ISSUE 1 / FALL 2004
Issue 1
Fiction
"And So It Begins..."
My Flaming
by Heather McDonald

The Phoenix
by Ericka Lutz

Seed
by Debra DiBlasi

A Valuable Girl
by Lisa McMann

Dredging
by Judy GeBauer

Flash Fiction
Recovery
by Dan Coshnear

Correspondence
by Dan Coshnear

Laundry Day
by Elizabeth Bernstein

Walking Through Walls
by Emily Spreng Lowery

Short Stories
Mandelbaum in the Movies
by Jack Goodstein

First, Second, First
by Rachel Koppelman

The Phoenix
by Ericka Lutz
Flash Fiction "And So It Begins"
Contest: Up to 500 words, beginning with the following first sentence
"I had never seen a tree on fire before."

I had never seen a tree on fire before. Or a house, a car, a screaming dog. Did you know dogs can scream? I felt oddly far away; I was invincible. It wasn't my day to die. You know that sometimes, don't you? You've heard the little inner voice that some people mistake for God or angels telling you that you're not going to die today, that you need to stay and fight. In times of great danger you step back one level of reality, aware of the larger scheme of the universe and, even in the destruction of war and pain you know it's okay, that you're going to be okay, even if you die. But that you aren't going to; today is not your day.

On that day, honey, I was seventeen years old. Just a month from my eighteenth birthday. I'd never have dreamed I'd have you sitting near me all those years later. In my arms, so sweet.

I wandered through the fire. It went on forever, trees exploding and burning in green and black and flame yellow. The smoke, so thick. My shoes melted. I took off my shirt— it had been white and in my bra, now black and gray, I walked and watched and knew I was alright.

By nightfall the fire had swept through—not much was left of the city. It was quiet except for the distant sirens, the occasional cracking of a still burning tree or building. I was so thirsty, my tongue thick and cluttering my mouth. My eyes had pebbles, boulders, in them; they stood out red in my blackened face.

Around the corner from where the city hall and federal buildings had been, an odd sight—a refrigerator standing alone. The refrigerator was untouched -- white almost, barely sooted gray. It looked out of place, an alien ship, something airlifted in. I crunched over still burning coals, stucco fragments, burnt metal and wood. The handle had barely melted, a softening of the shape like a Salvador Dali clock—the Persistence of Memory. The inside of the refrigerator was still cool, a pale wind on my parched face. I stared inside. Row after row of vegetables; carrots, kale, broccoli, spinach, a veritable produce section. Bottles of clear, blue liquid water. And everything inside the refrigerator was wrapped tightly in plastic.

Listen to me, honey. We get what we need, when we need it. When the wind blows from the west; the smell of the ocean breeze from far away.  


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