Reality Bites by Mark Barry, Cheryl Casey, Eric Rada, Lexi Kravey, Suzanne van Rooyen, Rae Gee, Christy L. Foster, Emma Edwards, Mary Ann Bernal, and Brenda Perlin
Dark, twisted,dreary, dismal, gloomy, glum, anguish, melancholy, morose, soul-searching, disparaging, moody, sulky, emotional, Reality Bites is all these things and more.
Ophelia by Claire Appleseed
This haunting story touched me deep within my soul. I could feel the pain but also the will to live. No one should ever take that away from us.
"Blinded by love, I believed him and put his indiscretions into that box that only gets visited under extreme conditions. I should have listened to them, the gossipmongers, they knew and now I know; they were right. In retrospect, his infidelities must have been his way of dealing with his failings, made him feel good that he could still 'pull a bird'. He boasted about them."
Doubting Cheryl by Cheryl Casey
Short but sweet. An innocent tale about a young girl coming to terms with the thereafter.
"Not once did I pray that "now I lay me down to sleep" business when I was a kid. No way was I going to utter the words, "if I should die before I wake." I fully intended to wake up and live the next day and wasn't about to entertain the possibility of dying in my sleep."
Without Hope by Emma Edwards
Without hope... There is nothing. This story pulls on your heart strings. Gut wrenching and takes you to the darkest depths of despair. Will that glimmer of hope be enough to save Nadine?
"The first thing she does is glance upwards. It is indeed a clear night, full of twinkling stars. People have always looked to the stars as a source if inspiration. Now Nadine looks at them in a different way. Just the sight of them makes her feel uplifted. Makes her feel less like reaching for a handful of the pills in her bag."
Resiliency from Within by Christy L. Foster
This is a story of sheer perseverance. Why do some people simply shine more than others? Zest for life goes way past the exterior. It has to do with your inner core. Some people have it and some people don't.
For some people giving up is not even a consideration. This story really makes you step back and look at your own life and reminds you of everything you have taken for granted up until this point.
"A light snowfall covered the tiny Massachusetts city as dawn broke over the horizon. The brisk chill in the air added to the life and heartbeat of the beautiful February day. Rosy cheeks, shallow breaths, and quick movements proved the daily business stopped for no obstacle, man, or weather. People were bustling about clearing the snow from their cars, shoveling their sidewalks, and making breakfast in preparation for what would be a normal day for most. As the rest of the town went about their daily grind, one family's happy routine was destined to be shattered, and their faith tested.
Regeneration by Rae Gee
This a story in the eyes of an addict. She was 23, young and invincible or so she thought. The common thread to all these stories seems to be the topic of bullying. Each tale different but so much the same. We all want to be accepted and yet acceptance is something we all seem to fight for.
"Sometimes, she'd step away from her seat, ordering someone to remain with her belongings while she twirled on the dance floor. The lyrics of songs speaking of autumn, of forbidden loves, of full moons and vampires, touched her feet and made her dance. She'd wave her arms in the air, reaching for the moon, wanting to pull it close, while the scent of cloves and graveyards spiralled around her."
Little Girl by Lexi Kravey
A story about abuse. This lost girl becomes an addict, a person without hope who looks for a way out of this tragedy that is her life.
"Like a tortured soul, I was led down a path that few whoever tread survived it, turned to drugs or alcohol to relieve the acidic pain that rotted out their insides and turned the world from a place of good to a place of evil being constantly held a prisoner in the darkness of memories."
The Hotter the Forge, The Stronger the Steel by Eric Rada
This story is told with such raw emotion. The suffering you can feel through your veins. How do you look for forgiveness when you don't even forgive yourself? When is it time to let go of the suffering? This story is a reminder to never give up. Yes, there can light at the end of the tunnel.
"How do you comfort your siblings when you are the one who took your mother's life? How do you embrace your grandma when you killed her daughter? How do you stay strong for your father when you murdered his soul mate? How does one stay strong and be a pillar for a family when it is your fault they are suffering? My world was a struggle between being there for my family and knowing I am the reason they are suffering?"
Ghosts in Me by Suzanne van Rooyen
Life is not always fair but how you chose to deal with it is what matters most. If tragedy strikes, are we just supposed to give up? How do you find the strength to rise above? Can you?
"The syringa was in full bloom, lilac flowers and orange berries, with a chorus of grey lorries amongst the leafy boughs. My bare feet burned on the tar driveway as the large black gates offering a false sense of security to my upper-middle-class abode swung slowly open."
Suleman's Kebab by Stefan Xerxes
I have heard of dependencies, mostly over drugs, alcohol, sex, and food but never over kabobs. Can a person experience withdrawal symptoms from giving up their favorite food choice? Can one food choice change your entire life?
"Let me describe it to you, this kebab. Suleman's kebab. The kebab from the keeper of all circles. I know, I know. You've all eaten kabobs. You've all experienced a gyros. Why am I making such a fuss? Who can write a short story about a kebab? I mean, fuck off. Stop wasting my time. You're reading an anthology about loss and heartache, and relationships, and death and grief, and all that, and here you are talking about a kebab?"
Out of the Depths by Mary Ann Bernal
This is a story of addiction, betrayal and self-pity. A person who has hit rock bottom and then from there realizes he wants to live. Don't we all deserve a second chance?
"I see you judging me once again, shaking your head in disgust, I venture. But before I am condemned, hear me out. Once you know the facts, once you know I have conquered my demons, then, and only then, will you accept your help. Yes, I admit it, I need your help, but I will not beg."
Best years of Our Lives by Mark Barry
You are a thirteen year old boy and repeatedly bullied by your classmates. You are paralyzed with fear even though there were warning signs. Boys and girls gang up against you. You want to cry but you don't. You know it will only make things worse. You take your beatings and wait for them to be over. It is through this experience that you learn something about life. Somehow this experience changes you forever.
"You have never experienced anything like this anticipation before, and you're scared. Your stomach is turning over as if you're staring down the side of a skyscraper. You are tense and dizzy and you wish you hadn't had seconds at dinner."