Tender by Brianna Wyble

I feel the scream rise, but I crush it back down into a solid lump of coal, and then further, harder, until it becomes an imperfect diamond of rage stuck in my throat. I can’t let it out. I can’t swallow it. It sits, laboring my breathing. I shove it down as hard as I can, store it, just like all the others. The rage, the sorrow, the pain. It all goes to the same place.

My life is like a demented fairy tale where the princess barfs jewels and escapes the evil Prince in her shitty Honda. I should be rich from all this.

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Museum Picture By Jeremiah Minihan

“Completely naked?”

“Don’t worry, my dear, it will be all right.” He cocked his head. “You did promise.”

Mr. Thayer moved to touch Lydia’s shoulder, but she pulled back, wrapping the thick robe tighter. Mr. Thayer – she would never have thought to call him Gregory – stood back from her. Lydia could not interpret his expression. He might have been showing a twist of amusement or contempt around his bearded lips, but mostly she felt that he was studying her as if she were an animal or a specimen. That was what he did, after all, studied and painted.

And she had promised him. She found herself blushing. At the same time, she felt in control, in some way.

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Flesh of An Unwanted Fish by Tom Sheehan      

Armand Tollbar remembered everything Clara said, on and off the pillow, in the bedroom and out of it. These days that had become a tough assignment for him, for while the memories were rich and repetitive, he now knew, deep down in his body, without a paucity of doubt, that the river was getting polluted. For the two of them there had always been a minor division: she loved the house, he loved the river.

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Through the Curtain by Diane M Dickson

The police showed her his watch. His watch and wallet, and his wedding ring. No matter how much Amy asked to see her husband’s body, they dissuaded her. None of them actually said that he was unrecognisable because of his injuries but, through the shock and horror of it all, the message was eventually received. She picked up the timepiece she had bought a couple of years earlier. The engraving on the back ‘All My Love Stuart – your Amy’ left no room for doubt. His wallet held some money, his bank cards. His driving licence was missing, that was how they had found her.

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