:: Fiction

Mother Tongue published 11/09/2019

For as long as I can remember I have equated the death of one’s parents with the most pure freedom in the world, perhaps the only freedom in the world.

A story by Jules Lewis.

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Clock & Street published 07/09/2019

The street is wrong; it is obvious now. On the way back to the house, wrapped square in right-hand pocket, the disarrangement is visible to her. It is in the position of the branches. Last night she heard the storm, her eyes locked on the claw marks of ceiling light, her ears dividing the sounds into subcategories: paper whipping the pavement, a somersaulting tin can, the low vocal scrape of a plastic lid. The downed branches lie where the storm left them. The way they lie is wrong. The detail takes time to present. She stands for a while looking and eventually it comes into focus.

By David Hering.

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The Wrong Things List published 03/09/2019

There were many things he did wrong in the relationship, though calling her cold-hearted slag and ripping the picture of them at Niagara Falls were not part of the many, but more an assertion of his masculinity—through admittedly feminine means.

A short story by Greg Gerke.

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the shame fairy published 02/09/2019

The first time Harriet was paid a visit by the Shame Fairy (had it been the first? she wondered, a lit broom sweeping her body at the thought of how many times in her yawn-and-stretch she must’ve pushed notes from under her pillow and down the back of the bed to be found by landlords or university hall cleaners or her mum and dad) was in the year of Marcus.

There was a time she’d burn the notes in the ceramic canoe of Magda’s incense burner. Then the morning after, turning her pillow, like you’d turn over a big stone or crumbly log in the woods… She bought instead a large enough jewellery box with miniature lock and key. Each new note sat at the front of a long Filofax column; the ones at the back crackled to the touch.

A short story by Mazin Saleem.

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Marina Šur Puhllovski’s Wild Woman: An Excerpt published 26/08/2019

In school, it never occurs to me to lose weight, I have no idea that you can lose weight, not even theoretically, for some things I am just stupid, even when they are obvious, I just schlep around in dresses and knee-length skirts like some old bag. The boys in my class give me a “C” for my legs, those little idiots graded us, a “B” for my face, and an “A” for my body, so my average is a “B” and I feel doomed and unhappy; I drag myself through life like a downtrodden cat, casting morose looks at people right and left, which nobody finds attractive, and if somebody does, then I don’t find them attractive. Whatever happened to that attractive thirteen-year-old girl, I wonder miserably, when three love-lorn boys used to stand under my balcony, the fourth pining for me in the school corridors, tossing me little packets of foreign chocolates and sweets, hoping to impress me … I ate the sweets with the brazenness of a vamp who takes but gives nothing in return, and even laughs at him.

By Marina Šur Puhlovski.

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Gros Homard published 06/08/2019

I notice that a light moss has begun to form on my rockery, the spot where I prefer to spend my nights. I am surprised when you do not see it, my love, as the thin grey curtain of filth is pulled slowly to obscure my view of your living quarters, where you used to spend your days in stimulating thought, writing, and playing host to your interesting friends who would coo over my tank and marvel when I waltzed, sometimes leaping clear of the water, clicking my ginger claws.

A short story from Alice Ash.

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Ahistorical published 24/07/2019

“Paul says,” says the Expositor, “that sensual fulfillment in the bedroom begins with recognizing what it means to be close. How do we define close, how do we assess distance? For example, that horse over there.” The Expositor nods in the direction of the horse. “Is the horse near to us, or is it far away?” .

New short fiction from Fortunato Salazar.

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Plastic Emotions (Extract) published 23/07/2019

The project was commissioned more than a year ago. The honeymoon period, in which Minnette’s ideas were greeted with pleasant surprise and excited applause, has given way to suspicion, resentment, and occasional distress. ‘Hanh,’ says Mrs Ariyapala, ‘but why not paint the walls? Otherwise, it will look like an abandoned building, no?’ This to Minnette’s insistence that the interior walls remain unfinished. When Mrs Ariyapala realises that not only will the walls be unpainted, but they will also remain unrendered, she closes her mouth and does not open it again until she is alone with her husband, whom she then castigates for trusting an ‘upstart woman architect’.

Read an extract from Shiromi Pinto‘s Plastic Emotions.

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The Printer of Gardens published 26/06/2019

When I saw her first, she looked just like a statue, holding a spade above the dark soil of her daughter’s garden. Seeing her made me feel an intense awareness of what I knew a little bit, and what I didn’t know at all. The body given to me was this one, not that. Later I would seek her out, then she would tell me a few of the stories hidden in her mute figure.

New short fiction from Jessica Sequeira.

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Ingrid, Her Nephew, an Investigative Scenario published 11/06/2019

I did not know that Ingrid av Enga was my grandmother until many years after she had died and my work led me to her basement archives. The house stood empty in a row of identical bungalows erected sometime in the boom years following the war. Evidently it was the kind one could purchase from a Sears catalog, one that had arrived in pieces on the back of a truck.

A short story from Eric Blix.

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