The To-Do List

Frances Fowler’s to-do list: Hide CD player, radio, and all of Emmy’s death metal CDs before she wakes up Feed Herbert Go shopping: restock on frozen mice for Herbert gallon tub of strawberry-chip ice cream dark chocolate brownie mix M&Ms laxatives canned tuna random formal dress from discount racks rent Emmy’s favorite chick flicks Make …

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The Choice

The mother’s howling could be heard down the hallway as they wheeled the girl in. Charles caught a glimpse of her as they transferred her to the bed next to his, separated only by a curtain, pulled back to allow the movement. She looked like she was in her early twenties, maybe even a teenager. …

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Cornbread & Bean Soup

I’ll always remember the day I first saw Ned. “Phoebe! It’s time to bring in the laundry!” Mother called from the kitchen. I sighed and pulled myself away from my dolls, made out of old scraps of cloth Mother had salvaged from my baby clothes. “Coming!” I said, and went out to the backyard to …

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The Ending

“Miss Annie, why do all of your stories have happy endings?” Annabelle looked at the young faces smiling up at her, and the one small girl with the shadowed eyes. The one who had asked the question. “Because I like stories with happy endings,” Annie said. “Me too!” said another child. “Me too!” echoed another, …

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Brothers

Myron was two minutes younger than Murray. Though born of the same parents on the same day in the same place, the two brothers were more different than if they had been born in different countries and eras and families. Murray was fair, Myron was dark. Murray was artistic, Myron mathematical. Murray was tanned and …

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Growing Up

Boris did not want to grow up. Ever since he’d hatched, he’d listen to his brothers and sisters boast about all the things they would do once they were out of the nest: “I’m going to fly higher than the sun!” Queenie squeaked. “And I’m going to eat the fattest, juiciest worms I can find,” …

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The Best Friend

Asha couldn’t stand it anymore. The yelling, the screaming, the pressure, the competing. She still remembered when Charlie had entered her life. His sweet, ringing voice, his versatility, his beautiful, well-proportioned figure. Asha loved him immediately. Charlie was her parents’ idea. They were the ones who introduced Asha to her new best friend. Over time, …

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The Pen Pal

“Rosie, don’t forget we’re going to visit Great-Grandma Amaryllis after school today,” Mom called as Rosie grabbed her backpack and headed out the door. “Okay, Mom!” Rosie said as she closed the front door, but as soon as it was closed, she groaned. Great-Grandma Amaryllis was dad’s grandmother, and she had Alzheimer’s. Most of the …

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Chocolate

Thirty days of non-stop bombing, and then silence. The buildings were gone, more than half the villagers were dead. The enemy had taken over the island, and Cory was alone. His parents and friends had died in the first bombing, several months ago. In spite of his best efforts, his little brother Talon did not …

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