May 5, 2019

“The Lighthouse,” A Short Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

“The Lighthouse,” A Short Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

Featured Image Photo Credit: Wikipedia. West Quoddy Head, in Quoddy Head State Park, Lubec, Maine, is the easternmost point of the contiguous United States.  A clump of snow slid from the plunging power lines and splattered atop the coffin. Utility poles leaned on both sides of the road. When Maverick looked up, the empty white sky was blocked by rubber cables. For miles ahead, the snow sparkled untouched. No tracks, nor footprints, completely uncharted. Behind Maverick and Goose were two sets of footprints and sled marks. Thick rope was cutting into their shoulders, dragging the wooden tomb. Its imprints creased the burly coats they’d been wearing for two months. Goose pulled down his wool scarf. The first exhale billowed into a cloud of frost. His nose was beet red, poking out from a black garden of unkempt facial hair,…

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April 12, 2019

James Croal Jackson’s Slice-of-Life Poetry

James Croal Jackson’s Slice-of-Life Poetry

A Note on Jealousy When I ran into Heather at Union and said hello Jennifer asked who’s Heather with smoke alarm eyes I said a friend I meant it jealousy is the kind of thing that puts teeth in a line of vision I was jealous of your Emi too sometimes one must chomp the string one time I believed I could love without caring about the past but stones settled along the path can still be pushed by gusts under a sky wherein there is no ceiling or ending except for the vastness of our longing in space Terminated Rip the last life-supporting limb off the tree; no money grows here now, no more sustaining green   glints the grass, just faces of dead men we don’t know preside over lives with a capital…

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April 10, 2019

“Eye Contact” Part II

“Eye Contact” Part II

By Ann Davis Editor’s note: Here is Part II of Ann Davis’ experimental fiction, guaranteed to open your eyes. The featured image, “Collapse of the Mind,” is courtesy Steve Sangapore, our Fine Arts Baristas. But . . . before you begin reading, listen: Morris could not remember the last morning the sunlight had looked so golden, or when he had had such a refreshing sleep. Woke up entirely on his own too, before his alarm even, a whole hour before he usually did. Especially surprising was that he felt perfectly awake, with no urge to lie back down whatsoever. Must be from his long nap during the insertion the other day. Oh yes, the insertion! Suddenly driven by an urge to check the mirror, Morris darted out of bed and straight for the looking glass…

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April 9, 2019

“Eye Contact” by Ann Davis

“Eye Contact” by Ann Davis

Editor’s note: We met Ann Davis at a writers conference in December, 2018. She wanted to know more about the Fictional Cafe and then told us the writer’s lament: her hard drive had crashed and she’d lost all her writing. Well, a year passes and we’re back at the same writing conference again when Ann walks up to the Fictional Cafe booth with a two-inch stack of printout in her hands. She had recovered her work! We told her we were entertaining manuscripts that were a little, ah, different for 2019, and she tugged this one out from her stack. We read it, liked it, and accepted it. Of course it had to go through the submissions process as a Word file, but here it is. We’re calling it “experimental fiction.” Due to its length…

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April 3, 2019

“Chronicles of Cambodia”

“Chronicles of Cambodia”

Creative Nonfiction by Vlad Linder Translated from the Russian by Marika Marina One can travel in different ways: observe the surroundings comfortably through a car window, or blend into the local people’s lives, experiencing and going through their pain and joy, troubles and concerns, just as the author of ‘The Chronicles of Cambodia” did. Vlad Linder describes in detail his journey to the land of The Khmer Rouge, which took place in April 2012 . . .. Part I A week after my arrival in Sihanoukville, I was rather tired of the predictable life of a settled tourist. Staying at a snug little house right on the shore of the Gulf of Siam, I kept feeling I was looking at the world through a well-polished, barely visible glass. I set off to a place, where…

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March 31, 2019

“A Mayan Love”

“A Mayan Love”

A Novel in Ten 140-Word Tweets by John Gantz We’ve intentionally chosen today, April First – AKA All Fool’s Day – to publish this wise, witty, sex-and-death novel. We leave it to you to discern exactly what this Mayan love story means. You may want to re-read it a few times. Oh, and figure out why we’re publishing it today. 1. The body lay at his feet, desiccated, looking up. He nudged it. Another one, he mumbled. Time is short. 2.  What is it she asked, hookah smoke curling around her head? ’’’Nother roach. I thought they could survive an A-bomb.” 3. TS Elliot was wrong. It wouldn’t end with a whimper, OR a bang, but a cloud, a cloud of alien germs bathing the earth. 4.  Come here, she said, opening her blouse. He…

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March 28, 2019

Tributes to Heritage: Preeti Shah’s Poetry

Tributes to Heritage: Preeti Shah’s Poetry

Mother Hindustan In the years that you have been inked into a map, laid down, unraveled, all corners of you outstretched,  with man who has always crossed at your borders, you have sung the songs and poems of martyrs. But will another song ever be sung? Your tongue was made of the lakes from the Kashmir Valley. You still hold it still. Even as your children suckle from you, bite down, swallow blood, when they  fear the milk will stop flowing.  You still hold your tongue still.   All of your children were born under the  mountains of your body and the stars from your eyes.  All of your children fell asleep to the coolness of your  breath. But forgot its sweet lullaby.  But, none ever forget the sounds of burning flesh.     They…

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March 26, 2019

“Secret Shepherd” – A Novel Excerpt, Part 2

“Secret Shepherd” – A Novel Excerpt, Part 2

By James Osborne Editor’s Note: Yesterday, we published Part I of this two-part excerpt. If you haven’t read it, you can scroll back on the home page slider to read it. When they arrived at the school, the three national elders were waiting. With them were Namusat’s current chief and the local council, and another local elder. When everyone was introduced and seated, Chief John Boisvert turned to Paul and said brusquely, “Why have you come?” Paul heard a sharp edge in Chief Boisvert’s voice, but he could see his eyes were not angry or aggressive. They bore a look of elegance and kindness… and much sadness. “I have not come with handouts nor have I come with any promises,” Paul replied. “I came to listen, perhaps to learn from you, and with your help…

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March 25, 2019

“Secret Shepherd” – A Novel Excerpt

“Secret Shepherd” – A Novel Excerpt

By James Osborne Editor’s Note: Due to the length of this excerpt from James Osborne’s new novel, we are presenting it in two parts, today and tomorrow. Namusat, Quebec, Canada November 1994 “Another two just last night!” Dan Stonechild said, his voice breaking. “That’s four suicides here in three weeks, Paul. Oh my… four! Four little kids!” Paul Winston embraced his friend awkwardly. Both wore knee-length parkas against the 30 below zero cold, their hands thrust deep in double-layered mittens, their feet clad in fur mukluks. Paul had just arrived on a chartered plane in the remote First Nations community of Namusat in northern Canada, after a long flight from his ranch near Colorado Springs, Co. As they walked toward the tiny village, Paul could see Dan was struggling with his composure. “Are you sure…

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March 18, 2019

“Never Odd or Even”

“Never Odd or Even”

A New Short-Short Fiction by Janelle Hardacre Editor’s Note: Ever wonder what goes through the mind of a fish and chips cook? Wonder no more. ** I collect things to tell her. Did you know that ‘never odd or even’ is the same backwards and forwards? I think she’d like that. Some of the things in the collection are white lies; like that her mam didn’t wanna see me anymore because I could never get the grease stink out. It’s getting busier. I slide the slice under the fish, check that the batter isn’t burning, then pull across the Perspex door. The hiss of the fryer blocks out the small talk of the server lasses. Every time I go to shake the chip baskets I see her name in flicky writing on my arm, so…

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