All Stories, General Fiction

I Love You More by Harrison Kim

A hollowness opened in me as I entered the house, a space within a space, as if I already sensed what had been lost.  In the TV room the stuffed toys lay piled almost to the ceiling, their little heads and tiny eyes facing up.  A whirring in my ears began, from the space within a space, “hello?” I said and the sound disappeared.  Where were the cats?  I paused at at the stairs to the second floor.  The steps up seemed staged, like a movie set, “Follow us, the show’s about to begin,” said the hollow in my head.  I went to the kitchen instead.

I will not give in yet,” I thought, though that hollow space signalled over and over again “this is not going to be good.”

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All Stories, General Fiction

What If? by Yash Seyedbagheri  

My life is a sea of ifs.

What if I’d published this collection? if I’d studied harder? If I hadn’t shot off my mouth at home? What if I hadn’t eaten too many potato chips and drank too much Merlot?

On my thirtieth birthday, they all rise up like the ghosts of Christmas past, whispering. If, if, if, a hollowed-out word that sits next to me in the coffee shops, follows me on my nightly walks, snuggles too close to me.

I procure the biggest whiteboard possible. Eliminate ifs. Draw up concrete whens in lavender marker. No red markers bleeding with psychological pressure, thank you. I lay out goals and visions.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Voice by Yash Seyedbagheri

I try to leave Mom a voicemail. Again.

The voicemail cannot be delivered. Again. She always stores old voicemails. Always says you never know when they might come in handy. Especially if you’re in a jam and need proof that you communicated with X at Y time. Pre-empt the world.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Welcome by Yash Seyedbagheri     

Once, the coffee shop walls were sunshine yellow. It was a yellow that to Nick evoked the shape of sweet dreams. Dreams that whispered and took him by the hand. Dreams he couldn’t get facing white walls, six months ago. White walls that faced other white walls, with faceless neighbors who never made themselves known.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Good Morning by Yash Seyedbagheri 

Once, a good morning or a how-are-you rose from me like a wave. I smiled that little jack-o-lantern grin, as my sister Nan called it. And once I cruised the streets in my Subaru, just feeling empty streets at dusk, while streetlamps came on, feeling the smooth motion of turning wheels, the rise of oldies and classical from radio, Elvis or Tchaikovsky accompanying me home.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Screens By Yash Seyedbagheri

I awaken to computer or phone screens with emails beckoning. Mostly junk, links to New Yorker articles, reminders of delinquent dues on this card or that. CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY, black words growl on a sterile background.

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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, General Fiction

A Controlled Moment of Light by Jo Robson

I’m in the changing room of a high-end boutique when Oscar calls me back.

 ‘What’s up?’ he says. He is at home. I can hear the whir of the washing machine behind his voice.

 ‘I’m trying on a dress.’ It is red with white polka dots and hangs just below my knees.

 ‘You never wear dresses.’

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All Stories, General Fiction

Over the Limit by Yash Seyedbagheri

Robotic card reps call to collect in the morning, reiterate in the afternoon, and assault my ears in the evening.

They really need to get in touch with Nicholas Alexander Botkin. Age thirty-four. Date of birth 16 January 1987.

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