August 26, 2021

“Tiny Shredded Pieces,” A Story by Unimke Ushie

“Tiny Shredded Pieces,” A Story by Unimke Ushie

When my husband told me his mother was visiting London after our wedding in Nigeria when we last saw her, I remembered her not so soft hands tapping my buttocks, touching my breast and every crease around its plumpness, and saying –with a smile that did not wrinkle the skin around her eyes– “nwunye anyi, our wife, I’m just checking if your breasts have enough to support my unborn grandchildren.” I had a bland look on my face when she touched me, that is somehow the same now listening to my husband tell me of her coming to London. And soon I felt something I cannot see or name entering my body, and a damp wetness between my legs. “I’ll finally eat good food” he added. Avoiding my face. “Oh, Chikelu you know cooking is…

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August 15, 2021

“Sandy Ajax, We Hardly Knew You,” by James Hanna

“Sandy Ajax, We Hardly Knew You,” by James Hanna

The World Baseball League was born in the sixties in our suburban home in Virginia.  My kid brother and I invented it on a sweltering Fourth of July. It was a heroic invention—a vehicle by which two nerdy kids might share the aura of champions. Armed with dice, meticulously drawn charts, and a cardboard baseball diamond, Robbie and I commanded the destinies of twenty baseball teams. We played daily throughout the long hot summers—up to six games a day—and we tweaked team standings and player averages after every game. So absorbed were we in horsehide heroics that we rendered the summers neither long nor hot.      Our rosters consisted of four hundred individual players each represented by a 2” by 2” square of cardboard. Batting averages, fielding percentages, slugging potential, and base- running speed were recorded on each of these squares along…

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July 30, 2021

“BugSplat,” A Short Story by Karen Lethlean

“BugSplat,” A Short Story by Karen Lethlean

So boring. No one her age. Already run out of books. Less to do than being at home. Sandra felt her feet get heavy in loose beach sand as she tried to dispel inertia by taking a walk. “Get out and find something you enjoy. Nature is therapeutic you know.” Why the hell did her mum think therapy was required? Strange how once upon a time she and her father wandered along these same beaches, christened these walks Morning Explorations and set the task of finding The Most Terrible Thing washed up overnight. Now Sandra stared out at water, twisting her hair or shooting an imaginary gun at squawking gulls. Couldn’t even get much of a signal on her phone. Limited people about. Not even any good waves to attract surfers. Cute blonde boys she…

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July 12, 2021

“A Walk in the Woods,” A Short Story by Robert Perron

“A Walk in the Woods,” A Short Story by Robert Perron

Johnny knocked at the kitchen door, side of the house, just like when he and Mike were kids. But this fall day they were thirty and Johnny wore his deputy sheriff’s uniform, olive jacket over beige shirt, a badge on his left breast. In the driveway, his Department of Corrections sedan. Mike turned the inside knob and pulled open the glass-paned wooden door. “Should I put on a pot?” he said, lips crinkling to a smirk, knowing the visit wasn’t social, certain it had to do with his soon-to-be ex-wife. Every day papers in the mail, his lawyer, her lawyer, the town, the state, the county. Now a visit from the sheriff’s department. Mike’s parents’ kitchen of faded linoleum, paneled cupboards, and fixtures from the forties centered on a square, wooden table with four chairs….

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June 24, 2021

“Who Must Be Fed,” by Julian Warmington

“Who Must Be Fed,” by Julian Warmington

It took only a moment for her hunger to overwhelm her. In place of her contented satiation, there was a desire to feed that now burned inside of her, familiar yet new. It ached, burning inside. Instinct overrode any logic lingering in her mind. She needed to feed. She already knew that the usual fruits and nectars wouldn’t satisfy this craving. There was something more she needed, something vital and warm that would complete her. This was what she had been born to one day consume, and she was ready. With a flutter of her gossamer wings, she leaped into the air in search of the nourishment she craved. She flew for some time, her mind singly focused on seeking. It wasn’t long before she picked up the smell of a source. The sweet, heady…

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June 10, 2021

“Dottie,” A Short Story by Kerry Breen

“Dottie,” A Short Story by Kerry Breen

Dottie looked past her reflection in the bathroom mirror to the metallic petals outlining her slight frame. She’d found the vinyl-coated wallpaper in W.T. Grants on Washington Street that Wednesday and had spent half of Thursday hanging it. Looking back to the mirror, she folded the final curler into her hair and snapped it shut. She then began her nightly routine of wrapping toilet paper around the circumference of her head to keep her cropped, platinum hair smooth around each bubblegum pink foam roller. She had thought the yellow and orange flowers traced in gold were just the springy boost the tiny bath needed, but now she wasn’t sure. “George? Hey, George?” she called into the hallway. “Yes, dear,” George replied, stealthily dipping his left hand into the candy dish on the kitchen counter.  …

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May 27, 2021

“Never Never Land,” by Michael Summerleigh

“Never Never Land,” by Michael Summerleigh

At some point in the evening he turned around and realised he was somewhere he’d never been before; that he couldn’t remember any of the people with whom he’d been in that wherever it was he thought he had been before ending up where he was. What it boiled down to was that he was alone, when at some point in the near past it had been otherwise . . . and now he was lost . . . which had not always been the case in that same shifty construct of reality he had assumed was his normal everyday life. Mostly he stayed on top of things.  What frightened him was that it was, nevertheless, familiar; that the sudden crushing weight of what-the-fuck was not new; that he had been there in the Nowhere a thousand times since the day/night/whatever when Timothy Thomas Garmin had woken up screaming because in…

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May 18, 2021

“The Mailman,” A Short Story by Rachel Laverdiere

“The Mailman,” A Short Story by Rachel Laverdiere

You gave me quite the fright! But I did say any time, and I meant it. Yes, yes, come in, come in! Leave your boots on the mat and let me take your coat. Funny, the only person ringing my bell these days is the mailman! Highlight of my day’s the sound of the utility bills dropping through my mail slot. Doesn’t hurt that he’s got spectacular calves, if you know what I mean! All summer long, he wore his shorts uniform—weee-oooo! Just between you and me, I’ve been having fantasies ever since. Now, when the doorbell goes, I’ve gotta catch my breath before I open the door.   To be completely honest, it’s a relief you’ve popped by—I was just numbing the old brain with some Netflix, trying to keep my nose clean. I know I’ve mentioned my pledge to sobriety at our Saturday morning staff meetings, but I had a feeling I should put a bottle of white in the fridge. Every once in a while, a girl’s gotta let her hair down, right? Let’s just keep this whole Desiree’s-got-wine-chilling-in-the-fridge thing between the two of us. One teensy glass won’t send me tumbling too far from the wagon! After all, Barney’s…

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May 10, 2021

“Demon Road,” A Short Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

“Demon Road,” A Short Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

I lived in a castle made of mud. Solid enough to make you feel caged. Light barely escaped the brown warped walls. The house had so many ancestors pass away inside, that layers of its spirit fought each other seasonally. I was doomed.  I believe it was late autumn when my stomach’s emptiness corresponded with my heart. After fifty-five days in solitude, the hunger monster devoured me. Food was to be acquired. There used to be another person to handle these things during the summer.  However, the sunlight tempted her to search for buried treasure in the cityscape. She thought there were buildings, roads, and regular life beyond the mountains, past the desert plain. All things inside the dome. I located the area map before she did and destroyed it. I thought about her wandering hopelessly every night. Helped me sleep.  The gun seemed to gain ten pounds since the last time I…

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April 18, 2021

“Rat Road,” A Short Story by Paul Negri

“Rat Road,” A Short Story by Paul Negri

Because I had no father, no brothers or sisters, no aunts or uncles, and no friends, and was scared of everything, Mom was worried about me.   “I’m worried about you, Tommy,” she would say, and she looked it. And that worried me. She was all I had, my lifeline, and even at nine I knew a frayed rope was not the best lifeline, though I did not think of it in such fancy metaphoric terms, as being a child I had no need for metaphors. What I knew was instinctive, a heightened sense of risk that permeated my day to day and night to night life.   Like me, Mom’s father left before she was born and her mother (who I later came to call the Unknown Grandma) gave Mom up for adoption, which launched her into a carousel of foster care for several years. But unlike me, Mom was not afraid of anything, as far as I could tell, and I imagined she never had been.  …

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