genre: Fiction

Divinest Sense

By Susan Agar   

The road is long and vanishes into a horizon without end. The land is covered with frozen snow as far as you can see.


Knothole

By Gregory Wolos   

The boy whose gloved hand I hold as we cross the busy street on the way to his elementary school is my ex-wife’s son. To him I’m Uncle Tim, his emergency babysitter. He’s no blood of mine. I don’t think Austin knows how sick his father is, that the man’s knocking at death’s door, that… Read more »


This Kind of Red

This Kind of Red

By Helen Elaine Lee   

“Think of the good things, Avis,” the caseworker tells me. Keep alive that way.

So I close my eyes and try to remember colors.

My head used to be filled with counting things out and checking them off, with keeping track of all my time and all my chores. I made supermarket lists for just how much I could wheel home in my basket, when I was not allowed to drive. What all needed cleaning and cooking. And lists of homework and laundry and what the kids needed. New tennis shoes and leotards and backpacks and decent socks, and how much every thing cost, so I could ask Jerrell for the right money. Lists of what all I was supposed to do, and how many minutes I had to get all of it done right, to keep the peace. How much time before he got home.


Monte Carlo [Mint Condition]

Monte Carlo [Mint Condition]

By Sean Conway   

It had taken Vaughn Oliver close to two years to bank away the six grand he’d need to buy Jolie the ring she’d wanted—one and a quarter-caret pear-shaped diamond set in a white gold band, size seven—and exactly two minutes to lay it down for a mint—mint—1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. 75,000 original miles, eight cylinder engine, white white white with the pencil-thin burgundy racing stripe slicing down the sides and those easy-in/easy-out tinted T-tops. Not a flaw to be found. Not a crust of rust on the outside or ring of an accidental cigarette burn inside. Sun exploding off the hood and windshield like the car’s own self-sustaining energy. He hadn’t even tried to bargain with the guy. Fifty-five hundred bucks. Let me go to the bank I’ll be back in a minute.


The Chameleon

The Chameleon

By Karima Grant   

Rabia would not have chosen this house with its reek of store-bought happiness. Shining tiles and light fixtures made-in-China-ready-to-break. Windows underdressed with pretend curtains. Like the girl: her whole life on show.

Bu la am-am taxa bew, ndax ñàkk du wess: never be proud of good fortune, misfortune awaits.


Looking Out

Looking Out

By José Skinner   

If Jennifer told the story of her life so far, would she tell it as a beautiful dream, or as a nightmare? That’s what Rufino asked her, up on Lookout Mountain. It was a beautiful question. No, it was more than that. It was sublime.

“Honey, your life is a beautiful dream,” said her mother, holding both Jennifer’s hands in her own. “But even beautiful dreams sometimes have bad parts in them. That’s just reality.”


Driftwood

Driftwood

By John Sibley Williams   

“a pelican
landed on my shoulder
intensely still
like a story
that hasn’t happened yet”

-A. Molotkov, Punctuation Marks

I’m here by the sea to begin my story again, with the pelican. Nightly, it carries to my bedside reports on what has changed, on what has not, on which direction time moves, and whether or not I’m allowed to forget. But its news is static. It hasn’t a pen. This story is mine to unmake.


Impossible Terms

Impossible Terms

By Benjamin A. Doty   

The train tracks were two buildings behind his in St. Paul, but Sam could feel how close they were by the tremor that made the bed frame vibrate. The cars of the train lumbered, and the more Sam squeezed the bedpost, as if to make the vibrations stop, the closer the train was and the harder it became to ignore the thought of his deceased father, which came now at an inopportune moment. Sam could feel the slow movement of the train, as if the tracks on which the train rode were the bones along his spine.


In the Shade of the Black Walnut Tree

In the Shade of the Black Walnut Tree

By Janet Hillard-Osborn   

Later, as is always the case in these matters, there will be talk about both of them. Due to his longer life and larger number of accomplishments, he will have the better claim for being remembered.


Messengers of God

Messengers of God

By Morgan Smith   

The five Mexican soldiers turned in unison as if they had been waiting for him. Then he saw something that he had never seen before – their eyes glowing in the reflection of the fire that was warming them in the pre-dawn darkness.


Translucent Skin

Translucent Skin

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia   

Vancouver is a young city, and a city of few ghosts. The dead have had little time to find purchase among its blue skyscrapers.


Ruffly Like Christmastime

Ruffly Like Christmastime

By Cameron MacKenzie   

The first time I saw Phil he was wearing a green jacket and a bowtie, and he was putting his big hands all over the people lined up at the bar at the Royal. Beads of sweat shook down off his forehead. The only empty stool was next to me.


Rheumatic Fever

Rheumatic Fever

By Amy L Clark   

Jason and I have been living at the Hearthstone Inn, in one of the cabins that rent by the week in the offseason, for three months now. It is wet all the time because we are right on the water, and it’s either too cold because we have no insulation, or too warm and close from the heater.


Narrowed Passages

Narrowed Passages

By Laura Snyder   

Flat round leaves slid back and forth over black marsh water. Scattered amongst them were occasional yellow fisted lilies, some with their heads closed tight, others opened.


Horse Crazy

Horse Crazy

By John Solensten   

Before she left, Nancy White Feather told Charlie Good Thunder a lot of things–some wistful, some stone-faced angry: “You have got a lot of things on your mind, but–most of all–you have got horses on the brain–forever on the brain.


Valencia

Valencia

By Roland Merullo   

One of the first things I did after my father died and the vast wealth he had spent his life accumulating came cascading down into my hands was to go and visit Valencia.


Just When I Think I’m Ready To Leave

Just When I Think I’m Ready To Leave

By Leslie Johnson   

I had my jacket on and zipped. I was wearing my burgundy parka, the same one I’d had since middle school, seventh grade, and it still fit me fine nine years later, and it looked about the same, too.


Life Is Brief

Life Is Brief

By Steven Huff   

Later that day, someone would claim to have seen a surface-to-air missile strike the plane. Another witness on the ground would claim two or three missiles, he couldn’t be sure.


The Cliffs

The Cliffs

By Jonathan Curelop   

It was 10:30, they’d been searching the flat fields west of town only an hour, and already she needed to rest. Emily looked at her father, sweat glistening across his forehead, his skin flushed.


This Is A Success Story

This Is A Success Story

By Jaimee Wriston Colbert   

There are over five hundred diseases that list headaches as a symptom, from hangovers to brain tumors to the bubonic plague.


Triple X

Triple X

By Kashana Cauley   

Jade had been in the bathroom far too long given that it should have only taken a second to inhale the stuff I’d just given her, and I fingered the top bill in my pocket, the hundred bucks she’d given me for it …


Unbridled

Unbridled

By Perle Besserman   

How sweet were those six, seven, and eight-hour love marathons on the rickety bed near the window with its brown, stained shade drawn almost to the floor …


Down in History

Down in History

By Eugenio Volpe   

The man who drives the gas truck is built like a fireplug. He’s got a shaved head and goatee. He paces in front of his rig while it idles. I’m in his way. I’m parked over the underground tanks, filling my tires with air. Not only do I drive a Prius, but I look like… Read more »


Excerpt from FORGIVEN

Excerpt from FORGIVEN

By Richard Perry   

My father killed Albert Miller on Saturday, June 4th, 1851, an afternoon of high sky and unforgiving sun.


SKINT

SKINT

By M. G. Stephens   

For two years Eileen lived in Queen’s Crescent, on the southern edge of Hampstead Heath, in the ground floor flat of a Victorian semi-detached building, with her landlord living above her.


Freak Out in a Moonage Suenos del Dia

Freak Out in a Moonage Suenos del Dia

By Margaret Elysia Garcia   

My mind was far away, thinking about how my big brothers were taking me out to Santa Monica for the Bowie show that night, when I heard it.


In the Sunday School

In the Sunday School

By Bryan Shawn Wang   

By the time Dalton D’Amico arrived, Miss Nugent already had the other children at their little tables coloring pictures of Jesus delivering the Sermon on the Mount. She tried to keep their hands busy; you know what they said about idle hands.


The Body

The Body

By Robert Lopez   

We didn’t know what was wrong with the neighbors. Whenever we passed them in the halls they made a strange sound, like a hiss. They never looked us in the eye, either.


Had They Learned about Jayne Mansfield?

Had They Learned about Jayne Mansfield?

By Mardith Louisell   

I couldn’t go to a movie with a friend because I had to go to my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend’s daughter’s wedding. The movie was about a serial killer but it was French so I knew it would be okay …


What If

What If

By Christine McCarroll   

“If you were going to date a kitchen appliance, which would it be?” Zach is reading from a book of “what-ifs”—a gift from his little sister—as I drive us eighty miles east to his best friend Bobby’s house.


Ugly Girls

Ugly Girls

By Rochelle Spencer   

I was on Fulton buying gossip books—five for a dollar—when I ran into that actor, Lamont Evans. Didn’t see him right away, too busy staring at the cover of Mocha Dreams, a best-seller by January “Mocha” Jones, the video vixen who’d been married to seven different rappers, two at the same time.


Untitled Portrait, (Brother and Sister, 2009)

Untitled Portrait, (Brother and Sister, 2009)

By E.J. Anderson   

In a town of drunks, his mother was the town drunk. As the old joke goes, what’s the difference between a drunk and an alcoholic? About fifty thousand dollars a year.


Casual Impostor

Casual Impostor

By Thomas Benz   

Though he didn’t usually keep count, over the past couple years, Blake was sure he had been mistaken for someone else at least six times.


Too Young For The Blues

Too Young For The Blues

By Wesley Brown   

Sylvia never missed a chance to hear Ella Fitzgerald. That night’s appearance at the Apollo Theater was no exception.


Hannah Outside In

Hannah Outside In

By David Huddle   

With me, what you see is definitely not what you get. I never really meant to do it, but I just started out cultivating an appearance that conceals the truth about who I am.


The Red Hills

The Red Hills

By Jeffrey Ihlenfeldt   

Ciela tasted her lips as she lifted them from Zachary’s throat. Salt. At times, she confused her visions of salt and sand, salt and sun, naïve as they were, foolish as they were, with reality. But this was Zachary’s skin. His heat. His light. His salt.


The Rules of Tetherball

The Rules of Tetherball

By Marko Fong   

For the sixth recess in a row, I sit on the red bench just off the playground. I’m supposed to be answering Mrs. Hatfield’s questions about my grandfather. These are her questions for my “write about someone famous” homework.


A Long Walk

A Long Walk

By Chris Helvey   

Small scratchings began to filter through the quiet. I bent my neck and peered through the dimness. My wife was in our closet, pulling a blouse off a hanger. She had not turned on the overhead and there was something ghostlike in her movements, as if she had been there once but moved on, leaving behind only an outline of herself.


Pig-Wire

Pig-Wire

By Richard Hazen   

Sarah awoke to the sound of the hinges on the slab-planked door of her bedroom. In the dim light she could see her stepfather…


Earth Angel

Earth Angel

By Cruz Medina   

“Let’s see how fast she’ll go.”
No pudó creerlo . Eddie managed to fix up his old man’s Chevy, and now the wind was blowing through the open windows on him…


The Corn Maze

The Corn Maze

By James Cho   

Roger Weaver couldn’t understand why he had to meet his son’s principal when his wife, Myung-Jin, would be there too. What could Trevor have done to drag them both out of work?


The Television Thieves:  a novel excerpt

The Television Thieves: a novel excerpt

By Steven Huff   

Bobo had met Latch three and a half years before in a bar on Memmer St. on the east side. It was called Little Cairo, and Bobo hung out there because it was just a neighborhood waterhole: no known crooks…


Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm Syndrome

By Benjamin Rybeck   

The bus line ran right into the suburb and stopped about a five-minute walk away from this old house of mine. I’d thrown away all my clothes…


Our Golden State

Our Golden State

By Fred Setterberg   

Dad towered above, hands on his hips, sunlight filtering through a cross-hatch of sycamore branches, his smooth, pink scalp illuminated and glistening with sweat.


The Edge

The Edge

By José Skinner   

Osvaldo and his homies’ favorite party spot was a place they called The Edge, on the rim of the Río Grande Gorge.


Remains From the Winking Place

Remains From the Winking Place

By Lisa Friedlander   

My body didn’t care that I had known he would die. My body planned to relive that moment often in the months to follow. My body had a memory that wouldn’t quit.


Kings

Kings

By Karima Grant   

Edward often searched for himself in Houraye’s hands. Soft, nut brown hands he marveled at,


The Dead Garden

The Dead Garden

By Sybil Wilen   

“If it rains in the dead garden, will the dead people drown?”


The Tomato Farm

The Tomato Farm

By N. J. Ayers   

Gnats clustered in noiseless aureoles about Jeannie’s father’s head as he dipped water from the barrel on the back of the flatbed truck and drank it in a tin cup.


Ice

Ice

By Michael Miner   

Where to begin? How about right now?

The Silk City Police Department. I am waiting in the police station in an interrogation room for my father to show up.