by Kapka Nilan
Back then when I used to have a father and there used to be snow for as long as I remember before my memories turned into slush and the future became all too real without the intricacies of snowflakes and with the knowledge that all Santas are temporary but melting into nothing is a bonus as that way they would never get old and develop a catalog of illnesses that can only leave one half-alive.
by Matthew Corbyn
The sun poured champagne into the ocean. Pristine water bubbled on the white sand.
The porcelain woman lay on dark mahogany, shaded by postcard palm trees. Her oversized sun hat and sunglasses, a polite ‘do not disturb’.
She had meant to leave two days ago.
Her phone buzzed. She ignored it.
A local walked by early evening. She didn’t return his greeting.
Even as the crowds gathered under the full moon, followed by red and blue flashing, revealing the deep, dark ocean. She dared not open her eyes, lest another sight would be her last.
If I Could Give My Former Self a Fortune Cookie
Five years from now, you will live in a modest home, in a small town, with a fulfilling job, and a new partner. You will have a golden retriever named Lucky.
But right now, you are alone, crouched on the floor in the last bathroom stall, your head in your hands, sweat droplets running along the small of your back, your knees pulled up and pushing against your palpitating chest. You smell urine and Japanese Cherry Blossom, and a layer of coffee stagnates in your mouth. You keep lifting your feet to feel the slight pull of the sticky floor.
Hug Me Once
by Tim Frank
As a child I refused hugs, always offering a firm handshake instead – even to my mother who watched sadly as I grew into a frail teenager with perpetually clammy palms.
On her deathbed, grandma offered my greatest challenge.
“Give Nana a hug, darling,” she said, with dull grey eyes, stretching out her arms. “Not long for me now.”
Reluctantly, I leaned in, pressed my cheek against her wiry purple wig until I heaved contented sighs that turned into tears.
Then I burst into flames, incinerating my grandma, leaving her charred remains glowing on the mattress.
“Oh, right,” everyone said.