Short Story

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 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 “The OMA”

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.

Featured image for “Transit Visa to Redemption”

Transit Visa to Redemption
by Jo-Anne Rosen

Everyone but Helmut was anxious. He sat by himself, as usual, at a small table in a corner of Café Stammtisch, calmly reading a newspaper. Germany Invades Rhineland! The headline took up half a page. He yawned. Read more.

Featured image for “Accommodation”

Accommodation
by Katharine O'Flynn

Doreen’s son Alex wants to move back in with her. He’s in a bad way. He’s lost his job. He’s broken off with his girlfriend. Or she’s broken off with him. Whichever. He’s single now and temporarily unemployed. He needs a place to stay. He’s thirty-five years old. Read more.

Featured image for “Barker and the Big Storm”

Barker and the Big Storm
by Philip Gallos

When Billy Stang, four days on the road from upstate New York, forsook Interstate 80 for the two-lane at Ogallala and changed his trajectory from west to north, he was looking for failure. He found it twenty miles east of Alliance; but, since failure was his goal, he saw it as success. Read more.

Featured image for “Daffodils”

Daffodils
by Deya Bhattacharya

A great blond vista of daffodils rose before us. They looked like stubble, the 5 P.M. stubble on the great big beard of Father Earth. Spring is here, each of them insisted. I was free. Read more.

Featured image for “The Long Sprint Home”

The Long Sprint Home
by Cory Essey

It had to be nearly midnight by now. James couldn’t see his watch between the pouring rain and darkness, but he knew as he ran to Violet’s house that he was close to breaking his promise. Yet again. Read more.

Featured image for “The Ossian Giant’s Second Interview”

The Ossian Giant’s Second Interview
by Jones DeRitter

Where would you like me to start?
I was born in 1836. I have an older brother, a younger sister, and a younger brother. Another sister passed away very young of the scarlet fever. We were all of us born on the farm that is now Henry’s, over by Ossian Corners. Read more.

Featured image for “Broken Stems”

Broken Stems
by Melissa LaDuc

At eighteen, she had changed her name to Persephone and tattooed a blooming flower with a leafy stem just below her collarbone, above the location of her heart. It was the size of an apple or a pomegranate, which was slightly too big for the location on her slender frame, but she had done it anyway. Read more.

Featured image for “Hedge Apple Wine”

Hedge Apple Wine
by Margaret Spilman

I haven’t had breakfast yet. Ramona said I got up too late. I would have settled for lunch, but it is already past lunch too. There is nothing in the fridge but spoiled onions and a Country Crock tub full of aging pineapple. It hasn’t been cut right so I hurt my teeth on the hard parts. Soft teeth, sensitive. That has always been my main problem, so I’m told. Too sensitive. Read more.

Featured image for “To Forgive”

To Forgive
by Stephen Newton

A driving rain laced with hail pelted the limo’s roof- making conversation difficult, and so provided a sanctuary of silence as the uniformed driver chauffeured the grieving family out of the city to the hillside cemetery.
Sophia’s husband Joe sat next to the driver, although there was more than enough room in the back, where her son Anthony and his wife Mina sat on either side of her, as if she needed to be propped up like some helpless old lady. Read more.

Featured image for “Lost and Found”

Lost and Found
by Jacqueline Owens

Tony saw it out of the corner of his eye, the official white envelope on the mat. He tried the breathing: slow in, pause, slow out, but it was no good. His chest was as tight as a rubber band.
Either he would want to meet Tony or not. And that was out of Tony’s hands. It should have been easy to pick up the letter, read it. Read more.

Featured image for “Do Not Answer”

Do Not Answer
by Naveed Ashraf

I’ve had this feeling that someone has been following me, not always the same person, but it’s as if someone or the other has been tracking me like a shadow, throwing furtive glances at me while trying to remain unnoticed, but all the same I have spotted them. Once, just as I looked back and saw a suspicious looking man, he scurried on to a side street. Today, I am sure, it’s that same man sitting to my right, a few benches away. Read more.

Featured image for “Into Silence”

Into Silence
by Michelle Egan

It was temperate in the sunshine, light fanned from the boughs of tall conifers onto a cream-coloured house, which was once home to a pair of wild cobras, skittling in and out of their hole under its porch. These days, the abbot was the only resident, visited by attendants instead of poisonous snakes. The building itself was unmoving while life grew around it. Read more.

Featured image for “Grown-Ups”

Grown-Ups
by Chiedozie Dike

Most nights, Izie sheds her clothes as soon as she comes home. She’d shut the door behind her, toss her handbag to a corner of the selfcon apartment and unbutton her suit while kicking off her shoes. Tonight she glances at me instead and marches towards the bathroom, swinging her handbag. Read more.

Featured image for “Parents and Children”

Parents and Children
by Linda Heller

The twin sisters are fraternal to the sorrow of Peg, the eldest born just before midnight and therefore on an earlier day than Hillary. Their separate birthdays aren’t what riles her. When they were young, Hillary’s parties coming on the heels of Peg’s were forced reruns, neither child getting the celebration she wanted. The trouble is that Peg actually resembles a peg… Read more.

Featured image for “The Leak”

The Leak
by Norbert Kovacs

The tank had worn thin with rust since no one maintained it and more was stored inside than it was designed to hold. Pressure had built high in the oversized vessel and now a jagged crack opened along its exterior. A purple liquid, the secret ingredient in a successful line of chemical preservatives, oozed from it with a noxious smell and pooled on the linoleum floor. Read more.