Issue 14 / June 2018
Short Stories

"Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness."
Maya Angelou

Issue 14

“Brotherly Love”, “Loving Your Absence” and “Nostalgia”

Jonathan Clark

Brotherly Love We start out soft as Egyptian sheets – boys,
then we manufacture into men. Notice how the word
men, sounds harder, stiffened by our insides churning
to stone as we grow.

Issue 14

“Failed Her”, “Ashes to Dust” and “Broken”

Autumn Slaughter

Failed her I failed
her. Was not
good enough because
no one can ever be
good enough to carry
the burdens of the
dying on their backs, to
be blessed with the
baggage of existential
emotion that makes life so
sweet as to make it unbearable

Issue 14

It Don’t Mean a Thing

Christina Bloom

Muted jazz music bleeds from the walls of the dance studio. My sister and I stand outside and watch, through the glass windows, the varying figures of the dancing pairs: men of assorted heights in jeans and colored button-downs, women in heels and dresses and skirts of subtle hues of green and blue and black. Some of the couples, the more experienced ones, move like waves on a breezy spring day, undulating as a unit across the wooden floor. Other couples sputter like the animatronic creatures at Chuck E. Cheese. In the whole room, there is only one moving mouth. It belongs to a woman who appears to be the instructor, standing to the side, watching the dancers and counting the beats of the music for them.

Issue 14

The Miracle of Childbirth

Rebeka Fergusson-Lutz

When I was ten years old, I experienced the miracle of childbirth. I was there when my sister was born – not in our living room at home, or in the back of the taxi, but in the hospital room with my parents and the labor coach and the obstetrician. As you might imagine, this experience has proven to be a pivotal one in my development as a daughter, a sister, and most importantly, a woman.

Issue 14

The Art of Nothing

Mollie Duvall

Dear, It is Saturday and I am obsessed with the arc in a story. Let me start over by saying the fickle obsession hasn’t grown into a so called “problem” yet and at every glance a person will find a way to say that humility comes in regular shapes and sizes. Perhaps, it bags its own groceries or even paints its very own toes. It does this to iconically display a varying right or degree of neutrality. Maybe, by staying in the middle ground, we never have to fall short of dancing a wild night in the background or the shadows.

Issue 14

Animals, All of Them

Rowan Johnson

Alois, the caretaker of Vultures’ Nest, wears bush clothes and drives his old safari truck 200 kilometers into the northern suburbs of Johannesburg to get presents to send back to his family in Zimbabwe. In the parking lot of the Mall of Africa he drives his rusty truck between bulletproof black BMWs. Children keep their distance from him and a trendy mother thinks he is a parking attendant and tosses him a few coins. Sparse brick workspaces surround the parking lot, where self-important businessmen stride along selfishly, yelling and arguing into the air.

Issue 14

Crimson Moon

Bre Hall

High above the farmlands of northeastern Oklahoma, above the red dirt roads and the swaying cottonwoods, atop the flat-peaked mesas that make up the Glass Mountains, lives a clan of moon worshipping off-gridders who harvest the selenite crystals and perform human sacrifices while dancing naked beneath the deep pull of a blood moon, their bodies bathed in the rich, sunburnt soil of the land, wailing like a pack of rabid wolves on a midnight hunt. Of course, those were the stories, the whispers passed from lip to ear on the school playground. Tales to sizzle the blood and raise the neck hair. Images to transform the heart into a bass drum, the fear into the mallet that beats against it.

Issue 14

Tomorrow’s Last Thursday

Omar Esparza

I think I used to lucid dream. More precisely, I’ve lost count. The dreams were flint-sparks at first: I awoke in my sleep a few nights in a row but was quickly blotted out. The first full-length lucid dream was in a movie-theater. I was alone. A movie-projector was being projected on-screen. The movie projector on-screen was projecting the very screen on which it was being projected.

Issue 14

A Journey Down the Aisle

Reyna Marder Gentin

They stand in the archway at the back of the chapel, watching the prisms of light as they pass through the stained glass and dance on the old wooden floors. It had taken some effort, but Jeannie had picked the least flashy church she could find. She wasn’t aiming for somber, but she needed dignified. She places her hand on her father’s arm, feeling the cool starchiness of his dress whites as he stands ramrod straight, his seventy-five years not yet bowing his body.

Issue 14

On the Rocks

Linda McMullen

Melanie recognized Paula’s extension, and exhaled sharply. She smoothed her voice the way a widow adjusts her dress during an unseasonably hot funeral. “Hi, Paula.” Sincere but solemn. “Melanie, hi. Mark can’t do the trip. Jim wants you to come.” Melanie, after ten years as a diplomat, had the grace not to offer her opinion of what Jim did or didn’t want, but her forehead made a graceful arc onto her keyboard.

Issue 14

Coming Down

Carlos Sosa

I look out the dirty, cracked window toward the road, hoping to see her there; her slim figure, bundled and shivering, hurrying home. But the road is empty save for the brown leaves carried by the wind across the way. Honey’s been gone for three days. That’s unlike her. A pickup doesn’t take three days. I lay back on the hard floor; the air is cold and seeps through the cracks in the windows. The walls are marred with graffiti. Honey and I added our own names to the collection of red and black obscenities and drawings when we found this place, ‘Oscar ♥ Honey,’ big and sloppy, smeared over the wall’s cracks and chips. I look out the window again, squinting to see if I can make her out in the distance, but no one is there.

Issue 14

Personal Time: Chapter 1

J. M. Jones

This morning, someone shit on our lawn. Not something, as I’ll tell my wife. But someone. I’m sure of it. I’d gone to pull the car out of the garage, and when I stepped from the driver’s side, I saw it near the hedges, a brown smear. It might have been a dog. That was my first thought. But then I spotted the soiled paper towel tangled in the branches and thought, Son of a bitch, and turned to get the hose to wash it into the lawn, spread it out, dilute it. A couple flies darted off when I hit it with the spray, but they returned, taking up trace amounts I couldn’t clean off. As for the towel, I went inside for a pair of plastic gloves to pick it up. Then I took it to the trashcan, folded the band of latex over it, and dropped the whole thing in.