Time of the Season – Scott Russek

“Those things will kill you ya know…” 

Xander looked up as he lit his cigarette. The comment came from the young brunette bartender that stood before him. She was about 5’7” with the build of a runner or swimmer. Lean but powerful. She possessed a pair of hazel eyes that seemed to thoroughly analyze everything in their line of sight. She was running a cloth over the counter to the right of him, cleaning up a small spill left by the customers that had just made their way to the door. 

“Yep, and so will half the other things found daily in this world, what’s one more going hurt?” Just that day he had seen a news report stating that an additive found in many prescription drugs had been shown to cause serious health issues. “At least I know what I’m doing when it comes to smoking. It’s not going to take me out by surprise.” Xander said. 

Continue reading “Time of the Season – Scott Russek”

Standing on a deck over the Elk River – Victoria Luing

By flourishing trees, a hidden deck
sits waiting for company.
Protruding from a minor hillside, it hangs over
the murky waters of the Elk River.
It’s strangled by Bittersweet Nightshade vines
that mysteriously have no end,
like thoughts before sleep.
The floor boards, rough and worn, creek with the simplest touch.

A wild raspberry bush,
with hundreds of tiny red beads,
burst with jaw-tightening flavor.
A young doe across the river
stands from her resting spot – stretches.
A soft noise escapes her mouth,
the release of air from a pressurized can as it relaxes.
The crepuscular rays fight their way through
the canopies as the ants push their bodies from the dirt.
Dew rises from the ground
like yeasty dough waiting for the oven.
A bald eagle swoops down,
a dead fish between its talons.

A witch-like cackle interrupts the morning air;
everything freezes: a brain after too much ice cream.
A flap of its large feathered wings
and the eagle is gone.


Victoria Luing’s work has appeared in one publication before this, The Chronicle, and she has assisted in the editing of poetry submissions for The Upper Mississippi Harvest Magazine. She holds a B.A. in English Creative Writing and Mass Communications from St. Cloud State University and currently lives in Albertville, Minnesota surrounded by her bookshelves and Harry Potter collectible items.

On Hunting – Bryn Homuth

I’ve been hunting during the November deer season in Minnesota for two years running now. I’ve driven out to a remote cabin heated only by a wood-burning stove. I’ve selected layers upon layers upon hand and foot warmers upon hats and gloves upon all other manner of winter weather gear for the subzero temperatures. I’ve risen far before the dawn to vacuum a breakfast off my plate, dress in the aforementioned accouterments, and stumble out into the dark. I’ve loaded a muzzleloader by the light of a headlamp and confirmed my readiness. I’ve sat completely still for hours just for a glimpse of a viable, in-range target. I still haven’t fired a shot, though. Not one. Continue reading “On Hunting – Bryn Homuth”