Category Archives: Fiction

Sequins by Gina Willner-Pardo

multi-colored sequins
 

Risa Eccles, thirty-nine weeks pregnant, sat in her car, furious at Dr. LaSalle for being an asshole, at Paul for having the kind of job that made him seem like a degenerate, at herself for thinking that having a baby might be fun. She watched people walking in and out of the clinic. Some of them held crying toddlers; others—mostly elderly—grasped canes, walkers, or other people’s arms. She thought, Everyone who comes here needs something desperately. It reminded her of church. When she was sure she wouldn’t cry, she called Paul. “The baby’s fine,” she … Continue reading Sequins by Gina Willner-Pardo

Vanilla Music for Sinister Women Coming of Age by Mark Galarrita

Vanilla soft serve cone
 

California Girls was the lyric that bumped the bass held together by a woman’s sweet, altered, voice that tasted like vanilla but left a burn like bottom shelf vodka; and Elsie Malabago loved to hear this sort of tune on 93.5 POP! Radio, cruising with the windows down in her Mother’s old ’99 Corolla—before her Mother’s heart gave out and she died in that car cursing Papa in Tagalog and staring Elsie in the eye to say “putang ina,” whore, with her dying breath—but Elsie forgot that morning because it wasn’t Mother’s car anymore, it … Continue reading Vanilla Music for Sinister Women Coming of Age by Mark Galarrita

Coma Sleep by Ben Wood

Colorful clothes hanging on clothing line
 

  Before surgery, before the bones are set, and while blood flows from Jacob Randolph in quick rivulets, Agi is there. She is the nurse on duty when he is wheeled through the doors of the ER. She witnesses the doctors bring him back, helps quell the bleeding, feels a triumphant surge when his heartbeat regains its jagged kick on the monitor. She hears the head neurosurgeon muttering jargon to the fellows, picking out works where she can – cervical, contusion, ten-story fall. Eventually, the word stable, which shines among the rest. Two months in … Continue reading Coma Sleep by Ben Wood

Just Another One of Those by Stephanie Coyne DeGhett

Three rockers on a porch.
 

Just another one of those, he’d say to himself when it all got really annoying and he was trying to talk himself down a little. And we know just how to take care of things like that. He’d say this to himself, even when there would be no we involved. What he meant by those things included various kinds of car trouble (the catalytic converter, twice now) and conversations with the lawyer of his soon-to-be-ex-wife. They included—like now—glitches in the master schedule of the small college where he was registrar. The pair of phrases would … Continue reading Just Another One of Those by Stephanie Coyne DeGhett

Who Could Ever Forget? by Lawrence F. Farrar

Hand with a blister on palm
 

A year after the car accident that orphaned Nick, the Bishops picked him up from his grandmother’s for a weekend at Fallen Tree Lake. Saddened by his circumstances, the financier and his wife had taken to including the son of their late groundskeeper in their own child’s outings. They also decided to see to the bright boy’s schooling, underwriting his tuition at a private institution in his neighborhood. That day, the 12-year-olds had rowed across the lake. Harry, chunky with dark crew cut hair, had done the work while Nick, a slim, sun-bleached blond a … Continue reading Who Could Ever Forget? by Lawrence F. Farrar

Nothing Broken by Anita Lekic

Heavy bars over window
 

When the bus drops Diana off in the afternoon, her mother is still at work. She lets herself into the silent, spotless apartment, a large box of Oreo cookies and two bags of Mounds in her embrace. Dropping her heavy backpack, she heads for the bathroom, embarking on a rigid routine from which she never wavers, not in the minutest detail. She strips and dumps the austere British School uniform into the laundry basket. The undergarments, all in pink, a child’s color, are tossed in next. Then she takes a hot shower, soaping herself over … Continue reading Nothing Broken by Anita Lekic

The Blue Room by Karen Kates

blue walled bedroom
 

Apparently, during the fifteen or so minutes while my husband and daughter waited in the car outside Whole Foods, some man had knifed his ex-wife. The injury doesn’t seem serious; she’s slouched in the rear of an open ambulance, where a paramedic presses a tiny bandage to her cheek. Still, I’m horrified: that blade could have reached her eye. I’m relieved to see my husband, Nathan, sitting up straight in the Volvo, and six-year-old Juliet, harnessed behind him, in that complicated plastic bucket of a seat. It’s bitter cold, sleeting. As I get into the … Continue reading The Blue Room by Karen Kates

Faces of Death XIV by Tom Hearron

Vulture on post
 

The old woman fills her days volunteering for a Catholic garden club planting flowers in vacant lots on the town’s east side, where at night gangs shoot it out amid trampled pansies and broken-off cosmos. She goes back anyway. Everyone in the neighborhood knows her, calls her the crazy flower lady. ************** Faces of Death IX showed a burning apartment building. From a balcony high above a jam-packed street, a frantic crowd grabbed at an out-of-reach lifeline dangling from a helicopter that hovered like a dragonfly. A window exploded, rocketing glass shards through smoke and … Continue reading Faces of Death XIV by Tom Hearron

Pigeon Girl by Sara Alaica

Two birds in a tree
 

A white pigeon sat in the gutter, waiting. Her wings were folded up like sails of a ship at anchor, her head bobbing in a sea of cobblestones. Slobodanka stopped, crouched down and peered into the bird’s brown almost red eyes. They blinked at each other. She reached out her hand slowly towards the bird, expecting it to fly away, but it didn’t move. The pigeon was like silk, smooth and shiny, her body firm and substantial under the girl’s fingers, weighted with warmth. She set her books down, looked up and down the street, … Continue reading Pigeon Girl by Sara Alaica

Side Door by Amy Kenyon

Doorknob hit by light
 

1 “The houses that were lost forever continue to live on in us…they insist in us in order to live again, as though they expected us to give them a supplement of living.”*   I liked to throw a baseball against the house, aiming as close to the side door as I dared and catching the ball as it ricocheted back to me. It was how I honed my pitching and fielding. Mom said, “You’d better not hit the door.” My little sister liked the regular pop of hardball striking yellow brick, but soon after … Continue reading Side Door by Amy Kenyon