Strangers You Know: Chapter One

In Novel Excerpts / Novella Issue Eight by Vanessa Christie

Vanessa Christie introduces us to her noir mystery novel, Strangers You Know, and what an introduction it is. The story opens forcefully as we are introduced to the criminal and the cop; the details of the crime; and what we anticipate will be an intricate and fast-paced plot. You anticipate these characters facing difficult decisions as they track each other down—and consequences that will upend both of their lives.


In a Time of Monsters

In Novel Excerpts / Novella Issue Eight by Koushik Banerjea

This excerpt from Banerjea’s debut novel begins with a gang arrest in a neighborhood in south London, but the focus of the chapter is the immigrant woman who reminisces about her happy childhood in pre-partition Bengal. She implores her professor father, her Baba, to allow her older brother, her dada, to take her to the cinema. The wish is granted, and she experiences for the first time the Mukul cinema, “its well-decorated marquee at the entrance and walls pasted with big posters announcing forthcoming features.” Along with other girls chaperoned by older brothers, she and her dada sit in the very front row and watch the giant gorilla carry Ann in his huge hand and disappear into the jungle, as the Mukul cinema is “filled with the shrieks and cries of children.”


Christmas Charm

In Short Story Issue Eight by Piper Templeton

Aunt Mathilda holds the snowflake charm in her hand; her sixth sense takes charge; she places it in a drawer. A woman visits her niece’s consignment store with check in hand and Mathilda puts two and two together. “Christmas Charm” is a story in the wonderful Mathilda series by Piper Templeton.



In Short Story Issue Eight by Alex Nichols

A long-haul truck driver, Nathan sees only ghosts—“robots”—on I-70. The loneliness gets to him until he meets Gail at the OGALLAH PUMP ‘N’ SNACK, an emergency pit stop. “Haul” by Alex Nichols is an everyday story—except for the robots.


Dialogues with Your Notebook

In Short Story Issue Eight by Viviane Vives

In the oblique and dreamlike style of Marguerite Duras, Viviane Vives weaves memories of her ancestors and place—Nice, Barcelona, Perth, New South Wales, Texas—in “Dialogues With Your Notebook,” a stunning literary achievement.


The Winning Fish

In Short Story Issue Eight by Natalli Amato

In “The Winning Fish” by Natalli Amato, the narrator Lindsey lives in the kind of town where everyone notices everything, even the addition of just one more. Read the first paragraph carefully. Clues abound and the ending satisfies.


How to Name and Claim Romance

In Short Story Issue Eight by Karen Bell

She leaves Radhika to explore the mountains of Andhra Pradesh—not a travelogue kind of adventure—and finds Sandeep a quasi-willing partner in a preordained exercise. Read how it ends in Karen Bell’s “How To Name and Claim Romance.”


Today’s Edition of the End of the World

In Short Story Issue Eight by Andrew Talbot

A call puts Harry in an uncomfortable position vis-à-vis his wife Joyce and an old girlfriend. He’s never cheated on his wife but he can’t help himself. Consulting her on-line profile beforehand, he goes looking. In “Today’s Edition of the End of the World” by Andrew James Talbot, “the past has broken into the present.”



In Short Story Issue Eight by Neil McGowan

In Neil McGowan’s story “Pic,” “a wee man” comforts eighty-year-old Audrey, who has suffered two strokes and is confined to her bedroom. In her final moments, Pic stays with her until the owl lifts her into the sky. Fantasy and reality are one.


Flight of the Valkyries

In Short Story Issue Eight by Amanda Pampuro

His fingers “as strong as steel,” Carlos the Uncanny performs out-of-this-world flips on the trapeze bar when he hears Wagner’s music. Then he starts losing years and life isn’t the same in “Flight of the Valkyries” by Amanda Pampuro.


Old Blue

In Short Story Issue Eight by Bryn Chamberlain

“Old Blue” by Bryn Chamberlain is a tender coming-of-age story about a teenager; his black Labrador “Blue”; and a power lawn mower, also named “Blue.” This trio makes the difference after his father leaves. Love and ambition—“inextricably entwined.”


Game-Winning Hit

In Short Story Issue Eight by Chris Capitanio

With anti-depressants in hand, Anthony Capitanio catches the bus to attend a Catholic High school. His severe anxiety disorder ramps up when he sees Joe, the best pitcher in the little league. Then things go haywire in Chris Pellizzari’s “Game-Winning Hit.”


Where Do We Go?

In Short Story Issue Eight by Maria Savva

At a Halloween party, a man in a horrific Scream Ghostface mask tells Jane he’s on his way to collect “an unfortunate soul from Scotland.” In Maria Savva’s “Where Do We Go?”, the divide between life and death is as slim as to be nothing at all.