All Stories, General Fiction

Sweet Tea by Radhika Kapoor

Karan came to visit them once, Meera and her husband, soon after the wedding. She had cracked open the door with quiet trepidation, for he had told only her he was coming. Even after having seen innumerable pictures of him in her husband’s old, milky photo albums, she was unprepared for his beauty, and, for a moment, she cupped her cheek in astonishment as she gazed at him. She was wearing her favorite patterned frock and trousers, and knew she looked pleasant. To her, his eyes were pools of chocolate kindness, his voice lilting. She couldn’t possibly imagine how her husband had given him up – a younger, even lovelier, even more unsettling iteration of him. He folded his slender hands in greeting; she slowly unlatched the door and led him inside, feeling the corners of her vision contract to focus on Karan.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Echoes by Yash Seyedbagheri 

Each night, he sprinkles an array of lanterns across the front yard. Arranges the lawn chairs, so there’s ample distance between each, but so they’re still close enough to create a shapely formation. He sets out little plastic tables in between each.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Summer and Sweet Peas by Oso Jones

He places the cloth bag carefully on the kitchen table; Formica, worn and chipped. She had trained him in in the use of cloth bags. You would have thought the simple act of remembering to take a cloth bag to the shops was a panacea against climate change. More like a superstitious tick, like genuflecting at church or throwing salt over your shoulder. Something to make you feel like you are warding off an even greater calamity when the real damage has already been done. He unpacks the bag carefully: a hammer, a hatchet, some rope, an apple. The apple was impulsive, they looked fresh. Crisp and juicy. He tells himself he must eat it soon. He has his own superstitions and the longer an apple is the house the more he suspects that it is mealy. Many a good apple has gone to waste because he couldn’t shake the feeling it was imperfect in a sickening, unnameable way. Of course, you can never tell with apples, not until you take a bite, but he could never bring himself to take that risk.

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Literally Reruns, Short Fiction

Literally Reruns – The Hangings by James Hanna

There are all types of world gone wrong pieces in the LS vault. Simply, we find Dystopia much more interesting than Utopia; same goes for Hell and Heaven. Perhaps it is indicative of the human species that we are much better at imagining pain than we are happiness.

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All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

347: Mental Scar Tissue, Curtain Calls and Scares A to Z

I recently recalled a cherished Halloween memory from my childhood: I was in the living room watching a Casper the Friendly Ghost Halloween special on TV the Saturday morning prior to the big day. My monumentally hung over grandfather just came out of the kitchen, a glass of what surely held only healthy tomato juice in his unsteady hand. A great question had formed in my mind.

“Grandpa, how did Casper die?”

“He asked the wrong people a lot of stupid questions.”

By now it must be obvious that I have seized upon Halloween as the inspiration for this post. Since the Nobel prize for literature has already been passed out, I see no reason to introduce revolutionary literary techniques or topics until the next voting cycle begins.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Dying for a Laugh by David Rudd

‘Eric Morecambe, Tommy Cooper, Sid James.’ I read the names off the notepad sitting on the table in front of Harry Oakes. It was a bit cheeky, but here he was, sitting on his own in the pub. I’d discovered him while making my way to the loo, abandoning a bunch of bright young things gathered on the other side of the room. Their testosterone had been overpowering.   We had come together for a conference entitled ‘Alternative Comedy through the Ages’, which had been officially opened earlier that evening. We’d had our Cava reception then listened to the opening keynote before dispersing, ready for tomorrow’s full day. The speaker was an American professor, an expert on the psychology of humour, who argued that all humour was, by its nature, ‘alternative’.   

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All Stories, General Fiction

Ghosting By Tom Koperwas

Eddy Cutmore grinned as he placed the large black briefcase containing the bioweapon next to the channel of water flowing into the city’s underground reservoir. Depressing the green button on the side of the briefcase, he linked it with the other bioweapons he’d hidden close to the city’s vital ventilation and water sources. All that was left was to activate the trigger and release the plethora of pathogens. He leaned forward and put his finger on the switch.

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General Fiction, Short Fiction

 The Quiet, Empty Bedrooms of Saugus by Tom Sheehan 

                         

As all of earth once growled and gnarled its way to an instant conflagration, a calamitous roar, all its gears beginning to shift, in the near-middle of the last century, Saugus, Massachusetts, a small town just north of Boston, started to empty its bedrooms… the ones in the attic, in the space out over the garage, third floor second door on the left, the bedrooms facing on the pond or the cemetery or those looking broadly down on the wide marshes or quickly down on quiet Cliftondale Square. The bedrooms where boys cruised into manhood, almost overnight at that.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Looking At Women by Yashar Seyedbagheri

My father, long-divorced, proclaims the joys of fucking women. Not making love. Not sexual intimacy, even. Fucking. He prowls dating sites, beady black eyes assessing thin-figured women with names like Irina, Tatiana, Sandra, Svetlana, Lara. Of course, they’re not only thin figured but voluptuous. He’s always kept abreast of that.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Humour

Escaping the Good Old Days by Mark Russo

Betty sat on a 2B pencil as if on a bench, her high heels hooked against a dip nib pen that lay at the base of an inkwell. Elbows on her knees and chin cupped in her palms she stared at a black smudge smeared across an eight-and-a-half by eleven sheet of white paper tacked to a drafting board. She followed its diagonal downward path onto the desktop until it ended at her feet.

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