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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Sophia’s Shoes by Lisa Gaultier

Gaultier, LisaSophia only owns one pair of shoes. They’re cute, chubby heels, short enough that she can walk all day long relatively painlessly. They’re black, varnished, the kind that attract no attention whatsoever, so it would take you a while to notice. If you meet her in the summer, and you start hanging out, say you take her on a date to the beach, you might notice then, because you’re wearing flip flops (which isn’t a great idea on a first date, your toes aren’t that nice) and she’s stumbling in the sand, tripping, looking quite stupid. It’s alright though because she almost falls and you catch her in your arms like a princess and you both laugh and blush, you say why don’t you take off your shoes and she does, a little self-consciously. Now you feel a little less stupid about your flip flops even if they keep going flip flop. She tells you about being a vet and her scratch and sniff sticker collection, about how in college she auditioned for The Voice but didn’t get picked. By the end of the day you’ve had so much fun her shoes got lost somewhere and you didn’t realise it. You laugh it off and carry her from the beach to the Uber and from the Uber to her apartment, it’s lovely and romantic, you kiss her goodbye and you feel giddy, excited, you think about it at night, but Sophia has no shoes and she’s wondering how she’ll get to work tomorrow.

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The Metal Box by Tom Sheehan

It was so damn petty that not one person in the entire family really knew how or where or when the rift began. It was there just as suddenly as the January thaw, being felt, being known, but still in all somewhat unbelievable. And every one of us, to the last thinking one of us, looked to Grandfather John Templemore to perform the cure, re-forge family ties, focus attention to proper matters. Hadn’t that man accomplished, so many times, the near impossible? The wizened little man with the piercing blue eyes that could accost you or lay balm on your wounds. The white-bearded sage who reveled in poetry and masters of the language. The articulate stone mason, his trowel now put away, who knew Yeats better than the classicists. Saturday evenings, on his wide porch fronting on the town, or deep in the pocket of his kitchen, the fire at amble, he it was who took us spellbound into the magic of joy, crowding us with the language.

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