• Christmas Reflection by Nick Stokes

        *Nick Stokes has worked as a high school physics teacher, a wilderness ranger, an apple picker, a trail crew leader, a stable hand, a corn detassler, a tribology researcher and is still a mule packer. For more information on his fictions, plays and prose visit nickstokes.net. His novel, Affair, first serialized by The Seattle Star, is available at Amazon, The Nearsighted Narwhal and King’s Books in Tacoma and elsewhere.

  • The Wishing Tree by Melissa Thayer

    It wasn’t like the soft snow Jasper’s dad would take him to in the mountains. Within five minutes of making slush balls, his gloves—meant for cold, not snow—were soaked through and the ninety-six percent humidity combined with the thirty-six degree ambient temperature proved a frigid mixture. Jasper didn’t let on to the others of his shivering and how he would rather be at home in front of the heater reading a book, but he did remove his wet gloves and thrust his hands into his pockets. They sloshed along the pavement as the rain fell. A newspaper, still dry in its pink plastic bag, nested in a clump of grass…

  • The Evidence for Coal by Jonny Eberle

    This year, Santa’s operation entered the 21st century. Shortly after Thanksgiving, a server room went online at the North Pole to analyze data that used to take an army of elves a year to complete. Sophisticated algorithms crawled the web, taking into account thousands of behavioral factors. Code scoured social media for keywords, while software did the dirty work of sorting naughty from nice. A team of hackers worked to piggyback signals on telecommunications satellites to intercept texts and tweets as they flew around the world. Millions of emails were obtained through a Russian intermediary. Security camera footage was spliced together with GPS locators and all of it was neatly…

  • Alpha Wolf by Joshua Swainston

    A few months ago, I turned thirty-seven. My eight-year-old son, Landon, drew me a picture of he and I playing baseball in the backyard. I received a few cards from my dentist and the members of my cribbage club. Alison, my wife, who is three years older than I am, and who is never to be outdone, gifted me what she called “Old Man Sam’s Pre-AARP Kit.” The kit consisted of Just for Men hair color, a single dose of Viagra, and a bag of Werther’s Originals. There are a lot of guys who care about their age. I guess, sometimes, you can put me in that category. It’s less…