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by Robert Klein Engler

Wayne liked playing "ambush" with his cap pistol in the backyard. He thought that childhood game was behind him while attending the University of Illinois, but when Wayne is involved in a real ambush in Vietnam, his life is changed forever.

Benny and Sylvia
by Larry Strattner

Don't you wish your husband or wife loved you as deeply, extravagantly and unconditionally as does the family dog? You might want to think this over before answering too quickly.

Eleventh Summer
by Ty Spencer Vossler

Eleventh Summer is a coming of age story. After sneaking out at night, two eleven-year olds witness the murder of a  transient living at the river and their lives are forever changed.

Extra Innings
by Mark Piper

If you're getting together with an old friend who's been successful at the one thing you've always dreamed of, you have to keep your feelings of envy and hero worship inside. Who would have guessed that what you'd feel most of all was sadness?

In the Dark
by Angela Nishimoto

The story is about an angry man drawing on a pipe hitting something with his car and what transpires after that. The victim is further victimized. And there will be consequences.

Lloyd Kills a Pizza
by William Quincy Belle

Money can't buy you happiness, but it can make you comfortable while you're miserable. How far would you go to get it?

Memory is Desire
by Casey Mensing

Memory is Desire is a story of  Paul and Tania's love affair. As their new relationship unfolds, the two exist somewhere between reality and a romantic daydream of the happily ever they both desire. When reality sets in and the passion Paul and Tania share begins to feel like it might not be enough to sustain them, Paul is forced to follow either his heart or mind.

On the Clearing
by Edward Wells II

It is difficult for Daniel to cope with the reality of his life. But Donna has a realistic approach to positive change. In this fiction Daniel's steps in that positive direction have fantastic outcomes.

by Andrew Lee-Hart

Hiram S. Franklin is the eighteenth leader and prophet of the Mormon church. He remembers the women he has known and let down and the scandal that has left him alone and despised by the church he spent his whole life serving.

Sarah Black and Blue
by A. R. Alan

This story about an abused little girl ripped at my heart and was never forgotten. Because Sarah was so compelling, I changed her name to Mary and made her one of the characters in my Fireflies & Fireflies Two- Vat 9 novels. A. R. Alan

Strings Together
by Damien Duggan

A man living in denial but surfing the waves of life, with just a mahogany guitar, a cobbled street and his own thoughts on denial for company living in an energetic and atmospheric region of France.

The Chi-Square Doorway
by Clifford Hui

This story tells about Carl Bell, who hunts whales and dolphins for his job, but aspires to management. One particular hunt is a watershed for his ambitions. 

The Court Martial of
John F. Kennedy
by T.R. Healy

The fractious relationship between a father and his son. The father, driving the rough streets of the city as if operating a PT boat in dangerous waters, seeks to protect his son from a life of crime.

The Ghosts of
Lambert's Dairy
by Bradley LeBlanc

Who said you can never go home again? Sometimes even ghosts need to be with family.

The Thermostat is
Not to be Touched
by Adam Kotlarczyk

The story depicts a series of memos between hard-luck retail employee Mark Sanders and one of the front office "suits" at his company; a minor conflict rapidly escalates to a point of absurdity before finding a tragicomic resolution.

To The Red, White,
and Blue We Belong
by Tom Ray

Paul and his young son Josh are enjoying some quality time at a Fourth of July parade when a stranger displays his version of patriotism. Paul and the other spectators are disturbed by the stranger's ideas, and Paul struggles to explain duty and love of country to Josh.

by Brandon S. Hursell

This is a short novel that tells the horrifying daydreams of a man that has slipped through the time stream. He finds himself in a past of criminal nostalgia and a future populated by humans that seem alien and godlike. In his visions of warmth, companionship, torture, and ritual salvation, he explains his life and crimes to the sentinels that hope to draw him into their ranks.

Under The Midnight Sun
by Christian Fennell

In the Yukon, I was camped beside the Alaskan Highway, waiting for a ride. RVs would slow, their kids faces pressed to windows, but they wouldn't stop. So, I wrote in my journal, influenced by a heavy intake of a certain Rocky Mountain product, in that I seemed to have described several visits by my past and future self. To start the story off, I thought, well, what if I was there, at the side of the road, in the Yukon, above the tree-line, with all those RVs driving by, and I had just put a bullet in my head.

A Pretty Petty Pantomime
by Jim Ody

Backseat Driver
by Scott Thomas Outlar

Becoming Immortal Again
by Peter Storey

Black Coffee and
Menthol Cigarettes
by Wayne Russell

Fan Girling
by Katie Lewington

by Melissa Rendlen

HalfHeart Hero
by Brían Mannion

In Search Of The Artist
by Anthony Mondal

Lawn Chair Lyric
by JD DeHart

Looking in the Future Mirror
by Andrew Scott

Never Kiss Your Mother Goodbye
by David Curran

Not Another Empty Table
by Emily Vieweg

Remember Remember
by Stephen Mead

The Beauty Of The Mountains
by G David Schwartz

The Drifter
by Michael Lee Johnson

Aging Parents
by Jennifer Hein

I regret that it does not take much to make us regress to our childhood. I hope this incident report will lessen your burden as an aging care giver for your parent. Possibly even make you chuckle,  since this entire story is about small doll clothes that have vanished but no one wanted them to begin with.  ... Oh but wait, they do reappear when the old woman misses them… OH how can that Be?

Muse Abuse
by April H. Center

Muse Abuse is a piece about the internal struggle many writers experience that erodes our own confidence in our writing.

News Worth It?
by Mattie Lennon

How many readers of newspapers have no interest in one or many of the supplements? In my own case I don't have any  interest in sport and I lack the finances to avail of anything in the Financial, Business or Travel section. yet, I have the pay the full price for the newspaper.  Should there be a "Pay-as-you-read facility?

Sex and the
Catholic Church
by Brian Judge

This concerns the present Pope Francis, and his rise through the Catholic Church in Argentina with all its twists and turns. Also, how his attitudes altered through the years and his very different appearance compared to previous Popes.

Between the Sheets

This month, Ditch & Weeb review
The Martian
by Andy Weir

Do I Flaunt My Fat,
or Jump Off a Bridge?
by A. R. Alan
Goodreads review by Fran Lewis

Kim Anetsberger: I am the Colors
Click on the image to the left to visit Cracked Rib - Rib's little neck of the woods here on WritingRaw. Discover her unique stream of conscious thoughts, helpful Rib Tips about anything and everything, and Words From Rib - her poetry.
Sarah Black and Blue
By A. R. Alan

     "Again," she screamed. Her shrill voice pierced the tiny bedroom, making Sarah's delicate, six-year-old body shake from head to toe. "Do it again," the disheveled woman shouted, louder than the last time.
     Tears slipped down Sarah's hot cheeks. She turned slightly to look at her mother, her big brown eyes dark against her chalk-white face. "I tried, mommy," she said in a wobbly, low voice. She lowered her eyes before the woman and held her breath, waiting for the worst.
     "You tried?" the voice mocked. "You tried?"
     The hot tip of a burning cigarette was suddenly jabbed onto Sarah's arm. Sarah whimpered and grabbed onto her burnt flesh.  A sob broke lose, and her body stiffened.  
     "Please, mommy, I'll fix it," Sarah pleaded, frantically trying to pull the bedcover straight. But before she could smooth the faded blue comforter, her hair was yanked, and she was dragged across the room and then thrown into a small closet.
     Sarah edged herself into a dark corner and curled her body into a tight ball.  Her mother stood there, breathing hard, waiting for an excuse to pull her out of the closet. It had happened often. The beatings with the hairbrush - the burning-hot tubs where her skin was rubbed raw and her scabs torn off - her flesh left bleeding. Sarah willed herself not to cry. Not to utter a sound. Not to move an inch.   
     "You're a bad girl!" her mother screamed. "I'm warning you Sarah; I'll give you away like your other mommy did if you don't listen to me! Do you hear me?"
     Sarah didn't answer. She never answered back. She was too terrified.
     After that final outburst, the same outburst always repeated after an abusive session, Sarah's mother slammed the closet door shut and left the room.
     With trembling fingers, Sarah fumbled around in the darkness until her fingers found what she searched for - Peggy, a small rag doll hidden beneath a pile of dirty clothes - a doll her mother would have ripped apart if she ever got her hands on it.  Her mother did anything and everything to see Sarah beg for forgiveness. Even when the little girl repeatedly said, "I love you mommy " over and over again after having her arms and legs viciously burned with lighted cigarettes.   
     Sarah rocked Peggy in her arms and sang a little tune, trying to calm herself.  When the hot liquid spilled between her legs and dampened her bottom, her urine added to the harsh odor in the closet. Sarah felt safe for the moment, and hoped she'd be forgotten until the following morning. When that would happen, mommy would kiss her face and forgive her for being a naughty girl. 
     Peggy was always hidden away for the next time.
     Before leaving for school on those mornings, Sarah was always warned not to tell the teacher anything or she'd be left in the woods for the big bad wolf to eat. Sarah kept the secret. She never told anyone, not even the little girls who asked why she was wearing long sleeves on very hot days.  
     Sarah huddled in the closet listening to her mother ranting, and throwing things around the living room. A few minutes later, the recliner clunked open, indicating she was seated in front of the TV. Frightened, but too tired to stay awake, Sarah settled down on the dirty clothes and slipped into a fitful sleep. When a loud crash reverberated from the living room, she awoke with a start and listened intently. "It's the television," she whispered to Peggy. "It's all right. Mommy's snoring." 
     After waiting a few moments, Sarah inched the closet door open, then crawled over the window. Her eyes widened when she saw the feather-like snowflakes floating on the wind like glistening fairy wings.  Sarah hugged Peggy closer, mesmerized by the fantasy-land sight. As she watched the snow swirling around, she remembered the snow globe she'd gotten for her birthday.
      "It was so pretty, Peggy. There was a little castle inside the ball and the snow would go around and around when I'd shake it. But mommy broke it one day when she got angry."  Sarah kissed the doll. "Don't worry, Peggy. I'm not going to let her hurt you. I'm going to run away with you."
     Sarah tiptoed out of her room and into the living room.  Her mother was still asleep, her fingers clutching an empty bottle. Sarah didn't wait. She had to protect Peggy. Moments later, she fled from the house. Her little feet dipped into the fresh snow, but she didn't feel the cold. Sarah kept going. She had to get away.
     The crisp air soothed Sarah's burns and made her eyes tear, but she didn't look back. She kept going as the snow swirled around her, soaking her thin nightdress, soaking the rag doll.  The streets were deserted, the lights out in the houses.    
     There was a bundle on the ground in front of the stationary store, when Sarah reached it. The bundle was a man lying on a bed of cardboard. Sarah lifted one side of his long coat, lay down beside him, then covered herself and closed her eyes.  
      When Sarah awoke, she was in a very bright room and a woman dressed in white was leaning over her bed, and stroking her hair.

To continue reading, please click here for the pdf version
Merce is a hilarious original musical comedy web series about a middle-aged, HIV-positive man living in New York City. He is unashamedly and flamboyantly gay, a Pollyanna who sees some events in his life through an MGM lens. Merce is bawdy, outrageous and fun, proving that life can be positive even when you're positive.

"Seinfeld with HIV" Shawn Decker, Poz.com

"[Merce] has the low-budget appeal of early John Waters." Mark S. King, MyFabulousDisease.com

"Who’s Merce? He’s a flamboyant and funny middle-aged New Yorker and the star of his own outrageously gay musical comedy web series." Trenton Straub, POZ Magazine, July/August 2015

"Flamboyant, funny, outrageous, glamorous, bawdy...Merce captures, ever so candidly, and also fearlessly, the reality of living with HIV/AIDS in today's society." Alina Oswald, A&U Magazine, June 2015
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