General Fiction, All Stories

The Wait by Lisa Toner

The child is painfully thin.  Her ribs poke against the taut skin of her back as she draws on the dusty floor with a stick.  She crouches on toothpick legs, supported by hardened feet which rarely see shoes.  The bottoms of her filthy white shorts graze the dirt floor.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Bund by Richard Yu

There were many things in life that Oscar did not comprehend. Miro, for one, totally baffled him. When it comes to abstract painting, he would readily relegate that area of expertise to his wife. Afterall, she had attended art school for a big part of her life, so she was supposedly an art connoisseur as well as an artist herself. What puzzled Oscar was why she bothered to learn all those advanced techniques just so to paint like a five-year-old. “You should find a job teaching kindergarteners how to paint,” Oscar would snipe. Naturally, his wife ignored his snide remarks. Just recently, she had bid on a sketch by Miro for as much as five years his salary, he being a CEO of a high-tech firm that supplied chips for the space shuttle. Had he run across such a sketch in a flea market, he wouldn’t have paid more than the price of a can of sardines for it, if only for the scrap value of the frame and mat.

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All Stories, Fantasy

The Lighthouse Keeper by Loredano Cafaro

Today Leonardo comes home crying. When his father and mother hear what his school friend has told him, they understand that the day they have feared for a long time has come— the moment when they will have to start crushing his dreams. They speak to him, say that his friend is right; tell him I do not exist. But they are wrong.

I dream, therefore I am.

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All Stories, General Fiction

From an Appalachian Peak, a Small Red Star for Me and My Father by Tom Sheehan

This appointment came when light tired, this arrangement, this syzygy of him and me and the still threat of a small red star standing some time away at my back, deeper than a grain of memory. I am a quarter mile from him, hard upward on this rugged rock he could look up to if only his eyes would agree once more, and it’s a trillion years behind my head or a parsec I can’t begin to imagine, they tell me even dead perhaps, that star. Can this be a true syzygy if one is dead, if one is leaning to leave this line of sight regardless of age or love or density or how the last piece of light might be reflected, or refused, if one leaves this imposition? The windows of his room defer no light to this night, for it is always night there, blood and chemicals at warfare, nerve gone, the main one providing mirror and lethal lens, back of the eyeball no different than out front, but I climb this rock to line up with another rock and him in the deep seizure of that stolen room, bare sepulcher, that grotto of mind.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Evaluation by Yash Seyedbagheri 

Nick needs his wine. Merlot, Malbec, good dark-colored wines, wines that have just that tinge of bitterness to them but aren’t completely devoid of sweetness. Every night, he pours a glass. Promises himself it’ll be just one glass. But he swigs it in ten minutes straight, feeling the rush of dreaminess, the sense of elegance. He inevitably goes for the second glass, turns on Tchaikovsky or Debussy. Clair De Lune is his go to piece on the most depressing of nights, piano chords that offer tinkling company, the nights after faculty offer unwarranted advice or another student doesn’t understand his comments on a story or another and needs explanation. How do you explain in plain English that a story simply isn’t good?

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All Stories, General Fiction

The IT Guy by Samantha Carr

Dave was convinced his PC was possessed. He’d gone to get a coffee at ten like usual. The earliest reasonable time he could slip away from his desk without looking like he wanted to slack off. Today was Gail’s birthday. Office rules meant she had bought cakes and he wasn’t going to let Sharon get the best. Dave put the muffin with two mini eggs on the desk to the left of his keyboard, and the coffee on top of his SeaWorld coaster and it was then that he saw it.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

The Girl with the Feet by Jane Houghton

How he came to finding her was funny. Funny ha ha. But fuck all else about this was funny.

*

Fuck.

He dropped the key. Or the key dropped out of his hand. Depending on your level of charitability.

Double fuck and bollocks.

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All Stories, Fantasy, Horror

One Final Ingredient by Lamont A. Turner

The spell called for a dead man’s hand. Not just any dead man but, according to the manual, “the hand of the man who killed one most dear.”  That put old Elizie in a bad spot. It wasn’t that she would have minded sacrificing someone close to her. The problem was there was no such person. The only solution was to have someone else perform the ritual.

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