February 16, 2021

“Soliloquy in Blue,” A Short Story by Johan Alexander

“Soliloquy in Blue,” A Short Story by Johan Alexander

Did she say something?  Did I say something?   Her brow illuminates under the streetlights and pulses with the beat of the windshield wipers. She won’t look at me: her eyes flash sequins at the sidewalk. Droplets floating, floating: translucent globes hanging in space. Then they burst apart.   She shakes her hair and I can no longer see her eyes.   Rain: I yawn through the misty rhythm. My eyes close continuously. Headlights and streetlights mix in the distance and through the murk I wonder when things started to go off course.  We had danced together, squeezing particles of music from our sweatshirts. Then we ate at the Greasy Spoon, where she said it.   The air between us is a stale sponge unable to soak up all these discarded feelings. Damp inside the car and heavy on my eyelids. I try to blink.   The tires below us slime their way through the night.  She sits in the passenger seat, staring straight ahead.   What`s the point?  She glances over, a quick reflex of her neck, surprised. I realize I have mumbled my thoughts aloud. Beads of sweat wander across my hairline. I keep my face forward.   She turns away. Again.  I roll down my window an inch. I open my mouth. A few raindrops land on my tongue. …

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February 11, 2021

“Walking to Rhode Island,” A Story by Stephen Brayton

“Walking to Rhode Island,” A Story by Stephen Brayton

The call came in just after 1 a.m.  “Hey, I got a question for you,” the male voice said. “Am I right that it’s not OK to walk to Rhode Island on Route 1?” O’Connell on dispatch managed to get out “What?” before the guy continued. “Walking on Route 1 .. I didn’t think it was allowed and just wanted to check.”  The voice sounded semi-sober; O’Connell had heard plenty worse. But sober or not, who would think of walking to Rhode Island on Route 1, aka Boston-Providence Highway? A four-lane divided highway lined with shopping malls, office buildings and car dealers. It had to be at least 30 miles to the Rhode Island line. Sure, there were stretches in Grenville with sidewalks; but had he ever seen anyone on them? And going south through Norwood, Walpole . . . Sidewalks?  He had no idea. Still, the guy had asked.  “Well, I don’t know there’s any law against it,” answered O’Connell. “Why are you headed to Rhode Island?  Kind…

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February 3, 2021

“Requiem of a Thursday,” by Luca Agostini

“Requiem of a Thursday,” by Luca Agostini

Steffan looks up at me, a cone of light following his gaze. He is wearing a miner’s headlamp and I can’t shield my eyes in time. I have already drunk too much and the Ketamine is starting to kick in. The music thudding from behind the closed door of the narrow bathroom seems that much further, dripping through the concrete walls of the 1960s East Berlin Platte where the party is. I rub my eyes, the cone of light still fixed on me. Is it gone? Yes, the cone has moved. I am relieved as Steffan’s earnest, slanted face looks up at me as if emerging from the black depths of an ocean, his face ghostly and shimmering in the light. I want to lean forward, to break the surface of the blackness around him, but I…

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January 18, 2021

“The Interruption,” A Short Story by Jason Powell

“The Interruption,” A Short Story by Jason Powell

Each time is the same as before, but each time feels new. He and Grace hold hands in the hallway and stare at Destiny through the streakless glass. Grace chose the name and to see it written on that little plastic band in official type makes her happy. And why shouldn’t she be? The delivery went great. Destiny is perfect.  Everything is perfect. Well, maybe not “perfect.” It’s true, Destiny was unplanned. True, he and Grace don’t have their own place to bring her home to. True Grace’s parents are actively unsupportive of their child and her teenage boyfriend bringing another child into the world. But none of that matters. Grace and Destiny are happy and healthy. That’s what matters. This moment matters. He wishes he could slow time down and stay in this moment…

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January 6, 2021

“The Witness” A Short Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

“The Witness” A Short Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

I spent the entire day in bed staring at the white ceiling. If you stare at it long enough, it begins to sweat. Mother always said I was an “overthinker.” When she remembered me, before Alzheimer’s. Before the inevitable change where we all wither. I never believed it until now.  I scrolled through my phone searching for the app that controls my life. Since my remote’s been lost in the abyss of my apartment, I needed it to tune in and tune out. It was an ungodly hour. I could tell from the pulsating tangerine glow of the streetlights on my white curtain blinds. During particular times in the night, they malfunctioned. I used to think microscopic cameras were inside snapping pictures of me. Aliens sending morse code. Or, that I was subconsciously controlling it with my mind, trying to send myself a message from within. A myriad of paranoid fantasies. I take pills now. I’m better now. I don’t think as much. …

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December 31, 2020

Derrick R. Lafayette Is Our First Writer-in-Residence

Derrick R. Lafayette Is Our First Writer-in-Residence

Announcing the newest position on The Fictional Café: the Writer-in-Residence. Our Editorial Team has awarded this role to longtime FC contributor Derrick R. Lafayette. Following a wonderful year of our first Poet-in-Residence, awarded to Mbizo Chirasha, we decided to expand upon this idea by adding a prose writer. Each Residency lasts two years. This staggering allows our members to greet a new face each year and allows us two full years of sharing each Resident’s work. As our Writer-in-Residence for 2021-2022, we will be publishing some of Derrick’s short stories, novel excerpts and perhaps some essays as well. He’s been featured on our site several times over the last three years. Each time, we’ve been impressed by his growth as well as his ability to create engrossing tales using both unique storylines and moments from…

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December 29, 2020

“Prince of Satan,” A Short Story by Mbizo Chirasha

“Prince of Satan,” A Short Story by Mbizo Chirasha

A solitary baboon barked throughout the night. The barking sound was the stitch between silence and darkness. Dogs never barked to anything. Owls were ironically trapped in their dark nests. Dawn arrived unexpectedly. My father coughed from the pit of his lungs. My skin tightened because his cough was deep. His incessant loud snores disturbed the silence. Fingers of the sun soon filtered into my torn blanket. Intense heat pricked my whip-lashed back. I felt an irritating pain inside me. I sneaked out of my night trap with a bold start and peeped into the real world through the crevices of my rondavel. I couldn’t believe my innocent eyes. Just outside, next to river, stray dogs whined and snarled amid a leisurely sexual act. I made an embarrassed laughter. They danced in their act as…

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December 27, 2020

“Pirate Ayanna and the Seagulls,” by KJ Hannah Greenberg

“Pirate Ayanna and the Seagulls,” by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Ayanna, who was already an old salt, licked her right paw. The Curse of the Abandoned Scallywags had visited her. She next licked her left paw and then looked across the boat to the crow’s nest on the mainmast. If only she had believed Cook, she might not be limping.  He had warned the crew, after they had dragged him out of the sea, about the curse. More exactly, he had scolded them, while he shook water out of his fur, heedless of who was standing nearby, that blaspheming another soul would bring retribution in the form of conveyance. More explicitly, as he had sucked down the first mug of rum given to him, Cook had declared that whoever spoke words of affliction, upon the furry head of another, would cause their merits to relocate to that other feline and would cause that other feline’s woes to transfer to them.  At the time, the assembled cats had laughed and had patted Cook on the back, all the while suggesting that his brain was as waterlogged as was his coat. After refilling his mug and throwing a blanket to him, they had returned to their duties. None had paid full attention to his jabbering. …

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December 17, 2020

“Squid Eyes,” A Short Story by Lisa Sita

“Squid Eyes,” A Short Story by Lisa Sita

Every time Amanda cried black ink, people thought it was her mascara running. Sometimes a concerned fellow female, in trying to be helpful, would recommend that she try a waterproof variety, since there were so many on the market and were actually quite effective at preventing embarrassing smudges. She always tried to explain after politely thanking these women that she was not wearing any makeup, but they never seemed to believe her.  Amanda’s parents first noticed the color of their daughter’s tears when she came slipping and sliding out of the womb at Lenox Hill Hospital one early winter morning. As soon as the cord was cut, little Amanda’s eyes spouted like tiny oil wells that ran and dribbled into the creases of her new baby flesh. The doctor who delivered her and others who were consulted could find no reason for it. Thinking first that the black tears…

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November 25, 2020

“Nothing Against Ms. Johnson, But . . .” by Patricia Callahan

“Nothing Against Ms. Johnson, But . . .” by Patricia Callahan

Nothing against Ms. Johnson, but when she read aloud to us, her head wobbled on her long neck. And she licked her thumb to turn pages. Nobody ever checked out a book she had read aloud during Library Hour.  The day she tried to read us The Mouse and the Motorcycle, her thumb had just smudged page one when Evan stood on a library stool and threw the recess kickball at her. It smacked her in the face. The chapter book dropped to the floor, its pages fanning out before us as Ms. Johnson let out a high “Oh!” of surprise. Then a smaller “Oh.” Of realization. She brought her knuckles to her nose. Nobody breathed. “Tissue,” she said through her hand, and brought her other hand to the blotch of pink swelling on her cheek. “Please.” The kickball, bumping across the carpet, tapped against the picture books lining a bottom shelf and dribbled to a stop. Then Evan wound up and toe-balled…

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