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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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Clomid Dreams

by Susanne Lee

She shifts to her side. On her thighs are tiny marks, the size of pinpricks, her battle scars. Faded but still visible are the blue Xs on her ass that her husband Steve draws with a blue marker he uses as a guide for the hypodermic he uses to give her the injection with. According to schedule, he fills her with the cocktail and afterward, full of medication that is supposed to make her ovulate, it begins. That night like all the others these days, with the invading chemicals swimming in her, she suffers psychedelic Clomid dreams.

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The Missing Girl

by Vanessa Christie

“Dad,” someone was saying. “Dad. DAD!”
And now poking, he noted.
“Yeah. OK,” he said, lifting his head from his arms.
“This place is disgusting,” his daughter told him.
“Well, daughter mine,” James muttered. “Of all the gin joints you could have found me in … at least this is a gin joint.”

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Toshihiro’s Last Part

by Ilia Ryzhenko

Toshihiro arrived at the Osakako station fifteen minutes earlier than planned. As he left the subway, he realised the sun had already set while he was underground, making him feel as if he travelled to a place more distant.

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Rabbit’s Den

by Drew Mortier

I don’t remember if this was before or after the fumigator accidentally lit our house on fire in 2002, which turned out to be sort of a mixed bag in the long run, but I have this picture in my head where Bunny is running toward me down a hallway and then she’s in my arms,

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Hebrew for the Sabbath Day

by Sharon Forman

Malawach, the bubbly Yemenite pancake bread oozing with meat and vegetables, bloated the teachers’ American bellies, as the tour bus spirited them away from the trendy restaurant to the terraced sidewalks of Jerusalem’s Tayelet.

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Even Robots Screw Up

by Caroline Taylor

The plan was simple, the execution a bit tricky, but I was ready. Man, was I ready. Or maybe I was tired of trying to figure out what might go wrong. I just wanted to get going. We’d certainly spent enough time puzzling over the damn details.

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