Apotheosis by Simon Levick

The fork in the display case glinted under the lights.  It rested on a shiny black plastic podium, and impaled on its tines was what appeared to be a human finger.  He was pleased with the finger and gave a grunt of satisfaction.  It was his own finger, pinkie of the left hand, plaster cast thereof.  Title of work: give/take/eat.  Listed in the catalogue as item no. 17, price £6,000.

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Switch Hitter by Suzanne Nielsen

Rita Sajevic lost her mind on home plate at 5:15 pm, two days after dual interviews at competing churches.  She’d work the night shift cleaning 11 blocks from home.  All this was in shorthand on her palm faded by cherry red ink.  On her other palm was a tattoo of a fetus whose life ended tragically.  After Rita relived the event, outside of confession mind you, I swore to several saints never to retell that story to anyone.

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Coeur de Lion by Chris Cleary

Magnificently justified, she teeters on the parapet of her limestone tower. The herd lows below, and in the autumn air all stands still except for Tom, who has spied her from a distance and now is racing to her rescue. Her foot shifts and slips a bit, sending down a pebble cascade, but her heart is strong, and she refuses to be petrified. She stares straight ahead at the hillside, where leaves fall from their trees, drifting, dropping, like children’s valentines into makeshift paper-bag mailboxes taped to her classroom wall many years before. Cards of teddy bears with hearts, Hello Kitty with hearts, blooming flowers with hearts, circus lions proclaiming, “You’re purr-fect!” Suppressing squeals, children scurry. Others’ bags fill up. In hers, not one. Eyes anchored on the hillside, all she sees is disregard. That and the teacher frowning with pity for poor Samantha San Gabriel, so shy and so odd.

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Siswana by Ntombi K

It was a Monday morning. A village hen clucked at the assembly, looking for its youngling. The school principal, Mister Rakobo, went off with the hen, leaving the assembly divided into several assemblies. The Mocking Birds choral conductor raised a hand, calming the sopranos and tenors that were going this way and that. “Whose mother is that?” inquired some. “Someone must have stolen money or something,” speculated some. “A family death? A bullying case?” Some concluded that this was not the case.

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