Tag Archives: fiction

Boulder, Rock, Score by Jenny Ruth Partica


 

Boulder. That’s how Maddie will find it easiest to describe the 8-pound chunk of petrified earth that explodes into the car. She will come to think of it as a boulder. But at this moment it’s an explosion meant to eject them from the earth. Her. Mom, asleep in the passenger seat. Dad, playing Angry Birds in the back. Game over. It will be a boulder that smashes Mom’s face, deflating her head like Maddie’s pink soccer ball their half-blind golden retriever mistook for a cat and collapsed when he sunk his teeth in. No … Continue reading Boulder, Rock, Score by Jenny Ruth Partica

Out of the Country by Sam Zafris


 

Ben had wanted to leave earlier but his brother couldn’t take any more time off. Ben glanced at Willy, who was leaning against the passenger-side door, smoking like a chimney. “Can we stop for food?” Willy asked. “What time is it?” “Quarter to ten. I didn’t get to eat dinner.” He exhaled out of the window. “If we see a place, maybe.” A mile up the road there was an exit marked with a knife and fork. They’d make it quick. Plus, Ben needed the coffee. Willy had said he could drive, but Ben knew … Continue reading Out of the Country by Sam Zafris

The Decider


 

When I was in college there was this bar that had bouncers who took turns playing St. Peter. They stood outside the door going: You. You. You. Not you. The whole idea was so ghastly to me (for a variety of reasons, not least of which was that I knew I’d be the one person in whatever group I was with who’d be left on the wrong side of the velvet rope) that I swore I’d never, ever subject myself to anything like that. And yet… I became a writer. For those who aren’t afflicted … Continue reading The Decider

The Arithmetic of Love by Deborah Prum


 

The day Septima left, she said, “I believe I am a promise you are tired of keeping.” Minutes before, Turk had pitched a bottle of beer at her. He had missed, but only barely. Green glass and yellow ale splattered against the kitchen wall. For once, she did not bother cleaning the mess. Septima packed her red valise: toothbrush, comb, talcum powder, three faded cotton housedresses and seventy-two dollars. As she left their home and ventured into the driving rain, she muttered, “The lies we tell ourselves.” She’d met Turk, a sailor, at a bar … Continue reading The Arithmetic of Love by Deborah Prum

No Good by Jody Hobbs Hesler


 

At the old house, Leslie had walked to school. Here, the school was closer, but she had to take the bus. The old house had been on the outskirts of a smaller town, not a former murder capital of the world. Leslie’s mother had grown up just a few miles away from the new place and worried about drug crime crossfire and dirty old men. “It isn’t safe,” was her excuse for everything. “Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.” The two of them had moved right before the end of eighth-grade, in time … Continue reading No Good by Jody Hobbs Hesler

The Best Sex I Never Had


 

When I was an adolescent, I read novels voraciously, and the genre of sword-and-sorcery fantasy appealed to me most. It combined supernatural magic, an element seeded into countless cultures and religions, with heroic warriors and monsters, and it allowed me to escape the doldrums of my unremarkable suburban environment. As I grew out of my teens into adulthood, a different type of fantasy fiction began to appeal to me: the horror genre. Writers like Stephen King and Clive Barker wrote engrossing novels that, on the surface, seemed like realism, but they typically possessed a paranormal … Continue reading The Best Sex I Never Had

Granny by Sharon Harrigan


 

We had just learned how to answer the phone. We liked to grab it first, before it woke our parents. That made us feel like spies and more grown-up than five. We flitted from flimsy top and bottom bunk, almost as soundless as we were sleepless. We lit like two squirrels on a telephone wire, our blonde or auburn hair banded into bushy tails. Red-checked, flame-resistant nightgowns scratched our scabbed-up, tomboy legs. Who would call us so early, the sky still dark through yellowed curtains? We knew who. Both tottering on a single metal chair … Continue reading Granny by Sharon Harrigan

Catalogers of the Galaxy by M.X. Wang


 

Later, when asked to speak about what happened for the second time, Harlen recalled that it was in fact a single object, faint and blurry one second, close and vibrant the next. It hovered overhead: two blazing parallel rods, about a hundred feet across, connected by a transparent, egg-shaped disk that expanded and collapsed like an inflating and deflating balloon. There was a lot of pressure, as if giant hands were pushing down on his shoulders and scalp. “As soon as my knees gave, the pressure left and what I saw changed. I mean, I … Continue reading Catalogers of the Galaxy by M.X. Wang

The Hairy Man by Laurie Billman

salmon
 

It was midnight of our last night in the cannery, and all twelve of us who had been assigned the fish house had been working since seven that morning. All day and into the light-filled night, we had been cleaning fat salmon as they slithered out of the tin chutes directly from the salmon boats. White fish bellies were burned on my lids when I closed my eyes, and my ears sang with an exhausted hum. When the warning bell rang, down slid silver salmon, spilling, wet and shiny, onto the long, wooden tables. We … Continue reading The Hairy Man by Laurie Billman

Home Schooling by Sydney Blair

illuminated illustration
 

Del was in the kitchen, opening the bottle of wine his second wife Catherine had given him earlier in the day. The cork kept splitting, the sign of a true amateur, he thought, except that he was an amateur in few areas of his life these days, unless you counted the endless pursuit of happiness—or rather, the achievement of that happiness—as one such minefield. But perhaps this time happiness was just around the corner, in the literal and figurative form of Juliana. “What are you doing?” Juliana’s voice drifted in around the corner of the … Continue reading Home Schooling by Sydney Blair