by Sarah Pasquarelli (249 words)

Seven years ago he sat in his home with his wife and his sister. They were all playing a board game, the television on in the background. His sister always hated games because she wasn’t any good.

He decided to let her win that night.

His wife winked in agreement.


Two years ago he ran down the street toward his home with his wife and his sister. The town over was being attacked by a monster, a creature so powerful it could burn a city to the ground.

But their home was still their safe place.


One year ago he ran barefoot down the street away from his home. It had burned to the ground along with the rest of the street. So he ran toward his family. His sister and his wife.

His family was still his safe place.


Six months ago he ran. He was ran like mad with no direction, no idea where to go. His entire city had burned to the ground. Along with his sister. Along with his wife.

He had no safe place.

So he ran to a place where people didn’t believe in monsters. He knew that this place was safe. Far enough away from the creature that had destroyed his home. His family. His safe place.

He wanted to meet his new neighbor who had never seen a monster before. Maybe play a board game with him. He reached out his hand, but the neighbor said, “Go home.”


Pencil it In

“Pencil it In” (245 words)

By Sarah Pasquarelli

Her blue feet dangled four feet above the ground. Neither of my brothers could shift their eyes any higher than that. For Tommy, four feet above the ground was about eye-level so he just had to keep his face forward like we were all trained to in school. But Luke had to keep his head tilted down like when you pray in church. It was too bad she never took us to church; maybe he’d seem less uncomfortable.

For some reason, I looked at her face first. She bothered to put on her mascara, so she must have had a big day planned for herself. Mascara was usually a sure sign that she was at least going to go grocery shopping, but there was no milk in the fridge and no bread in the box. She must not have been hungry. Or maybe she lost her coupons.

She was also wearing her favorite dress that she normally saved for dates with handsome men. Maybe that’s what the mascara was for, too. But, if she had planned to go on a date then she would have put on her red lipstick. I scanned back up to her face to find pale, pink lips. Maybe she just decided not to go. Maybe the man wasn’t handsome enough.

My last clue was waiting on the coffee table. An envelope with “For My Kids” written on the back.

They say a letter means that she planned it all along.