Mutla Ridge by Martin Rosenstock

He lowered the window an inch and the dry air now flowed past his temple. Though he had arrived in Kuwait five days ago, he was still feeling some jetlag edginess. The road stretched out flat and straight. Nature here had the color of an oatmeal cookie, most houses too. Some were a bit lighter in color, like an oatmeal cookie bleached in the sun. They formed an unbroken line right off the freeway, three-story facades with columns and small, frequently shuttered windows. None of this had been here back then. The country had come some way since Mr Sodamn Insane’s drubbing.

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Why Demigods Roam Alone by Tom Sheehan

What a silent, legless kick in the chest! A dead man afoot.

Here came a man I thought long dead, half smiling, book-laden, walking out of the library, not casually, not the least, but the way certain men leave libraries, loaded with surprise, excitement, a hope for new intelligence. Short of handsome he was, but rugged-looking for an older guy, a sense of confidence moving afoot. I thought, a man knowing what he wants and has his hands on it. In each arm nestled a clutch of books; rugged wrists and hands gripping the books tightly, his poplin jacket sleeves taut as ropes.

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The Bee by Rebecca Moretti

It was early but the sun was already strong and high. In the distance, the road was shiny and sweaty as it curved between the red ground. It was going to be a hot day. In the East, the sun cast a hazy film over the hills. Lachman sat in the sultry shade of an olive tree as a single bee buzzed loudly and persistently around his head. He’d always found that bees were particularly drawn to him. Perhaps they knew how to spot a criminal.

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The Dream-Dresser by S. A. Leavesley

What the hell was she going to do? Claudia interrogated herself as she turned from the current strangeness of her reflection in the mirror to inspect her feelings. They were…she didn’t know how to describe them. Unsettled and unsettling? For the first time in twenty-five years, she scowled. Not only did she scowl, but her lips didn’t then pull automatically into a copycat expression of the person she’d last been with. The scowl didn’t feel right though, any more than her usual shape-shifting smile did. Or the unusual summer slacks and T-shirt she was wearing.

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