Short Story

Featured image for “The Procedure”

The Procedure
by Polly Richards Babcock

When blonde, angelic-looking Annie asked if she could stay with me while she recovered from her intended abortion, I concealed my shock and said, “Sure. You can sleep on the sofa.” At nineteen, a decade before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, I naively relied on inconsistent condom deployment and boys’ assurances that withdrawal was effective. This was the first time I had been confronted with the consequences of my bohemian carelessness. Read more.

Featured image for “Feast”

by Emily Corak

The first time I decided to uproot my life entirely came after a lazy morning lying in bed and watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother. I’d recently moved to Portland right after college because of a boy, and I had settled in nicely. I had an apartment, a job, and this boy and I were on the verge of cohabiting. Read more.

Featured image for “The Bicycle Crash”

The Bicycle Crash
by Adrian Fleur

Once it was June it was hard to remember the despair of March. The winter was always slightly too long, the dark skies and short days lingering just past what was reasonable for any human to endure. It was a despair which infused all former pleasantries with an unexplainable sourness; you could hardly bother with hellos or how are yous. Read more.

Featured image for “Second Best”

Second Best
by Dave Wakely

‘Every time I see you, Mr Woodcock, you look a little taller.’ Unaccustomed to displays of diplomacy or flattery, and still learning to acquire the habit of booking restaurant tables, Bernard smiled shyly at Sergio’s greeting. Back in England, his expectations had been distinctly lower. Read more.

Featured image for “Wealth”

by Linda Heller

Sharon asked Daniel, a young ceramist—they were at a month long glazing workshop in upstate New York—how he supported himself. Most ceramists didn’t earn much and she wondered how he managed to drive a brand-new fully loaded Land Rover. Read more.

Featured image for “Curious Fictions”

Curious Fictions
by Seth Kristalyn

Before you regretted voting for that one president, but after your favorite sports team fell out of relevance, all the books were digitized. All the publishers became E-Publishers. The presses stopped. A few libraries remained open as museums, and you remember going to one with a woman you thought you would marry. Read more.

Featured image for “Showtime Cows”

Showtime Cows
by Jennifer Holdridge

“This is just in, cows on strike! Hi, I am Reggie Stone with KPLM news. I am at Farmer Dale Robin’s fenced-in pasture, where we are seeing cows on strike. They’ve refused to give milk for two days now. Dale, what is going on? Why are your cows on strike?” Reggie moved the mic from him to Dale.  Read more.

Featured image for “Train Songs”

Train Songs
by Brandon Daily

A west-blowing wind moved over the grassland, billowing Henry’s pants and shirt wildly about him and tousling his hair so that it whipped violently onto his face. He did not shake the hair from his eyes. His attention, instead, was focused completely on his hands held out before him, on the fingers that twitched ever so slightly as if they were keeping time to some melody that he could not hear but could only feel. Read more.

Featured image for “Weekends”

by Neal Lipschutz

I put down the book. Once I saw where it was going, I couldn’t continue to follow the words to their inevitable conclusion. That’s new. I used to make a fetish of finishing every book I started. The writing was fine. Closing the book had nothing to do with the writing, just the story. It’s about a woman older than young, younger than old, who has been done wrong by the world. Read more.

Featured image for “Now It’s Come to Distances”

Now It’s Come to Distances
by William Cass

Jen and I became a couple in 1988 during my third year teaching in Juneau, Alaska. She was living in a big rented house out on Auke Bay with a handful of other people, one of whom was a good friend of mine who’d been on the same coed soccer team with her. It was so long ago now, I don’t remember exactly how she and I first became romantic together. Read more.

Featured image for “The Birth of the Banshee”

The Birth of the Banshee
by Micaela Michalk

I’ve always loved cemeteries, but my parents said I was tempting fate. Every time I cut through the graveyard to walk home from school, my mom would be waiting on the porch, hand covering her mouth as if she had held her breath since the bell rang. She somehow always knew the days I took the shortcut. Her pale face beckoned me inside quickly, lest a spirit should have followed me. Read more.

Featured image for “Hello, Dad”

Hello, Dad
by Allison Turrell

Hands grab and thrust me midair. At first, I flail, trying to gain traction, but realize its futile, her grip convincing. The overhead florescent is glaring. I don’t recognize this room. A dusty ceiling fan hums an awkward buzz, stacks of paperwork and torn Amazon boxes clutter the desk. They pace, shuffling towers of sweaters, pillows, and shoes. The jingle of a dog collar tests my concentration. Sugar? Read more.

Featured image for “The Prayer”

The Prayer
by Matthew Downing

Ashley moved to New Mexico because her mother’s relentless grief was driving her mad. It’d been six months since Dad died, and she couldn’t brush her teeth in the morning without hearing Mom’s moans drift down their lifeless hallways like a specter cursed to haunt her every waking breath. She tried to hide Dad’s pictures in the attic, but she saw his waxy corpse in every tear that slipped off Mom’s hollow cheeks. Read more.

Featured image for “The Engineer”

The Engineer
by Everett Roberts

There’s no place on this ship where I can find complete dark. The floor panels light up beneath our feet as we walk. Overheads immediately come on when we enter a room. It took some getting used to, but once my eyes adjusted to the constant blue-white of the glowing floors, it’s become second nature, like living with a constant low-grade hangover Read more.

Featured image for “Seven Journals”

Seven Journals
by Daniel Laing

While visiting a city filled with canals, the name of which I forget, a gentleman thrust a copy of this slender pamphlet into my hands. He made off into the night. Strangers are often handing me bizarre objects and making off into the night. Perhaps they sense I am waiting for an event, that I am perched here with my binoculars, scanning for noteworthy material. Read more.

Featured image for “Golden Seagulls”

Golden Seagulls
by Megan Monforte

Elizabeth Boyd was staring at the big yellow M beyond the windshield of her car. She’d been doing this for so long it had gone blurry and distorted, becoming a pair of small hills, a set of rabbit ears, a golden seagull the way her daughter, Caroline, used to draw them. Every single picture that child drew had birds of some kind, plus trees, flowers, a ragged strip of turquoise sky along the top. Read more.

Featured image for “Don’t Be Such a Drag”

Don’t Be Such a Drag
by Andi Van den Berge

The sound of the crowd reverberated backstage like a mallet roll on a timpani drum. Wim tried to calm his heartbeat with large gulps of air, but the sweat that slid down his spine let him know there was no calming this frazzle. Stage time was in less than ten minutes. Read more.

Featured image for “How Ordinary Yet How Perfectly Sublime”

How Ordinary Yet How Perfectly Sublime
by Mieke Leenders

In May of 1889, Vincent van Gogh checks himself into an insane asylum after cutting off his left ear. At the same time very close by, a girl starts a diary. Read more.

Featured image for “A Cat’s Tale”

A Cat’s Tale
by Marvin Cheiten

I was born by the shore. Or, rather, I was assembled by the shore. The lady who put all my pieces together was an excellent doll maker, commissioned by an artist who knew exactly what he wanted: a toy cat for his son. My fur and eyes and ears were all there, as well as my long, fluffy tail, but the artist wanted me to look like the captain of a 17th-century sailing ship… Read more.

Featured image for “The OMA”

by Jeff Schnader

When Adam was very young, he went skating on a pond in the woods with his older brother David. The pond was down a country lane surrounded by barren deciduous trees, naked winter forms, twisting and shaking in the wind under steely, hovering clouds. With a frigid snap in the air, the boys were swaddled in knits and coats. Read more.

Featured image for “The Butterfly”

The Butterfly
by Max McCoubrey

The first time I saw him he was hanging on the back of a van wearing shorts and a pair of cowboy boots. The van belonged to a rock band. I was in a pop band. We were both on tour. Musicians love playing but get bored touring, and they ease that boredom by thinking up ways of passing time. Read more.

Featured image for “After Calexico”

After Calexico
by Carrie Lynn Hatland

The nurse places the silicone face mask over my nose and mouth before aiming the light at my belly. The doctor is behind me, out of sight, washing his hands. Water hits the sink with deep hollow thuds and spatters. I imagine the sounds are my bare feet slapping on the floor as I jump off the table and flee down the hall. Read more.

Featured image for “Phone Calls & Faith”

Phone Calls & Faith
by Thomas Weedman

The phone calls come three nights in a row, 2:30’sh, from different people, waking, scaring us to death. The black, landline rotary dial hammers its bells like a fire alarm. Read more.

Featured image for “Monkeys in Maine”

Monkeys in Maine
by Seth Foster

The peace and quietness of a summer morning, by a lake near “Stinkin” Lincoln Maine, was shattered by the startling discharge of a Remington Model 1875 Single Action Army revolver. My father’s loud cry and a string of bad words followed. Read more.