My Holocaust

by Michael Downing

My father left when I was two years old – just walked out the door without ever looking back at me, what he was leaving behind, or the hurt he caused. After that screen door slammed and the sound of his old Chevy finally disappeared into the night, emptiness engulfed me. I grew up in a world that was different than the one my friends shared, shaped by something that had been out of my control while carrying a pain only I seemed to understand. I never stopped longing for something I never knew and never had. I spent years emotionally crippled, chasing the shadows of ghosts I hoped could fill his space; making promises to myself about the kind of man and the kind of father I would be if given the chance. I wish I could have explained all those things to my own children before I left their mother, but the words never came out right.


Michael Downing is a writer of books, plays, and some occasional graffiti who lives in Georgia.


Girls Need Cookies

by Erin M. Yarbery

It had been a long, frustrating Monday already and I really wasn't in the mood to eat, but I smiled when I saw him waiting for me. As we walked through the line to order our sandwiches I rambled on about my rough morning at work. Suddenly I saw him grab a giant double chocolate chip cookie from the shelf and place it on the counter. I gave him a funny look and grinned bashfully because I knew it was for me; he doesn't like cookies. "I want you to have a good day," he said as he paid for our food. "Sometimes a girl just needs a cookie."


Erin Yarbery is an aspiring writer and photographer with an earned bachelors degree in print journalism. She currently works as a secretary in a university library and enjoys writing and planning her first book in her free time.


Talk Pollution

by Emma Hardy

On and on she goes. Words and more words: travel, weather, television, work, news. Some people you can listen to forever; their voices absorb you like you’re a toast soldier breaking into the yolk of a freshly boiled egg. I know someone with a voice like yolk. I want to think of that person now but all I can hear is her barking every line like a monosyllabic dog. She’s filling this room with her noxious gas, creating talk pollution, and I can’t open a window to clear the air.


Emma Hardy recently moved to Scotland.



by Tim Wu

In the United States, if you kinda go with the tide, you'll end up in debt, overweight, addicted to social media, sitting in front of the TV for forty hours a week, and you probably won't have a meaningful family life. If you even have any family or friends. So you have to sort of resist. Maybe it's always been like this. I'm not gonna pretend that there's some sort of environment, maybe ancient Greece, where everybody lived in this meaningful way all the time. If you wanna have a life of meaning, if you wanna be somebody, you have to take charge.


Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia University. His six sentences are paraphrased from a podcast conversation with Brett McKay, host of The Art of Manliness.


The Book

by Tara Lazar

Miss Millicent extended the new girl every kindness, like giving her the cot closest to the radiator; yet, this broken twig of a girl with yarn-yellow hair sunk deeper inside herself, nestled into a corner with a dog-eared book, the sole possession with which she arrived. Witnessing the girl’s passionate attachment, Miss Millicent asked the others if they knew the book’s title, but no one could decipher it, for most of its gold-stamped letters had been worn from the spine. Miss Millicent’s curiosity grew so fervent that she took a midnight flashlight to rummage the girl’s cupboard, only to realize that the girl slept with arms enveloping the book. Then one day when the headmistress called for the girl, Miss Millicent discovered the book left behind on the coverlet, and when she opened it, she found, to her shock, only emptiness - no words, no images - nothing but blank, supple pages. In a fit of rage, Miss Millicent confiscated the book and held her ground through weeks of the girl’s pitiful pleading. When a couple from Des Moines finally adopted the girl, Miss Millicent resolved to discard the book, but she could not resist peeking inside one last time, the time she finally understood the girl’s fascination with the book - a most marvelous, miraculous book.


Tara Lazar first published in Six Sentences a decade ago. She’s a literary chameleon, writing dark tales for adults but humor for kids. Her 10th picture book, BLOOP, from HarperCollins, features an alien who visits earth and believes the dogs are in charge. Follow her publishing escapades on Twitter.


Once Upon a Time on Mars

by Johnnie Loefgren

"Ray Bradbury died," she blurted out and then looked out at the room full of five year old faces and sighed. One child stopped coloring for a moment and stared. Caleb held up his creation, saying, "spaceship." Ms. Youngblood took heart; peering over Caleb's shoulder she saw a night sky speckled with planets and stars. "Would you like to tell me all about your picture?" she said, taking out a pencil and paper. She looked at a photo of Ray Bradbury and smiled as Caleb began, "Once upon a time on Mars..."


Johnnie Loefgren is a commercial artist who lives and works in Florida. She's been a fan of Ray Bradbury for many years.