Rain drips from the awning, the constant patter, late December up north you get snow, late December down south you get rain. Strings of red and green bulbs hang zig-zagged over the dark and puddled road. Think fog and mist and shadows. Think gaseous orange sky and shrill nameless voices and the strange feeling, because it’s a feeling after all, not a thought nor a string of contemplation, but a feeling of imminence cast out by the damp air and prickling the skin’s hairs; a foreboding,…Read more.
Quietly and swiftly the canoe marked its early morning passing with an undulating seamless wake on the surface of the water. With no breeze the small lake was motionless except for the temporary trail left by the canoe. In the distance belted kingfishers and alder flycatchers darted above, and the cry of a bald eagle from a tree at lakeside occasionally pierced the morning stillness.Read more.
Number 12 rue Sainte-Catherine
The weather is cold and sleety when André Deutsch picks up his briefcase full of cash and heads for the UGIF office. Mondays are always a trial for him. On those days (allotment days) he has to lug up to 30,000 francs through Old Lyon with its medieval streets and narrow soot-stained buildings. André has never been especially brave (he was a yeshiva boy, an easy target for the roughnecks in his town of Borsec), but walking alone through this part of the city has never been safe. There are simply too many traboules.Read more.
Negotiating the Narrows
Cold steel. I should have worn gloves. What I thought a shotgun blast turned out to be the massive metal hatch slammed shut by the wind. As I rose from the deck, another gust pushed me toward the edge like a hockey puck until I fell to my knees. When it passed, I forced myself to stand upright and join my friends. This was no place for a woman to look weak.Read more.
The Weight of the Words
Three stories up from the rue Vielle-du-Temple is a tomb. It was never intended to be so still, so empty, but life has a way of changing in an instant and so, it seems, do apartments. There is no body interred here. Only memories. Only echoes of laughter and whispers from a life once lived.Read more.
Johnny gets up in the morning and goes straight to the bathroom that he shares with his mom, his two little sisters, an older brother that works at a bakery, and whoever else happens to be around on any given day. There is a stale smell to onions gone cold and greasy hamburger from Danny’s place that he ate last night. The leftovers are probably still somewhere in the room, but it is hard to tell with all the stuff lying around.Read more.
They hired their au pair off a job posting website for the northeastern Wisconsin area. Mrs. Clara Bush had been specific about the language in the post, insisting on the term au pair because it conveyed a greater sense of class than babysitter or nanny, and she wanted to attract an elite applicant pool.Read more.
The Lonely Stay At Home
The house was never silent after I was born, but not because of baby wails or shrieks. It was because of the TV. TV whispers woke me every morning and swayed me to sleep. The flickering light filled the hallway in a comforting glow that made the dark seem less menacing in the midst of night. It cloaked the actual silence, the short but frequent absences. More so, I’d come to know the TV as my mother.Read more.
A Greater Good
Jurgen was skeptical. Cautiously, he tugged on the line to make sure the grappling hook had found its hold. It had. Stable as the cable seemed, though, it proved difficult for Jurgen to identify how, specifically, hijacking a 19th century galleon stranded in the gelid black waters of the Arctic Ocean might help him find a sense of purpose.Read more.
He sat there on the edge of the pond, remembering the days before the edict was passed. He and the neighborhood kids used to sail boats on its still waters. Sometimes they would race their boats, and sometimes they would lazily let them float from shore to shore. Jack kept those moments locked away, trying not to think of the times where happiness thrived. By doing so, he missed it less, almost fooling himself into submission. Though, try as he might, he could never forget those days. With a sigh, he picked up his school bag from off the ground and headed towards his university.
After a full day of math and science—the arts forgotten in the aftermath of the edict—Jack began his journey home. Jack meandered down the side streets in no hurry to reach his destination when something caught his eye. There, on a gate he’d passed by at least a couple of times on days like today when he had nowhere to go but still didn’t want to go home, was a rainbow.Read more.
The Ice Road
Of all the goddamned places to be stuck when World War III kicks off, I thought. The news on the old TV in the restaurant was Russian – Cyrillic script scrolling by beneath the newscaster reading the headlines – but Zhenya was translating for me, occasionally going silent for long moments, her fingers tapping her front teeth, her eyes fixed on the screen. This can’t be for real, my mind raced, cavitating. I tried texting Jason, the copilot, still back at the Malah, but there was no service showing on my phone. No texts. No email. No service. Jesus Christ.
Jason had stayed back at the squalid hovel that passed for an airport hotel. It was isolated, connected to town only by the ice road that crossed the frozen bay between Anadyr and the boneyard of crumbling Soviet Bloc tenements and the abandoned rusting equipment and gutted concrete bunkers that fringed the airport.Read more.
Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2025
“Mr. Bookman, time for dinner!”
Simon Bookman roused, groggily, and studied the nurse. He didn’t recognize the nurse that took care of him for the last two years. Josephine Lucas rolled Mr. Bookman in his wheelchair to the dining room for today’s feast consisting of a dry piece of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and a little cup of vanilla flavored ice cream.
If Simon Bookman could remember the old days, he’d recall the smell of baked apples wafting up the staircase and hypnotizing his three boys, Winston, seventeen, Sebastian, fourteen, and Wellington, age ten, respectively, dropped in the lap of Simon and his wife Margaret after Simon’s brother and sister-in-law died in 2000, courtesy of a drunk driver.
The older boys retreated into the safety net of their deceased father’s transportation company. Wellington chose the sciences and graduated from Stanford, and celebrated his thirty-fifth birthday, a shared celebration with his beloved uncle.
The End of the Natural Killing
“The End of the Natural Killing” by Erez Majerantz draws the story of Yuval, a minister in the government who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Memories of his past and yearnings in his present haunt how he manages the illness. Yuval is not the most virtuous of men, and his slow death exposes these complex layers of his humanness.Read more.
Heart Mighty Power
Mirka has fallen into a coma and Przemek, her boyfriend, injects himself and the bathyscaphe he has built into her bloodstream to try and save her. “Heart Mighty Power,” a fragment of Lukasz Drobnik’s novella “Nocturine,” takes the reader on a powerful and surrealistic journey through the spaces and soul of her heart.Read more.
I’m Not Asking
“I’m Not Asking” is excerpted from Elizabeth Richardson’s science fiction novel, SportHacked, A Game of Emotional Halloween, about a woman whose life has been destroyed after it’s been taken over by computer hacking and what she does to put her life back together. Rory Scott was an accredited counselor, but “after six months of daily sabotage, my life taken from me,…I am now ready to do something extreme.” And what Rory does is extreme, but what choice does she have?Read more.
With All Our Faults
Part 2, Chapter 1 of Daniel Talamantes’ novel With All Our Faults begins agreeably, with the nameless narrator indulging in a burrito while watching a World Cup match on his computer. Yet, Talamantes mixes up his observation of the game with his reflection about life—“somewhat like a burrito, the more you indulge, the more you unwrap, it is nearly impossible to recover”—leaving you in a state of unsuspected suspense: What is really happening here?Read more.
In a Time of Monsters
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.”Read more.
On a bright, crisp day in early October, he sped up Archie’s recently paved road and stopped inches from the twin-bay garage. He opened the driver’s door of his 1985 Chevy half-ton and swung his bad leg out first and leaned heavily on his cane.
Inside the garage, his brother stood stooped over a V-8 engine. At the sight of Moss, he dropped a piston into a valve cover and wiped his hands on a soiled cloth.
“There’s been a fire. Clara’s burned pretty bad,” Moss said, when Archie was close enough he smelled grease and dirty engine oil.
You can read Allotrope in one sitting; no, Allotrope compels you to read it in one sitting. The four characters—Yitzhak, Sleeping Bear, Arielle, and Sunny—form a multicultural elasticity that heightens as the story tightens and the mystery deepens. The characters each play a role but their synergy transcends their individual will, and the story unfolds in irony woven into the denouement. Taking from drama the literary device of foreshadowing, Fertik interjects clues and asides along the way in the dialogue and the myth at the story’s core.Read more.
Last Night in Granada
Chris, the main character in Last Night in Granada, takes Ambien at night to mitigate the effects of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. To avoid the panic attacks that inevitably punish him when he gets anxious, he reflects on the four months he studied in Granada, Spain, during his junior year in college. He fell in love with Vera, the girl he met there, and together they fell in love with the city of Granada. It was the happiest time in his life. In Chapter 2 we meet Chris in his apartment in Westmont, Chicago, dealing with the cold weather and his insomnia. When he senses the anxiety begin to take hold, he reflects on the places he and Vera explored together: Granada and the Alhambra, but also “Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla, Barcelona, Nerja, Almeria, Cabo de Gata, Guejar Sierra.” We also learn about Chris’ favorite poet, Frederico Garcia Lorca, who plays an essential role in Last Night in Granada. This novel is a love story—between Chris and Vera and Granada—and the narration is deeply satisfying.Read more.
The Waves of Dissonance
It is thirty years after the 2020 Plague, or WW III, and Waverly Nelson is lying on the gunmetal metal leg of the bearded sculpture The Awakening half-buried in sand. Around her neck is a ladybug-shaped pendant, a product of her company Cis-Star Technologies that patented the VEE—Virtual Energy Emissions technology producing holographic images. Waverly Nelson’s personal pendant is a prototype that can move data around in mid-air. This morning before dawn she is activating the message that will derail the election of Marshall Danforth after years of manipulating his political career.Read more.