August 2019: Endings & New Beginnings

Inside This Edition

Every story has a beginning and an ending. When you open up a book (or begin reading an online short story, as the case may be), it’s with the knowledge that there will only be a finite number of chapters to read before you reach that last page. Of course, while it’s sad that even the best stories have to end, there’s something hopeful about endings, too. Besides just the satisfaction that comes with storylines and characters being conclusively wrapped up, once you finish a book (or short story, or flash fiction piece), you can always begin another. And that is what this edition—our twentieth, and our last—is celebrating: Endings & New Beginnings.

We begin with A New Life by L. Green, a piece filled with skillfully-navigated twists. Right when you think you know what to expect, the haunting story takes a sharp turn into a different direction. Dark and unsettling, A New Life holds a mirror up to our world and shows us some of the uglier parts of it. We promise it’s well worth your time to read.

Next up, there’s Becca Wittman’s The Orwells, a story that is at once funny and melancholic. Its cast sparkles with quirky, unique characters, and its narrative will be relatable to writers everywhere: it follows a man who aspires to be an author, but, in the meantime, has bills to pay and judgmental family members to deal with—a tragicomedy if ever there was one.

Then there’s Papayas by Liesel Bocalan, a short, stinging piece that discusses colorism. A trip down memory lane begins sweetly in Papayas, with nostalgic reminiscing over spending time with a grandmother and school field trips to a swimming pool—but then a sunburn leads the story somewhere darker, the fond memories now tinged with the aftershocks of colonialism and toxicity of Eurocentric beauty standards.

Laura J. Merrell’s West Dorothy is the perfect palette-cleanser after reading some of our heavier tales. Across three vignettes, it follows the oddball residents and funny happenings at an apartment building on the titular street. It’s amusing, charming, and a whole lot of fun.

Rest Easy by Miranda Seaver has a dark premise: If you woke up one day with the knowledge you were going to die, what would you do? But, premise aside, this is not a doom-and-gloom story. The protagonist Victoria is unexpectedly upbeat as she goes about her final day, and soft notes of humor help relieve some of the sadness. As the story progresses and Victoria’s end draws near, ruminations on life—and the idea of leaving it—are given center-stage before the piece reaches a surprisingly beautiful conclusion.

“Bittersweet” is the word we’d use to describe Adrian Slonaker’s Deadlines, which is about both an ending (the end of high school) and beginning (the promise of college). As we enter a new school year, Deadlines comes at the perfect time, its tale a timeless one to college freshmen and high school seniors everywhere—stunningly relatable despite the fact that Deadlines is set in 1989.

Early on in When the Sun Goes Down by Q.T. Chaucer, there’s a quote from Alice in Wonderland. As you continue reading, the reference makes more and more sense: not only is this story a Wonderlandian one—about being a stranger in a topsy-turvy land—but the writing also has a Lewis Carroll quality. A bizarre, striking tale, When the Sun Goes Down will transport you to a place you most definitely wouldn’t want to visit in real life.

This edition—which is bursting with twenty-five stories—has, like all the best endings, humor, heart, drama, sadness, and plenty of hope. We enjoyed reading each and every piece, and we’re sure that you will, too.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Defiant Scribe. We’re so proud to have been able to publish twenty editions, and we believe this final issue is an especially great one—the perfect ending to our story, with a new beginning just around the corner.