All Stories, General Fiction

Echoes by Yash Seyedbagheri 

Each night, he sprinkles an array of lanterns across the front yard. Arranges the lawn chairs, so there’s ample distance between each, but so they’re still close enough to create a shapely formation. He sets out little plastic tables in between each.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Summer and Sweet Peas by Oso Jones

He places the cloth bag carefully on the kitchen table; Formica, worn and chipped. She had trained him in in the use of cloth bags. You would have thought the simple act of remembering to take a cloth bag to the shops was a panacea against climate change. More like a superstitious tick, like genuflecting at church or throwing salt over your shoulder. Something to make you feel like you are warding off an even greater calamity when the real damage has already been done. He unpacks the bag carefully: a hammer, a hatchet, some rope, an apple. The apple was impulsive, they looked fresh. Crisp and juicy. He tells himself he must eat it soon. He has his own superstitions and the longer an apple is the house the more he suspects that it is mealy. Many a good apple has gone to waste because he couldn’t shake the feeling it was imperfect in a sickening, unnameable way. Of course, you can never tell with apples, not until you take a bite, but he could never bring himself to take that risk.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Voice by Yash Seyedbagheri

I try to leave Mom a voicemail. Again.

The voicemail cannot be delivered. Again. She always stores old voicemails. Always says you never know when they might come in handy. Especially if you’re in a jam and need proof that you communicated with X at Y time. Pre-empt the world.

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All Stories, General Fiction

To Serve by Yash Seyedbagheri      

When I was little, I was afraid aliens were going to eat me. Of course, it was just that Twilight Zone episode I’d seen, To Serve Man, the one where a message of peace turned out to be an alien cookbook and the world was its meal, people being fattened up on a spaceship for the slaughter. They had to convince me it was just a show, a parable about humanity and all that.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Welcome by Yash Seyedbagheri     

Once, the coffee shop walls were sunshine yellow. It was a yellow that to Nick evoked the shape of sweet dreams. Dreams that whispered and took him by the hand. Dreams he couldn’t get facing white walls, six months ago. White walls that faced other white walls, with faceless neighbors who never made themselves known.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Light by Yash Seyedbagheri   

It’s the first clear winter night in almost two weeks. I drive the streets into our valley community, 2003 Subaru Forester rattling with age and emptiness. Well, more like I’m driving down the one winding main street that slopes down a hill, flanked by cathedral-like ponderosas. A few side streets branch off to the market and the cluster of shops and the one or two churches that flank either side of the river. The outskirts, the hills beyond, my cabin,  darkened rooms, and bills wait behind me, all splayed across the kitchen table. Power, water, a myriad of cards maxed out, in part due to my fondness for Fat Tire.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Carried by Yash Seyedbagheri

The coffee shop with the sunshine walls closes. The skies are dark with charcoal-colored clouds. Home looms, Nick’s thesis waiting to be formatted with precision. Half inch margins flush with some part of the page or another. Overdue credit card bills demand their due. Graduation looms.

There’s no more time to sit and absorb laughter and dirty jokes. No time to watch undergraduates and senior citizens move with ease and a devil-may-care attitude.

The world awaits.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Empty Histories by Yash Seyedbagheri

At the coffee shop, all the tables are full, both the rectangular tables and the smaller square ones. People fill each side, hunched over computers and stacks of notes. There are boyfriends and girlfriends in turd-colored hoodies and skimpy white tank-tops, parents and children dissecting fractions and Abraham Lincoln, laughter, hugs, shoving, F-bombs deployed with cheer, fusillades of life fired into my ears.

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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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