Taking Flight | McKenzie Richardson

“A stunted fairy like you will never make it,” Carn snarls bitterly. “Your wings can’t take you that far.”

I glare at him, tired of the constant criticism. A squawk resounds below the tree.

“They don’t have to.” Without breaking eye contact, I leap from the limb, hoping my speculation is correct.

Only when I feel the feathery mass beneath me do I let out my breath.

Carn fumes as the flock of migrating birds takes to the air, unaware of a stowaway on their flight. I’ve never flown this high before. Bursting through the autumn leaves, my heart soars.


McKenzie Richardson lives in Milwaukee, WI. Recently, her work has been featured in various anthologies through Black Hare Press, Iron Faerie Publishing, Dragon Soul Press, and Eerie River Publishing. She has also published a middle-grade novel, Heartstrings, as well as a poetry collaboration with Casey Renee Kiser, 433 Lighted Way.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mckenzielrichardson/

Blog: http://www.craft-cycle.com

Selected by the editor as a featured submission, February 2021.

The Autumn Festival | McKenzie Richardson

With a yelp, Cassandra put her finger to her mouth, tasting the blossom of blood from the needle’s sharp point. Sewing had always been more of a chore than an enjoyable pastime, the brief pain the most recent reminder.

She wrapped a scrap of cloth around the wound as to not stain her latest project. Her vision for her first Autumn Festival dress was very precise.

Leaves of dandelion-gold fluttered under her touch as she adorned the collar with dark seeds. Satisfied, she hurriedly dressed beneath the remaining rays of sunlight before racing off to dance away the ever-lengthening night.


McKenzie Richardson lives in Milwaukee, WI. Recently, her work has been featured in various anthologies through Black Hare Press, Iron Faerie Publishing, Dragon Soul Press, and Eerie River Publishing. She has also published a middle-grade novel, Heartstrings, as well as a poetry collaboration with Casey Renee Kiser, 433 Lighted Way.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mckenzielrichardson/

Blog: http://www.craft-cycle.com

Fall | John Newsom

This is a season most comfortable
with ancient stone and twilit cobbled streets,
roamed by ghosts at home with suffering.

Filtered and fractured by gust blown leaves,
the fading light leaks onto cringing mists,
my pain cradled in a tangle of twisted undergrowth.

Losing you may be a way station on the hero journey
but the night proves nothing.
Endurance endures
and wakes to darkness and gutter-echoed rain.


At home in the Pacific Northwest, John is retired from a career in education and devotes his time to writing and managing his four Westies. He has written a collection of poems, three fantasy novels and several short stories, and has had pieces published in an anthology and regional magazines.
Selected by the editor as a featured submission, February 2021.

Autumn Dancer | McKenzie Richardson

She dances on the surface of the lake, toes kissing its ripples. Hair whipping in the cooling breeze, she pirouettes through the shower of falling seeds, raining down promises of life as the trees curl up to sleep.

The little ballerina twirls in a dress like tangerine fire, caught between the heat of summer and the chill of winter’s breath. As she spins, the greenery fades to bronze and honey, deepens to scarlet and currant. Clinging ivy bursts with flowers, final treats for bees and butterflies that swarm the yellow-green swellings.

Still, she spins on. She dances and autumn comes.


McKenzie Richardson lives in Milwaukee, WI. Recently, her work has been featured in various anthologies through Black Hare Press, Iron Faerie Publishing, Dragon Soul Press, and Eerie River Publishing. She has also published a middle-grade novel, Heartstrings, as well as a poetry collaboration with Casey Renee Kiser, 433 Lighted Way.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mckenzielrichardson/

Blog: http://www.craft-cycle.com

Dancing | Jaya Avendel

Steam curls in the cold

Mingling with golden leaves

Dreaming of raindrops.


Jaya Avendel lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she dips her pen into the inkwell of fantasy and prose. Her work has been published at Free Verse Revolution, Visual Verse, and Spillwords Press. She writes further at ninchronicles.wordpress.com

Selected by the editor as a featured submission, January 2021.

Listen | Jaya Avendel

Skipping stones the creek

Thinks of mountain lions and

Tells of autumn leaves.


Jaya Avendel lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she dips her pen into the inkwell of fantasy and prose. Her work has been published at Free Verse Revolution, Visual Verse, and Spillwords Press. She writes further at ninchronicles.wordpress.com