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Cover
Table of Contents
Editor's Notes
Donations
Submission Guidelines
Website

Stories & Essays
Copy Machine Repair Guy
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By D.E. Fredd
Corrupted Youth
_ By Kurt Kirchmeier
Dragon's Breath
_ By Lionel Cheng
Even the Damned Deserve to Love
_ By Anna Cortez
Gifts
_ By Jocelyn Johnson
House of Cards
_ By Steven J. Dines
In Doubt
_ By Stephanie Thoma
Lipstick
_ By Michelle Baron
Old Biddy
_ By Claire Nixon
Quinceañera
_ By Hester Young
The Fiddler and the Faerie
_ By Samantha Rae
When Barky Smiles
_ By S.E. Diamond

Poetry
2 A.M. Window Shopping
_ By Chris McGuffin
Alison
_ By Harriet O. Leach
Cloudy New Year's Morning
_ By Richard Fein
Not Easy
_ By Samantha Ogust
On Hearing Li-Young Lee Read His Poetry
_ By Foster Dickson
Prelude and Coda
_ By Richard Fein
Rainy Night Meditation
_ By Harriet O. Leach
Retreat
_ By Richard MacAleese
Silage Team--Machete Thirst
_ By Leland Jamieson
Starlight
_ By Richard MacAleese
Stolen Phone
_ By Jorge Jameson
The Abandoned Playground
_ By Richard MacAleese
Thought Provoking Baked Crescent
_ By Chris McGuffin

Art & Photography
Daniel Bravo
_ Paintings
Tove Hedengren
_ Photography
Peter Huettenrauch
_ Photography
E. Hunting
_ Drawings and Digital Art
Robin McQuay
_ Drawings
Iris Onica
_ Paintings
Pete Revonkorpi
_ Digital Art
Roy Wangsa
_ Photography

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Corrupted Youth
By Kurt Kirchmeier


As usual, Andin got married during first recess, and then continued with the honeymoon over lunch. There was a long tunnel of tractor tires on the playground, the perfect place for a couple of eight-year-olds to hide out and kiss.

His bride on this particular day (determined by rotation) was a girl named Emily. She wasn't the prettiest girl in his school, but there was just something about her Kool-Aid stained lips that Andin found irresistible. Perhaps that was why he decided to risk moving beyond a kiss. Then again, it could have been due to the fact that his babysitter, Stacy, had shown him a few things the night before; a few things that he hadn't been able to get out of his mind all morning.

Although there wasn't an official divorce by the end of the day, Andin was pretty sure that he'd seen the last of Emily's fruit punch lips. He could still feel the burn on his cheek as he pedaled for home.

As always, Ralph was biking alongside him. "You're such an idiot," he said. "No one's ever gonna kiss you now." He veered off to hop up onto the sidewalk and over someone's lawn. Ralph was always doing things like that. They seemed to get yelled at every time they biked home together. Andin wondered sometimes why he was even friends with him. He was nothing but trouble.

"You think she'll tell her dad?" Andin asked.

Ralph laughed. "She probably already did. I wouldn't doubt if she called home from school. She did leave early, after all."

Andin screeched to a halt, gravel flying from his tires. "What?" Despite the fact that they were the same age, Emily was one grade below him, so he never saw her in class. He felt a sinking sensation in his stomach.

Ralph turned around and slid to a stop just beside him. "You didn't know?"

Andin shook his head, and then looked down the block, half expecting to find a strange vehicle parked in front of his house. Thankfully, he recognized every car on the street. Still, it wasn't a big town; someone could very well have walked to his house. He swallowed hard, and then cursed his roaming fingers. Would it matter that he'd only tried to feel her up? He'd done the same to Stacy the night before and that hadn't seemed to bother her any. Then again, she'd told him to.

Ralph shrugged. "Don't sweat it, man, she was probably just sick. You know Emily, she gets sick all the time."

Andin took a deep breath. "Yeah, maybe," he said.

The two of them parted ways at the end of Andin's drive, after which Ralph continued down the block making motorcycle sounds. As usual, he stopped at Mrs. Jenkins' house to knock over the gnomes on her front lawn. He looked back over his shoulder afterwards, a huge grin on his face. "See you tomorrow!" he yelled.

Andin waved him off, and then proceeded to put away his bike. His hands weren't shaking quite so badly anymore. Ralph was probably right; she was probably just sick.

Or not.

The first thing Andin heard upon entering his house was an unfamiliar voice, a woman's voice. He froze, his heartbeat doing double time. For a second he was tempted to just turn around and flee, but before he even got the chance his mother was at the top of the stairs leading to the kitchen. She had a strange look on her face.

"Come here for a minute," she said. "We need to talk."

Andin felt all color drain from his face as he followed her into the kitchen. There was an older woman sitting at the table. She looked haggard, and more than a little upset about something. Not mad, exactly. More like disturbed.

"This is Mrs. Farlow," Andin's mother said.

Andin nodded a meek greeting. Was that Emily's last name? Farlow? It had to be, he supposed.

"Mrs. Farlow is Jonathon's mom," Andin's mother continued. "You know Jonathon, don't you?"

Jonathon? For a moment Andin just stood there, unable to speak. He finally managed a nod. Jonathon was in his class, although the two of them had never really been friends. What the heck was going on?

He didn't have to wait long to find out.

"Stacy is Jonathon's babysitter, too," said his mother.

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KURT KIRCHMEIER was born and raised in the Land of Living Skies, better known as the province of Saskatchewan, and he comes from a large family of two brothers and five sisters. He currently resides in Saskatoon with his wonderful fiancée and a bothersome cat by the name of Prophet. Kurt's fiction has appeared, or is forthcoming, in several online venues, including: Quantum Muse, Reflection's Edge, T-Zero: The Writers' E-Zine, and Raven Electrick.

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