Meatball by Bill
One's on the inside and one's on the outside. One's making the case and the other's losing steam, feeling run down, tired of the complaints from the moment they wake up and hearing the excuses when the others stop coming home. Calling it a washing machine is a bit of a stretch, and joking about it worse, and the water doesn't even flow into the basin clear anymore. Lights out before anyone see's the flame, and the air's all gone out of the horn calling them home to dinner.
One's on the up and the others on the side, double-olly at the skate park for the kids. It wasn't quite a single step in the wrong direction, it was more of a marathon. Several in fact, all away, every mile ever more removed.
Coming of age only in a novel and getting to the end without realizing the third age was mostly missing, but vitamins and minerals made up for it, borrowing against neglect with supplements and a bit of coaching, wondering finally if better brothers make better fathers, or would have, and still might, the all-father's street laying parallel to his wife one block over so there is maybe, in the final consideration, at least the fidelity of civil planners to sustain us.
Pondlife by Forrest
The only mystery is falling in—why no one has done so (to the best knowledge of campus lore), how we wish ourselves out of doing so. As a student, I had talked myself out of dipping so much as a foot in the pond on one occasion; during another, I walked a date around the perimeter, hoping to say something intelligent about the natural design of cypress roots in the Louisiana swamps. Both occasions I was egged on, the former by drunken friends, the latter by the sense of falling in. Instead, I only laughed at the relatively meager size of the still-developing gators, reminding my company how they were removed from the pond at a certain age before they became problematic. Gators falling in a new home, replaced with new hatchlings. The on-going harvest. I forgot my friends. I forgot my date. But the latest gators train their eyes on me about the same as their predecessors. The cypresses keep going nowhere but further down.
If I Am Not What I Seem to Be by Alan
What if I say to you that I am not what I seem to be? What if, after all this time, I am somebody else, some other thing? What if, instead of the dove, I am the predator? What if this world is a body of water and the trees the sky and all that’s illuminated on the surface this terrible and irrevocable lie? What if, after all this time, everything that was once still starts to move?
Our story might start to look like one that takes place in some muted green forest or swamp. There may or may not be sound playing in the most telling scene in which I surface transformed. 45 pregnant seconds after we go down as two, I come up as one. There may or may not be silence in the theater. There may or may not be people in the seats, but the movie of our story will play anyway if I am not what I seem to be.
Anthropophagy by Johanna
I began like this: smooth, peach, two-legged. Only yesterday, it seems, it was this way, leaning over counters, walking through doors, sitting in chairs. I wore galoshes in the rain, cowered under eves. I faintly remember a kiss, pink, soft, wet, but not like this wet, not damp and murky, but moist and warm. How can I forget? I thought about that kiss every waking moment, wondering where I had lost her, how she had enchanted me.
The change was slow, so slow I almost didn't notice, until the scales on my back reached over my shoulders. I hid myself indoors, listening to outside noises, cars, chainsaws, barking, but as my limbs shrunk and the green skin enveloped me, the noises no longer made sense. I crawled from my bed one morning to the hallway mirror. The transformation was complete, my eyes hooded and dark, my teeth long and sharp, my tail. I was trapped inside for days until someone came looking for me. I didn't recognize her though she called my name, at least I think it was my name. I knocked her over as I ran past, her screams echoing the length of the corridor. She will assume the obvious; I was consumed.
On the street, pedestrians jumped from my way. My feet and my nose, my skin and my tongue, all lead me to this marsh where I dove in, mouth open, and swallowed everything in my path. Now, I covet the dark, the shallow mud, and cattail reeds. I am awaiting her return. She will know where to find me, but will I still remember?
Finally by Lyle
It was that smug look that set me off finally. I mean that I was set off primarily by that smug look. Or that that look, after everything else, set me off. Or started to set me off and then pushed me over the edge. It was a fluid motion, my being set off. Calm, calm, calm… you know. And then, but not like I didn’t have my dander up to begin with. Or at some specific point in time. There was a tipping point. Always I’m angry but boiling, blood angry? Something must have pushed me. There was a tipping point. I don’t remember exactly when or I wouldn’t be. Floating here. This floating world of rage. And nothingness. The calm waters of perfect reflection. So peaceful. So smiley. I was not set off by any looks. Such an inward calm.