All Stories, General Fiction

A Give and Take of Crows by David Henson

After what they’d been through — what they were still going through —Oliver had decided to take a week off to spend with Ben before school started again. “What’ll it be for breakfast, Son — pancakes or ice cream?”

“Can’t we have both?” the 10-year-old boy says.

“Pancakes a-la-mode it is, Buddy.”

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All Stories, General Fiction

Orchids in the Sun by Dorothy Rice

Sadie Blankenspiel was raised without faith, which she’d always been stubbornly proud of. Pricing caskets at her brother-in-law Peter’s deathatorium, she wasn’t so sure she’d hadn’t been too hasty in giving short shrift to all that spirituality and after-life mumbo jumbo.

In her eightieth year aboard the mothership, with achy hips, estranged from her two narrow-minded children, she wondered if daughter Maribel hadn’t been right after all. What had the ungrateful girl screamed out the car window before tearing away from the house that last time? Always so dramatic. Something about her mother likely running out of time to make things right before the Grim Reaper plucked her number.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Van by Peter O Connor

Claire Jones took my virginity.  It was in the back of her father’s 1968 Morris Minor van.  The van, an F-reg MK II, crouched on the drive of 68 Moor View on four splintering wooden blocks.  The engine removed, along with the bonnet, wings, lights and windscreen.  It perched blind and unmoving in that pose for five long years of my life. Even today, years later, the ghost dark patch of dripped, fluids can be seen on the drive of No 68.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Shove by Ronan Hart

Sunlight streams in, catches the edge of a teaspoon placed just so beside The Good China cups, prized museum pieces brought out for an exclusive exhibition. Shadows of steam from the thrice-boiled kettle dance over the wallpaper, distant churning storm clouds the ship’s crew knows they’re destined to meet. The kitchen holds its breath. I’ve dreaded this moment since mum welcomed me home for the weekend by asking, “Guess who’s coming to visit you?” Her hands can’t stay still; a microadjustment to a napkin, the butter dish lid removed and replaced, a smoothing of the fancy table linen.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Sea by P O’Connor

The loose hall board, if you rocked heel to toe, sounded like someone drowning, that bastard son-in-law he hoped. He tried to silence him with new copper nails along its length. For a while it worked. But one evening the gasp returns, quieter now, pitched high. His weighted heel brings his wife, grasping a breath before sinking under a swirling sea. His toe raises her sea-washed face and she gasps again; help me, John, I have her.

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction

Relief by Rati Pednekar

There must have been about ten or twenty of Them. Circling above the house like the beginnings of a tornado. Their smooth, steady flight was stark against the clamour from inside. Voices clashed against running footsteps, something clanged in the kitchen, and the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. One man sat huddled in the corner, unable to move. And in the midst of it all was a wail, a cry that every few minutes rose from within and floated slowly outward. But They remained indifferent, a set of black wings and sharp beaks stark against the sun that was just beginning to dip downwards. They soared round and round, while inside the small bungalow chaos reigned. One of Them ruffled its feathers.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Hen and Chicks by Rachel Sievers 

The pain in her chest was akin to a physical blow. It had always been this way, in life outside of family she was well-spoken and liked by many. In the circle of family suddenly she was reduced to the small child who hid when voices rose. 

I just don’t understand why you have changed so much Callie Rose,” the woman’s voice was raspy from years of chain-smoking. “It’s like you don’t even love the Lord Jesus anymore.” 

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All Stories, General Fiction

Mung Beans and Happiness by Emily Khym

Sooner or later it’s going to happen to you. You forget the hand-me-down hanboks, blaring F-84s, stitched up sacks of half empty barley portions from a bustling market stocked with rows of mung beans and buchu. You weave through scenes of shirts drenched in sticky blood and machine guns shooting your neighbors down to become spine-chilling nightmares. You become another identity that hopes to forget the feeling of a complete family—a sort of silent-lipped desire that keeps you from proudly marching into Olympic Mart with your mother for a touch of authenticity you desperately want to forget. You force yourself to grow up to match the number of times you ate seaweed soup on your birthday, fourteen, to keep your ripped up photographs tightly shut in your safe.

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