On a balmy day in May, Betty Brown said to a joyous Black boy jiving around on Broadway, “Walk that walk, Boy. You know you sooo fine. You know I’m gonna make you mine. It’s just a matter of time.”Continue reading “Show Off by Frederick K Foote – Contains adult language and themes.”
Emmet Emafo started his day running. Broken branches and shredded herbs told the story of the hail storm that woke him during the night. A thin mist still fell. A canvas of fall leaves swayed in trees. He became one with the morning light and shadow. The slap of his footfalls on the wet cement comforted him.Continue reading “The Executor by Barb Lundy”
Listen officer, kids die all the time, you know. Trust me. And seventeen isn’t that young. But his blood tasted like mine, that was a surprise. So was his walk; wobble really. Monnie told me he needed a few more, “Get it girl,” that’s what she said, and she said it just like that, like her lips were dripping with sticky spit and she was slurping it back up. I couldn’t, not just then, couldn’t give him what he need.Continue reading “Fake Teeth Yarn by Kiersen Clerkin”
We were bored when we started drinking and bored when we got too drunk and bored when we stole Adee’s pickup and drove it down to the riverbank. What a joke. We laughed the whole way, that forced, bored kind that sounds like a fraud. How we mused, won’t this be funny when Adee gets off her shift and finds her truck gone.
Since no one ever locked their cars, or their doors, stealing came easy. Only problem in a town this small, you’d get caught. Didn’t matter. Stealing was more a game than a necessity, so catch us if you can, Adee.Continue reading “There’s No Bars in this Town by J Saler Drees”
Hung: It would be wrong to say it was her favourite expression. Her favourite expression, my Mam, was “Hell’s Bells!”, which was short for “Hell’s bells and buckets of blood”. That was her idea of swearing. A jingle: just enough to keep a real swear word at bay.
When the real ones came, they were Dar’s, and they were like my brother, Davie, you know – thick, short, and fast.
So, no, “Be hung for a sheep as a lamb” was not her favourite phrase, but Mam said it a lot. It was shortened, but we somehow knew what she meant. Maybe the long of it had been explained to us once, or maybe we explained it to each other.
The sentiment was that if you are going to be hanged for stealing a small lamb, then you may as well steal a whole sheep. A jingle of wisdom passed down, like a pair of shoes. It was what families did then. They’d pass old sayings down the line, the blood line. They would settle, acting like silt, determining your depth.
It was hard to picture though. Where we lived there were no sheep. A lamb chop from the butcher’s maybe, that could be stolen, but I’d not have the courage. The butcher was a big man. Blood and blades were nothing to him.
No one ever corrected Mam’s grammar, not that I can recall. Hung it was.Continue reading “some words ending in a sentence by Phill Doran”
Frankie is his least favorite nursing aide. She wears cheap perfume that smells like cherries and he hates cherries, the knotted pits inside them, the red juice that blooms across fingers and teeth, the bittersweet taste spread across the tongue. His mother loved cherries, left bowls of them half eaten sitting on dressers and counters and even stacked on the floor, the pits stinking and rotting with bits of the fleshy fruit still attached. The stain on her fingertips resembling the lipstick smeared around her mouth.Continue reading “Cherries by L’Erin Ogle”
Someone is locked in the trunk of the car. They bang against their prison as the woman climbs onto the roof.Continue reading “Too Close to Hell by Phil Hurst”
I sit in darkness, isolated from the world by a dark wooden door. If I think hard enough, I can imagine I’m standing in a sunny field, or listening to the roar of ocean waves. But I’m not. As much as I try, the thin closet door in the bathroom is not enough to block out the screams.Continue reading “Seroquel by Olivia Austin”
“Open your eyes.”
The voice crawls in from the dark. It is little more than a whisper. I am still dazed; I can barely distinguish the words.Continue reading “The Maker of Crèches by Loredano Cafaro”
She has a gun sitting in her lap. It’s stark against the pretty floral pattern of her dress. Like a bomb ticking away in a family’s flower garden, and Reverend Davis has no idea what to do about it.Continue reading “Eye of the Hurricane by Engela Snyman”