Nelson was watching the fan wobbling from the dining room ceiling when he heard a gunshot somewhere in the distance. From the couch, the blades swayed and rattled unlike their original behavior upon moving in. Something he’d have to fix himself, no doubt.Continue reading “Maintenance by Bryce Johle “
Jack o’ Diamonds by Michael Bloor
Most British towns and villages are ancient foundations with Roman remains, ruined castles, and the like. Not so Daleforge. Before the 1840s, there was just the forge and the smith’s cottage. Butthen, in quick order, came the pit, the rows and rows of workers’ cottages, the ironworks, and the railway. With the houses, came the football. Not at first the codifed game of eleven versus eleven,but the rough-and-tumble, no-holds-barred, pitched battle held every Shrovetide between those in the houses on one side of the Red Brook versus those on the other. But soon enough after the English Football Association was formed in the 1860s, Daleforge United FC emerged and eventually became a founder member of the Football League. And that was what my dirty old town became famous for: the foundries and the football.Continue reading “Jack o’ Diamonds by Michael Bloor”
Horse-collared by Tom Sheehan
The great storm of 1822 hit greater Boston with swirling winds while Harriet Grant and her three children had left hours earlier to visit her sister in Lynnfield. The route she chose was through a wooded section with few houses en route. Edgar Grant didn’t begin to worry until the storm did not abate, its fury continuing with the wild winds laden with thick, heavy snow building up in a hurry.
If he went out there on his own, it would do little good if he too was caught asunder, unable to penetrate the thick fall, lose himself in such a massive undertaking. He knew he was caught between the good, the bad, and the actual horror of loss every which way he could imagine.Continue reading “Horse-collared by Tom Sheehan”
Leaves by August Miller
The spiced cool air blowing through the car vents comes laced with wood smoke. It is a scent that weaved its way into the fabric of childhood alongside that indoor fireplace, which had been a burning city, or a burning home, or a burning bridge, or any burning spectacle I felt should be extinguished during games of heroism in the autumn and winter months.Continue reading “Leaves by August Miller”
Storm Clouds by James Bates
I’ve had a problem controlling my temper my entire life. It started when I was young. If I didn’t get my way there’d be hell to pay. I used to get into a lot of fights. A few times I even ended up in the hospital. And that all happened before I got out of grade school. Fortunately, over time, I was able to change. What happened? I wish I could say that I had a simple answer or a magic formula, but it really just came down to wanting to do more with my life than spending it being a pugilistic jerk who settled his arguments with his fists. At least I never used a gun.Continue reading “Storm Clouds by James Bates”
Keep Dancing by Antony Osgood
‘I’m so sorry, I really wasn’t paying attention,’ the middle-aged man was told by an older woman. They were the same height. George, being six foot three, had found the novelty of not looking down for their conversation quite refreshing, though he suspected in the morning he’d discover a plethora of aching muscles he never once suspected he possessed. Her attention was fixed on undexterous fingers shaking an empty not-quite-glass, a bubbly flute of clouded plastic. It was as if, George imagined, the last drop of wine had proven impossible for her to access, and for the life of her she had found no way to solve the puzzle. She kept holding the flute up to the noisy strip-light, seemingly either looking for fingerprints or a miracle. She appeared forensic in her analysis of unobtainable alcohol. George was reminded of a video he’d once seen on YouTube, of a goldfish obsessed with its image in a mirror. The poor fish had been unable to free itself from the mistaken belief it was threatened by itself. It was the saddest thing George had seen.Continue reading “Keep Dancing by Antony Osgood”
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.”Continue reading “A Give and Take of Crows by David Henson”
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.Continue reading “Orchids in the Sun by Dorothy Rice“
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.Continue reading “The Van by Peter O Connor”
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.Continue reading “Shove by Ronan Hart”