From "About Boredom," an essay by Cicily Bennion:
"We must each have days that feel gray and dreary, days when the blood seems to have escaped our bodies and left us limp, weary, and desperately bored. Still, some will presume that it is I who lack something essential if I am so completely boring and bored. But rest assured that for all my faults, dimness is not one of them."
From "Belonging," fiction by Franny Zhang:
"My mother is a monster of assimilation—has been for as long as I can remember. When I was young, she was ruthless in her insistence that I be just like everyone else. I had to eat the same food, wear the same clothes, play with the same toys. When I lost my first tooth, she demanded that I find out what a tooth fairy was, and then that I claim my tooth fairy was the best one. I had to go to school and report that my fairy offered five dollars a tooth, ten times the going rate, and listen while my friends told me I was lucky. The money accrued unspent. My mother tried to pull teeth out just so I’d have something to talk about at lunch."
From "Electric Fire," fiction by Julia Horwitz:
"The smell of Dreamland, Coney Island’s largest park, was paint thinner and spun sugar. It was illuminated by a million electric lightbulbs, each one hot to the touch. A walk through the Garden of Eden was a dime, a ride through the Gates of Hell was two. A former doctor who’d grown up raising chickens debuted his invention, the human incubator, on the boardwalk. Next to a hot-dog cart, rows of premature babies slept in humming metal boxes. The lion tamer, an ex-lover of the park’s filthy-rich founder, kept his mustache waxed at sharp angles. The summer of 1906, his left hand was bitten off before a shrieking audience. Now, he wore a white glove over a wooden prosthetic. When he cracked his whip, Frances and I could hear it across the pier where our act was set up."
From "The Bed," an essay by John Robinson:
"Every journey ends on it. Witness anyone going anywhere, and willy-nilly, that person will inevitably end the day-- or final days-- on a bed. Whether acknowledged or not, the ultimate destination is not death, but a bed."
From "Devils & Dust," fiction by Jay Wamsted:
"I cannot turn my face away from that small screen—watching this lonely adolescent, still some years away from being a man, doing what he thinks he must do to survive. He gives in to fear, poisons his God-filled soul. The cell phone swirls with devils and dust."
From "You Are Now Officially... Ghosted," fiction by Lynne T. Pickett:
"I pull out the paper. The numbers—an address. I am standing at the crosswalk of past and present. The rain disappears. I turn to see the morphing figure in the store window. It seems I am here to haunt the past, myself. Him. It’s only an innocent haunting, isn’t it? Why am I feeling the desire to spook, frighten, and wreak havoc?"