl I'd singled out to let her know I was coming because no way could I go back empty handed if another guy got to her first and I was ready to settle for the girl standing next to her who was a good foot taller than me and had a face full of zits. I managed the heart-thumping walk and asked her to dance with a mangled request - would you dance to like - but if she noticed my flub she didn't say because she nodded yes and let me take her hand and practically drag her to the middle of the crowd where no one would notice if I screwed up. We were on the floor now, the first time I'd ever been this close to a girl and the feeling was so intoxicating that after a few steps I pulled her closer sure she was going to resist, and when she didn't I pressed against her until I felt the unmistakable softness of her breasts against my chest which emboldened me enough to put my cheek on hers, a touch that generated the best sensation of my life so far, and at that moment I was so happy I thought I'd died and gone to heaven until a long strand of her hair slipped between my lips and quickly became ensnared in the sticky spearmint flavored gum I was chewing in the front of my mouth. All thoughts of her breasts evaporated as I ground my teeth together in a frantic effort to saw through the errant hair but gnawing on that strand only made the tangle worse and oh my god now the music was ending and she stepped away pulling the wad of gum out of my mouth oblivious to the misshapen ornament now dangling just below her gold necklace and much as I wanted to tell her about the gum in her hair she was smiling at me so sweetly I never found the courage.


Al Sacoman can be reached here.


Olivia's Whisper

by S.M. Grantham

Anticipation had been building since Tuesday evening when Charlotte had first overheard the whisper. Now Saturday, she couldn’t help but wonder if today would be the day, and, if so, in what form the news would arrive. Her expectation had sprouted by mere happenchance while shopping at Olivia’s, the local New York style grocer; stooping over chocolate bars, she heard a familiar hush of voices through shelves of pasta one aisle over. Stan, Sylvia and Juliette, friends from her neighborhood writing group, were whispering excitedly about one of their own, but with the rumor now four days old, Charlotte couldn’t be certain her hope was warranted. Try as she might, however, she couldn't curtail it. With every phone call, email, and text, she jumped; silence, then finally the violent slam of the postman in the hallway delivering an auspicious envelope carrying congratulations: You are this year’s Newbury Short Story Award winner.


S.M. Grantham is a full-time writer and suspense novelist currently living in Chicago. She blogs here.

The View at 3 AM

by Matthew Britton

The light spread from the kitchen and onto the stairs, illuminating your legs. A boy walked past in a stripy t-shirt, asking what was wrong. I still don't know what was. I touched your hair for one last time, closing the door behind me as I left. My legs were numb as I walked down the driveway, eye burning on my back from the window. The hedge hid me as I crouched down and attempted to cry.


Matthew Britton, 21, fears growing up more than his upcoming student loan payments.


House Sitting

by Brendan O'Brien

My best friend, all smiles and suitcases, pats my shoulder and thanks me again. He is going Fun Jet, escaping Wisconsin or, as we call it, Mother Nature’s driving range. His wife winks, mouths polite words and bends to get the kids in the cab. He hands me a set of keys and says, “Ok, just a few things: please selectively eat from all three King Size Chex Mix bags in our pantry leaving only the pretzels; use a flathead to pry the lid off the leftover Dignity Blue in the basement and submerge something mildly important so we’ll never find it; let the Labrador eat a handful of almond Hershey’s so you can see if this dog and chocolate thing is for real; when it snows, shovel the sidewalk into our window well to see if we are serious when saying the window leaks; take the scissors from our kitchen drawer, pick the lint from your toenails and mix up your findings with the cat’s supper; last but not least, if you’re going to masturbate to my wife’s picture use the 4x6 in the office, black bikini and floppy hat, instead of the one by the bed of the family at Epcot.” You shake his hand, give him a man hug and put the keys in your pocket. As they drive away you wave.


Brendan O'Brien drinks beer, watches baseball, roots for Notre Dame and writes from Wisconsin. He has a dog named Montana and an iPod with Chubb Rock. His work has appeared in places like Storyglossia, Dark Sky and Dogzplot among others.

Record of Insanity

by Frank O'Connor

Everyone agreed that Lvev Mendelstam was a very kind man. He kept procedures dangerously efficient, preferring electricity to beatings, even with the worst of the prisoners. Many of them requested to be interrogated by Lvev so that they could confess quickly and move on to be shot. The Party gave him The Cross Of Dedication and The Star Of Universal Glory, even while noting his unorthodox methods. Then came the The Grand Rapture of '56, when kindness itself was happily revealed to be a technocratic delusion. Now, everyone agrees, the real nightmare is just how the traitor Mendelstam could have got away with being "kind" for so very long.


Frank O'Connor is a compulsive addict in the army of frustrated writers. He blogs here, and his work has been published in Flashquake, Pequin, and Monkeybicycle, among other places.


New "Six of the Month" Nominees!

Six New Writers vie for the March Prize!


Six Sentences encourages you to vote for your favorite March Six. Watch the video to see the nominees, visit the event site HERE (where you can read all the pieces and vote in the poll), then cast your additional vote on the Official Ballot HERE. Good Luck to all six of our nominees!


by Joanna M. Weston

Passing cars lit the road ahead. Spike walked fast, thinking of the evening’s hockey game: he’d made good passes and Coach said he could stay on the A-team. The growl of a pick-up approached fast behind him. A thumping blow arched him backwards. The stars exploded. He flew into silence.


Joanna M. Weston has had poetry, reviews, and short stories published in anthologies and journals for twenty years.


Loft Bed

by Noelle Sterne

In the two-room, graduate-school apartment, one-eighth of a brownstone whose only virtue was eleven-foot ceilings, my new husband, despondent at the little space, designed and with a cousin built a loft bed. At first, I thought this innovative, creative, even genius. The thick wooden planks were solid and rich and the matching ladder naughtily bohemian for staid doctoral candidates; he was elated. But making the bed required the skills and muscle tone of an advanced yoga master. And during sleep, if in the night a pimple broke through on your nose, it grazed the ceiling. One morning, suspecting the rest of my life could be seeing him through a succession of impossible highs and lows, I climbed down the ladder and walked out.


Noelle Sterne is a writer, editor, writing coach and consultant. Stemming from her long consulting practice with doctoral candidates, she is currently completing a psychological-spiritual handbook to help doctoral candidates finish their dissertations (finally). She is the author of "First You Find Your Desk: Start Writing and Keep Writing with Less Agony and More Joy."

Up Again

by Jo Rippon

The smell of the sun sits tucked in your hair. It is mixed with specks of dirt, as if someone has ground a pepper mill over your head. I touch the scrape by your eye. It lies skew, slightly indented, lined with red. You cried when it happened, but now you have forgotten. It will take a few days to heal, but tomorrow you will be riding your bike again, past the spot where you fell.


Jo Rippon is new to this.


6SV2 Now Available!

a publication announcement from Six Sentences!

Old friends. New blood. A hidden message. An introduction by Neil LaBute. A guest appearance by Rick Moody. Six Sentences, Volume 2 - now available here.


Six Sentences, Volume 2 - also coming soon to Amazon.com. You've got to read it to believe it!

Reality Bites

by Virginia Marion

Soft spring sunshine filtered through the trees at the outdoor café, helping Lenore build courage. "I'm pregnant." Boyd's face transformed, anger narrowing his eyes to slits, his jaw clenching. "You said you loved me." Truth nudged the edges of her mind and fear blossomed, forcing her to avert her eyes. "I'm sterile," he replied through gritted teeth.


Virginia Marion writes in Texas and has been published at Every Day Fiction, FlashShot, Brilliance e-zine, the Melic Review and The Wroter’s Post Journal magazine.

Puppy Love

by Stacy Milbouer

If I smell her perfume one more time I will have to show my love in a way that most would feel inappropriate. First I’ll breathe in her hair, no matter who’s around - take in the mixture of lilacs and homemade pot roast, then nibble her ear in hope the scent will translate to flavor, rub against her skin so that she can’t ignore me as she has every day since I first saw her at Norton Pond. Well there was that one time when I swam to the place where she basks in the sun (which by the way just made her perfume stronger), peeked up from the end of the dock and couldn’t believe when she reached out and touched my head for an ecstatic second before my brother called to me to come home for dinner, “Right now Michael - right now!” And I know it sounds unbelievable - to be so in love with someone who touched you only once and smells like spring and home - but I am, I’m in love and I know I’ll never love anyone like I love her, ever again. So what if we’re strangers and come from two different worlds - two different species? We’re both alive, we’re both warm blooded - isn’t that enough?


Stacy Milbouer is a reporter, columnist and editor living in New England. Her poems and short stories have been published in literary journals, and her last book (Dying in Vein: Blood, Deception... Justice) was published in 2004.



by Anonymous 3

Just this one piece today. Nothing else. And why? Maybe because of the threat of violence. Or maybe I purchased the right - money talks. Or maybe I'm trying to teach you something about focus, about paying attention.


Anonymous 3 wishes to remain anonymous.


The Chasm

by Sue Ellis

There is a ramshackle little town in the Arizona desert where tourist Hummers from nearby Las Vegas whip the dust in the streets onto the already unclean storefront windows; the six passengers hardly taking notice of the shabby citizens; instead bracing themselves for the harrowing dirt track/road trip adventure that will lead them to the lip of the grand canyon. My husband and I have camped for two days among the cactus and snakes at a little RV park that's really a low-rent refuge for the nearly homeless. Chemical sensitivity keeps us from joining the throng; someone might be wearing perfume, so we gas up the Subaru and follow along at a respectful distance on a road that can only be described as a goat trail, until we notice a few goats going overland who have better sense. The destination is run by local Indians, a site seeing tour of the Grand Canyon with a new glass-bottomed viewing platform being built out over the edge of the canyon, extending out over a chasm so overwhelming as to cause toes to draw back in their flip-flops even as the spirit soars - but, alas, the platform is not open yet. We find the concession area and a cool drink, browse the trinkets in the open-air shop and congratulate ourselves on finding a place where I can "be" without the inhaler or head pain - and that's when we find out that the tour is on a bus that runs the length of a paved road along the canyon's rim, with passengers whose names I already know: Tide with Bleach, Snuggle Fabric Softener, Johnson's Baby Lotion; and a husband who refuses to leave me. No walking allowed, for safety reasons, and so defeated we gaze longingly at what is visible: the high side walls of the canyon's red, ochre and bronze rock formations across a chasm that no horse or outlaw could jump.


Sue Ellis is a retired postmaster who lives with her husband in Spokane, Washington. She has been previously published in Flash Me Magazine, Camroc Press Review, Wild Violet, and Dead Mule, all online publications. She is a member of the Internet Writers Workshop.

Want Ain’t Need

by C. Robert Miller

I am the tar baby. The decoy. The only real truth and matter to me is the stick stuck down where my rib should be. I cannot claw, tear in, and yank it out. I wouldn’t. It kills the fox when the fox kills me.


C. Robert Miller is an untrained fiction writer in Texas. He has a forthcoming publication in elimae and was awarded first prize in a fiction contest in Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art judged by Aimee Bender. Visit him here.

The Bears

by Bob Heman

The author of Training Your Husband advocated traditional domestic discipline as one of the tools available to every wife. It was not a best seller among the bears. They didn’t read much and when they did it was usually one of those old style photo novels that showed frame after frame of bears in the forest with speech balloons rearranging all that ever happened or ever could happen. Their favorite story was the one about the girl with the long blond hair who snuck into a bear house much like their own and soon fell asleep on a bed that was neither too hard nor too soft. She was never given a speech balloon of her own which left her a mystery to even the most perceptive of the bears. The name they gave her reflected their uncertainty about her.


Bob Heman's short prose pieces have appeared in numerous places including Quick Fiction, Paragraph, Sentence, and Tuesday Shorts. His short collection How It All Began can be downloaded for free here.


The Blue Island

by Arthur Chertowsky

When I was a young boy living in a series of dark, hot, brick apartment buildings in Brooklyn, New York, I looked forward to the occasional trip to the suburbs on Long Island, or to “the country,” as we called it then, to visit my father’s brother, his wife, who was my favorite aunt, and their two grown children, a son and daughter who were young adults living out of the house at that point but who returned for family gatherings. I didn’t spend much time in the comfortable, modest house with the grown-ups, but in the backyard, sitting with my thoughts beneath a willow tree, or on the stone steps leading up to the front of the house, where I could hear the whooshing sounds of traffic from a distant highway while I closely inspected and was transported by the beauty of my aunt’s multicolor hydrangeas: pink, purple, and my favorites, the blue. While the garden of hydrangeas was my favorite place to be on these visits, my second favorite place was my cousin Anna-Lynn’s old bedroom, preserved as it was when she was still living at home, with a glass showcase filled with dolls of all nations in their native dress, as colorful and beckoning as the hydrangeas. A number of tragedies struck my uncle’s family while I was still young, leaving him without his wife and daughter. Anna-Lynn’s brother bravely carved out a life for himself and had a happy family of his own, though he remained somewhat haunted by the untimely passings of his mother and sister. In my twenties, I dreamt I’d returned to their old house in the suburbs, everything in it covered in white sheets, everywhere the whisper of distant traffic, and on the front lawn a new addition, a swing, upon which sat Anna-Lynn, in a sea of blue hydrangeas.


Arthur Chertowsky still lives, and sometimes writes, in a hot, brick building in Brooklyn, NY.

The Bristol Fiesta

by Helen Sedgwick

The road leading to the gates was greyish in its grandeur, but busy. We were being buffeted by sounds and screeches, the excitement clashing with remnants of our fight the night before. Then we see them across the grass, lying flat and limp like skins of things once full, now empty. Claire’s saying that the tiger one reminds her of a rug in her dad’s father’s house; I smile at her funny way of seeing things, then prickle because I’m not so good at forgetting. But wait, there’s a whirring, flames are jumping out and up and warming the air, people cheer in waves, another one’s about to go, look! Claire slips her hand into mine, and over crowds and trees we marvel at gold-red dragons and champagne bottles, giants and hobbits and hot-air balloons rising up and up and replacing the sky with a collage of extraordinary colour.


Helen Sedgwick is a writer, musician and scientist who lives in Scotland. You may visit her online here.

Sinking In

by Anthony Del Broccolo

“You have to be kinder to yourself,” she commands, as I chase the little green capsule with a Diet Cherry Coke. I parse her words carefully. They don’t quite seem to go together. Now I lay here, willingly sucking tiny needles through desperate pores scattered across my body, attempting to stimulate something I am not even sure exists anymore. In a harsh, almost dictatorial voice, he barks at me, telling me that I need to relax. Too bad I don’t understand Korean.


Anthony Del Broccolo is a TV writer who just moved from Los Feliz to Burbank, lowering his hipness factor by at least 10. He LOVES Diet Cherry Coke.


Small Gestures

by Ben White

I had lunch with her daughter today. She looks just like Sara did 22 years ago. We talked about her interests, extracurriculars, and just a touch of her hopes and dreams. Such a bright smile. I gave her a spot in my lab; I'll write her rec letter for med school in a few months. And I bought her some sesame chicken — it's the least a father can do.


Ben White is a medical student, although he is almost certain he received no help from any secret biological parents. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, and online here.

The Embers

by Leon Jackson Davenport

What will I remember about you, now that the fire of our love has burned out and the embers are cold? I will remember only the good times; when we walked in a field blooming with sun yellow daisies; the winter picnic at the beach (we had to stop on the way home for a snifter of cognac, to quiet the deep chill in our bones); our trip to D.C.; your smile and wit and finding someone that appreciated Kurt Vonnegut as much as I. You, I fear, will remember only the bad; our arguments and revelations (“...it will be difficult,” you said, “but yes, I can love a Cubs fan...”). I am bewildered as to how someone that professed to love me more than her own life could become a stranger - I’ve come to believe our love wasn’t real, it was only a mist of memories that disappeared, like you from my bed, when the sun came up. Today, when I saw you exchange a kiss with an old, ex-friend, I understood. For you the moment was real, it was only the moment, no future or past, only the now, where you live: no matter, I’ll keep the memories, I’ll cherish the past, because for me that made it real.


Leon Jackson Davenport, an occasional short story writer, lives in New Jersey but enjoys thinking about being somewhere else. He is the author of R.L. Leonard, Deceased.


by Kathleen Gilbert

Margaret's first husband Donald is buried out back under the Lilacs. Her second husband John resides with pride under the Forsythia. Husbands three and four occupy the spot under the Roses. They are lucky to have claimed the place in the garden that gets the most sunlight. Husband five is out shopping for a new Hydrangea with his blushing bride. Margaret does have a weakness for flowers and men.


Kathleen Gilbert is an avid reader and aspiring writer.


The Hummingbird

by Sheldon Lee Compton

The Hock Shop, and a Hummingbird for sale. Old magic and strange smells and the guitar on your side. Instruments of all types hanging from wall pegs. Guitars, banjos, mandolins. Each one hanging quietly like tacked up butterflies spilling color and the promise of beauty. A pin through it like the others, sold.


Sheldon Lee Compton lives in Eastern Kentucky. His work has appeared in New Southerner, The Beat and Zygote in my Coffee.

Sixth Grade Sweetheart

by Peggy McFarland

He took a shower, even though he just had one last week. He broke open the three-month-old gift pack of deodorant and body spray (label warning: women will attack) and applied generously. He put on his favorite shirt with the skulls and guitar, smoothed on the hair gel, checked his fingernails, and brushed his teeth - twice, just in case. Too many of her friends giggled with her at her locker for a safe approach. In between classes, on the way to lunch, at recess... can’t she go anywhere without her friends hanging on her? Waiting to board her bus, she was alone (finally!) so he grabbed his friend Dylan’s arm, pushed him towards her and commanded, “Go ask her if she likes me!”


Peggy McFarland, our first “Six of the Month" winner, wishes her sons would slow down and wait to grow-up. Check out her full catalog here, and also her shorts in both 6S anthologies.

Insects and Yellow Lines

by Jarrid Deaton

The police report said the accident happened around three in the morning. The toxicology results had him at being just past drunk as hell along with those pills floating in the alcohol that swished through his system. He must have blacked out and let his hands slip from the steering wheel. The jeep left the road going about sixty-five and crashed into the rocky hillside that borders the river before flipping on its top and spinning sparks in the middle of the road. Crushed glass bottles from the backseat sent cicadas, beetles, flies, mantids, antlions, messes of frayed translucent wings and cracked shells, sliding across the asphalt and mixing with oil and the other fluids of the jeep. The cops shined their lights on the road, dead bugs glistened with black wetness, and no matter how weird it looked to them, it all meant one simple thing: single vehicle fatality accident.


Jarrid Deaton lives and writes in eastern Kentucky. He received his MFA in Writing from Spalding University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Zygote in my Coffee, The Cut-Thru Review, The Beat, and elsewhere.


Oprah Winfrey Bitch-Slaps Towelie!

Cartoon Towel disses Talk Show Queen's Book Club

"Towelie," an animated character occasionally featured on Trey Parker and Matt Stone's South Park, was bitch-slapped by Oprah Winfrey yesterday after dissing Six Sentences, Volume 2 - her latest Book Club selection. Winfrey referred to her advance copy of 6SV2 as "magnificent" and "a must-read for fans of excellent short prose." Towelie retorted by yawning and calling the anthology "excellent... if you're high." Winfrey initially kept her cool, but when the blue towel called her Book Club a "shimmy shimmy sham-sham," then made fun of the postponement of her latest selection's publication date, she quickly bitch-slapped it. "Hey!" it said as it zoomed across the stage. (As of this writing, the exact release date for Oprah's latest selection remains unknown.)


Six Sentences wishes you a very Happy April Fools Day!

A Fool's Love Story

by James Park

There are few things more depressing than being on a first date that you know won't work out he thinks as he pushes his steak around his plate. Three strong drinks later, her feet are touching his under the table and he can't find a reason to pull away. Three hours later, he is listening to her breathe as he falls asleep next to her. Three months later, he is lying to her about a certain number on his cell phone. Three years later, he stands at the altar telling himself that he'll remain true to her, from then on. Three kids later, he sits with his family at dinner, wondering what it means to be truly happy, and if he really is.


James Park is single.

No Such Luck

by Litsa Dremousis

Mia flipped on the light and Casey contracted like a starfish. “At least you’re wearing pants this time,” she said. She strode across her tiny living room and sat next to him on the couch. Casey hoisted himself up, then put his arms around her. Mia relaxed a bit and laid her head on his shoulder, figuring she might as well make use of him while he was there. She wished he weren’t so cavalier with his key privileges, though, and that he were kind enough to turn into an egg roll.


Litsa Dremousis' work appears in The Believer, BlackBook, Bookmarks, Esquire, Filter, Hobart, McSweeney's, Monkeybicycle, MovieMaker, Nylon, Paper, Paste, Pindeldyboz, Poets and Writers, Seattle Magazine, Seattle Sound, the Seattle Weekly, and on NPR.