All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

1975 b.c.e. By Leila Allison

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A Saturday Morning, 1975 b.c.e

One, two, three, four, five…

One, two, three, four, five…

One, two, three, four–

As she lay in bed, Tess shoved the early morning hum of the street and small under-noises in the apartment out of her mind and focused solely on the little clicks she heard in Anna Lou’s room.

Tess knew about Anna-Lou’s habit. Her mother was a careless telephone gossip, especially when in her wine, which was pretty much always. “The doctor’s been feeding her Percodan and God knows what since they shot Lincoln.”–or something similar, was what Mom said to friends on the phone when the subject was Great Aunt Louise. For some boozy reason, Mom believed if she lowered her voice to a confidential tone that neither of her children would make a special effort to listen.

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Fantasy, Short Fiction

It Lets the Air In By Leila Allison

Fittingly, it began at the end of the world, New Delhi. The job now over, the American was about to board the first of many trains west when a slumped and shambling beggar in a ratty shawl stopped him on the platform. “Rupees, rupees,” the familiar whine. The American sighed and smiled and said, “Sure, all right. For old time’s sake.” It was eight-thousand miles to Madrid, but God damn India had a way of converting distance to years.

He offered the wretch a few coins, but the figure in the shawl slapped them away, which caused a hell of a scrum amongst other beggars on the platform.

“Hi, hi, what for hell’s sake is this, I’ll show you,” said the American. He had a temper, and often raised his hand. But the beggar stood erect and kept on standing until he was at least a foot taller than the American, not a small man himself. Arms lashed out from under the shawl and hands of unimaginable strength grabbed the American by the shoulders and lifted him near, toes scraping the boards. Despite the violence and surprise of the situation, the American wasn’t a coward. He summoned the nerve that had distinguished him from others in the Great War and looked up at the face under the shawl. All he saw was darkness.

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All Stories, Fantasy

Boxes by Shira Musicant

Lizzie’s dark curls held sparkling rain diamonds. Her eyes were bright. Julia! Lizzie often arrived unexpectedly, coming through the walls or the door.

I brought you a present. A box, Lizzie said. A little box, she added, her eyes laughing.

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All Stories, General Fiction

On the Radio, Ronald Reagan is Wheezing by Adelino de Almeida

It’s Friday, and on the radio, Ronald Reagan is wheezing his way through a speech. I hear him often, he’s always on the news, on TV, on the radio. This is his decade, and from his sibylline delivery I learn that his economic policies will one day make me rich. I cannot understand how, and he does not explain it either; so, for now, I just hope that my mates and I can keep our jobs.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Dreams Away at Octavia’s by Thomas M. McDade

I was out of the waiter game, quit when a chef threw a cruet that just missed my head; oil splattered my new, old tux I bought from a formal wear rental joint. Only an asylum inmate would be able to summon a voice that said I’d bettered myself. I was working at a fast food joint, The Burger General, home of the Five-Star Half Pounder. I’d added eight published poems to my Good Knots chapbook so I wasn’t complaining about work conditions or pay. I kept a few copies under the counter in case I sensed kindred vibes from a customer. Jake Perez, the janitor found one in the trash. If a fry weren’t a bookmark he might have left it but he thought it was a hoot and shared his kicks with my fellow workers before returning it to me. A high school kid working the drive-thru told me my poems were baffling and so was I but she quotes lines occasionally and said her mom gave me a thumbs-up. Columbia University had recently published the freshly greased poem, “Ghost Shipping” in its literary magazine.  Octavia’s Ristorante returned in sharp focus. Elise shanghaied my mind.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Suzanne by Avery Mathers

I’m standing in the bus shelter on Union Street, and the number twenty-three has been ‘due in two minutes’ for the last five minutes. People troop past on the pavement; hoods up or heads down or fighting with umbrellas. Alone together in the shelter, we happy few peer through the drizzled glass and check our watches. A splinter of Leonard Cohen is stuck in my head: Suzanne.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Bride of Christ by Mary J Breen

Every Sunday morning for the past nine years and one month, my mother-in-law has made her dauntless progress up the centre aisle of Holy Family Church on the arm of my husband. This, she believed, was ample evidence that despite his marriage to an ex-nun—holy women all of them, although those who leave their vocation perhaps not holy enough—her Danny’s primary devotion was still to his mother, not to this drab failure of a Grade Three teacher who got her claws into the school principal, no less, the gentle, much-loved Mr. Lynch. Sweet and kind and considerate with his staff and with the children, but away from school, the embodiment of an ineffectual man. But I didn’t know that then.

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