I flunked out of nursing school and you met a guy, moved into his condo and got pregnant; in that order. I hustled tables at the Varsity while you bought baby clothes and ignored my calls.
When you lost the baby and my phone finally rang.
Up to the third floor of the hospital where you were alone, smelling of blood and sweat. Shaking, crying; inconsolable.
My hands awkward on your body, your damp hair. Your face pressed into my palm.
She’s gone, you said. My baby’s gone. Your chest rising and falling, your breath hot on my hand.
» Continue reading You by Lucy McKee…
He sounded just like my dad. I like men who make noise when they come. Nothing weird—the walls were thin in the apartment where I grew up. My parents did a good job at pretending to love each other. We lived in his van. I say it was for three months but when I sat down and counted it came closer to eleven. Time isn’t real, I mean, it’s just an idea. Lots of people live in vans in Hawaii. He asked me, once, what my dad would say if he knew. Knew what? And then he kissed
» Continue reading Beach Sixty-Nine by Jennifer Chardon…
Let me tell you about the time Samantha came up from the lake. We didn’t know where she was. It was long past midnight and our fire had dwindled to coals that burned orange in the wind. But it was hot summer time, August, and the fire was for a place to gather more than warmth, for something to huddle around, something to do, but we’d found other things to do by then. So had Samantha. Some people just did shit like that. Took off. Had midnight backwoods vision quests. Figured it was Sam’s turn. No one was watching
» Continue reading In the Lake by Gina DiPonio…
We liked the phoenix fine at first. A small, delicate bird, that had a song like the wind. We would sit on the porch as day melted into evening, the whole family. The phoenix liked to perch on the railing, ash-eyes on the fields, the town beyond the fields, the horizon beyond the town, the towns beyond the horizon, until finally its gaze circled back round to us. We’d shiver a little, when it made us feel small like that. Dad blamed it on the cold. We would go inside, but inside wasn’t much warmer
» Continue reading Hunger by Emil Ostrovski…
Listen to a reading of “Volcanologist” by Christian Hayden.
They spiked their tent at the edge of the caldera. It was a family on vacation. A grumbling teenage girl and a boy with popsicle mouth. Dad had a map and bug bites and Mom had fruit snacks and granola bars. I came out of my trailer and shooed them away like they were botflies.
This whole area will be gone, I said to Dad. It’ll be rubble. If you’re lucky you’ll die right away. Dad nodded and thanked me for my concern. Then he went back to slathering sunscreen under
» Continue reading Volcanologist by Christian Hayden…
Deep in the Sea of Cubicles on the thirtieth floor of the New Southeast Technical Center is Molly’s bar. There are some who say Molly used to be a software engineer, others insist she was an IT consultant, and others who claim she was never actually an employee at all. The QA team worships her as a god and holds candlelit ceremonies in her honor while clad in red robes. I’ve been to her bar only once. My team had just shipped our new app and my bonus hadn’t shown up on my paystub. I was told I
» Continue reading Somewhere on the Thirtieth Floor by James Reinebold…
Listen to a reading of “Mark by Matt Briggs.
I had been careful to ascertain if she was marked. She had no visible mark but that didn’t rule out the possibility of a latent mark. Most carriers of the mark, I had read, do not show any indication that they have it. The mark itself is a red circle of raised flesh. It is more raspberry red than angry skin red. It doesn’t look like an insect bite, pimple or rash. It is unmistakable as a sign that someone has been affected. For many years, people believed the mark brought
» Continue reading Mark by Matt Briggs…
Listen to a reading of “Interview with Kipfel” by Rupprecht Mayer.
A huge desk separated us. Kipfel sat straight across on the more important side. A polished, deep black stone slab with a zipper down the middle—a desk unlike any I had ever seen. I’ve always believed that superficial conversations amount to little. Kipfel appeared to be of the same mind. He pulled open the zipper, the stone components clacking asunder with a comforting sound. Then—smoothly, noiselessly—he pushed the two stone tablets further apart. He rolled forward with his chair, grasped the hollows of my knees, tugged me to him.
» Continue reading Interview with Kipfel by Rupprecht Mayer…
You regret that thing you wrote to your colleague in a group e-mail so that everyone in the department saw it, and while on the one hand you were only reacting to something he had written, which was far more uncomfortable and offensive than anything you said, in the end you regret getting drawn in, and let’s face it, your comment was personal whereas his was general. True, his was small-minded, bitter, and deplorable in every conceivable way, but it was not directed specifically at you, the way yours was at him.
It’s not as if you called him
» Continue reading Deck Story by Ken Cormier…
Listen to a reading of “The Blue Stage” by Eldon Reishus.
Upon your return from India as a well-off couple with a flush joint account thanks to the eye serum you helped develop to spare the sub-continent’s seals from glaucoma, even her father, a former missionary, thinks you’re a saint.
Seventeen years later, you do to a golf ball what you can’t do in bed, while she phishes your daughter’s identity, goes back to high school, tries out for the pom-pom team, and gets sacked for pissing in the sink.
If it were possible to telepathically communicate directly
» Continue reading The Blue Stage by Eldon Reishus…