The cloud came in low over the horizon as if it was holding hands with sky and Earth, and shadows fell from its silhouette forming strange figures of shade across the landscape. Gurley Kindreck, at the lookout post on Foster Creek, grabbed the phone and twisted the crank on an old army land phone. Behind him, wires snaked all the way back to headquarters in the heart of Burrell, Kansas, much of its corn crop already pulled, the rest of it dying in the after-lights of the enemy’s rays.Continue reading “Ray Guns of the Invaders 1202 by Tom Sheehan”
You could say I’m an unhappy guy. I just want to blot out the days, smoke away the nights and dump my beloved books into the ocean. Books used to be my everything, but now they simply bore me – I can hardly read a paragraph my senses are so dulled. I have better days, it’s true, because I’m essentially free. I can choose when I wake – I have no alarms, no commitments, but sleeping in my car, that I’ve called home since the divorce, can be a real drag.Continue reading “Sanctuary by Tim Frank “
Alarms blare. It is the end. David knows it as much as he knows anything else. Below, glorious golden clouds meld in a blue atmosphere. So much like Earth. But his family won’t see the light of this star system for twelve years. They will grow old and die, and if he ever makes it back all that will be waiting is a grave. Assuming, of course, there is a planet to return to, and a way home.
The ship falls, and David with it. McLonsky’s blood bubbles and flutters around the cockpit in globules that have minds of their own.
This is it. The end. David closes his eyes, and he waits for his Maker’s embrace.Continue reading “Home Again by Keith LaFountaine”
He dreams he is a young Asian woman. Diminutive. Pretty not beautiful. Not distinctly of Indian or Pakistani heritage but notionally from that region of the world sometimes known as the Indian Subcontinent.
And yet in his dream he isn’t actually the young woman in question. Not as such. More, he is her in the third person.
Whilst the dream lacks structure he experiences a resonance throughout the day. An intangible notion of being someone else. It’s a novel experience but one that returns periodically.
Earlier in the day he had a fall.Continue reading “Dreaming in the Third Person by Adam West”
He was uphill again, part way on the steep incline, where time, circumstance and opportunity had taken him. But time had crumbled, and with it the matter of circumstance. Only opportunity, sometimes a laggard, held on, fate deciding issues as it had decided his. Downhill he could see how difficult the climb could be to anyone determined to go top-side, as jagged rocks appeared, thick clumps of trees turning toward the awed colors of fall, now and then a formidable gorge in the way of quick ascension. At his backside lurked the sense-awakening pain and the phantom ache lingering in his legs, as if archived for history, remnants of another climb, on the real Hill 407, northwest Afghanistan, in the formidable quarter of activity in that distant country.Continue reading “Hill 407 Reboot by Tom Sheehan”
Carol was so transformed by her wedding attire – swamped in her heavy bronze foundation, fake eyelashes fluttering like butterfly wings – that her three-year-old daughter, Allison, no longer recognised her.Continue reading “Underwater Wedding by Tim Frank”
Lois let out a whoop. “I passed!”
I went to my wife, who was sitting cross-legged on the sofa. The laptop’s screen displayed an image of the certificate. “I knew you could do it, Honey.”
We were out of college five years and married three, but not making enough at the milk studio to feel comfortable starting a family. So soon after the veracity of Ouija Board spiritualism was scientifically validated, my wife enrolled at Alternate Realities Online University.Continue reading “My Wife’s Short, Strange Career as a Certified Ouija Boardologist by Dave Henson”
Jackson’s silver hair glinted under the full moon. His boots crunched the gravel parking lot in front of the ramshackle apartment building, long ago a hotel, where I shared an apartment with my mother. Jackson shared our space a few nights a week. He cursed and cast a black trash bag into the bed of his truck. It landed with a soft thud. He hadn’t noticed me yet, standing on the sidewalk, but his presence allowed me to soften my grip on the house keys poking through my fingers. My white, work button-down was stained and reeked of the whiskey spill from an overserved guest at the Angler’s Inn.Continue reading “Catch and Release by Heather Rutherford”
I’m drawn again to this little spit in the road about six miles outside of Tupelo, Mississippi on Road 1233 in the Town of Plantersville. I stand near a pasture across the road. Two hundred feet to the north, there’s an abandoned structure that’s falling in on itself. A weathered sign with faded lettering in the front reads “Unity Church.” It hangs awkwardly from a broken chain banging in the wind against a post. The roadside is littered with beer bottles and fast food wrappers. A car hubcap lies nearby.Continue reading “Unity by Phil Temples”
The lorry drivers trudged into the service station diner and lined up along the bar, slouching on stools. They were quiet and bleary eyed – yawning into their fists as they braced themselves for another fifteen-hour shift. With a series of points and gestures they ordered banoffee pie and pancakes, chasing cups of coffee with swigs of whiskey from their hip flasks. On the Perspex table top, they rolled cheap tobacco for the road and slipped the cigarettes behind their ears.Continue reading “On the Wretched Road by Tim Franks”