All Stories, General Fiction

The Bund by Richard Yu

There were many things in life that Oscar did not comprehend. Miro, for one, totally baffled him. When it comes to abstract painting, he would readily relegate that area of expertise to his wife. Afterall, she had attended art school for a big part of her life, so she was supposedly an art connoisseur as well as an artist herself. What puzzled Oscar was why she bothered to learn all those advanced techniques just so to paint like a five-year-old. “You should find a job teaching kindergarteners how to paint,” Oscar would snipe. Naturally, his wife ignored his snide remarks. Just recently, she had bid on a sketch by Miro for as much as five years his salary, he being a CEO of a high-tech firm that supplied chips for the space shuttle. Had he run across such a sketch in a flea market, he wouldn’t have paid more than the price of a can of sardines for it, if only for the scrap value of the frame and mat.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Whacky Ideas by Dave Henson

One morning over coffee, Jessica says she wants us to take a horse to church. My wife doesn’t mean using the animal for transportation. She wants to walk a horse up the steps, down the aisle, and let it stand there during services.

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All Stories, Horror

Sweet Dreams by Stephen Taylor

After dark, when the lights are no longer illuminating, the world sleeps – and the world dreams. Some are good dreams, ones that leave a smile on waking, others though, well they are the ones that leave an indelible mark on us all. These are ones that, within our subconscious, we do not remember or recall in the waking hours – but instead are assailed by them when we close our eyes and give ourselves up to sleep.

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All Stories, Fantasy

June’s Miniature Mart Off Highway 101 by Sage Tyrtle

Her box on the shelf at June’s Miniature Mart is getting dusty. She watches through her plastic window on the world as her aisle is put on sale. “50% off! Get ’em before they’re gone!”

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Plea by Craig Dobson

It began when the weather turned. That cold, still brightness had gone. The leaves’ rusted gilt was torn from the trees and scattered across the tumbling grey clouds by the winds that knocked over the bins and beat down the last of the climbing beans in the vegetable patch. The shed’s corrugated roof flapped like a fish, clanging through the night.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Quarters by Meg Croley

He was seeing another woman, a woman who was not his wife, which admittedly was a little disorienting. What was he gaining that wasn’t already given to him by me or the wife (the wife never called him daddy). He hadn’t replied to my texts in three days, and I was about to announce a fake pregnancy. Then she called.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Picture Frame by Tim Frank

Carlton was a diminutive man with a rotund belly and a shock of tawny hair that swished from side to side as he shifted his head like a curious sparrow. He would drift through the working days in our publishing company brushing past his colleagues wordlessly in perfumed high-rise elevators, impossibly tight hallways and the tearoom where everyone gathered at mid-morning for an extra caffeine fix. He designed book covers for manuscripts that wove magical realist tales of invisible animals and children lost in ethereal kingdoms – fantasy worlds that seemed to give him sustenance, something maybe his surrounding environment couldn’t.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Kenny Women by Fiona McGarvey

Amber Kenny was a timid child. She had a round face and hair to match her name. Every night she prayed for her wild, orange curls to turn dark and straight but every morning they bounced back into place, redder than ever.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Forks by Meg Sattler

In my suitcase there were six pairs of knickers. Six was the number I’d need for a week of work, assuming that one night I’d swim or go to the gym and it wouldn’t be outrageous to wash a couple of pairs in the hotel shower.

I’d packed four tops, all of them black. Jackie in Rentals had told me that if you wear all black nobody notices. Once, she’d worn the same black shirt every day for a month and no one raised an eyebrow. Then she wore a yellow shirt twice in a week and four people said don’t you have another top?

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All Stories, General Fiction

Southern Comfort by David Lohrey

Why do Southerners romanticize dreck? They positively gush over everything in sight, including the weeds covering the telephone poles along the highway. Kudzu, an invasive weed, is treated like gorse. Southerners are proud of it, like everything else. Kudzu is nothing to be proud of, but Peter Taylor is. Light in August is something to get excited about. Tennessee Williams knew a thing or two, but is he invited to the Liberty Bowl? What of Eudora Welty?

Guess again.

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