All Stories, General Fiction

Bobby’s Shadow by Desmond Kelly

Watching the planes take off and land. It’s possible to observe them through a gap between trees. Little glimpses, a flash of light, a roar of the engine. Gone again, come again. I’ve watched so many, it puts me to sleep. It takes a while to realise those sausage tubes contain real people. Pilots and stewardesses in their perfectly tailored suits. When I turn away, the sound of traffic returns, the commotion on the street. Windows don’t close, except in monsoon season. Even then… Snakes slip between unguarded spaces. The monkeys set up a racket. The creatures lurking in the forest make their presence known. There are no trophy hunters; no men emulating Hemingway. The fish have buried themselves in the deepest deep, the wild game have found a habitat across the border more in keeping with their lifestyle. The forest will flourish until the loggers return. And then there will be mayhem.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Smoothing Stream by Michael Bloor

After the cremation, I felt I had to get away. I found a Perthshire country house hotel on the internet, situated in one of those mysterious winding glens that end abruptly in a wall of rock. The hotel advertised itself as ‘a mecca for hill-walkers,’ but that clearly only applied outside the shooting season, as was evidenced by the stags’ heads in the hallway, bar and library. More like an abattoir than a country house hotel, it seemed on arrival. Nevertheless, the staff were friendly and the weather was surprisingly dry for April, so I decided to stay on for a second week: I didn’t relish returning home to an empty house – her clothes in the wardrobe, her flowers in their pots on the kitchen window. And it wasn’t really until that second week that I got to know Willie Anderson.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Varda May Atkins by Frederick K Foote

Samson LeBlanc, the Black son of a field worker father and a maid mother, was drunk on the arrogance of perceived acceptance and blinded by the blazing promise of equality.

He raised his cup with the elite rowing crews at Princeton, Harvard, and Yale and bonded with the offspring of billionaires, presidents, statesmen, and celebrities.

His hope for the future was boundless, and his ambition was an endlessly accelerating rocket.

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All Stories, General Fiction

A Give and Take of Crows by David Henson

After what they’d been through — what they were still going through —Oliver had decided to take a week off to spend with Ben before school started again. “What’ll it be for breakfast, Son — pancakes or ice cream?”

“Can’t we have both?” the 10-year-old boy says.

“Pancakes a-la-mode it is, Buddy.”

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction

Emil’s Magic by James Bates

He was standing off to the side of the city Greenway looking at the sky when he felt a tap on his shoulder. “Hey buddy. What are you doing?”

Emil turned. It was a policeman on bicycle patrol. “I’m just looking at the clouds, officer,” he said, politely. “That one over there reminds me of a bunny rabbit.”

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All Stories, Humour

Revamp by Peter O’Connor

“We all remember what this house was like just three long days ago, dim, dum and dire.  A space that forced the family apart instead of wrapping it in a comfortingly casual caress.  Let’s take a peek at what miracles our team have managed to accomplish. Come on in.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Skeleton Crew by R W Maxwell

All things are equal when a ship is a ship and her crew is a crew.

So I say, “This here ship ain’t a ship, ’cause her crew ain’t a crew. Not even a skeleton crew, like Bucktooth says. Though I admit, ye won’t find a skinnier bunch of skeletons than us.”

And the crew laughs.

Then I say, “’cept for Fat Norton.”

And the crew don’t laugh so hard.

They looks at Fat Norton, who’s stroking the handle of his flintlock, and he’s looking right scared ‘n’ red ‘n’ round ‘n’ ripe ‘n’ juicy ‘n’ plump —like a tomato what’s ready to burst— and the crew’s looking right hungry and he’s looking real afraid.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Arm Milk by Spencer Levy

Tin men play their kazoos too loud. Like having an annoying ass bee trying to drill into the deep part of your ear. It’s Sunday and it’s the boardwalk. Sea spray that you’re not supposed to touch or it’ll leave a nasty pollution rash. Gregg doesn’t care, though. His arm is messed up anyhow from all the lousy skateboarding.

Gregg rides and I walk and the waves shove against the wooden thing beneath our feet. Some people call it an embankment, but that sounds too much like a place where loose-tie fathers coax children into cashing checks in exchange for thin lollipops. Gregg grazes his lousy arm against the slippery arm rail, catches some sea spray in his mouth.

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All Stories, Fantasy

Beach Walk by Phoebe Mullen

He hears the call, a long, low wail like a loon calling across the grey water.

The Kelpie is restless. The Kelpie has sat with him on long nights, soothing his hot, teary face with its cool tendrils. Its dark form will creep up on the beach again today, because he has been neglecting it. He’s been with his girlfriend now almost two years to the day, and she’s been the one to sooth his tears, wrap her arms around him when his shoulders shake.

But the Kelpie has been there always. He owes it. It is restless and eternal, vast and unending, a constant low murmur in his ear, like the sea. It is lonely, hungry. So now it calls him back. Calls him to make his choice.

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All Stories, Literally Reruns

Literally Reruns—L’Erin Ogle—How to Raise a Monster – chosen by Shawn Eichman

Shaming works. I can no longer bear the terrible weight of Hugh pointing out every week how no one ever offers to take on the challenge of suggesting a story for Literally Reruns. I’m going to pull myself out of my narcissistic reverie on my own stories long enough to break the chain. And throw down the gauntlet to the next person. And any other hackneyed phrases that might offend all you literary readers enough to prove that you can do better.

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