Published Short Stories, Essays, Poetry, and etc.

Fed to the Gators

The crunching of crispy pine needles beneath my sneakers echoed among the trees. As I trekked through the small, wooded lot beside our home, my older sister, Donna, gripped the chains of her seat swing. She was completely oblivious to her surroundings, which included my random bursts of singing. Her legs dangled above the scuffed grass while she swayed back and forth. The Walkman cassette player clipped to her jeans pocket blared a Stevie Nicks song about white doves. Mom had instructed Donna to watch me that day while she worked yet another twelve-hour shift at Hollywood Memorial Hospital. Donna huffed and whined as usual. She claimed to have more important things to do than watch her obnoxious younger sister. “Mom, I’m almost twelve,” I said as my cheeks reddened from a mixture of anger and embarrassment. “I don’t need a babysitter!”

Chained to the Drift

It’s difficult to devote your life to a family that will never embrace you fully. Especially when your newly acquired family, by law, constantly expects utter devotion. Such was the case for Mrs. Mary Louise Elmwood, a young woman from a highly respected family in northern Alabama. It was a fine match; a proper combination between two well-off esteemed families. Mr. Robert Elmwood, although barely thirty, had already established quite the reputation for himself as a steadfast lawyer in the newly exquisite courthouse in downtown Athens. He was a ruthless lawyer in the courtroom, who never let any criminal walk away without some legal punishment. Some said those reprimands extended outside of those halls, and into the streets of downtown Athens. But Mary Louise didn’t partake in such rumors.

Weary Willie

There is a permanent imprint on memory when smoke infiltrates the senses. I was awaiting my cue with a few other clowns when the foul smell of burning canvas reached me. Dressed in oversized pants that were barely held up by my flimsy suspenders and an unshaven face covered in thick white paint, I called myself Weary Willie, a sad hobo clown with a permanent frown. I always got the short end of the stick, yet I never gave up. An important lesson my pa taught me and one in which I impressed on the children who came to the Ringling Circus. Had I known what was to occur that day, I wouldn’t have bothered plastering on my unhappy persona.

Laying Fallow

Within a small-scale labyrinth of untouched Florida, there exists a modest cemetery hidden by time and nature. The lush, wooded area, which once totally hid this tiny sliver of a sanctuary from view, was mostly chopped up and molded into an everyday American small-town neighborhood. House after house, built side by side, now surrounds what’s left of the natural land and the cemetery. As to why this sacred space was rendered, it's obvious to anyone who’s suffered from death’s unavoidable harvesting. It’s a place for those left behind in the fields, alone, who need to make sense of their loss. Shoddily gluing their million shards of grief into something resembling a whole heart.


My hands are hovering above my open eyes. I let out a deep sigh in the hopes that my wife will hurry up so I can get back to the game. I cast a quick glance below at my son, Bobby. I can’t help but smirk at his dogged determination to keep his tiny hands pressed firmly against his closed eyelids. A wicker basket filled with artificial green Easter grass hangs from the bend of his right elbow. “No peeking!” My wife’s giggles echo throughout our house. Her sneakers squeak against the tiled floor

Are You My Mother?

“But in my postpartum life on a rainy December evening, compassion flowed into the recesses of my soul.” Struggling with a newfound role, a mother ponders how giving life has awakened her empathy towards the suffering, and allowed a realization of what true love is… “Please don’t be dead,” I said, as I scampered towards the frail body resting by the side of the road. Having just swerved into a sharp U-turn, my tires squealed in protest as I slammed on the brakes. I hoped it wasn’t too late....


Yuck! I’m so sick of these bland, grainy power bars. Yet I continue to gnaw away, bit by bit, hoping the flavor will somehow become tolerable. My best friend, Tiff, promises these are good for my tummy. Her smile beams down upon me whenever she comes home from the grocery store with the latest health food craze. Placebos disguised as crunch bars, which supposedly prolong my life. I’m a sucker for wanting to see Tiff happy, so I oblige her fountain of youth schemes. Tiff is the sweetest girl I know, which is ironic because her stepdad, Jack, is a huge jerk. He enjoys telling Tiff, constantly, that he’s going to “feed” me to the neighbors’ hungry dogs. Why? It’s like he spins the Wheel of Misfortune, only every winning turn equals terrorizing an innocent girl: a B Minus packed report card, not keeping her room clean to his militaristic standards, or for the plain fact that Tiff is “soft” for taking me in and caring for me when I was orphaned. “My home isn’t an orphanage, Tiffany,” or “you’re so sensitive, Tiffany, the world’s going to eat you alive,” are common phrases.

Those Who Scream: A Novel by 30 Writers

Molly Hammersmith, a woman seeking a serene change of pace, moves from Kentucky to southern Georgia to work as a cemetery groundskeeper. However, there are people (and things) that are not as welcoming of her arrival. How long will she remain here, and what may keep her in this mysterious corner of the world? That is, until she learns how to scream. Welcome to Scarlet Maple Cemetery. Written during the traditional NaNoWriMo period (the month of November), 30 writers were tasked to write a complete, unprompted story full of eccentric characters, unforeseen plot twists, and shuddering undertones. Bethany Bruno created the novel's plot and wrote the first chapter.


Ahh, 1998. If you were a kid, this was a great year for popular toys and games. It was the time of Furbys, which were small, creepy, robotic creatures that randomly became chatty at three a.m. Beanie Babies, such as the iconic Princess Diana memorial purple bear, were stuffed toys that parents kept safe in a plastic casing. Oh, and Tamagotchis, computer generated pets with the lifespan of a fly. But the biggest kahuna of them all were the fantastical pocket monsters called Pokémon.

Drug Experiences | Readers Write

WHEN I WAS five years old, my elementary school held an assembly that included a special visitor, Harry the Habit Kicker. (Harry was actually our school resource officer in a giant bear costume.) He wore a shirt that read SAY NO TO DRUGS, and he carried a white bag with BAD STUFF scrawled across it. Harry demonstrated the consequences of drugs by placing the bag into his mouth. We all watched in horror as he jumped around, waving his fuzzy arms frantically, then fell to the floor, dead.

Dreading Expectations

As soon as I return home from my first day back at the office, post-parental leave, my sleep-deprived husband hands me our wailing baby girl. She’s my mini-me, with thick brown hair and round chin. I take her, begrudgingly. Holding her, I can’t help but cry internally. Every scream, howl, or noise sends shocks of anxiety through my already fragile body. Since becoming a mother, I’ve discovered a truly shameful part of myself, a remorse that eats away at me every second that I hold my daughter.


Do you remember those gummy candies called Jujyfruits? They came in a bright yellow carton. Bold, capitalized letters curved across the box like a thick, short snake. Inside were colorful, chewy jellies formed into a variety of shapes. The squares looked like squishy Legos, while the circles resembled the bumpy surface of a wisdom tooth. They were my go-to choice as a child. My father would grin and gesture toward the candy counter at the gas station. He would say, "Go-on, but don't tell your mother."

"Sometimes Dead is Better:" Exploring the First Line of Pet Sematary by Stephen King

The first sentence in Stephen King’s Pet Sematary seemingly doesn’t give any indication of the terrors that lie ahead. We’re told, simply, of Louis Creed’s newfound father figure after years of being without. But, beneath the unsuspecting sentence, is a clever setup of the power of dichotomy in this horror novel. Good and evil. Heaven and Hell. Life and death. It’s a frightening warning to all: not all things that are lost should be found.


I wipe between my sticky thighs, finding bright red blood smeared across the toilet paper. “No, no, no,” I mutter in rapid succession, as if speaking words aloud will somehow make the blood disappear. Disappointment sweeps across me like a sudden burst of wind on a still, cloudless day. I bunch up more toilet paper and swipe once more. When I bring it up to my face to examine it, I shudder. There’s no denying the evidence of my failure this time. My face flushes with the rising heat of shame.


She grips the black handle of the jagged butcher knife with her right hand while grasping the smooth skin of the chosen pumpkin. Her intended victim, the round bulbous vegetable, remains perfectly still as she slowly pierces its skin with the tip of the blade. Inch by agonizing inch. She begins sawing away at an incline. With each up and down motion of her hand, the blade glides through somewhat, but not without some resistance. The pumpkin’s screams with each push of the knife, resembling a sof

A Simple Order

The brightly lit glow of purple summons us in our post-liquored-up state of physical exhaustion from grinding and random make-outs with shadowy strangers on a packed dance floor. After piling into some girl’s beat-up van, in which there was no A/C and the driver’s side window is unable to roll down, we finally arrive at our craving’s terminus. Only to find a long, winding line of other weary passengers awaiting the finale to their taco-tastic night.
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