I’m in our living room and the sun is hitting the couch in your spot just how you liked it. I always wanted to close the curtains so it wouldn’t fade the fabric, but today I leave them open, like you would’ve wanted. I suppose I’m daydreaming again because I swear I hear your voice. But when I turn to look at you, your spot is still empty.Continue reading “Cinema by Evelyn Voelter”
The Chicken by James Hannan
‘What’s he doing out there?’ Jill says, as the tall figure of their father passes by the window.
‘No, seriously Brendan, can you come have a look? He’s being weird again.’
‘He’s always being weird. Just ignore him.’ Brendan’s playing Fortnite. His eyes don’t leave the screen.
Jill gets up and goes to the window, sticking her face near to the frame so she can get a better angle. ‘See, see, he keeps walking around the house, looking under it from time to time.’Continue reading “The Chicken by James Hannan”
Sunday Whatever: I Kissed Her Goodbye by Jacob Greb
Welcome to this week’s Sunday Feature. Today we proudly present a breathless little “kiss” of a work by Jacob Greb. Although it is brief and lies somewhere between a prose poem and a story, we found this too wonderful to pass by. We hope you agree.
I Kissed Her Goodbye
I stare at the headlights with distress. The restless night made me a zombie. “Brains?” I beg a bystander. He kindly smiles.
“You fool,” memories of Julia’s last words like waves return to the shore. If only I knew how to swim. I keep on chasing the wrong fields. The meadow has turned brown. The autumn has come and Julia’s feet got cold. She likes to wear orange and green striped wool socks. My mesh of a head however can’t catch any fish. I am lonesome for her touch but Julia repeats that she loves me more. We sweep each other into our arms and lay wrapped in the blanket.
“Your heart beats radicle,” Julia says between her hums. She does so to sway me to sleep, but my fingers tingle readily to paint a thousand moons. The notes stain another night as the pianist plays the wrong lullaby. My mother’s curse carries on. White stripes and surgical tables. That’s where my mind wonders at the late hour. The wanderer I become. Julia falls asleep and I lay listening to her light snores. Nothing can cure my disease. I lift my feet and leave the bed, stumbling on the crate reused as storage for books and doctor’s notes. Hope has left the day. The streets at two finally breathe with relief. A bicycle leans against a steel pole for thieves to gaze at and take.
“Don’t leave your valuable unattended.” The reminder notice I keep in my pocket. I stole it from the psych ward.
I enter the middle lane and take my chances. The strange air is left behind by the last exhaust pipe and I inhale the pollution and cough. Fly by with a honk, but I continue to walk to the top of the block and close the loop. Takin’ on the sideways, finding a nickel, before I stop and stare at the headlights approaching, thinking of poor Julia. The curve of her smile as she whispered, “I love you. Good night. Be in peace. You fool.”
I kissed her goodbye.
Feathers by Lindsay Bennett Ford
The plasticity of the charity bag felt like another cruel humiliation to Marilyn. Her once fashionable flowered sleeved blouses and trim-line shift dresses had been taken down from their hangers in the wardrobe – only to be dragged out in handfuls by the spiky haired shop assistant with youthful enthusiasm while Marilyn’s cheeks burned. Bright colours clashing like layers of a trifle, chiffon and polyester laid on top of one another in the bag, pressed trouser legs are unseemingly wrapped around a starched collar, polyester and cotton acting like reunited accomplices caught and stretched out on the counter, inspected and held up against the harsh fluorescent light. Something bounces out the bag and with a loud ping, rolls across the floor.Continue reading “Feathers by Lindsay Bennett Ford”
R.I.P. Beautiful Man by Tim Goldstone
He’s dead now of course. But my fondest memories of him are those summers when he would spend the long days in his garden catching mosquitoes in his special trap. “They’re not malarial here in England,” he said, “But we can soon sort that out.” And I would watch him injecting them with what he called his malarial blood that he siphoned out from the veins in the backs of his hands and stored in the same small transparent plastic bags the goldfish came in that you could win at the fair. He hung the blood-bags up medical style from the interior horizontal poles that kept the roof of his khaki ex-army canvas tent from sagging; then dressing himself as Ava Gardener he would attempt to nurse the mosquitoes back to health, constantly mopping their brows while delicately using tweezers and a magnifying glass to turn their tiny heads from side to side in a perfect imitation of febrile delirium, and calling them all Stewart Granger until he fainted. Once he was comatose on the tent’s dirt floor I would without fail take the opportunity to examine his astonishing knees. In the past they were simply called ‘knobbly knees’ and as such regarded both as humorous accessories, and objects of pride which could be awarded a small cash prize at a 1950s Butlin’s Holiday Camp. He was lucky to live when he did, as nowadays no doubt a doctor would insist that for your own comfort and quality of life you had them replaced with alloys of cobalt-chromium and titanium and high-grade, wear-resistant plastic, and, as perhaps you’re beginning to see, that would not have suited him at all.Continue reading “R.I.P. Beautiful Man by Tim Goldstone”
‘Will They Remember Us?’ Little Ignaz Wonders by Antony Osgood
‘Will they come this morning?’
The boy cannot see his older brother’s face in the gloom, and neither can his forgetful toy bear. On any given day, during each endless hour and restless night, the single candle they afford themselves silhouettes the pretence of confidence. It has become a circus puppet show they take turns to perform.
‘Not this morning.’Continue reading “‘Will They Remember Us?’ Little Ignaz Wonders by Antony Osgood”
Flowers for a Wedding by Victoria Mei-ling Kerrigan
One month after my mother’s funeral, Darian and I are buying flowers again. My brother Lloyd is getting married tomorrow. I lead us through Madison Square Park to Belle Amie, the flower shop my family frequents.Continue reading “Flowers for a Wedding by Victoria Mei-ling Kerrigan”
Open Window by Tim Frank
Edmund’s wife, Wendy, had been unconscious in hospital for weeks, but no doctor could diagnose her illness so they discharged her to recover at home, with Edmund as her sole carer.
As Wendy lay still as a mannequin in her queen-sized bed, drawing in short imperceptible breaths, summer flooded in from the streets outside. Sun splashed through their bedroom window, as leaves on trees glowed a robust green, and birds danced on the tips of trembling boughs.Continue reading “Open Window by Tim Frank”
Burned Toast by Gil Hoy
By the time Sally died, it was too late for Jack to become a better husband and too late to make amends. Car crashes come suddenly, without any warning, and can be as unforgiving as the wife of a cheating husband who feels no remorse. Jack was alone, five days after the accident, sitting in his kitchen eating breakfast and checking for the fourth time to make sure he’d turned the stove off. He had overcooked scrambled eggs and the toast he’d made looked more like burned charcoal than anything fit for human consumption, but he’d eaten most of it anyway, spitting out the darkest of the black, crumbling pieces into the sink (after chewing them until the taste was unbearable). Those buttery, black bits were now stuck to the greasy aluminum pots and pans that lined Jack’s sink and would be onerous to get off.Continue reading “Burned Toast by Gil Hoy”
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.Continue reading “The Smoothing Stream by Michael Bloor”