All Stories, General Fiction

Hana by Mariam Saidan

I’m baking a cake, a well-mixed paste of carefully measured amounts of flour, eggs, oil, sugar, banana, baking powder and a pinch of cinnamon, ready to go in the oven for 45 minutes, when she knocks on the door. I think of taking my apron off, but I decide not to. It’s cute, with birds frolicking in a pink world. I look like an unusually traditional woman for our time, I feel. A woman. A kitchen. An apron. A cake. Pink. But I feel something perverse, almost noble, in quietly subverting these clichés still viciously clinging to these symbols. 

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All Stories, General Fiction

Perry by Dianne Willems

He wanted to be a hero. He wanted to be a hero so badly he could hardly think of anything else.

The Parrot sighed, and thought. A lump the size of an orange had formed in his throat, and he wanted it gone. It felt suffocating.

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction

The End Of The World by Dave Henson

When my broadcasting partner, Screwdriver Dan, drops his jaw, I think he has a dental problem. When the station manager texts me to stop by her office after our show, the thought of a raise flashes through my mind. The first inkling I get that something’s wrong is when our call screener informs us the switchboard is lighting up, and no one wants to talk about home repairs.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Light by Yash Seyedbagheri   

It’s the first clear winter night in almost two weeks. I drive the streets into our valley community, 2003 Subaru Forester rattling with age and emptiness. Well, more like I’m driving down the one winding main street that slopes down a hill, flanked by cathedral-like ponderosas. A few side streets branch off to the market and the cluster of shops and the one or two churches that flank either side of the river. The outskirts, the hills beyond, my cabin,  darkened rooms, and bills wait behind me, all splayed across the kitchen table. Power, water, a myriad of cards maxed out, in part due to my fondness for Fat Tire.

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All Stories, Fantasy

Hannah and the Homophonic: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical by Leila Allison (with a forward foreword by Judge Jasper P. Montague, Quillemender)

Forward Foreword

Versatur Circa Quid!

No less an authority on speaking one’s mind than Mark Twain knew that the artificial concept called Free Speech is best left to the dead. That’s why many of his franker observations on God and the human condition were held back from publication until well after Twain’s employer, Mr. Samuel Clemens, joined the ever growing legion of Spirits (which currently outnumbers the living thirty to one), in 1910. I, Judge Jasper P. Montague, Quillemender, know all about the sweet freedom of death, for I have been a member of the Spirit world eight years longer than Mr. Clemens/Twain, which means I am free to “overshare” with impunity.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 332: At War With Reality, and The Apocalypse A to Z

At War With Reality

I like to create an artificial sense of order. To achieve this I write a To Do List everyday. I neither accomplish nor consult the thing after I make it, but the act of creating a To Do List and peeling it off the pad and sticking it to the wall behind my monitor temporarily places me in control. It makes me feel like I’m doing something; that I am in charge.

I write my daily list on one of the dozen or so multi-colored sticky pads that may or may not have at one time been inside the office supply closet at my workplace. I use one of the fifty or so black “Precise Rolling Ball” pens that may or may not hail from the same source as the sticky pads to write my To Do Lists (used to do them in a fine point Sharpie until the supply dried up). I take heart from the pastel squares of Great Deeds to be Done accumulating on the wall like coral. Many have given up the stick and have fallen into the slim space between my desk and the wall, down amongst the spiders. But looking up at those which hang in there gives me the artificial sense of order that I crave.

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All Stories, Fantasy

Towen Meeting by Leila Allison

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Charleston’s sleepy New Town Cemetery had once been the center of a controversy. For many years Town was spelled ‘Towen’ on the fancily etched marble dedication obelisk located just inside the main gate. The unique spelling was on purpose because the wealthy widow who had donated the land for the cemetery and paid for the obelisk wanted it that way. She claimed that it was the name of the Welsh village of her birth. Despite more than a century of weathering, you can still mark her unpronounceable name on the obelisk, but, oddly, not those of the local big shots who’d presided over the cemetery’s plating in 1882.

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All Stories, Fantasy

Shut Your Hellhole by Gabriel Munro

The Thing at the Border:

But erecting a building on consecrated ground presents its own challenges. Wailing banshee? Use stone-wool insulation for soundproofing. Vengeful demonic presence? Mix a dash of salt into the foundation concrete. Ghosts? Use the phrase “historic charm” in the branding. Carlos is ready for anything.

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