Special thanks to Jessica Standifird for her editorial assistance. This week’s artwork by Joseph Pravda.
The Night of a Thousand Heads
by Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri
The pileup of heads began at sunset. By midnight, the streets were full of them, silhouetted by moonlit shadows. We’d begged the narrator to stop it, but he couldn’t. He’d shed his trench coat and fedora, told us he was through with the job. He was sorry and tired. We gathered in droves, laughing spectators, without sympathy for the dead. That’s when we saw the narrator on the hillside, holding his wife’s head. He pulled back like an expert bowler, sending her flying, her dead momentum rushing past us, weighing us down in our laughter. “You fuckers,” he said.
by Callum Davies
No stubble. Four days have gone by now and still no stubble. Every time I look out of the window it’s the same clouds. The hot water isn’t working and there’s no food in the fridge. No cars ever come past. The birds don’t sing. I can’t leave. I don’t know what’s out there anymore. The belt is still tied to the doorknob where I left it. Perhaps I am, too.
The Royal Wedding
by Dan Campbell
Before the wedding, there were the usual preparations. The princess tried on wedding dresses and the royal maids dusted and mopped night and day. The royal secret service positioned snipers and checked for bombs in the church and mines in the street. The royal police trained in crowd control while the royal army stationed tanks in strategic locations and filled the sky with drones. Meanwhile the prince, who was just a frog the week before, remembered his friends who croaked in the night, and he wept when the princess ordered the royal environmental agency to drain his frog-days pond.
by Merrill Sunderland
She is the kind of bald skinheads only dream of. Her skin became pale after one night in the hospital. As a sheet. She wears a blue-speckled gown called a johnny that covers little and flails open without aid or consent. She can only sleep when she dreams of her two little boys, four and eight, thank god for small favors. Her arms grow tubes fastened in place by wads of tape that wrap and wrap around her. There’s no skin to be seen. When she’s finally unveiled, de-tubed and sent home, her boys will hug her nearly to death.
You’ll Thank Me Later
by Cerise S. Carter
Smile until it sticks, my girl. I made you breakfast in bed when you were sick, remember? That hole punched in the wall was a mistake. I cry tears of remorse for you. I tell you we should go camping, and it will be romantic. Share that Facebook status; tell your friends, dear. I only spent all of our money on guns because I need a collection to feel whole. I am an aficionado, remember? How could you love me and not want me whole? You are safe with me, love. I give you the world. The one I made.