by Casi Scheidt

Eye Eye
audi_insperation via Creative Commons

“Why did my sissy die?” she asked, her blue eyes dull, tone flat, looking older at four years than she ever would again.

“Because it was her time, baby,” I said.

“I want the grown-up answer.”

“What do you mean?”

“I want the truth.”

“God decided to take her back.”


“Baby, please.”

“No. Tell me why,” she said, glaring at me.

“I can’t.”

“You have to.”

“I don’t know,” I said, my eyes stinging and throat aching.

“Was it because she was sick?”

“That was part of it.”

“What’s the other part?”

For hours she followed me, demanding an answer to the same question I’d been asking myself since it happened.

“Tell me why. I won’t stop until you tell me why.”

“Because she wasn’t like you,” I said, both my voice and my will to shield her breaking.

She watched me, waiting, sensing there was more.

“Because you came screaming into this world, yelling so loudly the whole building could hear you. Nothing could quiet you, nothing could make you still. But not her. She came as if all her demons had already defeated her. She gave up. That’s why anybody dies, baby. Because they have nothing left.”

Casi ScheidtCasi Scheidt is a recent Southern Illinois University college graduate (B.A., English, Creative Writing), and currently lives in North Carolina. While in college, three of her poems, “The Bad Year,” “To Leave Charleston,” and “For the Woman Who Has Failed to Protect Her Virtue” were included in the university’s literary magazine, Grassroots. Scheidt enjoys horror, post-apocalyptic, and literary fiction. She is also a game inventor, and is writing full-time.

by Sandra Grills

“Mama, I need a hug” a small voice calls into the darkness. She believes, even at the age of eight, that her little voice will be heard. She trusts that someone will be there. Not just any someone, her Mama, ready to give her a hug.

With a sigh only perceptible in my sleep weary mind, I roll over and push myself out of bed. My eyes open just a crack as I shuffle down the hall. She’s sleeping when I reach her room—a little cherub running around in the land of nod—but experience warns against leaving. It would only result in a louder, more urgent call. I reach down and do what many would consider an unthinkable sin, I wake a sleeping child.

Delicate eyelids flutter open, and a smile cracks the flawless face with a look that says “I knew you’d come.” Heavy arms reach up and claim their hug. The smile continues, even after the arms drift back onto the bed, and the eyes slide closed.

Mark Probst via Creative Commons

I tiptoe past the creaks in the floor, careful to lay my feet on soft carpet, before I lay a weary head back on my pillow. A little noise floats up the hallway. The contented sigh of a sleeping child who feels safe.



Sandra GrillsSandra has been a director, a business owner, a project manager, a bookbinder, and a mother. Her current passion is reading and writing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where she lives with her husband, two amazing children, and a gecko named Captain Doug.