by Carol Pierce
“Yes, this is Henry Chester. I didn’t know she had a portrait in a Glasgow art gallery. How do you know it’s my wife’s?” Henry, a slender man with thick, curly grey hair, paced his kitchen floor, phone in hand, concentrating on what the man on the other end was saying. “Let me look at the one I have,” he said, walking briskly into the living room. Read more.
by Sandro Piedrahita
There were some – not many – who refused to believe Presidente Gonzalo was dead after so many years of terrorism, after he had said that he was willing to see a million Peruvians be killed in order to see the triumph of his revolution. And it was not his followers who believed that, but those he had decimated, those whose parents and children had been killed at his orders. Read more.
by Alicia Notorio
It’s 10:13 pm and Dad needs the money by midnight. Nico hasn’t seen or heard from the guy in six years, and every day over those six years, he has imagined what it would be like to hear from his dad again. Funny how it hadn’t seemed real when it finally happened: the phone rang and some dread inside made him pick up. Then, Nico heard Dad’s voice, and it wasn’t 2001 anymore. Read more.
Things Are Different Now
by Karen McIntyre
Summer, 2002. Seventh grade is finally over. But here I am, sitting cross-legged in bed with the Hello Kitty 3-ring binder I carried against my chest that entire endless year, open to the section formerly known as “Social Studies.” Every morning, I make a neat grid with 10 perfectly square boxes, each square worth 100 calories, and that’s what I get for the day. It’s a good plan. Read more.
Fiends in Utero
by Glenn Cannon
To the Highest Third Angelic Choir
Chairman of the Executive Council for Spiritual Agencies on Earth
Hail Incandescent One!
As per the directive of the council, I continue with due diligence in relation to the issue of saving the Earth from the destructive capacity of the Paragon Human Animal, to activate not only the First and Lowest Angelic Choir most avidly to that purpose Read more.
Making a Choice
by Quin Yen
For some of the third-year medical students, simply putting on the white coat could make them feel at least one foot taller. Who could blame them? After two years of medical school, the students’ heads were filled with textbooks of anatomy, pathology, chemistry, organic chemistry, genetics and microbiology; so naturally, they felt ready to tackle all human diseases in the real world. Read more.
Out of Sorts
by T.D. Calvin
“Where will it end?” Oliver says. “That’s what I’d like to know.”
In the decade Heather and family have lived next door to Oliver, he’s never missed a chance to take soundings of her beliefs. Heather gets the feeling he uses discussions to test her, each one a personal assessment that might help him decide the final value of her character. Read more.
by Patrick O'Dowd
“Again?” Monica asked with a smile. A smile Mark knew wouldn’t be there in a few days. Not after she found out. There’d be no more smiles for him, not from bartenders or waitresses or family or friends. Just scowls and vitriol. Read more.
Red Chair Diary
by Ruth Langner
—I was homeless once.
Whether or not you choose to believe me, I once occupied a special place in a posh mansion situated in the western part of the city or what might be called the wealthiest part of the city. The property was surrounded by a low rock wall covered in ivy and bordered with pink rhododendrons and fragrant gardenias… Read more.
by Mark Wagstaff
First, you don’t know the politics. Boundaries are hazy. Clusters of desks, all kinds of work getting done. Nobody knows how much use or annoyance you’ll be. I had no plan, no schedule. I had fields to interrogate, with dry-throated alarm at how the Next Page links jumped up in tens. The data, my domain. Read more.
The Wrong Road
by Ryan Krause
He came to my office at 10 a.m. on January 30, two weeks to the day after the shooting. He made his appointment without referral, and I couldn’t help but assume he had chosen me because we happened to have the same name.
At 9:55, having answered emails for two hours and polished off my second cup of coffee… Read more.
Duck & Cover Season
by Larry Thacker
I was looking at the guitar amps in the Cumberland Street Pawn when Janie Sizemore crashed her car into the front of the shop. She’d struck two American Pekin ducks waddling through the main intersection. She’d tried swerving to miss them but ended up running them over anyway and hopping the curb and smashing the pawn shop’s only front window. Read more.
by Ashley Goodwin
Tommy looked in all directions before confirming they were completely alone on their hidden path in the woods. They had never done something so risky in public before. They knew getting caught for Public Display of Affection would have consequences. But due to his mother’s recent shift change, he couldn’t hide his relationship behind closed doors anymore. Regardless, they were sixteen, in love, and couldn’t fathom being separated. Read more.
by Emma Wells
Teethmarks protrude, even now, from the skirting boards of his childhood home. Gnawed memories and pitfalls of what once was, yet persists now only in peripheral reaches, dusty nooks and edges. He’s learnt to resist the urge, or the medication has straight-laced him to perform as wider society deems fit… Read more.
Umbrellas on Water
by Lisa Voorhees
After her dad died, Aveline swore to herself she wouldn’t let his novel go unfinished. It had taken two weeks for the brain fog to wear off and another two after that before she’d recovered from the shock of losing him to do anything, but even now, six months later, she struggled to get any real work done. Her progress through his notes was slow to the point of agony. Read more.
Purple Becomes Deirdre
by Stephen Newton
The year she turned fifty, there were two men in Deirdre’s life: Tom and Diego. Tom was an organic farmer she met at the Open-Air Market, where he sold honey, eggs and produce on Saturday mornings. In the photograph on her refrigerator door, Tom beams at Deirdre over a mound of sweet corn. He is ruggedly handsome with a shy farm boy smile that never failed to make her feel weak. Read more.
by Stephen Coates
My uncle was there. He was angry.
“Look at yourself,” he said, punctuating his words with his finger. “Pathetic. Grown man, fooling around with kids’ stuff. House looks like a bomb site. You’ll never get a woman in a dump like this, boy.”
I sat squarely in the straight-backed chair, feet planted, shoulders pressed against the wooden slats. Chin up, eyes front, not moving a muscle. Read more.
Sold in Saigon
by Anthony Nguyen
Adorned with snaring water lilies, her blood-red dress dripped down to her ankles, conservatively hiding her nearly porcelain-white skin; the only skin revealed were her perfectly slender hands and her bisected head—she had no nose, no eyes, no ears, no brain, and no consciousness.
Although her head ended right below her eyes, like the top half was sliced off clean, she still stood taller than all the Vietnamese women in the shop. Read more.
The Scoutmaster’s Ultimatum
by Cameron Vanderwerf
Mom and Dad brought me to Camp Bramble because they said I was too sad. They said I could come home when I stopped being sad. That was when I knew that I might never see them or home again.
I was eleven years old and couldn’t remember not being sad. Although I couldn’t have given you an explanation as to why. Maybe I just wasn’t satisfied with any answers that people had given me over the last decade. Read more.
Hello Darkness, My Ole Friend
by Kabir Mansata
Kamal Singh Deo was born into an aristocratic family but had lost the bulk of his inheritance gambling in the seedy poker dens behind New Market in Calcutta. His day began with Jhontu, his butler, cooking a lavish breakfast consisting of an Irish coffee, a freshly squeezed orange juice, a masala omelette, two slices of buttered sourdough and oodles of crispy bacon. After breakfast, Kamal would take a long, hot bath and dress in one of his many hand-tailored Brooks Brothers suits. He would then set off to work in an off-white, vintage Mercedes Benz and looked much like a British sahib whilst smoking tobacco from a wooden pipe sitting in the back seat of the chauffeur-driven car. Read more.
by Peter Hoppock
On the 15th of August, 2040, with the summary order papers issued by the Cemetery Reclamation and Transformation Committee, and two empty tin coffee containers stuffed in his backpack (two, because the directions had not indicated what type or size container to bring for the ashes), forty-two-year-old Greg Sawicki approached the corner of Clark and Irving Park and the entrance to Graceland Cemetery, final resting place of some of Chicago’s most famous politicians, mob bosses, architects, painters and writers. Read more.
by Seth Foster
I do not want Azúcar to die. The ambulance backs into the yard behind the three-story apartment building in East New York. It’s night. The swirling blue and red lights pound my eyeballs. NYPD officers march around the backyard with bright flashlights. Broken glass and trash appear and disappear under the searching beams. The swirling lights make me dizzy. I do not want Azúcar to die. Read more.
Where The Errand Leads
by Thomas Weedman
Lost in the rhythm of slow hoe strokes and Hail Marys, the boy works and prays in the barren apple field alone at dusk. He’s humming the chaplet, sacred as a church hymn, even a motet. It’s cooling some, a welcome change after feeling he’d die from the throbbing mountain heat. And other maladies suffered in a motel and other places. Still, blunt wind sways adust pines on the horizon veiling the last light. Read more.
Two Sides of a Card
by Elizabeth Liang
A black, speeding phaeton overtook them. Four black stallions raced down the Ringstrasse, their black plumes billowing like smoke. The driver held his hat as he passed the promenade where whispers filled the space in his aftermath. “Cousin, who is that?” “Why Mary, that is the Crown Prince himself.” “He drives his own carriage?” “Always,” said Frederic, peering down at the laced hand of Mary. Read more.