All Stories, General Fiction

The Fire by Nicholas Higginson

The groaning and gibbering column of mourners stood over the small, still warm cat. All wept and shook save three. The old man, leaning slightly harder on his left side, looked only at the boy, his daughter’s son. The boy was silent also, though wore the look of the savaged. The third to keep from buckling to the emotion of the scene was the vet who had administered the barbiturates.

Continue reading “The Fire by Nicholas Higginson”

All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

The Pool by Elizabeth Appleton

Steam played across the water’s surface in lazy swirls, nudged by the breeze and stretching away like cigarette smoke.  Behind the hedge, lips pressed to her kneecap’s polished, taut surface, she could taste salt on her skin and, somehow, it mingled with the vision of dragon’s breath steam above luminous water to punch a sudden ache in her throat.  Smelling chlorine, she longed for the sea, for sand that grew cool as she dug her feet deeper, and her father’s hand on her bony, eight-year-old spine, walking her towards a quiet tideline.

Continue reading “The Pool by Elizabeth Appleton”

All Stories, General Fiction

A Thousand Little Benjies by Mohammad Sadegh Sadeghi

I

A thousand little Benjies constantly talk in my head. A thousand little creatures speaking, some in subdued almost suppressed and some in apprehensive yet hollow tones, somewhere in my head. They all talk, all of them, together, simultaneously. Shut up, shut up, shut up. They keep repeating those words. Like parrots on cocaine, they keep repeating those words. Blah, Blah, Blah. Tickets please, sir. I was sitting, and the clock went one, then two, then three, then she came picked me up and then we were here and I was sitting again but we were moving. And we are moving, and they are moving, and those are moving, and maybe it was a bicycle and not a bike. Maybe we’re not moving at all, and it’s just my head horsing around. I have liquid memories and container moods, the latter follows shape and the former follows suit. I press my eyes against my palms, and I melt right through. They won’t let me forget. These bastards won’t let me forget.

Continue reading “A Thousand Little Benjies by Mohammad Sadegh Sadeghi”

All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Pusher by Simon McHardy

When I was twelve years old my grade six class went on a camping trip to the Coromandel, a rugged peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island. Three teachers came to supervise the boys-only class.  After a two-hour bus trip we pitched our tents at a campsite off a dirt road, thirty minutes from the small mining town of Thames. The site was surrounded by bush and mountain ranges, one mountain caught everyone’s eye, it had a long flat top, a teacher, Mr Larson, informed us it was aptly named Tabletop Mountain.

Continue reading “Pusher by Simon McHardy”

All Stories, General Fiction

So Are They All by Mitchell Toews   

rose _1502837858514
Rosa Amelia Zilkie, the eldest of eleven children, was born in Canada in 1903. Her father was born in Poland, her mother in Romania. She married Cornelius F. Toews, in 1920 (at the age of 17) and took on his three young sons – he being recently widowed. Grandma raised his children and added seven of her own. Once her children were grown and out of the house, she took in disadvantaged boarders – Down’s Syndrome, polio victims, the elderly and infirm, and transient relatives – of which there was a plentitude!  Grandma passed away in 1985.

This story was inspired by Rosa Amelia Zilkie

****

My friend Leonard Gerbrandt was wiry and tall for his age and he had big dimples and a giant Adam’s apple. His mom worked for my parents at our little bakery and she was an elegant beauty reminiscent of the movie star, Hedy Lamarr. She was dark haired and slender with high, rouged cheekbones and large brown eyes. I was just a little kid, but I felt weak when she was near; the scent of her perfume confusing me through a kind of permeating intoxication, although I would never reveal it. Especially to Lenny, who was as tough and unyielding as a Manitoba March storm.

The Gerbrandts were made of stern stuff. Lenny’s older brother was gaunt and menacing – his unblinking stare was like a violent shove. Their dad was an ex-cop. Mr Gerbrandt had been a good baseball player and was a big rugged guy, like a young Robert Mitchum. Mitchum married Lamarr and they begat sons and daughters, including Lenny, who, in later years, taught me how to roll a corn silk cigarette and do a catwalk on my bike. Lenny’s dad was the town cop but then joined the army and when he came back, he was not the same anymore. He had run out of whatever it was that made him Robert Mitchum, the big raw-boned cop who got Hedy Lamarr. Instead, he sat alone in the Hartplatz men-only beer parlour and got quietly loaded every day.

Continue reading “So Are They All by Mitchell Toews   “

All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Retaliation’s Soft Reply by Tom Sheehan

“You’re a big gasbag, Jersey,” the tallest one of the lot said with loud emphasis and staring at the smallest of his pals with that old in-charge look, “nothing but a big gasbag, I swear. You’re always bragging about your brothers and what they did in the service and you weren’t even in the Boy Scouts, for cryin’ out loud. How’s it make you such a storyteller all the time? And you never let go! Like you’re itching to tell us a story we already heard a half dozen times and then some.”

Continue reading “Retaliation’s Soft Reply by Tom Sheehan”

All Stories, General Fiction

The Louder You Scream by Martyn Clayton

 

Every girl loves a showman reckoned Big Micky Taverne.

Stand behind their car as the waltzer takes a group of them up and down. Watch as they huddle up, heads rested on shoulders, screaming in unison. One if not all will be giving you the glad eye, willing you on. Come on they’re saying, give us a spin. So, you do and they scream so loud it would burst your eardrums if they weren’t already bust from the music.

Continue reading “The Louder You Scream by Martyn Clayton”

All Stories, General Fiction

The Boy Who Dug Worms at Mussel Flats by Tom Sheehan

typewriterFirst there was a smaller sail out on the water. And then there wasn’t any sail, as if it had been erased. Bartholomew Bagnalupus did not blink at the contradiction in his eyes. There were things like mist and eyespots and vacuums of sight. Been there, had that, he thought, as he swung his short-handled curled pitchfork into the earth of Mussel Flats. Another bucket of worms he’d have before the tide would drive him off the flats.

Continue reading “The Boy Who Dug Worms at Mussel Flats by Tom Sheehan”