All Stories, General Fiction

Rewind by Yash Seyedbagheri

Streaming services kill our multiplex. The multiplex my sister and I went to Friday nights, as regular as anything. They don’t say it outright, but I know Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays even, people are hiding behind the glow of screens, including some of my own friends. They sink into names like HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime, contrivances with big letters and feigned cleverness.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Empty Histories by Yash Seyedbagheri

At the coffee shop, all the tables are full, both the rectangular tables and the smaller square ones. People fill each side, hunched over computers and stacks of notes. There are boyfriends and girlfriends in turd-colored hoodies and skimpy white tank-tops, parents and children dissecting fractions and Abraham Lincoln, laughter, hugs, shoving, F-bombs deployed with cheer, fusillades of life fired into my ears.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Promise by Yash Seyedbagheri

My older sister Nan makes promises. Promises to visit, promises to talk soon. Drops “luv yas” in, hasty afterthoughts. Texts that she’s proud of me too, even if they’re in sentence fragments.

But the promises keep rising and rising. Talk tomorrow, visit next month, two months. Promises are splayed across my consciousness.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Ladybird by Joy Florentine

The waitress who has taken my order wears a sepia-coloured dress, checkers faded and hem ruffled. She excuses herself as she leans in and wipes the table with a damp cloth. On her sleeve is a single red, round button. It gleams. She asks me something. My car is parked between two cargo trucks. I’m not usually the type of person who visits roadside diners. The red, round button reflects the light from the fluorescent lamp, its four holes laced with loose black thread.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Shadow of Your Smile by Yash Seyedbagheri

Nick takes pictures of smiles, in coffee shops, at the store.

He especially likes crooked smiles, like his older sister Nan’s. When she smiled. When she was a being and not a shadow in the past tense.  He’s tried to store her smiles like contraband. A smile on the way to bed, the two of them exchanging a glance. A smile pronouncing his nickname. Nicky. Or a smile while watching The Big Lebowski, a smile transforming into real, crackled laughter, especially when The Dude lit a joint without care.

But time makes it impossible to store things.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Iceberg Theory by Yash Seyedbagheri

I slink across January ice. The sun shimmers over clear, cold icy sheen.

I look ahead, but still slip.

I flail, feeling the world tumbling. The sky leers, pale blue, puffed-up clouds surveying me. Frame houses line the street, staring with cheerful yellows and greens. Oak trees stare with naked arms.

I right myself, arms flailing. It’s a miracle, but relief evaporates, replaced by shadows of shame.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

The Incident with the Knife by Monika R Martyn

With time and reflection comes meaning, or so I’ve heard my therapist say many times. But what she doesn’t understand, even with all her schooling, is that despite all, a person can never go back in time to seize an opportunity, to rectify a wrong. At least within the luxury of these solid walls, and as is usual at this time of the night, when all is quiet, and neither breath nor movement intrudes, I can remember the facts as they suit me.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Bathroom Throne by Yashar Seyedbagheri

                                              

Dad locked my sister Nan and me in the bathroom when he had girlfriends over. This was always late at night, after his shift at Bavo’s Bar. He thought Mother would have taken us when she left. I was twelve and Nan fifteen.

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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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