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Messy

by Robert Hilles

1989
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.

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Allotrope

by Michael Fertik

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.

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Last Night in Granada

by Chris Pellizzari

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.

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The Waves of Dissonance

by Andrea Clark

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.

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