It’s nearly Hanukkah again, the Jewish winter holiday also called the Festival of Lights. To most people, that refers to the oil that miraculously lasted much longer than it should have, keeping the eternal flame burning until more oil could be made. For me, though,...

The evening would arrive before long, but Marian wanted a bit more time outside.  She hoped to study the birds that still hopped and pecked at the dusty grounds around Ernstmoor Estate.  Sometimes, they would turn their heads, directing one of their black and focused...

Donald opened the front door, looking for who rang. There was no one on the porch of the big house or the walkway below. He looked around, eyes scanning the street, but he saw no one. Maybe some teenagers were playing their pranks, but Christmas...

Kerry had his hands in his pockets as he traversed the trail, walking quickly but still unable to escape his own mind. It was freezing, and he wasn’t at all dressed for it outside of his boots, but the air wasn’t any colder than he...

Trevor walked in his front door with a sigh. He shut the door like it weighed a ton and put the chain lock in place. In truth, it was life that weighed on him, exhausted him so. Working retail during the holiday season felt like...

Tucker yawned, but he finished it with a smile. He had waited a long time for this day. It was his first Christmas with his new wife and stepdaughter, Tiffany. She hadn’t been hateful up to this point, but she hadn’t connected with him either....

He felt old and tired.  That was all he knew about himself.  He rose from his bed and washed his face while he waited for his mind to focus.  There was a gentle shifting of the floor beneath him.  “Am I on a ship?” the...

When I first started sleepwalking, my wife mostly found it funny.  She stays up much later than I do in the evenings.  Apparently, I’ve started finding my way to her home office just down the hall from our bedroom.  If I can even remember these...

My cousin AJ told me this story in 2006.  He was twenty-seven years old and would soon be on his deathbed.  AJ claims that he got sick because of what happened to him back in 1998.  He was nineteen then.  Now that he’s gone, I...

My mother and I used to live together in a large house on the crest of a hill.  We had a sitting room that overlooked the churchyard cemetery a short way down the road.  I rarely went into that room as a child because that’s...

We trekked out into the middle of this desert to find solitude.  To “achieve greater introspective insight than we could have ever achieved in the real world,” as Jeff put it, was our goal.  When there is no wind and no sound besides your own...

The lavish banquet that had been so expertly laid out on the long, elegant refractory table before me could only be described as perfect. Truly, utterly, perfect. It was the most sublimely archetypical Thanksgiving Dinner that I could imagine. The table was draped in a...

The painted gray metal door leading from the reception area to the mechanics’ bays banged open. “Hey … we got a hot one!” “Yeah?” Nigel asked. Larry nodded and winked, “Oh, yeah!” Nigel smiled. “Do we have some time?” “All day, Nige. Guy’s wife came in, rushing him around, nagging him...

Maggie pulled her Honda Civic to the curb and cut the engine. It was her second stop of the morning, garage sale number two.  And, boy, is it a big one! she thought.  People were clustered alongside the road, ambling eagerly toward the lawn further down...

Growing up, my wife Rhea's best friend in life was her brother Evan. Even with the age and gender difference, they were kindred spirits. Out of millions of genetic possibilities, somehow, they were born with the same mental framework. He taught her how to ride...

Chapter 1: Man’s Best Friend The sound of Duane’s Dodge diesel pounded a steady thump with a deep cadence as it idled up the dirt drive to the barn. The sun was setting but it still hung just above the ridge that rose above their farmhouse....

Chapter 1 If you want to know just how unimportant you are, get a job at the biggest company you can. The bigger the outfit, the smaller the cog you’ll be in that cascading clockwork that makes the thing move. You’d be more significant as the sole...

Chapter 1: The Beginning Loretta could see two versions of the mockingbird in the tree outside her window. One with ugly gray and black feathers, the other with beautiful aqua feathers. The aqua bird was so much more pleasing to Loretta’s sight. The black and gray...

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