All Stories, General Fiction

More Ice Cream by Yash Seyedbagheri

The night they announce the divorce, my older sister Nan takes me for ice cream. I’m fourteen, she’s seventeen.

Nan insists I get two scoops.  Mint-chocolate chip.

Nan has cookies-and-cream.

“Everything should be a little sweeter,” she says.

“I guess,” I say, hunched over the bowl. “You wonder what would happen if things were too sweet, right?”

Nan smiles, a smile as crumpled as a dollar bill. She has circles under her hazel eyes and I want to tell her something positive. I don’t know what.

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All Stories, Romance

When the Tabloids Ate My Best Friend by Marco Etheridge

The morning sun assaulted every nerve ending in my shattered brain and that same vicious sun illuminated the headline that hovered before my bleary eyes: Bigfoot’s Miraculous Aqua-Baby Discovered. I tried to focus, then I tried to blink it all away. Miserable failure was the result on both counts. I did not conjure clarity, nor did the strange bedroom disappear. I was forced to ask myself that most critical question. Where the fuck was I?

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All Stories, General Fiction

It’s All in the Maul by Tom Sheehan

It was the moment of pure silence before we would set the forest on its ear with the roar of our chain saws. The deep woods that morning glistened with long tracts of snowy and scary silence, now and then broken by the creaking of a frozen limb swearing it would fall to earth. At best that fall would be a minor distortion, a minor distraction. Yet again, that creak sounded like a baby in the night, or a wailing or a keening, or, at an odder moment, like a voice given to what has no voice. At attention we stood, my friend Eddie LeBlanc and I, some twenty yards apart, some huge oaks apart, their ugly and monstrous arms clawing at early daylight.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Last Word by Nathan S Jones

The last words she ever said.
I just wanted to know what they were. Call it a compulsion, a thought that nagged at me like a hot plate of my wife’s lasagna when I’d spent the day not eating.
My aunt had passed away. She was the last remnant of my father’s side of the family. My dad died of cancer at the age of 47 when I was eleven. My aunt had just died at the age of 86 (my dad would have been 85), and I really wanted to know the last thing she said.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Stupid Decisions by Wayne Yetman

“You sure make stupid decisions.” she said.

Taylor blinked, maybe even winced a little, but otherwise showed little sign that he had heard her, let alone taken her seriously. It wasn’t that he was deaf or so lacking in ego that he could withstand the insult. No, he was simply too busy to bother, too desperate to rescue himself (and her) from the results of this latest stupid decision, all too aware that far too many stupid decisions had been made and the chickens, as they say, were really and truly coming home to roost.

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General Fiction, Short Fiction

This Winter by Louie Richmond

Tuesday morning and I’m driving. It’s cold outside and the windscreen is cloudy. I can see only through the little circle I have made by wiping my gloved hand against the glass. The circle keeps closing up, the world keeps getting smaller. There is nobody on the streets and the sky is low, the only motion outside the steaming shapes of stranger’s cars, indistinct forms defined against the grey by their movement.

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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

Long Live Carl Mar by Jane Houghton

Two punks sat outside a church, their slouching backs touching the north-facing wall, a few metres from the entrance – so as not to block God’s passage. Neither were religious, in fact they thought it utter shite, but they knew about respect. Respected respect. Their hair was spiky, but there were no spikes on them.

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