All Stories, General Fiction

The Smoothing Stream by Michael Bloor

After the cremation, I felt I had to get away. I found a Perthshire country house hotel on the internet, situated in one of those mysterious winding glens that end abruptly in a wall of rock. The hotel advertised itself as ‘a mecca for hill-walkers,’ but that clearly only applied outside the shooting season, as was evidenced by the stags’ heads in the hallway, bar and library. More like an abattoir than a country house hotel, it seemed on arrival. Nevertheless, the staff were friendly and the weather was surprisingly dry for April, so I decided to stay on for a second week: I didn’t relish returning home to an empty house – her clothes in the wardrobe, her flowers in their pots on the kitchen window. And it wasn’t really until that second week that I got to know Willie Anderson.

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction

The Bridge at Drochaisling by Anthony Billinghurst

Georgia was being difficult before we landed in Dublin, which was nothing new. She changed and became assertive the second she was promoted to Deputy Head at her primary school; she even adopted a power walk. It’s true the flame of our marriage no longer burns like a log fire, but it does glow like anthracite when fanned enough. My friends who noticed told me I’m hen pecked but as Georgia said, I needn’t wonder if I’m hen pecked, she’ll tell me when I am.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

All Dogs are Singers by R. Harlan Smith

 The people of the village of Dos Cruces believe every event in life is a story that teaches a lesson.

They sat wrapped in their cobijas around a quiet little fire that made dancing shadows on the Sajuaros. Cocopeli, the coyote, watched them from the brush with great curiosity, trying to think of a trick to play on them. He kept an eye on Dolores.

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All Stories, General Fiction

What Follows (The Chair) by R. Harlan Smith

On the night Frank Pearls died, he gathered his little congregation around his chair and gave each of them a little snack like a priest giving Holy Communion. They received their snacks gleefully and smacked their lips to show their appreciation. Then he settled back in his chair, swallowed another glass of whiskey, filled the glass again, and in his calm, pleasant voice,  proceeded – sometimes he would read to them from Joyce, or Kierkegaard, or Al Capp, or sometimes he would just talk to them about philosophy, but he would never tell them it was philosophy. Tonight he would talk.

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