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The glimmering surface of things

by Ian Packham

It is Alexandria during Ramadan, a year or so after the Egyptian revolution in 2011 and Mohamed Morsi is president. Political conflict threatens Egypt, but a different kind of trouble looms within a group of expats. Things don’t always glimmer.

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OK Hot Stuff

by Madeline Gressman

Ten middle school students help Jason clean up the mess of his mother’s house. Some scrape cemented egg whites off counters; others pull weeds. A week later, the mother has a clean kitchen and bathroom and a slanted floor to walk upon.

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Salamanca

by Chris Pellizzari

Riding the bus from Granada to Salamanca, Spain, they arrive in pouring rain and run to find shelter. Luckily a taxi pulls up and drives them to the Hostal Plaza Mayor. Jimmy has never met a girl like Vera before. This is his love story.

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The Experience

by Andrew Song

Leaving the convention center, he chastises himself for his “addiction” although he just bought “Dangerous Dosage: Chronicles of Jason Archer,” the VR Experience that landed him on the floor. It was so real. But upon arriving home, he so easily returns to that “world.”

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The Octopus: A Fable

by Tushar Jain

Pariya’s son narrates the times his father turns into an octopus when he feels romantic love. Later, Pariya marries Ammya and things seem normal—except they aren’t. Years later the son learns the truth through a suppressed dream.

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The Shoelace

by Stephen Baily

On the father’s eightieth birthday, he tells his oldest son he wants to celebrate it in a funeral parlor. There are the usual expatiations and songs and food and drink, but alone in the chapel, the father reveals to the son how his mother really died.

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White Dust

by Grant Price

In an inflatable mess tent for refugees, an attendant learns the story of the bearded man who travels from Greece to Macedonia by foot, then to Serbia and eventually to Budapest seeking asylum. Danger arrives and so does white dust.

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Sold: Yellow House on Cooper Hill

by Sydney M. Crago

Falling in love with the yellow house on the hill, she enjoys her own art studio. And visitors: a neighbor with brownies; a young mother with her baby and a fruit basket; Marvin with banana bread; and a young man with a photo and a revelation.

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Family Ties

by Maria Savva

A sixty-five-year-old man holds hostage three children and a twenty-something woman. They have strength in numbers but he threatens and lies. They are now the family he never had. He is husband to the oldest, Dad to the children. His family ties.

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Newberry

by Chaya Bhuvaneswar

On the staid street in Boston, Vinita manages a manicure business for her cool boss Leo while he’s on a short vacation. But Vinita makes plans, and they have nothing to do with staying where she is.

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Junk Mail

by Aaron Heil

Aaron J. Heil’s story steps ever so sensitively into the marriage of Justin and Renee, which is complicated by a family wedding, a misunderstanding, and a junk mail offer for on-demand weather.

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Photographing Dreams

by Robert Hilles

In the tender love story by Robert Hilles, Scott sees his wife Cheryl holding his six-month-old daughter Denise, reminding him of the dream he had earlier that morning. It was the happiest he had ever been.

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The Redness of the Setting Sun

by Daniel Bartkowiak

Daniel Bartkowiak knows how to make a sentence glide and dialogue slip into your mental sphere in a most understated way: “We have to go soon.” “Better start drinking then.” And this story is not quite what it seems.

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The Foundering

by Tim Rico

In the Gothic horror tradition of Edgar Allan Poe and E.T.A. Hoffman, Tim Rico brings us a gripping tale of a purloined galleon, a grotesque prisoner, and a shipwreck in “The Foundering.” The ending satisfies horror expectations.

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Half As Good

by Stela Dujakovic

Stela Dujakovic meets men and draws them as characters in fictional realms, sometimes several into one in “Half As Good.” The story explores the tension between reality and imagination.

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A Boy Who Was an Orca

by rainteller

“A Boy Who Was an Orca” is one of those stories that come along every once in a while to upend one’s notion of perception and intuition. By rainteller, it is mystical, spiritual, and transcendent.

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San Carlos

by Michael Chapey

Michael Chapey’s uplifting story is about a dad who ruined his iPhone in the pool and is generously helped by an Apple “genius.” The name of the Apple genius? Carlos.

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