Category Archives: Fiction

Phoenix by Juditha Dowd


 

“So, what do you think?” said Don. He’d hoped Alison might bring it up this time but she was staring out the big windows toward the marina, one of several on Venice Island where they were staying. He followed her gaze to anchored boats bobbing in the onshore breeze. Alison came to, shifted her attention back to him. “I guess that little Cape had possibilities.” She took another sip of the Sangiovese the waiter recommended, surprisingly good for such a well-priced wine. “Cape?” Don wasn’t versed in architectural styles. Curb appeal, price point—this was language … Continue reading Phoenix by Juditha Dowd

It’s Been a Long Time by Lawrence F. Farrar


 

Wisps of early evening fog had begun to push in by the time Rachel parked her Volvo in the hotel parking lot. She switched off the ignition, leaned back in the seat, and sighed. A dark eyed woman with an almost pretty face, she checked her makeup in the rear view mirror and touched her hair with her hands. Her brown hair had been longer then; now she wore it short. Would he notice? Since taking the university job at Irvine, she had driven to San Diego perhaps a half dozen times—but had set foot … Continue reading It’s Been a Long Time by Lawrence F. Farrar

Home Sick by Erika Raskin


 

The room was humid with the scent of pine cleanser and Tierney, already sick with nerves, nearly gagged. She dropped her purse on the bed and went to the window that hadn’t budged since she checked in. Putting all of her weight into it she strained so hard a grunt escaped, leaving her feeling stupid with effort. The admonishment to try, try again was neatly countered by the definition of insanity. Another dueling dictum. The acrid stench triggered a particularly nasty childhood memory. She’d used the disinfectant to clean the dining room rug as a … Continue reading Home Sick by Erika Raskin

Hypnotized by Barbara Nishimoto


 

My first trip to California was when I was a kid. I loved the long car ride. Janie and I sat in the backseat and drank Kool-Aid from paper cups. We were in the belly of a lion. The cars we passed were hunted game. Mustangs and elk fell beneath our giant paws. If we were passed it was a wound, never fatal. Incantations and chants. We vowed revenge. When I left Chicago for Los Angeles I pretended I remembered the route in detail. Motel rooms and roadside tables and certain stretches of highway disappearing … Continue reading Hypnotized by Barbara Nishimoto

Full-Price Angel by Mariflo Stephens


 

From what Fern can tell it looks like a fight. Fern’s watching through a back screen door which makes the scene look like a pointillist painting. Grace flies across the kitchen floor at Philip, something in her hand, and it looks like she’s hitting him across the shoulder with it. Fern stands still for a minute, holding a bottle of white wine with one hand, her book bag and purse in the other. Then she goes for the door handle. “Ask him what he’s been doing!” Grace shouts into Fern’s face, jerking the screen door … Continue reading Full-Price Angel by Mariflo Stephens

Afternoon by Katie Rogin


 

She adjusted the nasal cannula in his nostrils. She couldn’t hear the oxygen moving through the tubing. “Is that better?” He nodded, saving his breath for breathing. “The flight of stairs was a lot.” She hoped she didn’t sound condescending. “One flight—pretty fucking tragic.” He had more wind by the time he finished the sentence. “Let me just suck some of this for a few minutes and then I’ll be good.” “I’m going to unpack your stuff and open some windows.” She pushed herself off the bed that had been their bed and was now … Continue reading Afternoon by Katie Rogin

Ants on the Wall by Jabeen Akhtar


 

I calculated as my hair fanned across the scorched, crumbly asphalt: 5.5 pineapple vodkas since 12:13pm, four in the privacy of my kitchen, one and a half since I had been out in the sun, and a beer. I was a spectacle, another drunkard attempting to dance to the live jazz that had overtaken our streets. Are you ok? they all asked. Seriously, are you ok? Canned pineapple juice trickled up my throat. A pebble had lodged itself in my left earlobe. I turned my face to the afternoon sky, opalescent from the heat radiating … Continue reading Ants on the Wall by Jabeen Akhtar

A Clean-Swept Room by Raennah Mitchell


 

For days after her mother’s death, while adults move around her making funeral and guardianship arrangements, Sarah stands by walls. Her six-year-old fingertips search the wallpaper in the day care where they have placed her. Peach-colored blossoms overlay faint gray stripes. She turns away and leans against them. Across the room, other children color, drive toy trucks through a box of rice, dress in capes and felt hats. Sarah rolls her head from side to side, imagining she can fall backward into her mother’s arms, the paper flowers closing over them. The squat woman who … Continue reading A Clean-Swept Room by Raennah Mitchell

Lost in Detroit by Kathryn Christian


 

Everett’s mother sobbed loudly as he stepped onto his front porch and let the storm door crash against the house. He had to get out of that house, though. It was all full of church people and casseroles. The neighbors, too, were all patting him on the back, asking how he was doing. And Pastor Samuel had the nerve to ask him, right in front of his mother, if he was still trying to get into Kent State after high school. “No,” he said. How could he now? He wandered over towards the railroad tracks … Continue reading Lost in Detroit by Kathryn Christian

After the Magician by Stephanie Milner


 

Jessie had worked at Meyers Auditorium for six years, by then. When she had started during her fourth year in college (it took five to finish her social sciences degree), she hadn’t planned to stay that long. It had just been a good arrangement. The job paid better than others on campus. She controlled her own schedule because crew members picked which shows they worked. But in any case, she had stayed. She didn’t regret it. She liked how physical the work was. There was equipment to push, pull, and carry. Ladders to clamber up. … Continue reading After the Magician by Stephanie Milner