Under the Same Sun by Astrid Ann Larsen

Geneviève Gueron was as French as one could be. And while her peers were riding up and down the waves of hormonal instability, lamenting one second, rejoicing the next, she was simply and unequivocally in love with her life on the French Riviera. It had taken her some time to get used to the fierceness of the sunrays of the South, as the lack of obscuring buildings or tufts of sky made them bounce right off her white skin which would respond instantly with sizzling red spots. And with each day that passed, the deep yearning for her favourite dusty bookstores in Paris gave way to the undisputable dogmatic truth proclaimed by her parents, who had convinced themselves their new hometown would be kinder to them.

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A Particular Kind of Scumbag by David Henson

Harold Marold was confident his new discovery was going to be big. Really big. Sure, his previous inventions hadn’t all turned out as he hoped. The periscoping contact lenses caused vertigo and motion sickness. His electro-socks to eliminate foot sweat were “shocking” — as he’d found out the hard way. And his chainsaw-equipped drone for trimming high tree limbs had its drawbacks. But his current project couldn’t miss. It was going to bring about world peace.

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Vestigial by Thomas Elson

What can loosen a bond of thirty years?

What can strengthen what can no longer be made strong?

David felt as if he were living inside his recurring fear begun decades earlier inside a chanked and abandoned farm building off a path hidden by overhanging branches surrounded by unproductive land more than fifty yards from a gravel county road when he sat on the wooded floor with the tip of a rifle barrel stuffed in his mouth.

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Garuka – Please Come Back by Ernest O. Ogunyemi

Verse 1 – days of innocence.

 Those days are still fresh, they’re all that remain of that time, like bombshells after an explosion, or the remains of a decomposed dead animal. Those days when we chased grasshoppers in the small bush in our backyard. There were basically three types: one had intricate patterns on its body: yellow and black stripes, dotted with white; another had the skin of lush grasses, and it was why we found it on rare occasions. The last appeared only during the dry seasons. It had the body of scorched grasses, dusty brown. We would watch them jump from blade grass to blade grass, leaning the thin grasses. And we would crouch whenever we came close enough to any – I would put my finger across my lips to tell you to be quiet, like they could hear our voices and flee –  and cup our palms closed on them. We didn’t want them to die. We would tie ropes around their legs and watch them jump, making creepy sounds, as far as the rope could get them.

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Pulling Strings by Tom Sheehan

He had awakened with the itch on his face, from a lone and long hair floating across one eye and one lip, or was it a cob web, a remnant, a silver runner of aerial flight? It definitely was cob-web thin, a filament, a gossamer streamer, light as thought, but not the thought of a spider like the one he had seen eye to eye above his camp bed as a kid. That one hung on such a silken, thin, lone strand that almost wasn’t there. He had always believed he had smashed that black-eyed spider into space with the magazine he had been reading earlier.

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