:: Fiction

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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Psycho Femmes II published 06/12/2017

I was picked up late one night at the metro airport in Romulus after a ten-hour flight by an emissary of the institution, a man with extremely large hands and knuckles and yet with the softest of voices, as he spoke to me about the city’s peculiar history. He wore a black or navy blue chauffeur’s cap with a polished brim. He drove like he was above the law, his frame filling the front seat, with a recklessness that approached something more like a parody of driving.

Had the Commander sent him, or was I on my own now?

An excerpt from Psycho Femmes II, a new novel from Nicholas Rombes.

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And They All Lived Happily Ever After published 28/11/2017

12 Oct

A diary is a documented confession of all your flaws, insecurities and irregularities.

Apart from anything else, a diary is needed so you don’t burden anyone with your presence.

I don’t want to feel like a burden. I want to feel that I’m being adored.

By Odarka Bilokon.

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Anatomical Drawings Made By Infants published 16/11/2017

The car/bike transmogrifies as I navigate the streets for a place to park. Side streets are Preston (home town). Signposts are in Welsh and unintelligible. Some streets are carpeted over the punctured tarmac and too narrow for a car to pass, though I have just [looking over my shoulder] driven into it, or remember doing so on another occasion. “I am aware of not being a member of your group but please can u help me park?” “Where can I?” Idle spiel about maintaining division between workers and consumers. I move on. I cycle up a steep hill where a cartoon family play exuberantly.

By Lauren de Sá Naylor.

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The Mirror Room published 27/10/2017

My diseased cat and I are fugitives; our numbered days are spent munching mud and contracting amoebas with which to decompose ourselves in beauty. In two hundred years they’ll uncover our skeletons.

But I can’t find the cat.

By Alyssa Gillon.

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Live Stream published 12/09/2017

So my friend is talking about the stars and the city lights and kind of spinning his wheels on that stuff. And I’m tuning him out, looking at something else in a different browser tab, some shoes I’m thinking about buying. And I’m only half listening to his voice—

By Kaj Tanaka.

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Lynne Anne published 06/09/2017

Lynne Ann still checks the M size on the uniform order slip as she did on the day she got the job as the shop’s only beauty consultant.

By Carla Manfredino.

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