All Stories, General Fiction

Visiting Dr. Redd by Constance Woodring.

Everyone in this place talks about Dr. Redd. I had never wanted to talk to staff because (1) my spies would get wind of it, (2) Dr. Redd sounds crazier than the patients here and (3) he might get suspicious. Nurse Bealer, who looks like Charles Laughton on a bad day, convinced me to go. She just wanted me off the ward for an hour or so.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Paper-Lined Tables by Rachel Sievers

“Will you bring me something to drink from the kitchen?” She asks with her feet up on the couch. I swivel from my perch looking out the kitchen window. The open floor plan of the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house makes it easy to see the bottoms of her feet from where they lay on top of the armrest of our couch. Her neon pink socks have white writing that read: if you can read this bring me wine. I consider her socks and reach into the walnut cabinet and pull out a water glass, filling it directly from the sink. I bring her the full glass and hold it out to her. She doesn’t look up from her phone but grabs the water glass and brings it to her pale and chapped lips. She needs to drink more water.

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General Fiction, Short Fiction

The Thankless Child by Edward Hall

When I first saw Gordon, it was my second year at Moorebank Asylum. “Your daughter has a cancer of the mind, Mrs Davis,” the doctors had told my mother. “She’s very sick.” They stuck needles in me after tea on the first night, and for the next three months thereafter. Those doctors said it was some new-fangled, Eastern treatment for my conditions—psychosis, lunacy, neurosis . . . the list of ‘ailments’ goes on and on. After they’d stopped with the needles and Doc Taylor made note of my negligible improvements, Mother paid another thousand-or-so dollars so I could stay “just one more month.”

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All Stories, General Fiction

Not Criminally Responsible by Harrison Kim

You move into the world, a mind arrival, after a disturbing darkness.  First you perceive outside the body visual… another odd spot on the ceiling.  Peer at the shape, like an inner organ.  Not the spot itself, though it has a strange form, but what hides behind it, from the writing in your dream.   In this dream, you came walking through a heavy mist.  You perceived yourself moving in a swirling, grey white wash of cloud come to earth.  Then you entered the corporeal, inside a body walking from a car towards the front of a gated institution.  You understood that you possessed the persona of a staff member, approaching daily work at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital….the hospital for the criminally insane.  You walked in this persona, up a road which bridges over a dike built to repel high water, a barrier that separates the hospital from the surrounding farmland. You observed the man-made berm with the oak tree at its summit.  You stepped by the sixteen-foot-high fence and the wall cameras.  You pulled out an electronic fob and opened the blue iron gate, and entered the inner grounds. The pastel buildings lay about at diamond-shaped angles, over a small rise you perceived the Central Hall.   You looked past the staff person’s early morning bleariness and found your own motivation for walking in his shoes: the need to know the truth about yourself.  You possessed the staff’s body and followed his path, and his path led to the office of Poplar Central Ward.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Horror

Paraffin Lamp by Alex Sinclair – Warning – strong language and content that some readers will find upsetting

“Verminous dole scrounging deadbeats poetically whingeing that’s all it is, lamenting wistfully about the plight of their work-shy genes. The Celtic curse so it is, forever waxing philosophical about being a shite for brains’ pisshead.”

He stops. He has run away with himself and he can’t remember what he was talking about.

Packy is barely cognizant of where he is. He exists in half dream, half myth.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

The World From This High by Andrew Jason Jacono

The World From This High

The stars are out chittering over the water and the bridge is cold on the backs of my thighs and for the last three years He The One has been jabbering in my head telling me to jump. I haven’t listened to Him until now, I’ve been strong and I’ve resisted, but there comes a point when you just can’t take it anymore and you give in and so here I am. I’m not happy about it but at least when I jump They’ll stop beaming all those messages into my head and They won’t be able to torture me anymore.

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All Stories, General Fiction

An Act of Courage by Robert P. Bishop

Jacob Mundy glanced at the ominous cumulonimbus clouds boiling overhead. He clutched the sack of groceries to his chest and hurried down the sidewalk toward his home, trying to beat the coming storm. It wasn’t the rain he feared; it was the lightning that came with the storm. Jacob knew if he were caught outside he would be struck dead by a bolt of lightning, fried in his tracks, his groceries, sodden and disintegrating from the rain, scattered like so much litter next to his charred and twisted body. This vision terrified Jacob. He leaned forward and increased his pace. “Oh, God, oh, God, I’m going to get zapped,” he whimpered and walked faster.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Upside-down Push Up Busker by Harrison Kim

Sobola’s standing on his head against an artist painted wall, pumping upside down pushups.  The backs of his feet slide up and down the surf wave mural bricks.  From his close to ground position, he views a reversal world, the feet of the curious street crowd.  Beside him, on left and right, two volunteers participate.  Cindy Lou and Nick.  They pushup for their totem animal.   They volunteered to participate in this busker challenge.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Chess with Al by Harrison Kim

I’m watching Al’s fingers lift his chess knights in the day room of a maximum-security ward at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital for the criminally insane.  Al’s an older patient just out of seclusion.  Pasty white cheeks, grey stubble, slack mouth, intense brown eyes, with lids that drop unexpectedly, and flutter, and open once again. His fingers hold a castle’s head, then release it.  He moves to a pawn, lifts its top.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

The Female Bukowski? by Kathryne Cherie

The night started out with 2 racists in the Middle East Nightclub & Bar on the South side of Cambridge. Each man on the wrong side of a real bore of an argument. The spit that flew off their tongues stained the fabric of this particular dimension. The one we selfishly call ours.

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