All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

The Weight of Return by Marco Etheridge

Darryl slid three quarters into the vending machine and weighed his options. They weren’t all that good. The overnight Greyhound had carried him across a state line, which violated of his parole. If his tight-ass parole officer got wind of it, Darryl would be on his way back to a cell in Lucasville. First off, don’t get spotted by the cops, same as any day for an ex-con. Second, don’t get spotted by the bad guys. That left having breakfast and finding the girl. He reached for the chrome handle and pulled. A snickers bar tumbled into the sheet metal tray.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Dying Things by Yancarlo

There was a dog on the road. A mangy thing with grey fur falling out in tufts showing its wrecked body. I saw him one night limping up the road as I smoked my cigarette and did nothing. I watched it limp towards the side of the road snout burrowing deep into the dewy grass looking for anything to eat. He found the mouse whose body I had thrown there earlier in the day. I didn’t kill the mouse. Something else did. The mangy thing found the mouse and eyed it suspiciously for a moment, natural suspicion overriding starvation for an instant, and then ate the mouse. The mangy thing limped away just as I finished my cigarette and went inside.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Rebirth by Martin Toman

John coiled the rope thirteen times around itself to form the hangknot. The ridges of the knot felt strong, almost muscular, in his hands. John knew his knots. Working on farms will make you an expert in practically anything, or anything practical. He slid the noose open and held it at arm’s length, looked at it carefully: it’ll serve.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Sorry by Yash Seyedbagheri

People fling sorry at me.

Sorry, a person cuts in line.

Sorry, a biker knocks me over.

Sorry, my debit card’s been declined. Next customer, please.

There’s no sorry in rejected credit card applications. They speak only of delinquent obligations. Income. Balances.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Horror

Paraffin Lamp by Alex Sinclair – Warning – strong language and content that some readers will find upsetting

“Verminous dole scrounging deadbeats poetically whingeing that’s all it is, lamenting wistfully about the plight of their work-shy genes. The Celtic curse so it is, forever waxing philosophical about being a shite for brains’ pisshead.”

He stops. He has run away with himself and he can’t remember what he was talking about.

Packy is barely cognizant of where he is. He exists in half dream, half myth.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Food Cowboy by Leah Sackett

Maisie wished Goodwill had an anonymous nighttime drop-off. She didn’t want to be judged for her donations or the frequency with which she gave them. In all things, Maisie preferred to be anonymous. She didn’t like to be seen. She was 262lbs and 5’2″. Most of her life, Maisie was petite, her adolescent frame offered her two options: one to keep shopping in the children’s department or two to find a good tailor. Thankfully, her grandma could sew. Grandma Betty made a lot of Maisie’s clothes. Eventually, Maisie hit 100 lbs. Now, the only thing she was lacking was much in the way of boobs. Push-up bras now had something, a little something, to work with even if the ballooned bras were problematic with spontaneous combustion while dancing or laughing. 

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All Stories, General Fiction

Boundless Growth by Simo Tchokni

‘And all of this is replicated across twenty datacenters.’

With a flourish, Davide draws a large rectangle around the messy, sprawling diagram he’s drawn on the whiteboard. He turns around. ‘Any questions?’

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All Stories, General Fiction

Endometrium by Katie Ellen Lamb

He is shaking. His skin is sticky and pale like the underside of a frog. I feel nothing. I move my hand, try pry it between us. I want to touch myself, but a cramp has started between my fingers and my wrist. I think this is a waste of time. Then, he goes deeper. Something inside me feels jagged. I see curves of red flesh behind my eyes. It’s a dull pain, a building pain and I think if I’d have just touched myself I’d have forgotten it. When he stabs me again, it bursts, wells up, floods over. I put my hands on his shoulders and I push.

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General Fiction, Short Fiction

Only a Jellyfish Would Live Forever by Leila Allison

The Scenario: Part I 

He crushed two pills between his teeth and swallowed. That made four in an hour. A stomach that wanted to stay alive would have objected; but for once there was consensus. He believed that two more similar doses within the next thirty minutes should punch his ticket to the Undiscovered Country. Perhaps such an important event as flirting with self destruction should come accompanied by an unfilched metaphor, but when in doubt go with Shakespeare–Besides he’d used up all the sparklers in his suicide note. It was a fine suicide note. Well written, streaked with effortless pathos and humor. It was the best thing he had ever written. “All show, no tell,” he’d said after lighting it on fire and watching it curl to black in the kitchen sink.  “Best punched ticket ever.”

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