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The Not-Wife

by K. A. Hough

I pull the key from the ignition, replace my hands on the steering wheel, sit and stare at the windscreen. Tucked in, safe, away from the damp that arrived with spring.

Fog in the city. Fog in the hinterland. Fog in the head.

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Yearling

by Jaclyn Reed

Wake up to the cock crowing in the front yard. It isn’t even light out yet. Through your bedroom window on the second story of the farm house you can see the summer sky just starting to turn pink and purple at the edge of the pasture. You see one of the yearlings bucking around the fence waiting for breakfast.

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Autumn

by W. A. Schwartz

There’s something wrong with my hands. Lately, I’ve taken to squeezing them into fists—grasping at something—at the most peculiar times. When I’m checking out at the grocery store. Facetiming my daughter who is away at college. Making love to my husband. My thumbs ache and I’ve noticed the knuckles on my right swell to the size of cumquats in the morning. When that happens, I hide my hand.

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Penned Inn

by Damon Piletz

The house tucked back
So you’d never
See its entirety unless
You were on the towpath
Which was exactly where
She was trying to drop
Those last twenty-five she’d
Been feverishly struggling to lose

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On the Way to Work – Relevancy

by Piper Templeton

On the way to work, Shirley Lamothe stopped on her porch to pet the new cat. She had ceased naming the felines long ago. The strays tended to congregate around her modest, wood frame rental house because she put out dishes of food and water and allowed them entry into the house if they so desired. They kept her company, as Brian stayed mainly sequestered in his tiny boyhood bedroom,

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An Unwelcome Guest

by Kit McCoy

Paul placed his finger on the pulse of his home in the dark of night to feel the soothing and generous spirit that surrounded him. His children had been dead tired, his wife irritable, and he was aching to be alone so that he could wonder about the melancholy that crept around the edges of his trip

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July 8, 1927

by Paul Luckhart

The wildfires burning in the city’s outlying regions were said to be the worst anyone could remember. A cloud carried through the streets, softening colours and dulling the edges. The features of structures and people were made indistinct, and all that was visible was what was near. I thought of glimpsing something I was not prepared for, like a monster jumping from outside the frame in a horror film,

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The Arachne Gene

by Darryl White

He had a pocketful of possibilities scribbled on napkin backs. The perfect recipe was like DNA, it held the answer to who he was and where he was supposed to be. He wasn’t found yet, he was on his way, and he’d get there, wherever there was, if the bus driver didn’t kill them first.

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Praying to the Porcelain God

by Steven Mayoff

Dani walks alongside M. Francoeur, who pushes his wheelchair, balancing on it as he would a walker. Today is her usual Saturday morning visit, and together they follow the oval footpath that surrounds the Mount Olive Senior’s Home, employing a pace similar to that of a wedding procession marching through molasses.

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Every Silver Lining’s Got a Touch of Grey

by Benjamin Mast

Without knowing any of their music, I didn’t like Grateful Dead. Call it a mother’s instinct, call it blatant ignorance and close-mindedness, it must have played in my house for days, weeks, maybe months before I found the album cover under Second Daughter’s bed.

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The Monsters of Our Minds

by Natasha Mileusnic

Kate concentrated on the jingling of the wind chimes. If she could hear the soft bell tones, their accidental melody, that meant she existed and was present on the solid earth, walking the pavement past the imposing Victorians. Alive in her body, here and now.

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Simulation Theory

by Aaron Buchanan

“There is no permanent self,” he’d whispered louder than he’d intended. It was only in that moment he finally became aware of himself, what he was doing, and that he never meant to say anything out loud at all.

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Filling the Void

by Kevin Taylor

“We’ll be getting a new store manager soon.”
“We will?”
“Yep, it’s coming on”–Rusty swiveled his chair and peered at the calendar on the wall–“ten months. They ain’t ever here for more than a year.”
“Why’s that?”
“Beats me, Luke. Someone told me it’s so they don’t get too attached to us. The same reason farmers don’t give their hogs names. Just makes it more difficult when it comes time to…” Rusty drew a finger across his throat.

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Ventilator Blues

by Daniel Bartkowiak

Beyond the tracks and rising erumpent from the swallows of the Mississippi are two Maple trees which he watches alone and with a face not older than the trees but one of a similar mold. He pulls out a red lighter and a pack of Lucky Strikes from his leather jacket. He spins the wheel twice before the flame emerges, an orange haze in the gray evening.

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Dr. Yang’s Emotional Rebalancing Clinic

by Kristina Heflin

Kathleen glanced around the sterile chrome and white setting while clutching the tablet in her hands. She had been here once before for the preliminary, complimentary consultation, and it had been just as silent. A big screen TV mounted in the corner played a midday soap on mute with the captions scrolling across the bottom. The receptionist typed her notes in swift, almost clackless rhythm.

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Strangers

by Christopher Wyman

Ms. Elizabeth Brockridge was as sharp as a tack. As an attorney, she never missed a trick in the courtroom or anywhere else in her life. Of course, she had to be, because she did not have much else going for her in the beginning. Her parents had nothing but a small farm they could barely pay the taxes on, and when it came to her education she was largely on her own. She showed all the naysayers, though.

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Symmetry

by Matthew Wade Thomas

A pickup truck slammed into our car killing my wife instantly. The drunk driver who ran the red light also died at the scene.
The accident was so random and the loss so devastating, I could barely comprehend it. Reacting without reason and not knowing what else to do, I sued. Even though the drunk driver had a family, they were not the object of the lawsuit, so I could take out my vindictiveness on the insurance company. I was not interested in a settlement—we went to court.

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