Volume 1, Issue 7 October 2017
by Gilmore Tamny
Social Media Specialist
First and foremost, we love a good story in prose, poetry, flash,
Edify Fiction Magazine or photography/digital artwork form. Secondly, we welcome
all writers and photographers, whether you have been
published worldwide or this is your first story.
We do not subscribe to a specific genre, as we enjoy reading all
kinds of things ourselves including mysteries, fantasy, scifi,
romance, historical, comedy, and YA among others. What
unifies Edify Fiction's content is its ability to be positive,
inspirational, and motivating.
Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis online. Full
guidelines and the submission link are found online on the
Submissions page of our website.
Cover Art: Wolf Best of the Best:
Artist: Gilmore Tamny Published contributors are automatically entered into the
annual Best of the Best contest. This contest provides cash
Gilmore Tamny lives in Somerville, MA, where prizes for the pieces that were audience favorites. Contest is
she likes to write proverbs, melodramas, novels, held annually each Spring.
poems and songs (the latter for the band Weather
Weapon) and also has been busy with a series of
drawings using both the left and right hand as Careers:
well as painting watercolors. She listens to an Volunteer graphic artist needed. Do you love computers,
inordinate amount of audiobooks. Find her on magazines, and design? Would you like to contribute your
Twitter: @GildedyTableaux, design talent to encourage and uplift others? This position
Instagram: @gildedy, and read her requires evaluation of submitted work, communicating with
Online novel, check out designers, designing work for the website and magazine, and
Weather Weapon: or finalizing pieces for publication. Also has the option of working
Facebook Weather Weapon and view on layout of magazine. If interested, please email
Artwork: (right hand), (left hand) email@example.com.
© Edify Publications, LLC 2017. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.
Copyrights revert back to individual authors and artists after publication.
1 Edify Fiction
1 Wolf by Gilmore Tamny
5 Scare Tactics 101 by Tori V. Rainn
8 Rut by Yogi Takahashi
9 The Stray by Brenda Catron
3 Family Bible by A. Elizabeth Herting
7 The House on Cherry Lane by Keshaune Hatchett
2 1 The View from Punalu'u by Gavin McCall
2 4 Swimming Pool in Autumn by Peter Hoheisel
2 5 One of Those Stories by Russ Bickerstaff
2 7 Almost a Joker by Anna Deligianni
2 9 Beach Walk, November by Judith Katz
3 From the Editor
4 Best of the Best & Comments, Upcoming Features, Advertising
3 1 Goulash: Rhyming Pattern and Anapestic Meter by M. Sakran
3 4 Call for Submissions
Other Photo / Art Credits
The photos found on the following pages are from StockSnap.io, Pexels.com, Wiki.com, and Pixabay.com and fall under the
Creative Commons CC0 license: pages 3, 5, 8, 9, 13, 17, 21, 24, 25, 29, 31.
This month we've added Phyllis Babrove to our team as a Social Media Specialist. She will be adding a little flavor and
frequency to our Facebook page. A semiretired clinical social worker, Phyllis has found a new career as an author. She has
written several articles for an online social work magazine; she is also a regular contributor to a university newsletter. Phyllis
has had a short story published in Edify Fiction, and has recently selfpublished a novelette and a fulllength novel. Phyllis is
currently working on the second novel in the series and other projects. Phyllis’ personal blog is: mirikalblog.com.
From the Editor
It's Fall ya'll! (I said that in my best southern drawl.) Of course, fall means different things to
different people. Growing up in Texas, that often meant that I might finally be able to wear a
light sweater to a Friday night football game without breaking into a sweat. Now that I live in
Alabama, that means the cabin socks come out along with hot cooked meals.
We have a few tasty things on tap for you this month. True this edition is slimmer than most.
(We've gotten some great material, but we suffered from an email issue between our site and
our submission platform for most of the month. These are our primary tools for communicating
with our contributors, so we halted our normal acceptance/review routine and communication,
for the most part, while we ironed that out.) Nevertheless, there are some good things to sink
your teeth into this issue.
For those are looking for some writing inspiration, flip to the back of the issue and check out
our new monthly column Goulash. This month, M. Sakran explains how to use rhyming and
anapestic meter and gives a writing prompt.
Anyone in the mood to eat some Halloween candy and read some creepy goodness, we offer The
House on Cherry Lane; for a little holiday humor, Scare Tactics 101; and for those who aren't
too squeamish, One of Those Stories.
Interested in skipping Halloween altogether? Just want to revel in the changing seasons? Our
poets offer you Rut, Swimming Pool in Autumn, and Beach Walk, November for our fall
The Stray, Family Bible, and The View from Punalu'u are in keeping with the magazine's
'traditional offerings. And mixed in with it all is more beautiful artwork.
Yes, there's plenty here to whet the appetite and satisfy cravings for good stuff to read! Don't
forget to comment on favorite pieces and automatically get entered into our annual giveaway!
All the best,
Editor, Edify Fiction
3 Edify Fiction
Best of the Best & Comments
You may have noticed this icon near each of our contributor's pieces. We've
implemented a system that's unique to our magazine that allows readers to be more
proactive and interactive with each issue of Edify Fiction.
Clicking the icon (located near a piece's title and byline) will take you to the comment section of
Edify Fiction's website. There, you may discuss your thoughts on the piece, say hello to the
contributor, and engage in dialogue with other readers.
Your comments are valuable as they serve to encourage our contributors. They also continue
the edification process as you interact with others about what you have gleaned from the pieces
and how you hope to apply what you learned to your life.
In addition, Edify Fiction uses the comment activity to gauge popularity of a piece. Why is this
important? It could mean cash prizes for the most talked about work. Each year, Edify Fiction
will award Best of the Best prizes in each category short story, flash fiction, poetry, and
photography / digital art. Your comments are an integral part of the selection and award
process. Tell us what moved you; let the authors and artists know when you'd like to see more
of their work. Please do your part and help us recognize the Best of the Best!
NOTE: A ll co m m e n ts a re m o de ra te d. Crude la n gua ge , b a dge rin g, a n d sp a m m in g will n o t b e
to le ra te d. Th e e dito rs re se rve th e righ t to de le te a n y co m m e n ts a t a n y tim e .
We are excited to share that we will be adding a new feature to our media in the coming
Getting Personal a spotlight article that takes a look at the life of one of our contributors
their background, what they do, how they got their start, and any tips they have for others in
their efforts to become published and successful.
Would you like to advertise with us? We publish ads of interest to our writers and readers. both in our
digital publication and on our accompanying website. Contact us for more information.
Scare Tactics 101
By Tori V. Rainn
My ghostly tail dragged. I slithered my way in front of my class, tucked within a
labyrinthine cave. The transparent students began their spooky chant, except it lacked the eerie
factor, and sounded more like a broken record choking on a lullaby.
I turned to face the class. “That’s enough. Save it for Fright Night.”
Madison, the quiet one in the front row, stared at me with her freakish, golf ballsized
eyes, and missing lips. If only the rest of the class had no mouths. Behind her, a small ghost girl
was carving symbols into her desk. Did they forget I could literally see through them?
“Now listen up. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th so I expect extra scares from this class.” I’d
rather swallow burnt sage than lose to Mr. Bones. Again.
I pointed at the board that said Scare Tactics 101. “I take it you all finished last night’s
homework. Anyone care to share your findings with the class?”
Petra, a little gray ghost with more holes than the ozone layer raised her hand. I gestured
for her to speak. “I had the pleasure of scaring a boy from behind his own shower curtain.” Her
grin over her second grin spread to banana length.
My stomach rolled, literally right onto the floor. These kids were killing me. I ignored my
sudden body dropping and stood firm. “How many times do I have to say the old hide behind
the shower curtain has been overdone? Surely someone here has come up with something
Seth waved his hand, and I let him speak. “Mr. White, what about under the bed? It’s
more comfortable because you can take a nap while you wait.”
I held back a groan. Eternal hell would be better. “No, that’s been used. Repeatedly!”
Dexter spoke. “Oh, I know. In the basement. It’s perfect.”
Lilith thrashed an invisible spiked hand across Dexter’s face, only for her hand to go
through. “What a stupid idea. Not everyone has a basement.”
The class erupted like a pack of screaming banshees. I slammed my hand on my desk
until their attention shifted. “Class, you’re better than this. Every human knows to avoid those
places. Even children know that. Find them where they least expect it. Like the—”
“Attic,” an octopusshaped ghost girl blurted.
“No. No. And no. Absolutely not the attic.” Had these kids learned anything?
I dimmed the room and switched on the projector. The students appeared even ghostlier
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under the faint light. If they could just understand their potential. I pointed on the map at the
locations of where not to camp. That ruled out basements, attics, mirrors, showers, and TVs. If
I found out one more student crawled out of the TV like a pretzel, I would explode.
“OK. Listen carefully. Every great ghost knows one important rule, cause before effect.” I
gave the class my biggest smirk. “You must first lure them. Does anyone know how?”
“With our demon voice.” Allen sounded more like Batman’s sister than a ghost.
I shook my head. “The batcaped hero is scarier than this class.” I turned off the
projector. “Moving on. For those who can’t do scary voice, you must rely on jump scares.”
Though I had to admit jump scares were cliché too, but what choice was the class leaving me?
Damon extended the suction cups tied to his hands and feet. “Like these. I was crawling
all over the walls and ceiling with these puppies.” His grin pressed into a thin line. “But she
couldn’t even see me because she was blind.”
Dexter spit out a laugh. “You idiot. Don’t you know to do your research first?”
“Yeah,” Colt chimed in. “You should have pulled the feather duster and tickled her nose.
Gets them every time.”
“Yes,” I added. “I suppose if you wanted to conjure up her dreadful allergies that might
Colt agreed. “Allergies are evil. Best of the best.”
The class harmonized Colt’s claim. I should’ve known better than to use sarcasm with
this class. I slumped hard in my chair and allowed my momentum to roll me back and hit the
rough wall. Mr. Bones would win for sure. If only there were a grave in here for me to dive in.
Someone nudged my shoulder. I dared to glance up. Madison stared at me, clearly with
a burning question.
“Yes, Madison, what is it?”
I waited, but she said nothing. “You’re gonna have to speak up, young lady.”
Her white golf ballsized eyes turned to fury as she handed me a whiteboard.
Oh right. The no mouth thing. I kept forgetting. “My apologies, Madison. What do you
have here?” I took the board, almost afraid to read another insult on how I was the worst
teacher she’d ever had.
Yup. There it was, written in black marker, I’ve kept skeletal rats with more brains than
I frowned. She shook her head and turned the board over in my hands.
It read, I have a plan to help you win.
My ghostly tail perked up. “Madison, my dear, I’m all ears.” I’m desperate enough to
heed a pupil.
I lined the kiddos across Crist Avenue Street. Mr. Bones had Weber Street a few blocks
away. The goal was simple: scare as many humans out of their homes and onto the street as
possible. Ghost judges patrolled the streets with watches. We had ten minutes. Maybe
Madison’s plan would give us a win. I huffed. Or not.
“On your mark,” a judge shouted, “get set! Go!”
The students floated through the walls of the households. I stood, biting my nubby
fingers. The students had one lousy job. They couldn’t possibly screw this up.
A human girl about the age of thirteen came bursting out of the front door screaming
and stomping around in her driveway. She looked as if ready to yank her hair out and then
glanced in my direction with wild eyes. Good thing they couldn’t see or hear us ghosts without
our consent. A young boy followed her, yelling and kicking at a vehicle’s car wheel.
One by one, house after house, adults and children poured out of their homes. They
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shouted into the cold night air, and then at one another. Their anger morphed to rage as they
raised their phones in the air like some kind of zombie apocalypse.
“Time!” the judge cried.
My students rushed in single file to huddle around me. I smiled and turned to the
judges. “So how many does that make?”
Mr. Bones’ class and the judges came over to our street and stood across from my class.
The judges grouped between us. One walked out, holding a piece of gooey paper.
“I have the results.” He paused for either effect or irritation. “The most scares goes to...”
He stopped again, and I was ready to launch a student at him. “The class of Mr. White!”
My class roared in elation. Some stood silent in disbelief.
Mr. Bones pushed past the judges to stand center of attention. “What? Look at the
humans. They don’t even look scared, they’re angry.” He crossed his short stubby arms and
fixated on me. “What was your scare tactic?”
I inched to meet Mr. Bones. “We first cut the Internet to the humans’ electronic devices
and then drained their batteries dry.”
Mr. Bones sulked. “That doesn’t count! The humans are not scared, they’re angry.”
“Of course it counts,” I added. “They are acting in anger because they are scared. They
are terrified of missing something on social media. To them it’s like being lost on an island with
no way of communication. A human’s worst nightmare.”
A few judges nodded in agreement. One stepped up and patted Mr. Bones’ shoulder.
“Maybe next time.” The judge turned to face the students. “Nice work everyone, and
congratulations to Mr. Whites class!”
I sighed a breath of relief and whirled to meet my kids. Madison. I owed it to her. I
slipped through the cheering students trying to find her, but she found me.
She nudged my back and handed me her whiteboard.
The words, You’re welcome were scribbled.
I grinned. “Madison, I can’t thank you enough. Amazing work!”
She flipped the board over in my hand.
A new message read, I didn’t do it for you.
She scribbled something on the board and then handed it back.
Because my parents also think you’re an idiot and really wanted me to get this credit so
I could pass.
“Oh.” I bit my lips, literally right off, and swallowed them.
Her eyes smiled, and she floated past me.
I’m teaching werewolves next year.
About the author
Tori V. Rainn resides in Texas where she collects knives, or anything sharp, and pretends to be a
ninja. She’s a ACFW member, a music and movie junkie, and popcorn addict. She’s currently editing a
completed fantasy that she’s darn proud of, well, at least until she goes back and rereads it. Other
ongoing projects include yet another fantasy, a paranormal novella boiling under her hot fingers, and
various short stories. Tori writes YA fantasy, horror, scifi, paranormal, and speculative, and is always
open to branching out to different types of stories, where ever the wind takes her. She has been on this
amusing writing journey for nearly seven years, leading to some publications, a children’s story “The
Unseen” featured in The Caterpillar Magazine, and a small story won in a contest “Pheoclex” released
in 600 second saga podcast “When Wind Catches.” She is on Google Plus and Pinterest.
7 Edify Fiction
By Yong Takahashi
My ancestors ran wild
Muddy trails leading nowhere
Mountains overrun by ancient foliage
Wolves, snakes, and hawks
Watching and waiting for prey
I sit on my porch
Observing the migration of guests
My backyard overrun by animals
Deer, rabbits, and robins
Stealing food from my fencedin garden
I’ve waited years for life
Its pull to wake me up
Forcing time to dance instead of crawl
Ants, spiders, and roaches
Dragging along my driveway
One by one love escapes
The house empties again
As the tattered screened door
Slams, bounces, and squeals
Remembering all the past mistakes
Errant acorns fall
Pummeling my head
Blood in my veins
Quivers, jumps, and pulsates
Pushing me to get up and run wild
About the author
Yong Takahashi won the Chattahoochee Valley Writers National Short Story Contest and the
Writer's Digest's Write It Your Way Contest. She also was a finalist in The Restless Books Prize for
New Immigrant Writing, and runner up in both the Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest and Georgia
Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest. Some of her works appear in Cactus Heart, Crab Fat
Magazine, Emerge Literary Journal, Flash Fiction Magazine, Gemini Magazine, Hamilton Stone
Review, Meat For Tea, River & South Review, Rusty Nail Magazine, Spilt Infinitive, and Twisted
Vines. Check out her website: yctwriter.com.
By Brenda Catron
Karen cleaned the rain off her glasses before she turned the corner. It was supposed to
get cold tonight, maybe even snow. She didn’t really think about how the weather affected her
walk home anymore. Somehow, that didn’t matter as much as it used to. Funny how quickly
things can change.
She walked faster as she rounded the corner. Yes, there was the dark green dumpster,
looking black in the failing light. She peered hard through the steadily falling rain, looking for
the pair of eyes she had seen yesterday and the day before and the day before that.
Karen felt a moment of almost panic when she failed to see the huddled little body with
those fearful, yet hopeful green eyes. She pushed her short, wet bangs back from her thick
framed glasses and rummaged through her oversized shoulder bag. Her cold, wet fingers were
slow in their search, but they finally located the small flashlight. She clicked it on and used the
quickly dimming light it yielded to search around the dumpster, adding flashlight batteries to
her mental shopping list.
“C’mon,” she said to herself aloud. “Where are you?” She slammed the failing flashlight
in the palm of her hand in an effort to coax more battery power out of it and pointed it at the
far right corner of the dumpster.
She exhaled forcefully, her breath steaming in the rapidly cooling air. The stray was
there, hiding behind the darkest side of the dumpster tonight. She dropped the flashlight back
in her purse and felt around for the pouch of smoked tuna she had brought with her. There
weren’t a lot of choices in her pantry for sources of protein that would be fine all day outside of
a fridge and be easy to open in the alley by the Greenlight dumpster, but this definitely fit the
bill. She forgot her umbrella, she chastised herself as the rain blurred her vision, but at least
she remembered the tuna.
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She held the pouch out in front of her and approached the dumpster carefully.
“It’s okay,” she murmured repeatedly. “It’s okay, sweetheart. I’m not going to hurt you.”
She could dimly see the soaked and matted hair and the little shivering body hunched up in the
shadow behind the dumpster. She slowly squatted down and ripped the pouch of tuna open,
letting the strong fishy smell permeate the air.
“I brought you something to eat.” Karen extended her arm out as far she could, but the
stray would not be enticed to approach her.
“It’s okay,” she coaxed again. “I promise I’m not going to hurt you. I only want to help
you.” She held out the pouch again. She could barely make out the hungrily twitching nose and
darting little pink tongue in the shadows, but the poor creature would not leave the protection
of the dumpster. She waited a moment more before giving in.
“All right,” she shrugged. “Have it your way.” She put the pouch on the ground in front
of her and backed away.
Karen walked the rest of the way home in the sole company of her thoughts. If only she
could get this one’s trust. What was it about this little one that was different from all the others
she had passed over the years? Karen shook her head. She couldn’t understand her deep
response to those green eyes, but somehow, they hurt her very soul. This one she had to help.
This one she had to save.
A car horn close behind Karen jerked her out of her thoughts, making her realize she
almost missed her street. She wiped the rain from her glasses once again as she waited for a
break in the traffic. She could see the lighted billboard across the street clearly for a few
seconds before the rain once again blurred her vision. It said ‘MAKE A DIFFERENCE’ in neon
Funny, Karen thought. I don’t remember seeing that sign before.
The next morning was cold, but at least the sun was shining. She went about her
morning routine automatically, leaving her thoughts free. She grabbed another pouch of the
flavored tuna and tossed it in her purse on the way out the door.
The day passed peacefully and routinely enough. One of her gambling addiction patients
canceled at the last minute, but Karen was thankful for the break, her thoughts constantly
fighting to move forward to her walk home. She spent the hour making notes and planning.
Karen phoned her assistant in the outer office. “Any openings tomorrow, Marge?” she
“Looks like 2:00 to 3:00 tomorrow afternoon is empty.”
“Okay,” Karen replied. “Leave it unscheduled.”
“Will do, hon.”
Karen finally made her evening rounds, locked up her office, and headed for the
Greenlight dumpster. Though the weather was better and there was no rain to impair her
vision and chill her, impatience seemed to make the walk longer. Please let her still be there,
she prayed over and over.
She breathed a sigh of relief as she saw the green eyes peek around the corner of the
dumpster at her. This time the eyes held her gaze. The tuna had made a difference, she
thought, and smiled. Hunger was always a great motivator. She hoped it would be enough.
“Hi there,” she said cheerily. “Glad to see you made it through that rain okay.” She
approached the dumpster cautiously. “I brought you some more tuna today.” She ripped open
the pouch and held it out at arm’s length, waving it back and forth enticingly.
“C’mon, sweetheart,” she coaxed. “It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.” She waited
patiently, but the pitiful creature refused to move from behind the dumpster.
“Do you have any idea how much different and better your life could be if you could just
trust me?” Karen waited a moment more.
“Oh sweetheart, what on earth have you been through that would make you that
mistrustful? Okay,” she said with a shrug. “Have it your way.”
Karen walked the rest of the way home with mixed feelings. Her plan to save this poor
homeless creature looked good on paper, but would it work in the real world?
She had no idea what the poor little thing had been through or endured. She looked
terrible. Her hair was all matted and she was filthy. She needed food and a bath and a medical
checkup. It definitely wasn’t going to happen without her cooperation.
She just has to learn to trust me, thought Karen to herself. For her own sake.
Karen looked up just in time to greet the ‘MAKE A DIFFERENCE’ billboard.
“I’m trying,” she moaned aloud.
Friday dawned bright and sunny. Hopefully a good omen, thought Karen. She went
through her morning routine and made her way out the door. She didn’t stop for a pouch of
The day dragged slowly by and Karen struggled to keep her mind focused throughout
the morning sessions. She bought two sandwiches from the lunch cart, but she ended up
barely eating half of one of them. She placed the other one in the middle drawer of her desk.
The one o’clock session was with Mr. Hoover, an older gentleman who recently lost his
wife to cancer and was struggling with depression. He was one of the few that sincerely broke
Karen’s heart, and the hour passed quickly enough.
Mr. Hoover, an Army veteran and prompt to a fault, left precisely at 1:50 pm. Karen
updated and organized his folder and filed it away, then stepped into the outer office.
“It’s almost two o’clock. Why don’t you go ahead and run to the office supply store,
Marge. Do you have that list of what we’re low on?”
“Sure.” Marge, showing her efficiency, had grabbed the piece of paper neatly tucked
into the corner of her desk blotter and her purse and coat in one swift movement. “Good luck,”
she smiled encouragingly over her shoulder just before the door closed.
Karen paced nervously as she waited. She went from wall to wall and straightened
chairs and pictures to pass the time.
She had rearranged the magazines for the third time when she thought she heard the
slight squeak of the street door. She froze and listened carefully, eventually feeling more than
hearing the approaching footsteps.
She sat in one of the oversized chairs lined up against the wall and tried to look relaxed.
Her pulse quickened as she saw the door handle turn. It seemed like minutes passed before the
door was fully opened and a pair of fearfully wide green eyes in a filthy, pale face appeared.
Karen held her breath, fighting to keep control of her emotions. Don’t blow it now, she told
herself over and over. Don’t blow it now.
Karen smiled at the fraillooking girl encouragingly, but didn’t move.
The green eyes quickly surveyed the empty room before coming back to Karen.
“Your note said if I came and spent an hour talking to you I could have some food and a
night in the Harmon Inn?”
Karen smiled reassuringly, adding a heavy winter coat to her mental shopping list as her
eyes registered the inadequacy of the one the teenager was wearing.
“That’s right. My name’s Karen.” She stood up. “Your food’s in here,” she said, leading
the way into her office. Moving behind the heavy wooden desk, she opened the middle drawer
and removed the sandwich, placing it at the far edge of the empty desktop.
11 Edify Fiction
“Start with that,” she said, “and I have a voucher in my desk for the Inn. You’ll get that
when you leave.” Karen pulled the drawer wide until she located the voucher. She smiled to
herself as she caught a glimpse of the stack of notes just like the one the girl still clenched
tightly in her left hand.
About the author
Brenda Catron has been a medical transcriptionist and medical coder for many years and a fervent
reader most of her life. She was born and raised in Central Indiana, where she still lives with her
husband of nearly three decades and pet menagerie. She prefers writing Christian and allegorical short
stories with the hope of presenting another point of view to life as we know it.
By A. Elizabeth Herting
He sat in the soft glow of candlelight, its shadowflames dancing over the faces of his family
proudly displayed on the wall beyond. He’d installed electric lights just a few years before, the very first
home in the county to receive such a convenience. He knew that he would have no need of it now, never
having been a man of excess. As if to contradict his own nature, he reached across his desk to the crystal
decanter on the oaken sideboard and poured himself two full fingers of singlemalt bourbon. He would
need the fortification in order to make it through the grim task that lay ahead. With a heart steeped in
deep sorrow, John Clarence (J.C.) Torrington removed the thick family Bible from the shelf and laid it
out mournfully before him.
He’d spent his many years in continuous labor so that his wife and two daughters would have a
life better than his own. He’d grown up hard and lean, a selfmade man who’d scratched and fought his
way through the Rocky Mountains, eventually finding a niche as a supplier and grocer for the endless
line of miners and fortune seekers that crossed his path.
He and his wife Lizette had just celebrated thirty happy years together in the mining settlement
of Leadville, Colorado. Both of them tended to the needs of the camp’s prospectors, rising to
prominence within the burgeoning community while steadily amassing their wealth.
Their good fortune, however, was tinged with heartbreak. Five years before, their eldest
daughter Mary was struck down by influenza, one of the many plagues that sliced through the growing
town like a scythe. J.C. and his wife ministered to their grown child around the clock, bringing in a team
of doctors from Denver to try to save her. In the end, all of his success and wealth was for naught as she
breathed her last in his arms, his wife wailing like a banshee in the room behind them.
J.C. threw himself even more into his work after Mary’s death. He was the proprietor of three
stores along Main Street and had interests in a dozen other businesses within the newlyformed town as
well as several mining claims. Silver was king here, there was a booming, euphoric feel in the air. He’d
decided to run for mayor, had just finalized his plans with Lizette and their surviving daughter, Mabel.
He had everything a man of his means and distinguished years could possibly desire before the bottom
fell out of his life once moreirrevocably and with complete finality.
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J.C. threw back the bourbon in a single efficient arc, then quickly poured another. He lovingly
ran his hand over the Bible’s cover, admiring the craftsmanship of the thick leather. This Bible had been
in his family for generations, an unbroken line of Torringtons stretching back well over a century. The
pages were worn, reverently turned with a spattering of notes in the margins. He could envision his own
greatgrandfather in a similar pose, joyfully recording the birth of his first son, the first of many to be
born in this rugged and freedomblessed land. It was the clarion call of the west that had beckoned to his
father and his father before him.
He traced the spidery script of his forebear, followed by his grandfather’s precise writing. His
own birth was recorded, and that of his two brothers followed by the dates of their tragic deaths on the
bloodsoaked battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam. J.C. was the youngest and last surviving member
of his family until his daughters graced the world with their enchanting, lively presence.
Mary and Mabel. Their names jumped out at him, written in his own firm hand directly beneath
the entry of his and Lizette’s wedding. Two birth dates confirming their existence, days that he counted
amongst his happiest on earth. A shiver ran through him as he recalled writing in the date of Mary’s
demise, the clear memory of his hand faltering in its grim purpose causing a fresh jolt of grief to pierce
He had no further desire to be of this earth, his faith had been completely lost. He picked up his
pen and slowly dipped it into the inkpot, summoning up the courage for what he needed to do. A single
tear escaped his face and landed onto the page, causing the ink to blur as he carefully penned in the new
dates. The candle flickered in the darkness, a physical gathering of grief and memory swirling around
him as a second tear marred his efforts. J.C. was beyond caring, beyond any thought except that of
completing his familial duty, the final record of a once vibrant family.
She perished in agony and blood as the child struggled to come. For endless hours she toiled in
her labor, Lizette steadfastly by her side. Mabel had married a fine young gentleman and moved to
Denver the year before, J.C. and Lizette thrilling to the news that they would become grandparents in
the spring. Lizette made the trip to the city to be with their daughter, J.C. intending to join them after
the blessed event occurred. He was hipdeep in work at his many enterprises, did not want to be in the
way as he knew his wife would have things well in hand. He’d just boarded the coach and was on his way
to them when the awful message came in over the wires, mere moments after his departure.
Mabel had eventually been delivered of a tiny baby girl. She lived for just past an hour longer,
holding the babe in her arms before expiring. Lizette, in turn, softly cradled her only grandchild as the
infant followed her mother into eternity, both of them appearing peaceful in their shared repose.
J.C. was tortured every night by the thought of his poor wife’s state, that she was made to face
such unspeakable tragedy alone. He was never to find out. Lizette died later that evening of a sudden
heart attack in the room where her daughter and granddaughter were laid out, awaiting J.C.’s arrival.
The grandfather clock that he’d specialordered as a gift to his wife for their final anniversary
chimed mournfully behind him. The bells tolled, one after the other, as J.C. etched his granddaughter’s
brief existence into the family bible. He never knew what Mabel would have called her so he simply
wrote in “Infant Girl” underneath his beloved daughter’s name. After recording the dark date he
replenished the ink, hovering over his wife’s entry before pausing to pour another dram.
A thousand memories assaulted him all at once. Lizette as she was on their wedding day,
heartbreakingly beautiful with soft brown curls framing her porcelain face. The belllike sound of her
laughter as he twirled her around the empty wooden floorboards of their first modest home together.
There she was again, radiant and serene presenting each one of her newborn babes out proudly for J.C.’s
inspection. His heart swelled with joy as he saw her there in their first store, bartering with the
prospectors over goods like a seasoned old horse trader. He found her in his mind’s eye, running
through a mountain field of columbine with their growing girls, scooping up the delicate lavender
flowers to place in one another’s hair.
He’d never had a single moment of doubt in all of their years together that he had been truly
blessed by the Almighty with his life’s partner, he loved her beyond all time and reason. He could feel
her in the darkened room with him now, the echo of her quiet strength moving his hand to complete her
death entry before gently placing the pen onto the desk. He had never before in his long life felt so
weary, so bereft of purpose.
Another chime from the clock broke him out of his reverie. The house was as quiet as a tomb, a
distant pop from somewhere outside providing the only clue that Leadville was still a raucous mining
town. He had been a part of it’s cando spirit, setting out to conquer the town, but in the end, he and his
family would be numbered among its vanquished.
J.C. allowed himself a final shot of bourbon before finishing his work for the evening. He had one
more entry to write, wanted it to be clear and legible. He turned back a page to his own birth record,
“John Clarence Torrington, Son” and added today’s date and year, a record of his own death. He gently
blew onto the fresh ink, satisfied that all was finally in order. His family legacy was complete. There
would be no heirs to pass the family Bible on to, but at least he had done his duty to themthere was
some small comfort in that.
It was a fine legacy, indeed.
He reverently closed the Bible and moved it back to its rightful place on the shelf, running his
hand down its treasured spine in farewell. He drained the last of the bourbon while opening the drawer
of his desk and extricating his revolver. His Remington was a part of his everyday existence, was a much
needed precaution. J.C. counted himself fortunate that he’d never had to use it for its intended purpose,
only occasionally to break up a drunken brawl here and there in the thoroughfare. He was meticulous in
its upkeep, cleaning it on a regular basis, making sure it was always loaded and at the ready. He had a
strange, detached feeling as he placed the revolver up to his temple, cocked it, and prepared to join his
The click of the trigger was earthshattering to his ear. He had braced himself for the explosion,
awaiting his violent transport into the afterlife, but nothing had changed. He let out a long breath and
tried anew, cursing himself for the error and advanced the cylinder. Again, he pulled the trigger and
received nothing but a hollow, unsatisfying click for his efforts. With shaking hands, he opened the
cylinder and stared down in disbelief for there was not a single bullet to be found in any of the
Pausing for a brief moment, he looked in wonder at the revolver. It simply wasn’t possible that it
should be empty. He contemplated searching for the missing ammunition before deciding that the drink
was finally catching up to him. As if in a trance, J.C. slowly returned the gun to the drawer and blew out
the candle. He went to his bed, giving himself up to some much needed rest. In the end, he decided that
the combination of grief and spirits had played tricks on his shattered mind. There would be time to
fulfill his destiny, he could put it off for another day.
15 Edify Fiction
As the clock struck twelve, a sudden, strong draft of cold air blew through the darkened room as
J.C. took his leave, pushing the discarded bullets even farther back underneath Lizette’s favorite settee
where they would not be discovered until several years later.
It was upon that settee where she’d spent her happiest moments, her sewing in her lap as J.C.
lingered at his desk and the girls sang and played together. She’d insisted upon the piano in the corner,
right beneath the window where Lizette could play to her heart’s content with the sun shining down
upon the music and the glorious Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. A single note rang out from the piano
as the strange gust of air faded away, returning the room to its natural state.
If J.C. would have been present at that very moment, he would have been enveloped by a delicate
scent of lavender. It floated on the remnants of the breezehis wife’s signature perfume a testament to
her memory and continued loving presence.
John Clarence Torrington was never to enact his selfdestructive plan. Some years later, he met a
lovely young woman on a train, thirty years his junior and made her his wife. His quiet home was
renewed with life and laughter as several new Torringtons entered the world. J.C. once again picked up
his pen to record their joyful additions, certain that wherever Lizette was, she would be happy for him.
He left his first death date exactly as it was, never wishing to revisit that dark chapter in his life.
The strange situation of J.C. having a much later second entry of death became an endless source
of fascination to future family members, amused that their illustrious ancestor should be the only
person in recorded history to have died twice. The Bible became a cherished heirloom, ensconced in its
rightful place on the shelf as J.C.’s many descendants all lived, loved and died within its timeworn
Torrington family legend still holds that whenever a new addition is inscribed into the family
Bible, a mixed aroma of lavender and singlemalt bourbon can be detected in the room. A fresh toast is
then poured and raised to the family’s continued success. Generations both seen and unseen all gather
to celebrate in an unbroken line, standing together underneath the cathedral mountains of their
It was a fine legacy, indeed.
About the author
A. Elizabeth Herting is an aspiring freelance writer and busy mother of three living in colorful
Colorado. She has had short stories featured in Bewildering Stories, Cafe Aphra, Dark Fire Fiction,
Fictive Dream, 50Word Stories, Friday Fiction, Literally Stories, New Realm, Peacock Journal,
Pilcrow&Dagger, Quail Bell Magazine, Speculative 66, Storyteller, The Flash Fiction Press and
Under the Bed. She has also published nonfiction work in Denver Pieces Magazine and bioStories,
and completed a novel called “Wet Birds Don’t Fly at Night” that she is hoping to find a home for. For
more of her work/contact her at sites.google.com/site/aehertingwriter and follow her on Twitter:
The House on Cherry Lane
By Keshaune Hatchett
The front door opened. Christian entered closely followed by his girlfriend, Sara and his cousin,
The latter two celebrated after they completed yet another successful job, while Christian quietly
walked across the living room to his desk in the corner with a stoic expression.
He clutched the emerald stone that hung around his neck, as he stared at his father’s picture on
the wall. The trinket was the last thing his father gave to him before his father’s mysterious
disappearance ten years earlier, which was the defining moment in Christian’s life.
The once aspiring doctor that had dreams of going to an Ivy League school and finding the cure
for cancer now was a thief, following in his father’s footsteps.
A tear fell from his eye and ran down his cheek as he reminisced about that faithful day.
It was shortly after his twelfth birthday; He returned from his cousin’s house just as his father
was about to depart.
He hugged his father and pleaded with him not to leave, but his request fell on deaf ears.
Before he departed, his father knelt down on bended knee and gave Christian the stone,
assuring him that he would return.
Since that day, he dedicated his life to the trade, in part to pay homage to his father, but mostly
hoping to finally find the answer surrounding his dad’s disappearance, so he could finally move forward
with his life.
At that moment, Sara approached and wrapped her arms around Christian’s neck and gave him
a kiss on the cheek.
She took him by the hand and led him to the middle of the living room where the bags of jewels
and electronics sat on the couch. “We got about 2,000 dollars’ worth of stuff here.” She said while
squeezing his hand and jumping in the air.
Thomas continued to celebrate, tossing the necklaces in the air much to Christian’s ire.
The two cousins were opposites in every facet of life. Christian was the epitome of discipline. He
was in top physical condition and meticulous, while Thomas was overweight, wore clothes a size too
small, and was very impulsive.
The only reason Christian tolerated Thomas at all was because their fathers were partners, so
they shared the same pain.
With a look of disdain, Christian approached Thomas and snatched the jewelry then returned
them to the bag. He mumbled a few disparaging words before grabbing a couple beers from the
refrigerator then took a seat on the couch.
Sara sat beside Christian and took his hand in hers. “Tommy has another job lined up.” She
gazed into his eyes. “It could be the motherlode.”
Christian’s interest piqued, but he remained skeptical because it was his cousin’s job. He took a
sip of his beverage then rolled his eyes, before turning his attention to his cousin.
Thomas was nervous as he stared into Christian’s cold eyes. Even though they were related and
spent a lot of their childhood together; Thomas was always intimidated in Christian’s presence.
Thomas took a series of deep breaths and stammered after the first few words, so he paused for a
few seconds to regain his composure. “I was at Stanky’s bar two weeks ago.” He nervously paced the
room. “We were taking a break from our card game, so I went outside to have a smoke, and that’s when I
heard Johnny Sticky Fingers on the phone.”
Thomas sat in the chair across from Christian and Sara, both of whom stared at him with bated
breath. “He didn’t know I was there, but I heard every word of his conversation.”
“What was so special about this conversation?” Christian inquired sarcastically.
“He was talking about this house on Cherry Lane. It’s owned by this family that has old money.”
Thomas smiled, as his confidence grew. “Have you ever heard of the Rupert’s?”
“Who hasn’t?” Christian replied.
“Well, you already know they own houses and real estate all over the world.” Thomas adjusted in
his chair. “The patriarch of the family, Sabastian Rupert, owns a house about a day’s drive from here,
and from what I’ve heard, it’s filled with valuables.”
Silence reigned, as all eyes fixated on Christian waiting for his response.
Christian was silent for a few moments, before abruptly standing, then pacing the room. He
rubbed his chin, deep in thought, then stopped after a few minutes.
“I need more information. I would have to go scope out the place. I have to find out about
security; along with the comings and goings of the people in the house.”
“I went up there last week and scoped the house for three days,” Thomas revealed. “The
security is surprisingly lax and no one came and went.”
Perplexed, Christian looked at Thomas with raised shoulders and a frown on his face. “If there’s
so much money and valuables in the house, why no security?” Christian shook his head adamantly. “I
don’t like it. We ain’t gonna do it.”
Frustrated, Thomas looked to Sara for support, and she immediately sprang into action.
She approached her beloved and gazed deep into his eyes. “I did some research on this place, and
everything he said is true.” She softly rubbed her hand along his cheek. “I think we should do this job,
because it could be the last one that we ever have to do.”
Her words struck a chord within Christian. He thought back to his father, and how he always
wanted to find one big score so he could walk away from the business.
Even though he still did not have the answer to the question that has plagued him since his
childhood, he would be able to do something that his father never accomplished.
Christian gave Sara a soft kiss on the lips then turned to Thomas. “Pack up the car; we leave in
The next evening as dusk fell, the trio arrived at their destination. Christian approached the fence
and examined the gate. He was alarmed that only a huge hook wrapped around a bar was the only
obstacle keeping anyone off the grounds.
He stepped aside and let Thomas open the gate. Afterwards, the trio entered, but Christian
As they ascended the massive, grassy hill, apprehension grew inside of Christian with every step.
Once they reached the apex of the mound, he stared at the huge mansion.
It was a red, brick house, with a canopy over the front door. What caught his attention was
despite the home’s large size; it only had two windows on the upper floor.
They took notice of the two large trees that flanked the sides. They climbed the tree off to the
right and kept a visual until total darkness fell. Then, they went to work. Thomas led them to the side of
the house. They came upon a window that was covered by a gate, and after dislodging it, they entered.
The trio made their way through the house scouring all thirty two rooms, and ultimately came
up with nothing, which frustrated Christian to no end. Just as he was about to lash out, Sara contacted
them through the walkietalkies and requested their presence in the kitchen.
Moments later, everyone gathered and stood before a door with a combination lock attached.
“There’s nothing in this house, and this door is the only one with a lock on it,” Christian said. “I
didn’t come all this way to leave empty handed.” He extended his hand requesting the bolt cutter. “Let’s
see what’s behind this door.”
After removing the lock, they entered through the door and ventured down the dark, winding
corridor which was littered with cob webs and reeked of rotted wood and mold.
They walked about a quarter of a mile using their flashlights to guide their path. Once they
reached the end, Christian lifted the lever on the wall which gave them light.
Their eyes lit up like Christmas trees as they saw the fruit of their labor. The massive room which
was the size of a basketball arena was filled with various jewels. As they approached the items,
something else caught Christian’s attention.
Hundreds of portraits littered the walls, all in a perfect line around the entire room.
He was captivated as he slowly made his way around the enormous area while the other two
basked in their findings, and filled their bags.
He took his time looking at the pictures noticing every detail of the faces. “Who are these
“Their ancestors?” Sara replied, as she continued to fill her bag with rare coins, diamond crested
crowns, and pearls. She turned in Christian’s direction. “Forget about those people. We’ve done it, baby.
We hit the big one!”
Dismissing her words, Christian continued to examine the pictures with an intense focus. “No,”
He said. “There’re people on this wall from different nationalities.”
Just as he was about to capitulate to Sara’s constant requests to join them, he stopped when a
particular portrait caught his attention. His heart sank and tears formed in his eyes. He lightly grazed
his fingers over the face of the person in the portrait, as a single tear raced down his cheek and fell
harmlessly to the floor.
“Why is my father on this wall?”
He placed his hand on the trinket around his neck then lowered his head as he began to succumb
to his emotions.
The job was of no consequence as it was usurped for his need for answers and closure. “Whoever
lived here must know what happened to my father.”
Realizing that Christian was unraveling, Sara raced over and grabbed his arm then pulled him
away from the wall. “You have to keep it together. We can always come back and get the answers you’re
He wiped his eyes then slowly nodded his head. He took a deep breath as his focus had returned,
but came to a stop when he noticed his cousin lying on the couch with his hands folded behind his head.
Sorrow turned to anger, as everything that he detested about Thomas surfaced. Just as he was
about to scream profanities at his lazy cousin, he stopped. He glared at Thomas as if he were in a trance,
but the longer he stood there; the more he felt like he was experiencing déjà vu.
Christian focus landed on Thomas’ belt which reminded him of the gate that surrounded the
house. He stared at Thomas huge, pot belly and found it eerily similar to the massive hill they ascended.
As he looked at Thomas’ arms behind his head, they reminded him of the trees outside, and once
Thomas opened his eyes, everything fell into place. A surge of fear began to resonate in Christian’s
stomach then radiated through his body. The instant the cousins’ eyes met, Christian shouted. “We
need to get outta here. The house it’s”
At that moment, the lights went out and a loud rumbling noise filled the room. The house began
to shake as their shrieks matched the rumbling, and within seconds, all was silent.
The next morning, all the valuables were in place and there was no sign the trio was ever there.
But space had been filled, for their portraits were added to the wall, alongside all the others, as three
more victims were claimed by the insatiable appetite of the house on Cherry Lane.
About the author
Keshaune Hatchett was born in Canton, Ohio in 1975. He graduated from Canton McKinley high
school in 1993. He served his country in the United States Navy and was honorably discharged in 1997.
He attained his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Beckfield College in June of 2014. He had
short stories titled, Angel Among Us published in the June 2013 issue of Cigale Magazine, Sometimes
We Forget published in the May 2014 issue of Foliate Oak Magazine, Long Dirt Road published in
December 2015 issue of Foliate Oak Magazine, and Apartment Thirty Six published in Route 7
Review Literary Magazine issue #4 2016.
The View from Punalu'u
By Gavin McCall
A quartermile from the sea, the largest of the many small, steep outcroppings of grasscovered
lava rock provided the best view of the beach. A young woman sat near the peak of that outcropping in
the coolness of a cloudy evening and took in the scene. Little had changed since the last time she’d been
there. The small parking lot still sat in front of the two empty pavilions, and the tide pools were still the
same shiny patches against the black a‘a. Just north of the pools and pavilions, Punalu‘u beach rolled
peacefully as broken edges of the Pacific crashed themselves into black sand and blacker lava rock. The
shoreline still reminded her of noman’sland, marking the battlefront between the earth and sea a
jagged, amorphous border constantly shifting with the tide.
Lani couldn’t remember the exact words in her poem about the tide pools, the one that had won
a state competition back in high school, and had even been published in Aloha Airlines’ magazine. She’d
added that to the resume she sent to the University of Hawai‘i last year, though she’d known that
without it, they’d have taken her, a local girl with a threepointnine GPA and a thirteenhundred SAT.
“Eh, Lani, what you doing up there?” came a voice from below. She looked down to see a long
haired, shirtless boy leaning out the window of a beatup Datsun truck that was obviously older than
either of them.
“Mom said gotta be home six o’clock,” the boy said. “Fivethirty already.”
“Ok, Micah, I’m coming,” Lani replied, getting up and beginning to pick her way down the rocky,
grasssplattered hill. With one hand full of her purse and beach towel, she had to turn around, backing
down the steep slope with her butt in the air and one hand grasping at chunks of grass.
After finally reaching the idling truck, Lani hopped in as Micah asked her again, “What you was
doing up there?”
“Just looking at the beach.”
“Why you gotta climb one hill for do that?” Micah asked, jerking the old truck into gear.
“From there I can see everything,” she said. “You know, that hill has a lot of history.”
“No crap,” Micah laughed. “Rocks is old.”
“No, I mean a lot of history happened there.” Lani pointed past her brother’s face, back at the hill
in the distance. “Supposedly there was a greedy chief that got crushed by his own altar he made the
21 Edify Fiction
people drag up that hill. Right where you were parked, probably.”
“Uh,” was Micah’s only reply.
“And the hill’s not the only place with history,” Lani continued. “You know there was a fishing
village right where the old restaurant is?” Not waiting for a reply, she went on. “It was destroyed a long
time back by a tidal wave. This whole coast was decimated. Some people say that’s what helped the
missionaries and cane companies take over, you know.”
“So what,” Micah said, “you going study history at Oahu then?”
“I dunno, maybe. Maybe Hawaiian studies.”
“Hawaiian studies? You no gotta be Hawaiian for study that?”
“No,” Lani said. “Besides, I said maybe. I just wanna know more about where we come from, you
“So why you gotta go the big city for learn that?” Micah asked. “You like learn for be Hawaiian,
go live Kawa with Aunty Melo and Bula dem.”
“They’re not living Hawaiian,” Lani said. “They just live there because they don’t want to pay
property taxes or car insurance. Besides, they don’t know the history, the culture of the place.”
“Why, cause they never go college for learn um?”
“That’s not what I mean,” she said, glaring at her brother’s face in profile. “All I’m saying is,
nobody really knows about the history of the places they live anymore. Don’t you even care that people
were living here for thousands of years and now it’s like they never existed?”
“I no care cause no more nothing for do with me.” Micah turned his head quickly, making sure
no cars were coming before crossing the highway, switching from one graveled canehaul road to
another. “I not Hawaiian.”
“But you live in Hawai‘i.”
Lani let out a raspy breath and crossed her arms, shooting Micah a glance that he didn’t see, or
pretended not to. “Never mind. Some people, I tell you, they just don’t care about anything, so stupid.”
Micah was quiet for a second. The truck jerked, bouncing over a rock Micah had failed to avoid.
“I dunno what your problem,” he said finally. “I care. I care about me, money, real stuffs.” Micah
shifted, settling himself into the truck’s torn bucket seat. “When I graduate, I going college too, you
know. I going be one architect, engineer maybe. Mr. Rapozo said I get good math skills.”
“I didn’t mean…”
“Besides, is not more stupid for waste time and money studying crap that don’t matter? History
not going feed you nothing, you know.”
“I didn’t mean to call you stupid,” Lani said. “I just can’t understand how you cannot care about
where you live.”
“Crap, I said I care already,” Micah said, turning off the cane road and onto Pahala’s main road,
the only street in town with a crosswalk. As he let the little truck roll down the hill towards home, Micah
took his eyes off the road to stare at his sister for a second. “But I care about real stuffs. Now. Here. No
sense worry about what already happened when you get choke for worry about already. Crap that’s
Lani just looked back at her brother, the shadowy hill barely visible in the distance through the
open truck window.
“Like you say you worry people no know nothing about Punalu‘u? What happens if they close the
beach when the turtles get eggs and nobody can go there for learn all that kind stuff? That’s what the
National Park guys like do, you know.”
“Really?” Lani hadn’t heard about that, but she could imagine it happening. Punalu‘u was one of
the only beaches in Hawai‘i where the endangered Hawksbill turtles sometimes came to lay eggs. “Can’t
they just use those fences they put around the nests?”
“The guys say is not enough, they like take the whole beach away for two months every year. Tell
me, if you care about your places, why you never know that?”
“That’s not fair, I wasn’t here, so how could I know everything that’s going on?”
Micah smiled, turning the truck into their mom’s driveway and stopping it on the front yard.
“Exactly,” he said, before shoving the creaky door open and, without looking to see his sister was
following, disappearing into the yellow glow of the house.
About the author
Gavin McCall grew up on a farm on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, but he’s spent the last dozen years
studying and teaching writing in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, then in Fresno, California, and finally in New
Orleans, Louisiana, where he and his wife found a dog and a house to put him in. Gavin’s short stories,
essays and one poem have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, and he currently teaches writing
at Delgado Community College, as well as slinging coffee, digging urban gardens, and anything else
that’ll keep the bills paid. He’s a fan of literacy in all its forms, in all its functions.
23 Edify Fiction
Swimming Pool in Autumn
By Peter Hoheisel
The autumn leaves fall into the pool, loosed,
loosed from their tree root, root less,
cut off, dropped
egregious in their singularity.
They who once, gregarious,
united in treeness, sang in choral summer sunshine,
they who flung off light profligately
now sink into the pool, merely themselves,
twisting and turning,
headed toward dissolution
individuality run riot
imprisoned in solitary confinement
until they are ready for resurrection.
About the author
Peter Hoheisel has published poems in national publications, such as The Nation, and many
regional ones, a few of which are the Langdon Review, Grasslands Review, Nebo, and Iconoclast. As
well as teaching Creative Writing, Literature and Composition at Lon Morris College in Jacksonville,
Texas, he was also chair of the department of Religion and Philosophy at that institution. Before he
moved to Texas, he was awarded numerous grants to teach poetry in many schools through the
Michigan Council for the Arts and in Tyler, Texas, under a grant from the Texas Commission for the
One of those Stories
By Russ Bickerstaff
It was a mess. It was all a mess. Everything was everywhere. That’s what Ajava thought:
“Everything is everywhere.” Didn’t necessarily mean anything, but she liked the way that it sounded. It’s
all over the place. It’s a mess. Not even enough tidiness for a statement about it that makes any kind of
sense. There was only time to clean and straightenup or whatever. There was no further room for
anything else. Every now and again, a mess would get so big that she literally couldn’t do anything else
but clean and that was exactly the situation that she was in at that moment. And that was exactly the
situation Audra was in.
“It’s like one of those stories,” Audra said. “You know one of those stories where someone is
looking for something and someone tries to pass along some kind of forgery to them, but then in the
end it turns out to be exactly what they’re looking for even though it was supposed to be a fake?”
“That sounds really specific,” Ajava said into a crunch and a splatter.
“What?” Audra said, not able to hear very clearly on account of the screaming after the crunch.
“I said that sounds really specific,” Ajava said with enough force to punch through the screaming
and the gargling that accompanied it.
“Oh,” said Audra. “I guess it kind of is. But...”
“But like you’re almost referring to a specific story and not a kind of story,” Ajava interrupted.
Turning on the suctions, she spoke again with a bit more volume to overcome the sound of the suction.
“Like there was only ever really one story like that or something.”
“No.” Audra shook her head. “No. I mean it’s like some kind of a cliché or something. That whole
idea of people trying to pass things off as fake that really turn out to be the actual thing in the end. And
there’s that big reveal at the end and Charlton Heston has fallen to his knees in the desert and he’s
looking at the ruins of the statue of liberty...”
“No,” Ajava interrupted, prompting Audra to follow her into the next room where there was
more screaming and scrambling amidst the flashing of pain and spraying and spewing and things. “No
you’re talking about Planet of the Apes. That’s not even what you’re talking about.”
“Sure it is,” Audra said turning on the grinder for a full sweep.
“No,” Ajava shouted. “It ISN’T. They weren’t trying to pass along that planet as the Earth. They
wanted the viewer to think it wasn’t. Or not even think that it could be or whatever. That’s not even
close to what you were talking about!”
25 Edify Fiction
“Sure it is,” Ajava said nodding absentmindedly as she turned off the grinder. “Like you think
it’s one thing but then at the end, it turns out to be something else altogether.”
“No,” Ajava shook her head again as she begun the crunch on what was left of the moving. “No,
you’re just talking about like...a plot twist. What you were...”
“Oh, right,” Audra said checking a few gauges on the grinder and adjusting a few instruments on
its panel. “I guess I’m just talking about a plot twist then. Looks like you’re going to need the chainsaw.”
“Oh,” Ajava said. “Right.” She scrambled for the thing and pulled the choke on it. “But that’s not
what you were talking about before.” The chainsaw rumbled to life. “You were talking about something
much more specific than that. Like it’s almost a specific story you were talking about.”
“Oh?” Audra said as the chainsaw cut into soft, twitching muscles mass amidst the splattering of
blood and sputum. “Which one was I talking about?”
“I don’t know,” Ajava said slicing and slashing a bit angrily into the heaving organic mass of
several others who were still quite living. (Or not quite dead.)
“That’s what I was asking. It was like you were referring to something specifically.”
“Yes.” Audra nodded. “Like they didn’t think it was earth and they were trying to pass it along
like it was and then it turned out to be that much in the end. Like Planet of the Apes.”
“NO,” Ajava said slashing angrily at the heaving mass, causing the scream to reach a higher
pitch. “NOT like Planet of the Apes!”
“Okay,” Audra shrugged. “Not like Planet of the Apes. But it was some other kind of story kind
of like that. Where it turns out to be the earth even though we’ve been told that it isn’t.” Ajava seemed
to be listening, but it was difficult to tell. She was slashing pretty aggressively at everything in the room
that was moving that wasn’t the either of them so it was difficult to tell whether or not she was even
reacting to the conversation.
“It’s like...” Audra said reaching for words. “It’s like two people meet on an abandoned planet
and one of them is a man and the other is a woman and they reveal the names to be Adam and Eve and
they find this coin that says, “E pluribus unum,” on it or something.
“Ugh,” Ajava groaned. “That’s NOT even...look...let’s just drop it okay? Can we do that?” The last
of the bleeding and screaming had ended by the time that Ajava had stopped speaking. Audra shrugged.
“That’s the last of it, though?” Audra asked.
“I think so,” Ajava nodded, checking the glowing amber of the map on her arm. There were no
angry, little, red glowing dots that were anywhere to be seen. Not in the building. Not anywhere else on
the planet. “Yep. That looks like it’s it. Let’s go in. I’m hungry.” The last of it crumbled as they left. They
lifted off just a few moments later. There was the firing of rockets against another desert on a
completely dead planet. If there were any signs of whatever it had been before they got there, it’s really
not worth going into them here. The two of them had left with such arguments when they left a dead
About the author
Russ Bickerstaff is a professional theatre critic and aspiring author living in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, with his wife and two daughters. His short fictions have appeared in over 30 different
publications including Hypertext Magazine, Pulp Metal Magazine, Sein und Werden, and Theme of
Almost a Joker
by Anna Deligiann
About the artist
Anna Deligiann was born in Athens, Greece, where she lived until she studied at the
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, specifically at the Faculty of Fine Arts. Follow her on
Instagram @anna_deligianni_ and on Behance.
Beach Walk, November
By Judith Katz
I am walking on Moonstone Beach in my bare feet.
Cool sand shapes itself to my footprint.
I am a temporary impression on the earth.
I fill my pockets with stones, almost all of them
the white of the breakers; there are two heartshaped stones
in my bounty of smooth coolness; it is a fortune.
I do not think of walking in the frigid water. I do not
think about the weight of the stones and my clothes. I
do not think about sinking to the bottom and filling my lungs
with water. I do not think about the end of my life.
I think about beginnings again. It has been a long time
since I have felt the desire, the drive, the possibilities
of a life well lived.
The essence of sea water and sea life, of seaweed
and shells, of driftwood revives me. I am
a momentary part of the moving picture.
It is not high tide or low tide
and I am not young or aged
or alone in the late middle age of womanhood.
Much is behind me: small children, the insistent gathering
and suffocation of too much stuff.
The old house is gone along with the pain and regrets it
held in the end.
I have fled with everything I could carry and everyone I want.
I have arrived in a new land where I must learn the language
of beginnings—an immigrant again.
I sing myself and honor what I am still capable of;
the strolling adventure of nature, the sea gulls flying
together above my head, calling out to each other,
the rise and fall of the tides, the gray day, that the sun lights
even though hidden behind fastmoving pearlescent clouds.
There are things one can count on when it seems there is nothing
left to rejoice in; there is respiration and inspiration,
there is the beating heart.
About the author
Judith Katz is the Lead Teacher for Creative Writing at the Cooperative Arts and Humanities Magnet
High School in New Haven, Connecticut, where her signature courses focus on writing poetry. She is
also the Lead Creative Writing Teacher for Yale University’s Summer Scholar Program where her work
focuses on writing the college essay. Her work has been published in The New Sound Literary
Journal, Of Sun and Sand, and Sending Our Condolences and has been a first runner up in the “Kind
of a Hurricane Press’s Editor’s Choice Awards.” She has published three academic poetry units
through the Yale New Haven Teacher’s Institute and recently won a grant from the NEH to study
Goulash is a dish of meat and assorted vegetables originally invented by Hungarian
cow herders. These herders, or gulyás, were of humble origin and concocted their
cauldron cooked meals out of supplies they packed on their long journeys millet, lard,
onions, salt, bacon, chilis, and occasionally cow meat. Over time, as regional travelers
were exposed to it, the dish evolved with additional spices and available vegetables,
eventually spreading to upper classes. In modern society, the meal ranges from haute cuisine to a lower class hearty meal
based on whatever is in the cabinet. It's the inspiration of our new monthly column, which is a 'little bit of this' and a 'little bit
of that'. An article that offers information and teaching on a variety of writing topics for submitters and readers alike. Enjoy!
This month's topic: Rhyming Pattern and Anapestic Meter
By M. Sakran
When writing formal poetry, two important poetic elements to consider using are rhyme
Many poets may be familiar with end word rhyming. For example, if you look at the first
two lines of the following poem, you can see that the end words "day" and "way" rhyme:
Now with joy sing aloud on this day,
with bright sounds and bright tones show the way
When utilizing rhyme in a poem, a poet can experiment with different patterns. As
examples, if a poet were to write an eight line single stanza poem, they might use one of the
following rhyming patterns:
1. AABBCCDD 2. ABABABAB 3. ABCDABCD 4. AABCBCDD
The first poem has a pattern of rhyming couplets. The second poem has an alternating
rhyming scheme. The third poem has a four count pattern, where lines one and five rhyme,
lines two and six rhyme, lines three and seven rhyme and lines four and eight rhyme. The last
poem combines the couplet structure of the first poem and the alternating pattern of the
second. In this poem, the first two lines rhyme, the last two lines rhyme, and in the middle of
the poem, there is an alternating rhyme.
Obviously a poet could write a poem that didn't contain any rhyming scheme.
Depending on the subject and tone of the poem, this might be preferred. One aspect of rhyme
that makes it useful for poetry though, is the idea of expectation of sound. When a person is
reading a rhyming poem, once their mind recognizes a rhyming pattern, it can make the poem
flow more easily, as the reader unconsciously expects certain sounds at the end of lines.
Meter, another poetic element, is in some sense, the beat of a poem. In the English
language, certain syllables in words, as well as monosyllabic words in sentences depending on
how they are read, are more stressed than other syllables and monosyllabic words in sentences.
The combination of stressed and unstressed syllables is what makes up meter.
One form of poetic meter, is anapestic meter. Anapestic meter is a meter where one unit
(called a foot) is of the form: unstressed, unstressed, stressed. It is the form of meter that you
might hear in a limerick.
If you look at the two lines from the poem above, they were written in anapestic meter.
Here they are with unstressed syllables marked with and stressed syllables marked with /:
/ / /
No w with jo y sin g a lo ud o n th is
/ / /
with bright sounds and bright tones show the way
As can be seen, each line has three anapestic feet.
Below is a full poem that has one stanza, with eight lines, with each line having three
anapestic feet. It utilizes rhyming pattern 4 from above.
Now with joy sing aloud on this day,
with bright sounds and bright tones show the way,
for the sadness of life can abound,
and the darkness of night might persist,
but with joy there can be a new sound,
as with light all the dark you resist,
and the hope of the world it does grow,
as the way with your song you do show.
At first, meter can be difficult for a poet. They might feel like they don't "hear" the beat.
There a few ways to help with this.
The first is to read poems written in a known meter, with the beat of the meter in mind. A
good choice to learn anapestic meter would be to read limericks, which can be written using it.
Read the poems with the beat of bum – bum – BUM in your mind. After a while it will flow
A second tip, if you are writing poetry with meter, is to utilize a dictionary. Dictionaries
sometimes come with the syllable stress of words marked. This can help when using
multisyllabic words in a poem.
A last tip would be to work with only one meter at a time. It can be very awkward, for
example, to switch between anapestic and iambic meter when writing poetry. Once your mind
gets used to a poetic beat, stick with it until you are ready to change to something new.
Like rhyme, meter can help with expectation of sound in a poem. If you have a poem with
a beat, it can help the reader to flow through the poem, because their mind is expecting the next
sounds. If this is combined with a predictable rhyming pattern, the effect can be enhanced.
When writing in anapestic meter, there are a few things to be careful of.
First, some words have more than one choice for which syllable is stressed. A good example
might be the word record. A REcord, with the first syllable stressed, is a noun. It is a notation
of information. By contrast reCORD, with the second syllable stressed, is a verb. It means to
The distinction is important when writing in anapestic meter. If a poet uses the wrong
use of the word, or the reader reads the word with the alternate stress, it can throw off the meter
of the poem, reducing its effectiveness. For example, read the line:
And the time and the ways hit record
If this line was alone, a person might pronounce the last word as reCORD. It would
mean the subjects of the line are pressing a button that will reCORD the events. This would fit
the anapestic meter and make sense in the line.
If a poet however, had a different meaning in mind, for example, by starting the next line
of the poem with the word "elevations", the poem would still make sense (the subject of the
poem reached a new height), but the reader might read the poem incorrectly. If the reader did
read it correctly, with the correct use of REcord, the meter would be thrown off.
Poets should also be careful not to feel like a form is restrictive. Sometimes when a poet
writes in a form, it can feel restrictive to them. They want to use a certain word, but can't,
because it doesn't fit the form. A poet might decide to abandon the form for that instance and
pick it up later in the poem. For example, consider the line:
And the time and the ways abandon
In this line, the last word, abandon, does not fit the anapestic meter. The middle syllable
is stressed instead of the last. A poet might like this word though and decide to use it anyway.
There are two reasons not to do this though. The first is, if a poem has meter, and that
meter breaks at parts, the poem can feel awkward to read, like a song with an offkey note.
Secondly, the restrictiveness that comes with form can actually promote creativity. Using
the line above, if a poet liked the word abandon, but couldn't use it because of the meter, they
might instead replace it with something like "do neglect". This would fit the meter, it goes with
the general idea of abandon, and it might take the poem in a new direction.
If you're a poet, you should think about writing rhyming poems with anapestic meter. It
can give you a chance to experiment with different rhyming schemes and it will help you
improve your use of poetic meter. Once you get accustomed to it, you'll find it can add a new
dimension to your poetry.
As an idea, you might start with limericks. Depending on style, limericks can use
anapestic meter and can have a simple rhyming pattern. Limericks are familiar, and can be a
good place to start. Here is an example limerick:
O' the dog his big tail he did wag,
for with joy he did have a big gag,
for he stole first one shoe,
then with glee he stole two,
and with speed he ran off with her bag.
WRITING PROMPT: Now, it's your turn! Pull out that notebook and experiment with the
concepts explained here. Try to create your own limerick using anapestic meter and a simple
writing pattern with a holiday theme.
About the author
M. Sakran has a B.S. in economics, an MBA, has performed copy editing for Grey Sparrow Press,
and reviewed poetry submissions for Deep South Magazine. He is a writer with over seventy items
published with thirty different publications. A partial list of his published items, photography,
artwork, poetry, fiction, and a full science fiction novel are available on his website at msakran.com.
He has had a collection of poettry published by Elecio Publishing, called First Try. Additionally, he has
a selfpublished work called poems with explanations, learn more about it on his website. Follow his
poetry blog at msakran.wordpress.com.
33 Edify Fiction
Call for Submissions
Do you have an edifying or uniquely positive short story, poem, flash fiction, or digital art piece
brewing inside of you? We have a rolling submissions policy so you can submit any time, for
For those of you who like a little more feedback than the standard 'accept' or 'decline' letter, we
offer a paid critique option when you submit. This paid critique entitles you to a commentary
on your piece on what works and what could use improvement. The critiques are provided by
Angela Meek or Michelle Holifield. Michelle is a Master of Fine Arts candidate and Angela has
an interdisciplinary Master's degree in Writing, English, and Psychology. Both Michelle and
Angela have published work, edited for publication, and coached other writers. They are avid
readers and enjoy helping others hone their writing skills.
When submitting, please take time to read and adhere to the guidelines posted on our
Submissions page. Due to the number of submissions we receive, we generally do not have time
to send back every piece that needs editing to meet the guidelines. Sending in a polished piece
that follows guidelines and meets the magazine's mission really catches our eye!
Currently, our greatest needs are:
• Love themed pieces for our Valentine's issue
• Themed pieces for our "New Beginnings" New Year's issue
Our needs change as submissions come in so be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to
keep up with the latest!
...until next time...