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    Valhalla Falls by Martin Chase

    A clash of steel, of blade upon horned helm, And axe against mailed breast. Fiery darts Piercing inky skies and warriors’ hearts, As battle-spilt blood flows free through our realm.   Then we are routed, surrounded by foe, Us Hammer-Folk, fifty in all, trapped by Two-hundred, raiding Cross-Folk spear and bow. Their king Harald demands thus: kneel or die!   But to them, we swear by our war-gods nay! We would, in glorious sortie this day Fall! Buri our jarl strikes Harald’s shield-man, And with blood-lust, to fateful fight, we ran!.

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    Retreat by Lynn Savage

    Paula nibbled her right index fingernail and stifled a chuckle, a half-eaten Tupperware container of Fiddle Faddle shaking on her lap. Doug snorted beside her, not from amusement but sleep apnea. Their doctor suggested a CPAP, but somehow the money for such third-tier necessities was always a paycheck away. Either Hannah needed a dental retainer, Logan had Little League camp, or Paula’s aging Durango threw a rod on the 405. Doug hoped to take the kids down to San Diego this summer, see Shamu before the activists had SeaWorld shut down, but it’d take an economic miracle to make that happen. After another bite of caramel-coated relief, Paula resealed the…

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    Pickles and Mayo by Jackie Fender

    Mayo and pickles, again. My stepmom wakes me up, hurried and excited. “Get up! You’re late, let’s go!” I am 8 years old and it doesn’t occur to me to glance at a clock and protest. I’m pulled out of bed with feelings of dread. Quickly I dress myself and head down the long carpeted hallway to the dining room where my stepmother is ironing like a madwoman. “Go, go, go!” She demands, handing me my lunch pail and shoving me out the door without another word. It’s a crisp January morning. The grass crunches under my feet, frosted over with dew. As I walk to school I watch my…

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    Scooby Snacks by Joshua Swainston

    The previous night echoed in a headache of tequila shots and karaoke. Driving home, golden arches served as a beacon of reprieve in the bright spring morning. JoAnne dreamed of hash brown patties and egg biscuits to soak up the fatigue before she drove the remainder of the way home to her own bed, aspirin, and quiet. It was a lie. McDonald’s stopped serving breakfast at 10:30. After sitting through the drive thru, the digital clock on the dash of her Kia Rio read 10:42. She maneuvered the Rio amongst RVs and F350s in a football field sized parking lot which separated fast food from Walmart. Finding a secluded corner…

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    The Great Halloween Egging Adventure by Alec Clayton

    Somebody, I think it was Crash Rogers or one of the Cason boys, came up with the brilliant idea of egging cars Halloween night. It seemed like a fun enough way to celebrate an evening dedicated to mischief, faster and seemed more devious than soaping windows. Besides, what else is there to do when you’re seventeen years old and living in a lousy little town population 15,000 where the main industry is raising chickens, where the only movie house in town is playing The Sound of Music for the fourteenth-gazillion time, and when you’re too young to go to either of the two bars in town (though not too young…

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    Immaturity and Wheels by Kristi Nebel

    This is the story of three days punctuating four years.  I sometimes think that the absolutely worst judgement calls I’ve made in my life were between the ages of 18 and 23.  My husband Steve says it’s a wonder teenage boys make it to adulthood after so many reckless close calls.  I think maybe my adolescence extended into young adulthood. In the summer of 1971 I was a student at the University of Idaho in Moscow, between my freshman and junior years.  I had decided to leave that place for a number of reasons, but was hanging on long enough to get in one more semester of credits in the…

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    Our Agate Day by Delaine Gately

    Northwest summers are beautiful but when you are near the Straits, warm days are few and far between. We set up camp at the high point between the river and the beach and bundled up to greet this day. My love started a fire and made coffee.  The morning chill brought everyone to the campfire. The smoke followed us as we huddle around its warmth. After a warm breakfast we embarked on a walk out to the river. The sun broke through the mist and the fog swirled and disappeared.  The river’s beauty was mesmerizing. The ebbing tide pulled the emerald green waters, and the smell of salt filled the air.  The…

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    Grooving With The Eternal Now by Tyler Keenan

    She was dancing when I noticed her. I could only see one of her eyes because the LEDs casted shadows onto her silhouette at sharp, mysterious angles — but she was definitely looking at me. Our staring contest lasted longer than it needed to and I was sober enough to recognize the social cue. I reached for her hand and pulled her through a curtain of shadow into a beam of light. Her eyes were brilliant and brown, emphasized by how they remained so present on a backdrop of chaos. To my left, the DJ rummaged through crates of vinyl. His middle and pointer fingers sprinted from record to record…

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    First Luv of My Life by William Turbyfill

    My first serious relationship with a member of the opposite sex was back in the 2nd grade. This was before I ever got nervous in front of girls.  They were not yet the threat that they would one day become.  Don’t get me wrong, of course I kissed a few girls before that point. Yeah, that mountain got climbed way back in kindergarten during nap time. But 2nd grade was when I took the next step and plunged into a committed relationship. I don’t remember too much about that whirlwind romance which took place in the halls of Madison Cross Roads Elementary, but what I do remember was incredible. She…

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    Date Night by Titus Burley

    So maybe she should have chosen a more recent photo for her dating profile. It wasn’t a flagrant misrepresentation necessarily but people do change over six years. A sedentary thirty-seven year old may lack the – oh what was the phrase she was looking for? – skin elasticity of an active and exercise obsessed thirty-one year old.               Glad I got past that phase, thought Dana. Talk about self absorbed. The money one could blow through on a healthy kick differed not a great deal from the dough one could squander on a destructive vice. In fact the occasional pack of cigarettes and fifth of vodka cost a lot less…