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The Final Chapter

Issue 43 by Henriette Rostrup

Towards the end of spring, when the air is still cold and bites at your cheeks, and a thick blanket of mist covers the ground, a large black truck approaches a small Danish town. When it reaches the town limit, it stops and a man jumps out. He’s in his forties, wearing a creased, high-end suit that looks as though he has slept in it. His hair, dark and sprinkled with gray, stands up from the back of his head like on a baby heavy with sleep. He runs his hands through it as he squints at the bright morning sun, which is beginning to penetrate the clouds. Then he waves at the truck driver, shuts the door, and turns to face the town.

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The Writer

Issue 43 by Kacie Faith Kress

Once upon a time, I met a girl.
Now, you’re probably thinking two things. One: Jacob, for God’s sake, you’re a writer. You’re really going to begin the story with ‘once upon a time’? What is this, a Grimm fairytale? And two: a long, extended groan followed by, another story about a boy and a girl?
But it’s not like you think.
She’s not like you think.
I want to start from the beginning, but right now she’s next to me, and I’m reminded of why I haven’t been able to write a single thing for the last six months.

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The Revisit

Issue 43 by Salvatore Sodano

Thomas leans his head against the fuselage and looks down through the Lexan window. The homes remind him of a town model his father had once made in their attic when he was a young boy. The streets, like small veins, separate the cluster of suburban Floridian homes. Their peaked roofs are all two-toned from the sunset. He imagines his house, empty and distant, buried beneath the cover of an elevated train in South Queens, and how the sun will peak from behind the steel columns for that brief moment outside his kitchen window, and how he won’t be there to see it.

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The Leather Satchel

Issue 43 by Jaime Balboa

Muriel decided to catalog the desiccated remains herself. Her heart raced. Her fingers tingled. Electric lanterns placed every few feet illuminated the cave. Layers of dust and the neglect of time conspired to make it all but unrecognizable. Was it female or male? From when? She studied it, looking for signs. So much anticipation. So much hanging in the balance. Her doctoral students and undergraduates gathered, hushed and eager. The small team of researchers, on the twenty-ninth day of a thirty-five-day dig, had made little progress until Guillermo, a first-timer, found what looked to be a canvas jacket from the First Common Era baked into the wall of the dry Nevada desert cave.

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Passing

Issue 43 by Lucina Stone

Here it was, the opportunity of a lifetime to finally have everything that I wanted. No more of the desperate longing to look like the images I saw on Instagram. My self-doubt would be gone, replaced by an inner confidence that only I would know about. I had done everything possible on my own to pass and fit into what society deemed presentable but had always come up short. This long- awaited advantage would even things out for me and save me years of wasted time and money. So when it was my turn to order, I didn’t berate myself.

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The Rules of Improv

Issue 43 by Julie Benesh

Lainie emerged from her shock, lying on her side in the driveway surrounded by a black wreath of cleft-chinned superheroes in boots and helmets. She noted the gravel in her hair before wincing at the tenderness of two small broken bones in her left hand, various bruised ribs, and shrapnel-inflicted gash above her ankle.
It was a mistake any mortal could make, exploding her gas grill by forgetting to open the lid before turning on the gas.

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