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Her Own Devices

Issue 40 by Geoffrey Dutton

It was almost the Vernal Equinox and the warm spring air was dry and turbulent. Its signature tulip gardens, baby animals, and happy pastel hues notwithstanding, that most optimistic of the seasons doesn’t always come calling with a smile on its face. Nor was there one on a young woman’s face as she auto-piloted her youngster along a windy Piraeus sidewalk. Oblivious to the plastic bag fluttering just above them and the dervish of leaves swirling above the gutter that delighted the boy, she fretted that the recent outbreak of what the Health Ministry had dubbed “a mild transitory outbreak of late-season flu,” might be neither.

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Shades of the Deep Blue Sea: Saya

Issue 40 by Jack Woodville London

Saya had not decided whether to let Olafson see Ambon. She left him tied up in a water-filled pit that was lined with bamboo spears, not so much as a test but merely to keep him occupied for a few hours. He stared at her, wild-eyed with fear, and she disappeared into the rainforest.
She had not visited the spice plantation for more than two weeks, not since the day she had taken possession of Olafson. The home where she had grown up, what was left of it, was much higher upland than the cannibal hamlets and the hidden kamp where Saya now slept.

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The Saint

Issue 40 by Misha Mintz-Roth

“Look at these people,” said Arif pointing at the television. “Look at the way they talk and talk.”
“Well, isn’t that the point?” I asked.
“The point of what?”
“Democracy?”
Arif’s face turned bright red.
“What this country needs is a monarch,” he said, “a kind and benevolent monarch.”
He removed his eyes from the nightly news to stare at me again.
“None of this democracy mess.”

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Charlatan

Issue 39 by Yennie Jun

When the girl wanders into the living room in the morning, her mother is seated cross-legged on the piano bench, phone pressed to her ear.
The girl toes the rattling skeletons of the open boxes. How can it be, she wonders, that as the boxes are emptied, the house only feels emptier? Does the emptiness come from the boxes? Is that the secret of moving? That you move the emptiness from one place to another? That you stuff boxes full of books and clothes and photographs and toolboxes, but the true heaviness comes from the emptiness, an emptiness that leaks from the boxes and sinks into the pit of her stomach?

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About Dogs, Post-Polio and the Poetry of Loving and Dying

Issue 39 by Alpheus Williams

Take the exit when you see the sign and leave the highway. A small narrow road will take you there. You’ll not be surprised how you missed it, nestled away from the day-to-day neurosis of shopping therapy, road rage and commuter traffic. A medley of native trees and shrubs line the road in places interspersed with glimpses of ocean blue in the distance. As the land flattens, the road lines with melaleucas, their raggedy white trunks a wall of papier mâché bones, and clears to low growing coastal heathland and saltmarsh. In spring it will come alive in a multitude of tints, tones and textures.

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The World So Wide

Issue 39 by Zilla Jones

CHAPTER 34

Winnipeg, September 8, 1983

Dolores stood for a moment outside the door of Neil Rosenblatt’s office, checking that the bow of her blouse was properly tied.

“You can just go on in, Mrs Alexander”, sang the assistant from her desk, where, under cover of the school calendar, she was surreptitiously re-reading a letter from her boyfriend who was travelling abroad. Dolores straightened her shoulders.

“You wanted to see me, Neil?” she asked.

The man behind the desk pushed his glasses down his nose and set aside the pile of student information forms that he was perusing.

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The Potrero Complex

Issue 38 by Amy Bernstein

MISSING: A teenaged girl with lanky blonde hair and a sunburst tattoo on her cheek.
The holographic posters, brighter than day itself, lit up the air on every block of Main Street. They were the first thing Rags Goldner noticed as she and her partner Flint Sten turned onto the street.
The girl’s name was Effie, and she was sixteen.

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Able Archer: Distant Early Warning (Part III)

Issue 38 by Lawrence Lichtenfeld

A red rotary beacon was mounted over the door to the communications room. In all his days at the Marne Kaserne, he had never seen it illuminated. It was never supposed to be. If that lamp was illuminated, it meant that the Telex machines had urgent messages. Even when they were running a com drill that was supposed to mimic an actual situation, they never used the lamp. When the reflector inside the red, plastic dome began rotating, no one paid much attention. Then the light came on.

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Dust Choked and Sore

Issue 38 by Erin Conway

It’s a buzz and a bump. Etta laid her head back on a torn seat cushion.
And a flip and a thump.
No air conditioning in the truck cab meant duct tape stuck to her neck in the heat. Tang. She was almost… The phrase began but she couldn’t end it. Twang. Where was she?

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The Velodrome

Issue 37 by Brianne Turczynski

Miriam Birchfield’s abdomen plagued her to tears. Her tears burned and irritated her cheeks, and they made her see the reflection of herself as a blotchy stranger in the mirror. She took the bottle of bitters from her vanity; it was the last bottle Dr. Morel gave her before he died. She didn’t know if she would ever get another, because in approximately thirteen minutes, she would welcome a new doctor into Whittingham Estate, the place she had worked as manager of the staff and had lived her whole life.

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Able Archer: Moscow, Moscow Oblast, USSR

Issue 37 by Lawrence Lichtenfeld

Yuri Andropov was resting comfortably in his hospital bed. An hour earlier, he had been hooked up to the dialysis system in the suite. He had had some vodka afterwards, and a couple of cigarettes while lying in bed. The television was tuned to the state channel ‘Fourth Programme’—known for its intellectual broadcasts. Tonight, Andropov was enjoying the broadcast of a Bolshoi production of “Cipollino.” His heavy-eyed viewing of the ballet was interrupted by the military hotline ringing on the telephone table next to his bed.

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Certain Savages: Hyperinflation

Issue 36 by Greg Johnson

On low marshy islands in the middle of the River Seine, an encampment of Celtic fishermen, the Parisii, once founded a village. The fishermen worshipped the horned god Cernunnos whom they believed united the earth, sea and sky. To this stag-horned hunter they sacrificed goats and pigs to ensure the fertility of their women. They doused statues of him in holy water to ensure their nets returned filled with fish. They laid flowers at his feet and fought enemy invaders who attempted to desecrate the Lord of the Dance.

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Extreme Vetting

Issue 36 by Roxana Arama

Livia Holban arrived at the Seattle Immigration Court that morning determined to fight like hell for Félix Dominguez’s children. Sixteen-year-old Cruz and thirteen-year-old Clara Dominguez sat beside her at the counsel’s table looking terrified at the prospect of being sent to Honduras, a country they didn’t even remember. At the government’s table, Immigration and Customs Enforcement trial attorney Josh Henderson appeared relaxed, as if he’d already secured the kids’ deportation.

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The Snitch: Kelly

Issue 35 by M.D. Semel

Kelly couldn’t remember the last time she drove a car. She didn’t take the driving test until she was in law school and she had nearly failed it. Now, she was on the far eastside of Harlem at a cut-rate car rental place that looked more like a chop shop than a legitimate business. A friend had recommended it. She sat in the driver’s seat of a small, battered car and listened to the attendant explain its basic functions.

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Able Archer: Distant Early Warning

Issue 35 by Lawrence Lichtenfeld

Major Powell had agreed to take photos of schematic diagrams of the SDI satellite systems. Dubrikov gave him a Minox B camera to shoot the plans. Powell had special plans created by the technical team at Langley that would photograph clearly on the tiny spy camera’s film. The images had to be clear enough for the Soviet technicians to be able to read, but not so clear that it looked like Powell had had time to set up a photo-shoot.

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Only the Moon Remains

Issue 34 by Lawrence F. Farrar

When he returned to Tokyo in mid-February, Peter entered a capital wrapped in foreboding. Over whiskey sodas at the Palace Hotel bar, Bigelow declared he expected a military uprising within days. Peter dismissed the idea. True, he had noticed soldiers in the streets, but units marching to and from reviews or to board trains had become common sights in recent years. And, so far as Peter could see, the citizens of AsiaÕs most modern metropolis were going about their lives in a perfectly ordinary manner.

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The Snitch: Mary

Issue 34 by M.D. Semel

It was dark when the alarm went off. Mary Patterson lifted herself from bed, splashed cold water on her face, brushed her teeth, then dressed in the clothes she had laid out on the chair the night before. She wore a dark blue dress, something that she had worn to church on many occasions, and flat shoes. She listened to the news on the radio as she got ready, and opted for stockings, despite the predicted heat, but she ultimately rejected the idea of a hat.

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Her Own Devices

Issue 34 by Geoffrey Dutton

Whether out of hacker pride, frustration over loose ends, or simple curiosity, Ottovio had suggested they meet at the Greek bistro where the Facebook photo of Laskaris, Servopoulos and Eugenides had been taken. It was a bit out of the way, he conceded, but it would give them a chance to check out the office building where Meteor Import-Export Ltd. supposedly was headquartered. No reservations were necessary, he had said, which did not prevent Anna or Andreas from having their own about the utility of the expedition.

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