1.  of or abounding in thrums; shaggy or tufted.

The day felt drab although the sun was shining and the weatherman was predicting fantastic temperatures and a long-awaited repreive from the onslaught of rain they’d been getting. It semed that eeveryone was excited  by that news.

But Alex was more intoxicated by his surroundings indoors. He stared at all the junk surrounding him, things his father would’ve called “treasure,” if he were still alive. Now al that treasure belonged to Alex. What he would do with all of his late father’s hoarded goods, he had no clue. he wasn’t even sure why his father would consider himself a collector of such trivial things that had no value and were utterly worthless.

Alex began meandering around his father’s workspace, critically looking at items, hoping to find something of worth.

He was headed toward the corner when he almost tripped over something. He didn’t even have to look down to know what it was. The familiar texture of Continue reading





  1. able to be forgiven or pardoned; not seriously wrong; as a sin (opposed to mortal).
  2. excusable; trifling; minor: a venial error; a venial offense.

The wind was strong today and it felt like all of it  was concentrated in the small empty park. It howled and blew about autumn leaves and empty swings.

Ricky pulled up the zipper of his zipped jacket and buried the lower half of his face in the high collar, shoving his hands in the pockets. He squirmed on the marble bench, stomping his feet to keep the feeling in his legs. His wife Marie had been right, he should’ve taken a heavier coat.

His dad had a knack for picking the worst days of the year to meet. A couple of years ago, he wanted to meet on a day with some of the worst snowfall in the city’s 100-year history. Ricky had trudged out in the blizzard on foot, despite Marie yelling for him “to have some sense” to meet his dad and get him to the nearest place with heat.

Ricky look around, feeling slightly anxious.

He felt like he was in elementary school again, waiting for his mom or dad to come pick him up… which they never did. Usually Pauly came to get him after basketball practice or something. By that time, it was closer to 5 o’clock and Ricky would be waiting at Gus’ Corner Store, relocating to various aisles to avoid actual paying customers. Once he had to leave the store because an old man kept hounding him, asking if Continue reading




  1. to work, write, or study laboriously, especially at night.
  2. to write learnedly.


Paul shook his head vigorously, straining to stay focused. The lack of sleep was getting to him, but it was the conversation he’d had with his wife that was really stealing all of his attention.

“You okay,” Ed shouted, his voice muffled by his mask.

Paul nodded, wordless.

He had about six hours left in his shift, he hadn’t hit the halfway point and already his energy was waning.

Paul shook his head once more and began fusing together metal with his torch. He silently wished he could do the same thing for his marriage–just apply a little heat and pressure and bind them back together. Instead he felt like they were two Continue reading




  1. a compelling attraction; fascination
  2. hypnosis as in induced, according to F.A. Mesmer, through animal magnetism
  3. hypnotism

From the first time Lawrence had read the cover of the small pamphlet he had found in the corner of Parson’s General Store, he had fallen in love with the writing of Samuel Humphrey, a man he’d never heard of on a topic that was rarely discussed in the homes, streets, or churches in Virginia.

The pamphlet, The Christian’s Dutiful Work toward Freedom: Tales of the Evils of Oppression in Our Nation, was dirty and stained.  Lawrence didn’t think it belonged in the store, for he saw no additional copies anywhere, but for some reason he decided to hide it within the deep pockets of his overalls.

Mr. Humphrey’s words were like poetry. Upon reading the prose, Lawrence had entered a perpetual state of mesmerism.

Now, 10 years later, it’s pages were even more ragged. Lawrence had unintentionally improved his reading skills each night as he pored over the pages, soaking in Humphrey’s words. His mind seemed to come alive with Humphrey’s arguments.

There were many times Lawrence wanted to talk to his mother about what he had read within the pages of the small pamphlet, but he hesitated after hearing her talk with Mrs. Overton about the Continue reading




  1. Meteorology. (of a cloud) dense enough to obscure the sun or moon.


“It stops for no man,” is what they always say. Always moving forward. The equalizer of every human life.

It’s funny how it runs out on you when you feel you need it the most. But for Abi Branson, today couldn’t be one of those days.

She glanced at the clock. The traffic light had just turned red. Swarms of people filled the crosswalk. She needed to be parked and out of the car n the next seven minutes, if she was going to  save her son’s life.

Her palms gripped the steering wheel, sweaty within her leather gloves. She felt the pressure of time working against her and absentmindedly chewed her lower lip. As counter intiutive as it seemed, she needed to stay calm right now. That’s the first thing she learned decades ago. The more important and dangerous the mission, Continue reading





  1. a charlatan or quack.
  2. a person who sells quack medicines, as from a platform in public places, attracting and influencing an audience by tricks, storytelling, etc.
  3. to act or operate as a mountebank.

The leather on my therapist’s couch secretly hates me. It squeaks every time I move. I often suspect that my therapist secretly hates me as well, and that’s why she always directs me to the couch as my punishment. Once, I broke down in a fit of tears and the couch sang along, squeaking with every trimmer of my body. I felt like it was mocking me, telling me to get over a childhood with an oppressive standard of perfection. And that made sense because I am an adult after all…well, I at least have the body of an adult.

Today, my therapist doesn’t want to focus on my childhood. Ten minutes into my weekly session and she’s already rattling off questions about the not-so-great here and now.

“Tell me, how are things going this week, Abigail?”

“Fine… kind of.. okay… just regular…”

“Do you feel you’re progressing?”

“No.” I feel like an upset 2 year old right now.

“Have you made any plans to move out of your parents’ loft?”

I grunt my response.

At this point, I’m just glad she hasn’t Continue reading




  1. a title or term of respect.
  2. (in certain languages, as Chinese and Japanese) a class of forms used to show respect, especially in direct address
  3. Also, honorifical. doing or conferring honor.

“Just follow me,” Lana whispered in a hushed tone.

With a thin, pale hand she motioned for Mary to follow her down the hall toward the stairs she had polished that morning.

Mary wasn’t sure why they were whispering in the middle of the day, but the thought occurred to her, too late, that they may be doing something wrong.

Just as she was putting the pieces together, Lana changed directions. Instead of going down the stairs, the lanky 8 year old veered toward the right, heading straight for a set of closed doors at the end of the hallway.  She stopped short, her muscles tensed like a cat before it pounces, and quickly Continue reading