by Archie Leung
If Jay decided to fly up, I would forsake my village and elope with Uffe. If Jay decided to fly down, I would become the general’s concubine. I closed my eyes, listening to the river, where rapids splashed onto the rocks every second. Jay was chirping between my palms. Jay didn’t know anything. He could only see the wide sky above him, or the pond below where a school of fish swam. So I opened my hands —- and cupped Jay again in my hands.
by Jareb Collins
Galarian leaned upon the gnarled oak, moaning as he drained his bladder. A twig snapped in the semi-darkness. Fumbling his sword from its scabbard, Galarian lurched at the noise. He tripped on a root, plunging the errant blade halfway to the hilt in the neck of a very old – and very dead – dragon. Upon which, apparently, he had just pissed. There was a gasp behind him, and Galarian whipped his head around. “You, boy – how long have you been there?” The child’s eyes shone. “Lord Knight, you have saved us!” Galarian belched. “Yep.”
Is it Real?
by Remington Hiles
We had two tents. Dad and I in one; Mom and my sister in the other. The next day we spent all day fishing, sitting by the campfire, and eating marshmallows. That afternoon we went hiking. Then all of a sudden, we saw a bear. My sister said “That’s not a bear, that’s Bigfoot!” Dad pulled out his pistol and shot. We heard a loud grunt as it hit the ground; it shook us all. We walked up to it slowly; but something didn’t seem real. We pulled the fur off. It’s our neighbor, Fat Pat; who now lays dead.
by Siobhan Pratt
He walks up to the bar, wearing blue coveralls caked in something like motor oil that smells of blood, looking weary. He orders a Jack and Bud and downs both quick. I lean over and ask him if he’s a mechanic and he says yeah but not for cars. Says he works on time and space. Then before I can get another word out of him he’s taking a wrench to something only he can see. He walks up to the bar, wearing clean blue overalls, smiling wide.
by Lee DeAmali
Unforecast blizzard transformed my dodgy school route into a snowdrift maze of untouched possibilities. Chapped by stinging winds, I reluctantly accepted shelter from a kindly man, certain of ulterior motives. A women set down warm cocoa and soup, urged that I phone home where family would certainly be worried. I knew of no such place, dialed the number staring back from rotary’s center, whispered ‘It’s dead.’ Draped in blankets and asked only to make myself comfortable, I took in every detail of these surroundings and its inhabitants, determined to forge replication in dreams until it became my sweet reality.
This week’s artwork is “Potentially Unsettling if Made into a Wallpaper” by Connor Fieweger.
Too Much of a Good Thing
by Jackson Freud
They were eating pizza on the couch when she asked him.
“Do you still find me attractive?” she said.
Robbie chewed his mouthful of cheese and salami, taking care not to swallow it too soon lest he be forced to answer the question.
He wiped his fingers on a grease-stained napkin, drained his beer and turned up the volume on the television. She yanked the remote from his hand and said, “Babe?”
He sighed. “Too much cheese. Why do you always have to order extra fucking cheese?”
by L.L. Madrid
Mother said Broden pulled my hair because he liked me. She said that if I just ignored him he’d lose interest. By late summer, the neighborhood children ran feral. They leered as Broden pushed me to the ground, pinning my arms with his knees. The sun burned in the cloudless sky but I didn’t dare close my eyes. One dirty hand squeezed, forcing my mouth open. The other pinched a fat, oozing slug. Grim-faced, Broden shoved the slimy creature deep inside me, mollusk skin scraping off against my teeth. The other children cheered. I suppose they liked me too.
by Andrew Bertaina
Across town my wife is on a date with another man. And here I am, like a flower, gathering light in the window and thinking of her. And just imagine that as she reaches for her coffee, or suddenly takes his hand; imagine if she just as suddenly thinks of me, the two of us miles away, lonely for one another.
by Jareb Collins
“Death is the gentle passage from the horrors of this life to the blessings of the next.”
At least, that’s what Reverend Tommy always said.
Poetic, I used to think.
Far be it from me to argue with a man of the cloth – seemed like bad karma. But as cyanide slowly burned a hole in my gut, I couldn’t help but feel like I was stuck in a frozen boxcar hurtling down a rusty track. I shivered violently, a bloody froth bubbling from my lips. The world began to fade; I almost regretted escaping the eternal flames.
Death was cold.
by Brett Blocker
The thrill of paper targets was short-lived. Same with the cans on the fence post. He’d graduated to birds now, and the feeder proved an inexhaustible supply. Every day after school he fed the pile. Swallows, chickadees, robins, it made no difference; their beaks all shattered as fragile things against the steel bb. Some lay where they fell. Cats carried away the others. In time, the yard fell silent, distant branches found new use, and animals flicked their tongues in defiance.