:: Fiction

The Stone Mill published 12/09/2018

There is a pause in the noise, then a whirring: the building is catching its breath. I’m certain – it is reaching after speech! The walls turn into cheeks. Air stirs in the throat. There: the mill is inhaling slowly, its cartilage creaks. But it is only a resting breath; and if anything, the slight breath only distils this speechlessness.

A stone goes ‘​✱!​’

I watch pale dust clouds flickering through the entry-hatch – the rock’s ghost floats towards the light, drawn along a pathway of sun.

By Ed Cottrell.

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Blanch published 05/09/2018

A lazy type of earnestness was rampant; it was easier, actually sort of vital, to be serious about the endeavours. And furthermore these hobbies were appealing! Meaningful and delightful and with potential to better personal intrigue. When a new project took hold, joy and confirmation saturated the crowd; every comment, every idea, every constructive tidbit all glossed and fortified. Shoes on your feet would look newish. Voices grew hoarse from invigorated chatter. Giant notepads were reeled out and scrawled on, discarded motions peeled off into scrunches that blew wonkily across the ground. I collected these notes, all of them that I could. At nighttime I would place them in a polythene bag and walk them back to my portacabin.

By Caitlin Ingham.

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Notes on Beynon’s Veil published

I realise that the mycelium turn clockwise as they grow, turning the letters “y”s to “g”s and “r”s to “o”s.

By Gordon Collins.

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A Ton of Malice published 04/08/2018

“There’s the pistons!” said the boy with some excitement. He reached in and tried to pull the engine block free. It didn’t budge. The boy kicked it with the heel of his shoe. Nothing happened. He tried to force the screwdriver between the block and the gearbox, but there wasn’t a razor blade of space. He couldn’t wedge, lever or force the obstinate lump.
“If I had penetrating oil,” said the boy, “I’d have it out in a flash.”
“But you don’t have penetrating oil,” said Kevin.
“No,” the boy replied, “but I do have petrol.”
Kevin looked at me and said, “He’s got petrol.”

An extract from Barry McKinley‘s novel, A Ton of Malice: The Half-Life of an Irish Punk in London.

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Gazed at the sky and saw the words asymmetrical panel fashion and soldiers published 31/05/2018

Gazed at the sky and saw the words asymmetrical panel fashion and soldiers. Talked about self-care and cover letters with this young woman from Iowa. Her name was Jill. Wrote short stories and titled it superGeodesic Theories IX and sent it to Dave Toschi. Prayed for nearly nine hours. Gazed into the putridturquoisepitchblack sky. Felt the energy of the helluniverse. Chemical.

Excerpt from Lonely Men Club by Mike Kleine.

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Infinite for Now published 25/05/2018

#3amforYES

On Friday May 25th, 2018, Ireland will hold a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment of the Constitution of Ireland. Currently it gives equal right to life of a pregnant woman and her unborn foetus. Abortion in Ireland is illegal, even in cases of rape, incest, fatal foetal abnormality, many health problems, including if a woman is being treated for cancer. Obtaining an abortion can lead to 14 years in jail.

But neither moves. He lies back, pressing his body to hers, still sweat-slicked, his elbow jutting like a jetty into the sea of her skin.

“I’m a bad sleeper.”

She had noticed the under-eye grey, the only distracting thing about his face. Later, she wakes, dead-armed from curling into him, and sees him scrolling and scrolling, the blue light interrupting the dark.

By Sinéad Gleeson.

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Atris: Excerpt from Paulo published 21/05/2018

I remember now. We were in a room constructed of steel and concrete, underground and inside the sewer system. Our third meeting. Each wall framing a pane of thick, frosted glass and the powerful light that lit us hanging down behind this glass and making the picture. The narrow channels like tiny rivers on whose banks were reptiles and rodents, everything small and brown, and Cairo’s human waste bobbing and ducking before us, buckled and bloated. Where we were there was no bad smell and the room was pleasant. Like, I felt as though we were in one of those see-through submarine cockpits, the ones which turn the ocean into an endless fish tank. Only, instead of the blue and green—the seaweed, sunken ships, and wondrous creatures—we had huge cockroaches clustered round rust patches and shit and decomposing limbs, and somewhere in the background the voice of Abdel Wahhab: Me, my torment and my love of you, all together and alone. Where will it end with you, you who forgets us all?

By Youssef Rakha.

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Vzszhhzz published 29/03/2018

It’s just boring enough to be reassuring. You feel good and at home, but a bit watched. Everybody notices where you sit, with whom you speak. We spent a really nice evening there on Saturday with Loren. Loren’s laugh sounds exactly the same as Olivia’s. So every time Loren is laughing – and she is laughing all the time – I think for a second that Olivia is sitting next to me. It’s really important to leave at the right time, quite early because you’re busy. So on Sunday Anne and I drive to Boston.

By Jeanne Graff.

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Excerpt: Girl at End published 12/03/2018

To the outside world, the people who work in the lab are scientific. That’s the idea that labs set out to put across.

Vicki Williams wears her white coat like the rest of them. It isn’t completely white. Nobody’s lab coat is completely white. The only wholly white lab coats are seen in classic Hollywood cinema. This, too, is such a funny laboratory joke that you should never tell it to someone who is cutting up something small and delicate like a skin biopsy.

Lab workers ensure their name is written onto the back of their lab coat collars in thick marker pen and put it on a peg like junior school. The penned-on names flake quickly and blacken the neck. This doesn’t take long. The name remains just about legible. And then sweat happens of course. Under the arms, as you’d expect. Scientific people can and do sweat but it is not recommended that such behaviour be associated with science.

By Richard Brammer.

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Mom and Dad, Deleted Scenes published 01/02/2018

Mom and Dad, Deleted Scenes

When Sophia met Bernie he was a heroin addict. Not a gimpy unshaven disease ridden heroin addict. A heroin addict with a manageable habit. And Sophia, being fond of the occasional line of cocaine, was not one to judge Bernie. They told each other as the wedding got nearer that they’d each clean up. They wanted to have a family. This was before they found out that that Bernie was sterile, and the waiting list to adopt a child was so long that they’d not have a child until they were of such an age that said child would become odd and therefore easily bullied. This was Bernie’s opinion anyway, having been born when his mother was forty-three. He told Sophia that kids like him stood out, having adopted the references and idiosyncrasies of their too-old parents.

By Brad Phillips.

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