The Water Cycle

The Water Cycle by Eloise Schultz

By Eloise Schultz, with audio : 4th Annual Fiction Contest Winner, Judged by Teague Bohlen At some point, she stopped wearing the ring. I noticed when I came home from the library, helping her peel wax off the kitchen counter. When I asked, she told me that it had slipped off while she was swimming and sunk to the bottom of the lake. They searched for it, a gold glint in the mud and pebbles, but soon gave up.

Rare Offering by JoeAnn Hart

By JoeAnn Hart, with audio : 4th Annual Fiction Contest Finalist, Judged by Teague Bohlen Rare Offering. Paneled library, garden room, Sensational  distant views, historical landscape. Gated community. Great room with stone fireplace. Traditional charm, idyllic family setting. Call Leslie for a private viewing. An exclusive property of Brancaleone Realty.

If the Forest Floods by Anya Groner

By Anya Groner, with audio When Etgar wasn’t there, June watched movies. Men had swords. Women had orange flowers clipped to dark dresses, hats brimmed like cymbals. Couples waltzed. Enormous leaves brushed their shoulders. Children, when there were children, held sticks and jumped naked into rivers. The couch curved beneath her, soft and buoyant and, despite the heat, when orchestra would get slow and melancholy, she’d pull a pink sheet to her neck and shiver. Even when she was alone, Etgar’s whispers echoed inside her. He called her precious. A firecracker. A fox.

Bernard, Amongst the Sea Oats by Shannon Sweetnam

By Shannon Sweetnam, with audio Wet-suited, amongst the sea oats, Bernard wept for his mother, wishing she would find him before the sun set upon the shore. He hoped Sally would run his way if he happened to scream, if he and his mind were to become too fearful, though screaming itself was a fearful thing, and he did not want to scream and have Sally find him. He did not want that. He wanted his wispy haired, freckle-skinned, lavender-smelling mother. So he wept, quietly, while he waited, hidden among the sea oats, looking for signs of dolphins or sharks among the lumbering waves.

Rectilinear by David Rose

By David Rose, with audio She spotted the plot. We’d trundled out to see a Connell Ward and Lucas house in Wentworth (sadly, now demolished), cutting back to the A30 down Callowhill when she pointed up. It wasn’t in fact a vacant plot; there was a ramshackle wooden chalet teetering on dereliction. Which made it perfect. A commanding site, no problems with demolition, and of course close to the A30. We bought it. I planned. It didn’t go to plan. Planning consent for Modernism at its purest was even harder to obtain than in the 30s, as I knew. And the local planning committee more obdurate than most. I managed to win them round on the design by including a fictitious striped conning tower, which I then offered to forgo, but the surveyor had concerns about subsidence, being a hillside site, and the weight of concrete as opposed to wood.

Drifting by Steve Edwards

By Steve Edwards, with audio Your father was a mechanic. His hands dwarfed the wrenches and ratchets they held, the screwdrivers, the pliers, the bottles of Bud, your mother’s limp hand in her hospital bed the night she stopped breathing. The last time you saw your father was two years ago, when he’d come stumbling into the bar where you’d parked yourself in front of a baseball game and a beer. He was alone. You almost didn’t recognize him. He’d been in some kind of an accident and every last inch of him—the skin on his forearms, the backs of his hands, his neck and face and eyelids—was splotched with little flaming welts, like cigarette burns, that he’d dabbed with ointment. “Riding lawnmower cut out,” he said, shrugging off your concern and swigging his Bud. “Bellied down to the blade and, why shit, ended up dry-humping a whole motherfucking nest of ants.”