editor's note

Curiosity by Alison Stedman
I grew up on Enid Blyton books, and it scarred me.

Enid Blyton wrote stories about children having adventures, being independent, exploring and escaping. It's impossible now to ignore the quality of the prose, let alone the sexism and the racism, but at the time the storylines were irresistible.


Clarineros by Michelle Donahue
Someone hit the gringo - his head struck
on stone ground. Black inked
where should be trauma.
Volcano Pacaya by Michelle Donahue
I yearn for that unsafe beer, the freedom
to determine what’s safe,
                     what’s not.
Inside a Magician's Black Hat by Debbie Okun Hill
yearning for a different adventure
she turns away from last curtain call


The Black Arrow of Death by Werner Low
Many years ago, when I was a dangerous age – only thirteen, but almost fourteen – I fired an arrow as straight and as high above my head as I could. Nor was this just a blunt field arrow. It was the Black Arrow of Death – a dark shaft tipped with a triangular black head, silver along its honed edges, a true hunting arrow that I’d found in a wonderful way – plunged at eye level into the sappy heart of a white pine, fired by some adult hunter at a fleeing buck, who knows when, but still twanging with the adventure.
Spike, Pebble, Granite by A X Bennett
Although she walks for an hour or more, the mountains seem no nearer. The brush is dense and tussocky. Not obviously treacherous, but easy to stumble. Her stick is sharp and helps her to locate any holes and so she makes her painstaking way. Good in a crisis is a mantra now.
Giantess by Cléa Major
Finally, finally we are leaving this bar. I’m done with this birthday party and done with my glasses, which lie crunched on the pavement. I feel like I should be done with a third thing, but no, just the glasses and that super lame party. I squeeze Calvin’s hand to reassure him that I’m not done with him, and stride confidently forward as if I can still see.
On State Line by Jake Shore
This old barn’s basement smells like the one in my mother’s house. The support pole beside me is holding up a wood ceiling beam. My ear is beside a small window. It’s raining and cold outside. There is a nasty draft. I scratch my boot on the dirt-covered concrete. There’s a crack at the bottom of my left hand’s thumbnail but no new blood.
Rosebud by Melodie Corrigall
For all but the onset of rheumatism, my son Tom seems to have passed me on the age grid.  He is forever concerned about his reputation in the community having landed himself a reasonable job on our nondescript town council and become the director of a small but “up and coming” local firm which produces, of all things, cement garden ornaments.


Reckless by Rachel Dark
Mark and I are only a year apart, and we grew up like siblings. Even though we lived in different houses, his house was only a few minutes’ drive away from mine. On the way there you had to drive through the woods, and the tree branches reached over top of the road to touch one another, like children playing London Bridge. A canopy of trees, I called it.
Surfer Moms by Donna Luff
The call of the waves came late and strong for me.  I was 45 when I first tried boogie-boarding –a form of body-surfing on a short board in the shallower waters.  I was enamored by the experience.  An urge to try standing up like a real surfer, the kind I had always admired but never imagined to emulate, developed quickly.
Flashbulb Reflections by Linda McHenry
Mine was a highly cloistered youth. We abided by a keep-the-rules-and-the-rules-will-keep-you mentality in which I was bred, fed and watered in the center window of any given room where East from South was the same view. Conformity, that which keeps us walking upright, was the elixir of the survivors of The Great Depression and WWII. I left my highly cloistered youth with its old monastic ideologies and headed straight into a shadowy forest where behind every tree gremlins grew.
Stalking by B.J. Yudelson
Our Jeep joins a pride of Land Rovers and vans partially surrounding a cheetah. Never before have I seen this feline in the wild. With my travel companions I watch the animal run its tongue across its spotted face, now striped with blood. Standing, I peer out our vehicle’s open top. Even on tiptoes I can’t quite see the dead beast hidden in the tall, brown grass. When our guide tells us that it’s a gazelle, I sigh. In my first two days of safari, I have fallen in love with these small, graceful creatures, tan backs separated from their white bellies by a bold, black stripe.