genre: Fiction

Fission

By Rayne Weinstein   

In the mountains below Vladikavkaz, Johnny’s father splits bricks. One by one with a hammer. On the other side of the POW camp, the shards are shattered into gravel. The gravel is packed into crates, then sent in trains to be churned elsewhere into concrete. The concrete is then piped politely into bricks. The blue… Read more »


Of Tides and Melons

By Danny Leonard   

“I am littoraly fucked,” I think, standing ankle deep in the Atlantic at low tide in a thick fog, not knowing which way shore lies. Not a time for word play perhaps, but I am not yet aware of the gravity of my plight. I am maybe a half a mile from… from what? From… Read more »


Acting Out

By Aaron Tillman   

When my mom stood on her seat in front of the entire school and made a show of bowing at me after my performance, I swallowed back the urge to laugh. On some level, I knew she was performing as much from the audience as I was from the stage. I had put on an… Read more »


Big Boy

By Ian Lindsay   

I think about the lies they tell in movies based on true stories. Well, this one ain’t like that—a lie. Wish it was. In Hialeah, people said the devil came up from hell, made Angelo do what he did. His Ina thought it was because of Angelo’s skin—the only other Filipino—darker than me with bigger… Read more »


In Praise of Black Lovers

By Christian Douglass   

Robert and those who survive the following summer will ask themselves: Did that election season really happen when they were children? Are they re-writing the past to cut the pain? Then their collective trauma unclenches. That summer of romance and air conditioning happened, they assure each other, especially ones that fled North and gather at… Read more »


Living Alone

By Laura Krughoff   

Alice clicks off the radio on her desk. Her now-silent office on the 12th floor of an Art Deco skyscraper on Dearborn is mercilessly air conditioned, but beyond the plate glass of her windows, she knows the city is sweltering through another white-skied August afternoon. She cannot listen to the news on public radio any… Read more »


About Face

By Andrew Furman   

“Wait, what’s that you’re making for supper, father?” Ellen asked upon bursting into the kitchen from the mudroom, sniffing at the air like some feral creature, forgoing any prefatory niceties. Like, Hello. “Halibut au poivre,” I answered, because I figured the French might throw her off a bit, and because that’s what I was making.… Read more »


Visiting Hours

By Lew McCreary   

A WORLD lit up by the glint of snow. They drove the long drive in, up the steadily sloping hill, winding for no good reason around sweeping curves carved into the vast and open grounds. Pete Connerly drove and hummed along with the radio, finger-tapping the steering-wheel to the beat. Del Connerly imagined the view… Read more »


Fish

By John Blair   

Lee thought of himself as a fish. Fish were players; they hung out just beyond the current, in the calm eddies, and waited for things to come floating their way. When he was a little kid, his old man used to take him fishing when the weather got cool, late in the fall, on the… Read more »


Boomtown Girl

By Shubha Sunder   

There was no compound wall around the construction site, no watchman to tell the two girls they could not enter. Holding hands, they scurried behind an idle cement mixer and crouched low. Book bags rustled, tiffin carriers squeaked. Four eyes tracked skyward along the building’s length. Ten stories. A proper high rise, the township’s first.… Read more »


Fishy

By Wendy Tong   

Mid-June, shimmering heat. First date. Roy’s: her choice. Daisy ordered roast chicken; Ben ordered a whole trout. “One of the most underrated fish,” he declared. After two bites, he asked for her fork and loaded up a mouthful after deftly sifting out the bones. “You have to try this.” “I don’t eat fish,” Daisy said,… Read more »


Unlike Some People

By Bill Gaythwaite   

 My aunt was coming for a visit. We were about to be neighbors, in fact. It was the summer she’d been released from prison. Chloe’s parole officer had found her an apartment not far from us in Inwood and a job too, answering phones at a law firm. This must have been 2005. Martha Stewart… Read more »


The Ghost That Shaped the Skin

By Shastri Akella   

Sahdëv was twelve when he met his first Foreign Man. He entered Chirag Ali Street, humming under his breath, nursing the straps of his backpack, and saw him sitting on the milestone that was locally called Sanam Bewafa, Unfaithful Beloved, after the Salman Khan film: it read Delhi 793 even when the road didn’t take… Read more »


The Elpenoriad

By Chris Huntington   

“Wake up! Now no more dozing in sweet sleep We have to go. The goddess gave instructions.” They did as I had said. But even then I could not lead my men away unharmed. The youngest one —Elpenor was his name— Not very brave in war, nor very smart, was lying high up in the… Read more »


The Drama Room

The Drama Room

By Elizabeth Searle   

  Former Fantasticks At silent 6AM, by the dawn’s early laptop light, I find them again: our stars. Onscreen, online– two fellow Thespians; two former Fantasticks. Blasts from my past. A boy and girl, then. And see, I’d loved, in my tortured teen way, both of them. I feel my fingers shake. Even now, in… Read more »


The Traveler

The Traveler

By Douglas Cole   

She watched as the jury came in, watched with that dream detachment that sometimes comes to people when they are in the midst of life-changing moments whether they know it or not. She watched them take their seats, and in what almost seemed a rehearsed way, they all wore the same bland emotionless expression, if… Read more »


Desserts on a Tray

Desserts on a Tray

By Brenda Salinas Baker   

This is a Mexican re-imagining of Rebecca. “Men are simpler than you imagine, my sweet child. But what goes on in the twisted, tortuous minds of women would baffle anyone.” Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca   The morning of the funeral, I circled my childhood bedroom in a terry cloth robe. Pacing between the closet and… Read more »


This Mortal Coil

This Mortal Coil

By Angelo D'Amato   

As the choir brings the psalm to life, Fr. Daniel taps one finger on the armrest, in time to the beat of his own impatience. Seeing Samuel squirm in Stacy’s arms, and seeing Stacy rock him, ever so slightly, and seeing Joseph tap his fingers and shift his feet and adjust his tie and look… Read more »


A Gift

A Gift

By Shamae Budd   

The dirt road stretched out before him in the late afternoon sun, flat and taut like a ribbon wrapped around a present—but this day didn’t feel like much of a gift. He hated driving water trucks back and forth on these monotonous roads. He hated the mindless hours of fuzzy talk-show radio and sagebrush. Hell,… Read more »


The Way to the River

The Way to the River

By Nance Van Winckel   

LYNN People without an app need a map, and Lynn just gave away her last map. Its legend shows a hotdog for a restaurant and a bed for a hotel. The map was in her glove box where she’d never in her life kept a glove. She’d gone to Valley Hardware, intent on buying what… Read more »


Something Resembling Faith

Something Resembling Faith

By Benjamin Selesnick   

Reflections of the ceiling fan were captured in the shattered glass beneath the window frame. Dad was in the middle of the room holding a saucer identical to the one he’d just thrown on the floor. Mom was barely inside the doorframe, her legs were spread wide. She looked domineering, even though she was without… Read more »


The Tow Truck

By Mark Cassidy   

We bought a house in Colorado. The tow truck came with the house. We bought the house to celebrate our second anniversary and because my sister, who lives in Colorado Springs, wouldn’t stop nagging on us, once the notion of a second place was mooted, to get something close to her. And yes, because the… Read more »


How to Date a Drummer

By Emma Wunsch   

(Summer) In June your mother asks for the ornaments. Your brother is at work and your fat sister is useless, so you bring the boxes down from the attic. There are more than a hundred of them. Colorful balls, Hallmark Snoopys, and gluey nursery school popsicle trees hang together with invisible threads. Sweating profusely, you… Read more »


Puzzled

By Kendall Klym   

1 Across: preoccupied by a worrisome fixation that causes you to turn within O B S E S S E D An email, written but never sent, from Feather to Elise Dear Elise, How could you become so obsessed with somebody that doesn’t exist? I mean, we’re talking about a drawing, unfinished, made of chalk,… Read more »


Drunken Sour Cherries

By Sofi Stambo   

We didn’t own any luxury items the way normal families invested in golden or silver teaspoons, watches and jewelry. Well, there was mom’s silver teaspoon set, but it disappeared very early in the game, practically in the first weeks of the crisis. This was the official name for the time after the fall of the… Read more »


Neither Nor

Neither Nor

By Tom Williamson   

I am a man. Or so I’m told. I am a woman too; people have told me that as well. I often tell myself I’m neither, but I don’t find many people inclined to agree. Either/or is fine (I’m told) but neither just won’t do. “You have a lovely baby boy,” said the doctor to… Read more »


Rent Asunder

By Anneliese Schultz   

Same old story, Gen spits. But no, really, this is serious. And seriously, it is all about the setup, your perfect send-off. Clasp the leather cuff and wind the silver bracelets onto his wrist, hand him the other necklace with the big cross (the one with the diamonds on it), make sure he’s got that… Read more »


The Movie Version of Your Life

By Emily Alice Katz   

Quinn and her new gang, at the far end of the table from Danette, were flashing their pearly whites at each other during lunch period on Wednesday afternoon. Playing “Who-Would-Play-You-in-the-Movie-Version-of-Your-Life?” Danette and Quinn used to while away the hours together playing this game, just the two of them. It was Danette’s invention and her absolute… Read more »


Noir

By Garnett Kilberg Cohen   

I sat at the old desk we found years ago at a junk store, sorting bills under the glare of the gooseneck lamp, deciding which ones to pay online and which to send in the mail. It felt like a balancing act, though in actuality the two or three days it took an envelope to… Read more »


Excerpt from Vocational Degrees

By Jonathan Segol   

Chapter 3   Boris Come one, come all!  Step on up to the House of Wonders!  Inside you will encounter varieties of humanity you have never seen!  See the one-armed juggler!  See the Dog Boy, a child with the vocal cords of a dog and the brains of a human.  See him communicate his thoughts

Twice

Twice

By Sarp Sozdinler   

After today, they may say that I lived as I died: twice. Some superficial people might think just because I died once should mean I couldn’t live twice. Or just because I lived twice should mean I was born twice. None could be further from the truth. Let’s be square and say I was born… Read more »


My Almost Date With A Serial Killer

My Almost Date With A Serial Killer

By Jaimee Wriston Colbert   

For starters I was his type, a lean, long-haired brunette. And we had proximity, both of us were at the University of Washington at the same time. Although he was older than me, we both graduated in 1972. Plus I was into older guys. We would’ve passed each other on the paths between buildings, crisscrossing… Read more »


The Young Gay Man’s Guide to Crying All the Time

The Young Gay Man’s Guide to Crying All the Time

By Sean Littlefield Chumley   

Cry only a little when, after two hot-and-heavy months, he says he doesn’t want to date you anymore. Cry harder when he says he still wants to be friends, you’re amazing, you’re a great kisser. Hug him so tightly before he leaves that you can’t tell if the heartbeat you feel is yours or his… Read more »


Key of Lightning

Key of Lightning

By María DeGuzmán   

In the future, Doppler radar would bounce microwaves off an approaching storm. It would detect phase shift. It would analyze how a storm had altered the frequency of the returned signal. More than sixty years earlier, bellwether for blood, he chooses higher ground, “the highlands” of a town adjacent to a port city. There, on… Read more »


The Silk Brocade, the Satin

The Silk Brocade, the Satin

By Priscilla Long   

After Tobias Wolff   I put down my book. I was hungry. I was also cold. We’d turned down the heat as soon as Vera left with her mother for some Fiji Island paradise. The heat bill after we got Vera for a roommate would have financed us to tag along. I went into the… Read more »


By the Pricking of Thumbs

By the Pricking of Thumbs

By Abby Provenzano   

Neil used to play Hasbro’s Don’t Spill The Beans with his older brother, and he’d cry when he’d lose. He’d deny the crying, just like his brother denied cheating by tipping the side of the plastic pot with his finger on Neil’s turn, dumping the beans out. After, Neil would collect the little beans and… Read more »


Then You Were Gone

Then You Were Gone

By Gina Troisi   

Monday, late morning in the restaurant kitchen. Cam slices the plastic wrapped around the five-pound hunk of chicken, and juice sprays onto the stainless-steel table. “Shit,” he says, and grabs a cutting board from the shelf below. He isn’t used to doing this without Matty. Portioning out the chicken, mixing up the roux, making soup… Read more »


An Empty Night

An Empty Night

By Sadi Muktadir   

He’d promised himself before he left for Toronto. He’d made the promise to his mother as well. That he wouldn’t let the new country corrupt him. He’d heard horror stories about other people’s distant cousins. Never his own family of course, but distant cousins, who’d gone to a new land and forgotten their own tongue.… Read more »


Rambling House

Rambling House

By Trudy Lewis   

They arrived in Eyeries just at dusk, when Mac’s back was beginning to buckle and he could barely make out the signage from behind his tinted shades. So this was where Lucinda saw herself getting hitched, after all this time, the end of a land mass at the ends of the earth. That seemed appropriate,… Read more »


Earth: an Epilogue

Earth: an Epilogue

By Abbigail N. Rosewood   

This piece is part of our Fall/Winter 2020 print issue.


Cracked

Cracked

By Ruth Mukwana   

This piece is part of our Fall/Winter 2020 print issue.


Peeping Tom

Peeping Tom

By Abby Frucht   

This piece is part of our Fall/Winter 2020 print issue.


Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel

By Laura Williams McCaffrey   

This piece is part of our Fall/Winter 2020 print issue.


Rage

Rage

By Aimee LaBrie   

My rage has a color and a shape-it’s bright orange and round like an egg. The rage doesn’t just happen when I turn on the news-it is triggered by almost any gurgle in my day-a patient whose vein I can’t find because she’s too skinny, a woman coughing without covering her mouth in the frozen… Read more »


Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms

By Aisha Hassan   

Today Penny stared at the small girl rising out of the sea. The way her head kept turning towards the deep, how one puckered nipple escaped the yellow bikini, the tummy still glistening with saltwater, round and protruding and smooth as a jellybean. A sour-faced woman tugged the wet child along. Penny watched from beside… Read more »


Novel Excerpt: <em>Inklings</em>

Novel Excerpt: Inklings

By Tracy Robert   

I have lived to middle age, long enough to know life will not anoint me with hard gems of truth, only with a raw assemblage of inklings, some stronger than others. One of my strongest is that we aren’t here to understand ourselves; we are here to misapprehend others then gradually learn how wrong we

Weeks Away

Weeks Away

By Jedah Mayberry   

An at-speed, metal-on-metal collision emits a sharp cacophony of destruction, a series of micro-events producing a soundtrack that the mind cannot unhear. The dirt bike’s knobby tire skitters along the length of the car’s front quarter panel until it finds the narrow gap where the fender and passenger side door meet. The front shocks compress,… Read more »


Metonymy

Metonymy

By Andrew Tonkovich   

The Candidate complained about immigrants, women and Muslims at a formal dinner on Monday; of headaches, dizziness, low energy and blurred vision on Tuesday; collapsed after an arena rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday; was admitted for tests on Thursday; and underwent emergency brain surgery on Friday morning at Banner-University Medical, the best facility in… Read more »