Maximilian Martini

The Clock Maker Will’s hands, pale and patchy, don’t shake. They open the dial face of a seven-foot, two-inch Grandfather Clock and reach inside to find the key and wind the arbor until the spring for the clock is half tight. They do the same for the spring that strikes the chimes and then they…

AJ Strosahl

DRAGGING THE SEA BEHIND HIM There is a whale in the Royale parking lot. Shoppers cluster around it like a flock descending onto a wire: keeping a respectful distance, squawking. There are actual birds too, arranged in a loose cyclone that pulses and shifts above. It is not overwhelmingly big, the whale; the length of…

Richard Thomas

Asking For Forgiveness We stand at the edge of the ancient forest, yellow blurry eyes weeping with sickness, as a cool breeze pushes through the leaves, the light flickering in the cabin, as the day starts to slip away. We are more than we were last month, double what was birthed last year, and none…

Patrick Nevins

Champ Evan Johns Youth Baseball Camps ran for one week at each Little League they visited. Evan gave no more instruction than any of the other half-dozen ex-ballplayers on staff—career minor leaguers who’d never been called up to the Big Show long enough to have a baseball card printed—but he’d played a few seasons in…

Lori D’Angelo

Down to the Skin That summer, more creamer was the solution to everything. When they first cut my hours at work, I sat down and poured myself some coffee. But the coffee was cheap, and it didn’t taste right. So I added in some creamer. The creamer was Matt’s, but he didn’t mind if we…

Shana Raphaeli

Philomena The cool wind pricks James’s face and his eyes tear up as he stands by the side of the road. He uses his free hand to dry his cheek, grazing the sharp stubble on his jaw. The diner restroom where he has been grooming himself was occupied that morning and James had no patience…

J Dan Francis

Charlie Dixon’s Last Ride It was the long, distant whistle announcing the Adirondack Flier as it approached High Rock Crossing that startled Charlie Dixon like he had woken from a bad dream. He was shaking and sweating, but strangely, as the train drew closer, he smiled and settled back. Nick Rodgers reached over with a…

L. L. Babb

Living a Little Julia had just been laid off by her tax preparation firm. Sugar—Julia’s mother preferred to be called Sugar by everyone, including Julia—was between husbands. “What better time,” Sugar cooed into the telephone, “for some mother-daughter bonding?” “How?” Julia said. Cautiously. Spending time with Sugar usually ended up making Julia feel less like…

Tim Jones-Yelvington

Divine Decree Because he is the fairest, wisest child in his fifth-grade class, Maxwell knows the seashell was destined for his fist. From along the shore, it beckoned, iridescent and ridged. Now, it pulses in his palm, which rests on the wide arm of the Adirondack chair where he lounges, watching his classmates play. Behind…