Betelnut, Soldier-Wolf 檳榔,兵狼: Fiction by YakuzaBaby

Grand Prize Winner, Middle School Category Betelnut, Soldier-Wolf: 檳榔,兵狼  Echo sat on the edge of the cracked leather seat, clipping a curler into her bangs. What the hell was she doing in this dingy-ass store, every surface plastered with slippery tiles in dire need of grouting, a flickering neon sign out front with the words 檳榔 五十年老店 and a drawing of a clawed hand faded into it. Though she could not read the words, she found the strange hand amusing. Her phone vibrated…

Atlantic Menhaden: Fiction by Nicholas Servedio

Honorable Mention, Adult Category The first time I saw all the dead fish was in early June. It was a rainy day, and my dad and I were walking along the Hudson River Greenway. The path was sandwiched between the flow of the river and the flow of traffic, and every so often a car or truck would pass by in the rightmost lane and spray muddy water and gravel onto the path. My dad was stressed out and walking quickly. He had recently been made chair of the Chemistry department, and while the new title…

Yakuza Baby: Mooncakes

You will know when you see it: there are people–most often children, but adults too–who are lost. Lost in themselves. They do not know their own hearts, but in time to come, they will learn. Hopefully. Most have been this person at some point in their lives, sometimes they will find themselves for a brief, fleeting moment before falling, lost once more. Eileen Tan was one such individual–or not-individual.  The almost-twelve-year-old had dark hair that was in plaits one week, loose…

Alton Ru: Doujiang, Youtiao, Bean (Short Story)

"A lot of heart and emotion in here; honest and raw." - Charles Yu I did everything I could during childhood to keep my apologetic Asian hidden within me. I tried being boisterous, loud, and even mean to minimize the amount of times I apologized in school. I tried every persona that made it easy to talk your way out of having to apologize to your peers. No, my apologetic Asian only came out for my father. The last day I had with him in Wanhua District began just like the previous four:…

Huiru May Huang: On Encountering a Stranger  

My students were putting on Little Red Riding Hood today and I was the Big Bad Wolf, so I showed up to Sister Marianne’s door in my wolf costume. Sister Marianne is my ninety year-old neighbor. She works at the church next to my school, so we’d walk to work together every day, rain or shine. We wouldn’t say much to each other, but her petite presence always puts my mind at ease. Prolonged silences like these used to drive me out of my skin, but I’ve grown to understand the solitude that…

Convenience Store Encounters, by Katie Chen

HONORABLE MENTION, HIGH SCHOOL CATEGORY The alarm beeps. And where there is no response or movement from the lump of blankets on the bed, it beeps again, with increased urgency. And beeps again. And vibrates with increased frequency. And when it seems like the alarm is about to vibrate itself off the counter it’s sitting on, a hand emerges itself from its home on the bed and smashes the alarm clock hard. Twice. Finally, there is blissful silence. It is 6:31 AM.  Carla stumbles out of her…