Through Amazed Eyes by Leila Allison

It’s three feet farther to hell from New Town Bridge. The city recently installed an eighteen-inch “safety” extension to the pedestrian rail. Since it opened in 1978, at least twenty persons have jumped off the ugly gray span and found death waiting two-hundred feet below in the beckoning Philo Bay Narrows. Northern seas swiftly kill the pain; and when that comforting certainty outweighs the threat of damnation, I don’t see another foot and a half up, and down, getting in the way.

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An Engagement by Michael Hyde   

The scene is set on the top floor of an old greystone apartment in Chicago’s North Side, the windows of which look out to a black Lake Michigan. Two plates sit on a pub table. One is cleaned and on the other half a pasta portion remains. The diners have taken the wine to the couch, where they are presently reposed; John with his feet up on the coffee table, Lauren with her legs across his lap, her head on a pillow on the far side. Sinatra plays faintly from a speaker, about the same volume as the crackling fire across them. John reads and Lauren thinks. But then….

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The Tale of Thomas O’Clery by Jessica Powers

There is no such thing as mundane disbelief on the wretched, glittering streets of New Orleans. No doubt lives among the connoisseurs of gin and light. No hesitation hides behind distorted Mardi Gras masks, only creatures moving lithely through the crowd of wayward travelers. The city breathes in a cacophony of sound. Even the steel factory rattles distantly, like a drum beat. Yet, as Thomas O’Clery stood in the braking trolley car, inhaling the piss and bourbon stench of the city, he felt only a cold numbness. Neither the driverless carriages, or the preternatural weight of hot summer jazz, like a voodoo queen’s curse, could frighten or arouse him. Not anymore.

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