100 Word Project | Issue 2

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The 100 Word Project is produced on the stolen lands of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation, and we gratefully pay our respects to Aboriginal elders past and present. We are guests on Whadjuk Noongar boodja and we acknowledge the continuing culture and the contribution that the Whadjuk people make to the life of this region. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded. Jay Chesters Editor & Designer R N Cogley Rachel Canwell Shrutidhora P Mohor Stacy Noe Tabitha Wilson


Goforth Leah Mueller Leonard James M E Smith Mike Barr Miriam Fisher Morning meadow Jones Natalya Kostula NT T Franklin Phil Temples Be a follower, not a Blurker e lurker If you enjoy the 100 Word Project, you can help keep it Ialive. f the 100 Word you can alive. Donate here: here: https://ko hfi.com/100wp ttps://ko fi.com/100wp Thank you to our Ko fi supporters K'Cee Ketcham Dougle Da Doggieboy M. E. Smith ... and everyone who chose to remain anonymous 100 Word Project Issue 2 Contributors



Damic Cassandra Pereira Dan Ladle Ellie Cameron Eric A. Clayton Garrett C Owen J. Iner Souster Hilary Ayshford K'Cee Ketcham


90s disco music pierces her ears Sixteen going on twenty five Gentle squeeze on her bare shoulder. Silhouette in the dark. They talk, she laughs, flattered. Ever so lightly he brushes his fingers over her hand, flirting, innocently. Luckily he can't see her blushing under the disco lights. Suddenly a familiar noise perforates her ear: "He is too old for ya Let's go!" She didn’t have a choice. If she stays, she loses her ride. No chance to say goodbye. Folks didn’t notice her gone At breakfast, Breaking News Broadcast “Assaulted Teenage Girl”. Same Disco Club. Different girl, but not her. Night NOut ight Out

Page 3 By Andrea Damic a

I can't go backward. Only forward. But my legs are frozen solid, as if the sidewalk had suction cups made of quicksand. Each movement takes hours. Once, I was able to run and jump. Arms like propellers, legs soft as tissue paper Then I got old In the mirror, I see deep lines that have gradually widened first into paths, then superhighways.

Letting Go of LGravity etting Go of Gravity

I decide to follow one highway to see where it leads. It turns into a cul de sac At the end is a trampoline I climb aboard, open my arms The air is buoyant beneath my feet. Suddenly, I’m soaring.

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By Leah Mueller IG: @msleahsnapdragon

The ivory plain before me. Ideas like clouds sail above, just out of reach. I grasp at the air as one inches closer. It lifts, barely grazing my finger tips, and sails on I sigh and collapse to the pale flat surface It is bare, without texture or feature, its sparsity haunting me. A brief flash from overhead forces my eyes from the landscape in the direction of the lost cloud. The light explodes, clearing the space and jostling me into action. The white filling with smatterings of black, no longer barren and ghostly Textured Forming. The story takes shape.

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By M.E. Smith TW: @mesemsies


Page 6 By J. Iner Souster IG: @inersouster

Night NSkies ight Skies

Raindrops fell softly with a hiss. Each drop shatters like diamonds when it collides with the earth, leaving a dazzling path that leads back into the darkness. Through the obscurity of night, the city lights could be seen shining The air was thick with anticipation for what was to come next, leaving a sense of mystery and restlessness in its wake. As I stood there, marvelling at the majesty of the night sky and the glories of the heavens that filled my view, it felt as if time itself had slowed down, giving me a moment to breathe once again.

Page 7 By Eric A. Clayton TW: @eclaytopia Or so I’ve been told. When you’ve got the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, what more do you need? Those blinking fairy lights are a temptation That’s what I’ve told my congregants, in fewer words. Those souls for whom I’m responsible. “Avoid the lights!”

Fairies Are Bad For FBusiness airies Are Bad For Business

Our piety earns us little. Death is good for business, sure: resurrection, heaven and whatnot. But death is bad for my soul. So today, after I bless and bury the nine year old, I follow the fairies into the woods behind the crumbling church, shimmering lights like bread crumbs into a larger fantasy. Perhaps a more forgiving one.

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By Ellie Cameron TW: @ellie cameron1

“Hold me a little longer?”

“Do you have to go?” Eve’s voice was smaller than it had ever been, even when we were small “Why would you ask me that?” I said. There were only two places to look, at her or away from her; I looked away, sat quiet for a moment.

“You know I do.” “It has to be now?” she pleaded “Right this second?” “You know it does.” I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye, tears starting to flow from the corner of hers. “The plane won’t wait.”

Hold Me HLonger old Me Longer

“Yeah, okay One more minute ”

There was a brief sensation, when he first hit the water, of being far away. Suddenly removed from the din and chaos: just blessed quiet and his own heartbeat in a watery, warm cocoon As if transported to the beginning of his nineteen years, returned to the shelter of his mother’s womb. Gone the astringent stench of sea battle: hot metal, burning fuel, human reek of terror and sweat. Gone was the percussive thunder of anti aircraft fire interspersed by the blaring signal: “all hands, abandon ship” Then he kicked and clawed back to the surface; up towards madness, and re birth.

October, O1942 ctober, 1942 Page 9

Page 5 By Morning-meadow Jones TW: @Morning meadowJ

You like a man with muscles, and honey, I like you. In the basement of my parent’s home, I sweat for you. I push myself, every day going faster, harder…bouncier. Other fellas get a pump with iron Not yours truly You wouldn’t believe how girthy my wrists are, swollen with power from swinging this rope. My calves. You will swoon. They look like socks stuffed with veiny, manly rocks Swing. Jump. Swing. For you, I jump rope. I wash the sweat away before I see you. I am now a man with muscles. Have dinner with me? You say no A Man with AMuscles Man with Muscles

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By Alex Law TW: @alexlawnj

The TDiagnosis he Diagnosis

By Cassandra Pereira TW: @artingdarling

When the doctor calls you to make an appointment, you know you’re in trouble Just tell me over the phone, doc! Sorry, ma’am, we ask that you come in. So I hung up the phone and went in immediately. I demanded to see him at once. He sucked his teeth, annoyed that I refused to wait to hear him tell me I’m breaking. But he reconstituted his professionalism, sat me down and spit it out At first his words shattered me messy But I reconstituted myself, stood up and left. I'm broke only for time; I have none to despair.

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Volunteers Volunteers

There is a volunteer tomato plant growing tall in my flower planter.

I don't even know how it got there, I don't want it there, but I'm reluctant to pull it up. I do not have a green thumb, and any plant that can survive me, well, I just hate to get rid of it I'm constantly stunting my plants by refusing to thin them; another pot has stubby nasturtiums with flowers big as the plants. I just can't bring myself to do it. "Repot them," my daughter tells me But we both know what will happen if I try.

By Stacy Noe TW: @proseyposey

Page 13 By Leonard James

Welles sat as comfortably in a more than comfortable chair as they could, receiving CRM. Was it anxiety and heavy breathing or the cream or the bubbling and frothing in the blood? Veins turn to vanity. The editing process will be over soon. Soon the new stuff will fix the damage of the old stuff, with new and different symptoms. In the mirror's reflection, edges began to blur virtual Shapeshift How many moons to every page in history, Welles did not know. The world had already begun to recognise them for what the cream would erase before they sat down Cream

By Mike Barr IG: @MikeKyotoMike

Then things are all right again.

Dog in a Box

At those times, all you need is a dog in a box looking at you like: “What? Yes, I know what I’m doing. I like it here.”

Sometimes it seems like everything is uphill and the world is saturated with idiots; like there’s no meaning to any of it, and all the struggle and strife is a lost cause. Sometimes it feels like there’s no point stepping up to the plate one more time or trying to make a difference, like it’s just “one damned thing after another,” as a well known old quotation goes.

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Undercover Page 15

By K'Cee Ketcham @keeping up kcee

Emily despised the corruption running rampant in this city of fiends. After zipping up the black dress, she methodically tucked a ruby hilted dagger into her leather & lace garter Moments later, she entered the crowded ballroom, and every head turned in her direction. None of them remembered her. Good. She allowed painful memories to wash over her. Years ago, they had tried their best to destroy her, but everything had changed. Going undercover was easy when evil men equated compliance with weakness. Emily made eye contact with herself in the mirror and smiled She would savor the taste of revenge

Your Eyes Our gazes lock and the entire world halts its spinning. Your beautiful brown eyes glisten and I become lost in their unique sparkle. I’m swallowed up by a whirlwind, a whirlwind that your eyes created. Time comes to a total stop. The buzzing train station we find ourselves in falls silent, and everyone disappears. There’s no one else here. It’s just me and you, your beautiful eyes and my eyes When time resumes, you anxiously look away, breaking our special, coveted connection. The station is full now but I’m ready to fall in love with you all over again.

By R. N. Cogley @RyanCogley1 Page 16

The man interrupts. “RIKKI, DON’T LOSE THAT NUMBER!” he screams. Then he reaches out and stuffs a piece of paper down the woman’s sports bra. The assault pisses off the State University’s female welterweight champion boxer “Fuck you, asshole.” She decks him with a single punch “And my name’s not Rikki.”

Rikki, Don’t Lose That RNumber ikki, Don’t Lose That Number

By Phil Temples TW: @philtemples

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The bedraggled, unkempt man approaches the woman jogger from behind. She feels someone’s presence and immediately turns to face him. He’s standing right behind her. He has a wild look in his eyes. She doesn’t like what she sees. “Stay away from me or I swear to God I’ll ”

By Natalya Kostula TW: @ur localwriter Page 18

The rose vines clinging to the old stone walls were such an amazing sight I couldn’t help but take a step closer. It seemed as though nothing could harm me, not near something that beautiful. As they slithered towards me, I was still enthralled by their beauty As they wrapped tightly around me, I marvelled at how gentle they felt against my skin, not minding the thorns.

I began hating my form I longed for lovely crimson petals, a slender frame, and short, sharp thorns, just like them. As I shed it, I laughed with glee. Then I went silent.


By Miriam Fisher TW: MiriamFisherLit

Shell game

She is beatific on her throne, revelling in the gentle ticking Her smooth complexion glows in the natural light while we wear our imperfections under fluorescents. She remains cool as the day boils around her. But zoom in and you will see miniscule cracks forming. Zoom closer still and watch them join, her porcelain breaking into parts that shift against themselves She bulges in and out with each tick, until the siren sounds and she splits open. Hot, rotted albumen spills over her shards until she crumples into a pool of putrid filth. We sit in silence, dry and tired.

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Taking Te

By Hilary Ayshford TW: @hilary553 Page 20

The dark brown, leathery, miniature head dangles from thin strands of hair. 'How do they even do that?' he asks.

While she is in the inspects the conten murky liquid filled jars, carved wooden statuettes, strangely engraved stones One item catches his eye. 'Put that down! That's your great uncle James Show some respect!'

'It's a secret, a family tradition only revealed to the first male of each generation,' she says from behind him, extracting the knife from the folds of her tweed skirt.

By Tabitha Wilsonn TW: @tabithalucy

Target Practice

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‘Are you ready?’ he said. ‘Yes, I’m ready,’ she whispered. ‘ He'll be walking past at any moment now you need to be prepared.’ She nodded, and got her weapon ready A single shot to the head is all it would take. ‘Look! He’s turning the corner. You only have a few seconds to get this right.’ She smiled as she turned to face the man crouched next to her ‘What the hell are you doing? He’s so close! Stay focused!’ She grinned at him as she pointed the gun between his eyes. ‘Don’t worry. It’s just target practice.'

The benighted palace, full of dead air and dry bones, its punishment utterly deserved by the rage of hubris, carried out by the hand of time. Forgotten, even to fire and conquest. All is decay and dust. Grandeur only in its mammoth husk. The protracted agony of obscurity. A kingdom’s torment strung out until the final royal wilted away. The echoes of those last days scream out in silence, now. Known only to those who are dust and decay themselves. Hollowed and hallowed, the bright glory of noon gone; the empty depths of sunken night laid upon the throne room.

1090 BCE

Page 22 By Garrett C. Owen TW: @GarrettCritten2

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By Shrutidhora P Mohor TW: @ShrutidhoraPM

It is blinding when it approaches. As you cower down in insane fright, it drowns you. The colour of deluge is unimaginably gigantic, its size depressingly grey. The dead from the past walk by, with calmness topping the brim of life, their placid faces expressionless. They are gone as you count your steps back. One more step back. As long as there is ground beneath, move back until you reach the fringe point and then you drop down… and melt away, first in a whirlpool and then gradually And it’s water, water, water. Life, life, life in truckloads of death.

The Day it Becomes One Hundred Per Cent

By Rachel Canwell 9

Things that I allowed or expected to wave in my childhood were saltwater, poplar trees and my Grandmother’s hair Flags, white sheets on windy days and meadows of wheat. But never my Mother. Because my Mother’s hands were made for other, more important things. Like curling around my own in a perfect arc. Her long fingers destined for kneading, threading, blowing soft kisses and turning pages of picture books. Palms ripe for soothing brows and smoothing cotton sheets. Busy hands. Bedecked in rings and framed by silken sleeves. Not hands made for waving. Because Mothers are not meant to leave. Waves of Expectation

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He studied the rocky Maine shore. Sedimentary bands laid down eons ago had metamorphosed into gneiss. Time had eroded some layers, giving deep creases. The shore was different than it used to be and was slowly changing He wondered what its fate would be He saw his reflection in a tidal pool around the barnacles and snails. Time had eroded creases into his face. It was different than it used to be and was changing He wondered what the future holds for the creased face

By NT Franklin facebook.com/profile.php/ 4

The Rocky Shore

He closed his eyes, breathed in the ocean air, and decided both will be okay.

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By Katy Goforth TW: @MarchingFourth

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Jack smelled the desperation from the door. It assaulted him. His dad, Coach, tightened the grip on his monogrammed leash. Really? He tugged back Jack was in control Coach patted the cracked red and glitter vinyl bar seat next to him. Jack sprang forward a perfect ten landing. As he settled in his seat, he thought about his complicated love/hate relationship with Pinkie’s Bar The patrons left much to be desired Bellies spilling over waistbands. Breasts straining against blouse buttons like buckshot. The stench of lost dreams and anxiety. And to think. This was supposed to be a treat.

Pinkie's Bar

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The End The end of the world came sooner than expected. It started in the water but spread quickly to the land and the air, finally expanding into space and beyond Single celled prokaryotes started to reproduce exponentially, until the planet’s oceans were covered with microscopic life. Next, evolution took hold and proceeded from simple to complex organisms; all the time heading towards its fatal outcome. Eventually fish led to amphibians, which begat reptiles, which sired mammals, which ultimately seeded the human race. From there it was just a matter of around 300,000 years before they cleansed all life from the planet.

By Dan Ladle e

Alex Law | Andrea Damic | Casandra Pereira Dan Ladle| Ellie Cameron | Eric A. Clayton Garrett C. Owen | J. Iner Souster | Hilary Ayshford K'Cee Ketcham | Katy Goforth Leah Mueller Leonard James | M. E. Smith | Mike Barr Miriam Fisher | Morning meadow Jones Natalya Kostula | NT T Franklin | Phil Temples R. N. Cogley | Rachel Canwell Shrutidhora P Mohor | Stacy Noe | Tabitha Wilson The contributors making issue two of the 100 Word Project are:

From the FEditor rom the Editor

If you're still reading this far, you have a homework assignment: Choose your favourite story from this edition (that isn't your own) and write a new 100 word story in the style of that author. We don't need or ask to see the story, we just trust you to write it. Until next time, thanks! Jay TW: @jaychesters

100 Word Project is conceived, edited, designed, and distributed by Jay Chesters All artwork created by Jay Chesters using AI: DALL E, Midjourney, Craiyon and Night Café Creator. 'Dog in a Box' photo courtesy of Mike Barr @instagram.com/MikeKyotoMike

Thank you to everyone who shared their micro fiction and helped make happen this second edition of the 100 Word Project. Who could have guessed there would be enough demand for a second edition? And who knows where to from here. Thank you all for your kindness, your words, and your patience.

All stories are copyright their original authors, the 100 Word Project retains only non exclusive publishing rights. Issue 2 of the 100 Word Project as a collection of microfiction belongs to Jay Chesters. Submissions to the 100 Word Project are free and the mag is free to read. You can help keep it going: click here to donate and support the project. Support Jay as an author and order his book Year of the Bear. Thanks for the 100 Word Project to so many people too numerous to name, but we genuinely and sincerely appreciate you all.

What's your story? Sbit.ly/100WordProject hare it in exactly 100 words here: