:: Fiction archive ( 2000-2005, click for articles pre-2006)

The Tower published 08/03/2013

A buzzing was coming up. There hadn’t been a buzzing like this, he thought, his neck feeling cool against the marble, really just cool, since the hot Texas nights when he was a kid, the chirpings sounding like buzzsaws, like a wall of plastic shuffling at high speed. This one was longer and loping though, coming in and out weeeeo ooohhhh weeoohhh, and he thought, well, oh well, there’s some music now so that’s alright, that’s just fine. He was tired now and he realised the handful of whatever he had stolen off his wife’s nightstand was probably making him drowsy, that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to take it without knowing. He realised that if he held his breath for a few moments there was something like going underwater, or the game you played as teenagers where you held your breath and banged your head against a wall until it didn’t hurt, it just sort of felt like someone was dunking you.

By Casey Henry.

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Chest Open published 28/02/2013

Embarrassed smiles as naked we straighten the crumpled bed sheet. She leaves the room for the bathroom and while she is gone I feel around for the camera and take a photo of the bare bed. She comes back in after the flash has lit the dark and frowns and I say sorry and shrug and put the camera away but want to take a photo of this moment too.

By Tristan Foster.

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Ludmilla published 22/02/2013

This week just felt like last week, or was it the week before, he couldn’t remember, didn’t know. All he knew was that things weren’t good, that was what he knew for sure. He knew it with studious accuracy. It’s all the same for him now, everything is all the same. It is like an invisible sadistic giant has its thumb pressed hard against his skull, paralysing all attempted movements.

By Brenton Booth.

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Three Arctic Relics published 13/02/2013

Mornings with the light at its best and evenings when it would do, she rolled back and forth on the horizon. The swivel of the telescope her husband left for her entertainment creaked in its housing and stuck when it turned. From its southwestern extreme the brass shaft took a nudge, a firm bump of her palm, to set the device back into motion northwest. She never strayed from that range, never turned the lens skyward to take in the stars or look back toward Europe or closer at hand across the blank slate of Greenland, that near-continent whose raw edge she occupied in her waiting.

Excerpt from Steve Himmer‘s novel Fram.

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Hungry Young Man published 29/01/2013

Another distraction. Another in-mind movie competing for attention with the thing that’s heart of focus for him now. He shoos it away. Holds finger to lips and attempts to becalm it to gag it to make it sod off. It doesn’t. They don’t, those white-coated fuckers. They stand there, not hearing nor heeding his outcries for silence, faces growing instead in consternation at the ink-marks that spool out on the seismograph page. Over their shoulders he peers, and can see same thing they do. The epicentre is far nearer than any of them dared think. The noise – the rumble, grumble, sonic jumble – it levitates, it rises, but sinks deeper at the selfsame time. The needle-scratch is barely audible beneath it. Still swinging his fists at all thoughts of mealtime, he has only his feet left free to try and trample this scientific worry with now. He does not need these distractions. He does not want these distractions.

By Dan Micklethwaite.

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The Aarspeth Imbroglio published 17/01/2013

It’s true that I worked for them during the second purge. It’s not my intention to excuse what I’ve done, though God knows my crimes, if crimes is even the proper word, are far less grievous than those committed by others, the ones now called patriots. As for those maimed by our activities, they will have to speak, if they are still capable of speaking, for themselves. I’m responsible for my actions, and my actions alone. I’ve been promised immunity. But from what? And by whom?

By Nicholas Rombes

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Beckett was my Big Dog published

The young man abandoned what could but have been a watery soup and sidled, wriggling towards the lavatory – the frankly disgraceful state of which Mark wished away in favour of Miranda’s fingers playing music – “Miranda’s fingers,” Philip thought to distract himself from the inevitable flowing forth – and if he’d noticed the bespectacled gentleman’s entrance he did so withoutany sign of recognition. Upon the young man’s table sat a book that Mark strained himself to see. Endgame, it said. He made a memorandum to read Endgame, surmising that the raggedy fellow needed a decent conversation as much as he needed a good meal.

By Terry Andrew Craven.

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Adios Puerto Lempira published 18/12/2012

And then you think you’ll write a poem to the soldiers, but you remember that you gave up poetry even before you gave up childhood, and besides the only poem a soldier knows is the poem of a bed offering sleep. And then you think, what is all this for anyway, the incandescence and phosphor light within, the unquenchable macabre inventory of entangling urgency, and you remember a woman dancing last night on the Rio Coco, drinking from the can and spitting every third gulp into the fire, like an offering to the god, the flames flaring up, her eyes nearly insensate with the pure joy of being alive.

By Peter Vilbig.

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Over Again Until We’re Finished published 13/12/2012

We sure were something then. Shuffle step kick turn smile turn shuffle shuffle step smile. Whenever they’d announce us, they’d say “double trouble” “two’s better than one” “the more the merrier.” Smile step shuffle shuffle turn smile step land smile. We travelled the country, the world, before we hit twenty. We lived more before anyone else had gotten around to it, so settling always seemed nice. I didn’t mind receding from the lights and the sounds and the crowds. I never belonged there, but I waited ’til my sister was good and ready to leave. She couldn’t have done it without me.

By Jaime Fountaine.

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Sky Up published 11/12/2012

Some parties are forgettable, Alyssa says, how many parties have we had this week. She turns on the bathroom faucet but does not wash her hands or look down, staring at herself casually in the mirror, listening to the water. Her big lips crack as they smile. If you’ve been through hell, keep going, she says. Alyssa feels the edge of the sharp blade of her pocket knife with her thumb, and winces just before it breaks the skin, before she hears a knock on the door. She walks outside still holding the knife. She walks a straight line in one direction, because direction is consoling, softening her focus, rubbing the bridge of her nose with her other hand before descending downstairs. The person in the front of the line, waiting for the bathroom, a girl wearing a bikini, says, Winston Churchill. The girl in a bikini says, That girl walking away holding the knife is quoting Winston Churchill.

By Richard Chiem.

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