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

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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Turkish Delight​​​​​ published 05/12/2012

We walked towards Portobello Road. The Turkish Delight started to wear off by Ladbroke Grove. I realised that was the case when I tried to speak to Nick and felt my tongue tied. I was pretty drunk. I think he felt it wearing off too because he made a passing remark about how soon we would reach that pub down Portobello Road and look for Dennis Ahmed, this estate agent and pusher he knew, that would surely sort out some T.D. for us. It was sunny but there were dark clouds lingering above. It was clear it was going to rain. It was just a matter of time.

By Fernando Sdrigotti.

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Gig published 01/12/2012

He squinted his eyes at the stage in the glare of the lights, as if he were searching for something. For some reason it made Dan think of The Clash’s Rude Boy, the moment where Ray Gange seems to have an epiphany while the Clash plays ‘Police and Thieves’. Dan used to try and collect gig epiphanies as if piecing them together could form some sort of grand idea and would guide him through life. When he first watched the film he felt an affinity with the wannabe roadie. Now if he were to watch Rude Boy, he’d want to smack Ray and tell him to get up, get a job, get a life, do something. That’s when Dan had the sad realisation that not everyone can grow up to be an astronaut or rockstar.

By Allie Moh.

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The Plane Riot published 15/11/2012

There was a riot on the plane. The passengers simply could not take orders anymore. From the steward, stewardesses, or that fucking captain who they couldn’t even see, but occasionally crackled in over the tiny speakers wired overhead, first with his bullshit about why they were still taxiing around the runway semi-aimlessly after hours grounded, how they still needed to remain strapped into their seats, and remain so during take-off, during whatever that so-called turbulence supposedly was, please, remain seated, remain seated, observe the lighted seatbelt sign, and continue not smoking, continue keeping off all electronic devices, continue to obey, wait, and obey, seated, strapped, trapped, etc.

By Zack Wentz.

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Burying the Dead published 08/11/2012

Three consecutive works confirmed Rick Rank as a dog whose day had come: Sniff, Groundswell, and Blockage. Akin to syllable-points of an imploding pentagram, it was Blockage, the last and some say most revealing disyllabic that was the breakthrough, a compacted tour-de-force diatribe of dissonance, choc-a-bloc with malcontent and mal au coeur, a shot in the forehead for a generation unplugged from the literary forefront, unable to clear their throats in either jest or earnest. But now that his untimely death (at the tender age of ninety-two) has put paid to any semblance of a unified counterculture, it seems apposite that we return to the enduring conflict that divided and defined its protagonists, laying waste to their careers, consigning the best parts of their lives to profligacy.

By Benjamin Robinson.

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Shoulder Blades published 07/11/2012

His heart feels as fragile as winter daybreak.

He struggles to finish his weekend plans and the girl starts talking about something else, perhaps her parent’s Sunday dinners – the boy cannot remember – and the girl says goodbye outside her apartment building without a kiss on the cheek, or a hug, and the boy slowly heads for home, his shirt damp against his shoulder-blades, though he is not sure whether it is from sweat or the rain.

When the boy gets home, he writes a letter to the girl.

He does not edit it once.

The boy puts it in an envelope but will not send it until he is three weeks into his university degree.

By Rhys Leyshon Evans.

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Extract: England’s Darkness published 22/10/2012

At that meeting, the rebels attempted to evoke the infinite myths of previous uprisings of the North, from the Dark Ages to the Jarrow March and the Thatcher-crushed Miners’ Strike, along with the moments in England’s history when all power had been held in the North, so that those events could be recorded in some way, to serve as an inspiration for the current uprising. But with the erasure of all history and knowledge, in its transferral from annulled paper-based media to digital data and that data’s obliteration during England’s economic, infrastructural and technological collapses, nothing remained, and all memory had gone. All of the tongues that could have seized the memory of past Northern uprisings had been cut out, and stamped into dirt.

Extracts from Stephen Barber‘s new novel, England’s Darkness.

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Amanda’s published 17/10/2012

The man sitting next to me has just sneezed. He is old and smells of urinals. I don’t like to sneeze, it scares me. I’m afraid I’ll lose something vital about myself. Pulling a handkerchief out of my pocket, I wipe my arm and down the front of my pencil skirt. The guy in the t-shirt is watching me. His face and shoulders are laughing. I don’t know why. In the window opposite, a girl with a blonde bob in a red beret, holding a white hankie. I take the top off my green pen and write the words sneeze, handkerchief, snot, brains, arm and skirt in my notebook. Then I turn to the back and with the black pen, put a tick in the column headed RIGHT – t-shirt guy is a right.

By Melissa Mann.

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