The Journeyman’s Dance in Red
by Sam Anderson
The last glove to his face jars him. Blood in his eyes, the sting of being a boxer ten years past his prime and no longer hoping to grasp the dancing lights glittering in the belt at the edge of his memory. Copper in his nose and sharp tingles shout over the sanguine roar of the arena. The world tilts; the mattress leaps at his face. His manager winks from their corner, and the Journeyman knows his blood money for this fall will be in his locker after the fight.
A Fragile Hand
by E.M. Slocum
A fragile hand picks up a fork. It weighs heavy. A slender arm reaches across a table—to a plate—on which all evil lies. It’s waiting to be brought to lips—to a mouth—that will ignore the bite. Her mind second-guesses, then she remembers; “You have to, otherwise you’ll die.” The windowless mirror lies and screams. Eyes cry, voices whisper, backs turn away, but she smiles. One more, one more. No more. Her thoughts reverberate, focus on the necessary, and forget the obvious; a tender soul, against the mind, trapped inside a frame, that will never be hers.
by Steve Connacher
Four stunning women finished studying themselves in the mirror, then gathered around me. A wispy blonde leaned over to reveal a secret. I was interested, so she silently moved behind me, pressing my hand firmly against my heart. Immediately I began to wretch and convulse. Somehow I keenly felt everything wrong in the world. She released me and I beseeched her for more. Instead, she silently rose above me, placing her hands on my throat. I was powerless. I blinked then saw her floating just above me, her white gown fluttering. I blinked again and found myself alone, shivering.
PhysEd September 16, 2016
by Susan McCrae
Between classmates’ chants when I reach the next pylon, “130-131-132,” Mrs. Banerjee hollers, “STOP, Julian”. No worrying teacher, pouring sweat or raspy breath stifles my determination to beat 140, Paul’s record. I ignore nasty stomach signals near 136 and upchuck. Vomit sprays this world. I splash right on through and cover head to toe. Dad will be so pissed when they call. In shock and awe, Banerjee hands me a towel, “Julian, it wasn’t a contest.” My slime-covered head jerks up, “You’re new here, Ma’am,” eyes meet. “Next year, you might want to bring a bucket.”
by Sharon Gelflick
Our relationship quickly combusted into one of those situations where there’s just enough psychological tension to fuel intense lust that almost feels like love. Every night, we slammed our bodies together, reaching for something I didn’t understand but I was crazy for it and he appreciated crazy, at least in bed. Sometimes, afterwards, he would whisper into my sweaty neck, “You’re amazing, baby,” before rolling away to sleep at the edge of the mattress while I smiled in the dark, trying to interpret his positive feedback as a sign of devotion. I wouldn’t, couldn’t leave him until he forced me.