1. dogmatic about others’ acceptance of one’s ideas; fanatical: a doctrinaire preacher.
  2. merely theoretical; impractical.
  3. of, relating to, or characteristic of a doctrinaire.

Paul’s blood ran cool at the sight of Max. He had always stuck up for his friend, had always been quick to silence accusation and gossip from anyone trying to defame Max’s name and reputation. But today was different.

Before, his defense would come quickly, without hesitation. Some thought Paul should’ve been lawyer because of his penchant for rapid rebuttals. He was the one who was always confident about Max’s decisions, until this morning.

Two women had been found dead in the center of the camp. Supposedly, the last person they had spoken to had been Max.

Rumors were beginning to bubble to the surface. It was as if someone had removed an invisible cork and now all the things people thought and felt were flying about rapidly.

Max’s smiled broadened as Paul approached. That familiar smile usually calmed Paul, but all he felt now was Continue reading





  1. the state of being behind or late, especially inthe fulfillment of a duty, promise, obligation, or the like: Many homeowners have fallen into arrears.

Rachael entered the penthouse suite checking the latest round of messages that had just been sent to her. She was thrilled about the upcoming acquisition her company was making, but all the messages were starting to wear away at her. The stress was starting to get to her. Rachael dropped her purse on the glass dinner table that seated 12 and headed toward the kitchen. She was so engrossed in her lawyer’s last two messages that she didn’t see her husband at the dinner table until she came back with some water. She started to remove her stilettos when Michael cleared his throat purposefully to get her attention.

“Have you been there this whole time?”

Rachael started to laugh at her inability to concentrate on two things at once. She was a savvy business woman, but extremely poor at multitasking.


His tone was serious, too serious for Rachael’s taste. She was usually the serious one.

He had something to say.

“I’m Continue reading




  1. an unfavorable or censorious comment: to make animadversions on someone’s conduct.
  2. the act of criticizing.


Mr. Harper surveyed the room. Fidgeting fingers and averted gazes. The floor was drawing the students’ attention like a comet streaking across the night sky.  Only Malina Juarez smiled confidently back at him. She waved her hand back and forth as if she was a passenger on the Titanic trying to gain the attention of the coastguard.

Apparently only one of his students had done the reading.

“I know everyone did their homework, so any one of you will be able to answer this question.”

The only sound that could be heard was Malina’s stifled cry as she strained to not detach her arm from its socket.

Mr. Harper honed in on the only other student who wasn’t looking down.

“Patrick Tucker!”

Of all of his students, Patrick was the one most likely to be caught in a daydream. The child rarely spoke. His interactions with children were even more rare. He often could be found Continue reading




  1. Literary. powerful; mighty; potent

Thick heat wove its way throughout the jungle, like an unseen predator stalking its prey. It beckoned us toward lethargy. Somehow each movement felt stiffer than the last, as if the weather could somehow atrophy our bodies.  But it was more than the heat that was our problem, it was the lack of water that made us uneasy.

The rainy season had been paltry on its best days, and now, after two crescent moons, it was hard to deny that the water supply hadn’t severely receded.

I blinked back the severe sunlight. Without water, even my eyes seemed dry and tough. My mind seemed to slowly follow what was happening around me.

“He’s going to lead us to a better place, Evory…” Kam, my childhood friend, sounded almost wistful as she whispered to me in hushed tones, as if Continue reading

Vox Populi


vox populi
  1. the voice of the people; popular opinion.


There were some days that Eddie actually enjoyed being from a big family…well, actually there were two days a year that Eddie actually enjoyed being from a big family. The rest of the year, he struggled to follow his parents’ repetitive advice to “Appreciate family while you have us, Eddie!”

He often closed his eyes to keep from rolling them–so he wouldn’t be chastised further–before nodding his head and verbalizing his compliance.

Really, he wanted to be honest and say that it was hard to appreciate family when there was always a sister, an uncle, a brother, or a cousin who was always in his face and always in his space. Because, if he was perfectly honest, he didn’t really expect there to ever be a day when one moment of solitude was actually possible–it had never been that way.

But on days like today, that didn’t matter. Gathering Day, which happened once a year and preceded Feasting Day, was Eddie’s favorite.

Although he didn’t appreciate waking before sunrise to start Gathering Day, or the speeches by the elders that lasted until the sun actually rose, he agreed with Continue reading




  1. of or relating to fields or open country.

Agnes heard the familiar whirring long before she saw the machines. Things were starting earlier this year.

The day had been perfect up until that point. The sun was out, but there had been a pleasant warmth to it, quite unlike the suffocating heat of summer and the chilly snaps of fall. But the sound of each engine brought a familiar fear to her small heart.

“Where’s Peter?”

Her children looked around, stunned. Shame filled their pink cheeks. They hadn’t even noticed their youngest brother was missing.  Continue reading



  1. to lure by or as by music: The Pied Piper tweedled the children into following him.
  2. to produce high-pitched, modulated sounds, as a singer, bird, or musical instrument.
  3. to perform lightly upon a musical instrument.


It was something about the sweet chirping of crickets that always put Ernie at ease. The sweet cadence was the melody of his youth, tied to memories of his large family, their huge meals, and lots of laughter. It comforted him now, as he thought of how it seemed he was the only one left at home. Everyone else had left, starting their own families, moving to places with more “opportunity.”

The moon hung low, reflecting off the surface of the smooth pond, as it often used to when he was younger. The night was clear, the breeze was warm and thick, making his skin stickier than usual.

Everything but the crickets seemed to be sleeping, even the flies, much to his chagrin. He took a gulp of water, contemplating, yet again, if he had it in him to move away from his childhood home and find something better. The thought had occurred to him on numerous occasions. As each sibling moved, Ernie pondered whether he could follow suit.

A change of scenery could be nice…or at least that’s what he told himself. Deep inside he knew that he didn’t want to leave home. He didn’t want different opportunities, or something better. He just wanted Continue reading