Fiction

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HESTIA | Summer 2016

The Helpfulness Of Those Who Cannot Help

by Amanda McTigue

There is nothing wrong with sleeping in the nursery…[CONTINUE READING]

The Clawfoot Requiem

by Gwendolyn Kiste

When my sister Savannah set out to do something, she never failed to impress. So on the morning she opened her wrists and emptied what was left of her heart, the bathroom looked less like a butcher block and more like an altar…[CONTINUE READING]

Knock, Knock

by David Tallerman

The familiar thud, thud echoed from outside my flat door. I barely noticed, but Paul shifted nervously in his chair…[CONTINUE READING]

The Visiphorical Art

by Michelle Ann King

There are remnants of lives all over the house, drying out and growing mold like abandoned plates of half-consumed meals…[Purchase Issue]

The Re’em Song

by Julie C. Day

Of course, leaving was easy…[CONTINUE READING]

Tunnel Vision

by Tim Major

It’s not dark but the school is so empty it feels like night.…[CONTINUE READING]

Orphans

by Amanda Gowin

The surname was taken previously, in the way that those who desperately search for purpose will grab and snatch at a thing to be, to fall into…[CONTINUE READING]

1416 DeForested Lane

by Sherri Cook Woosley

Roger, dressed in white slacks and a cashmere sweater gives the father a tight smile as he welcomes the man to the open house…[Purchase Issue]

The Scent of Roses In The New World

by Rhoads Brazos

Within the fenced confines of his back yard, Garver raked at a moldering pile of leaves still wet from October’s last week of rain…[CONTINUE READING]

No Sense Lying When We’re All Dying

by H. L. Nelson

Mama huffed as she dragged the dusty, rusted deep freeze over our trailer door’s metal threshold…[CONTINUE READING]

Top 20 Exotic Pets That Frighten Away Intruders

by S.R. Mastrantone

Kim had visited the Warwick Park Estate once before back when she was a student Health Visitor, and her mentor, Lorraine, had wanted her to witness the dental decay sweeping through the small community’s children…[Purchase Issue]

Poetry:

Unearthing

by Mohineet Boparai

…[Purchase Issue]

Half

by Donald Illich

…[Purchase Issue]

Making Home

by Sandi Leibowitz

…[Purchase Issue]

You See The Cottage

by Tamara Gantt

…[Purchase Issue]

Quantum Equation

by Teresa Mei Chuc

…[Purchase Issue]

Hestia/Mother

by Simon Cockle

…[Purchase Issue]

NYX HEADER

The Want Hearts, The Need Needs

by Nikki Guerlain

Little John’s dog is barking at me, frothing mad, but kind of whining too. Little John says he’s a good barometer for telling whether people are good or bad. He never had any truck with me before today, but I just got back from a trip with my parents, and I haven’t quite felt like myself since…[CONTINUE READING]

Finding Waltzer-Three

by Tim Major

A static-filled sigh comes across the comms link. Richard leans close to the speaker housed in the control unit. When his wife speaks, he jolts back in alarm…[CONTINUE READING]

The Epiphany of Cool

by Emily Slaney

Jade curls her lip, shines the dull yellow beam of the torch up her face, faux horror. The light taints her skin jaundice. “Comfortable?”…[CONTINUE READING]

The Sleep of Reason

by Sandi Leibowitz

I have never believed in angels. I never used to believe in devils, but when they visit you, it’s hard to maintain your skepticism. I painted demons once, leering and drooling, eager to devour a dying impenitent, despite a saint’s prayers. I would rather be attended by such amiable creatures than the one who has selected me…[CONTINUE READING]

Change

by Gayle Towell

Janya lay on her back on the small raft floating in the pond under the late summer stars. She let her arms hang out to the sides, the chill on her fingers where her hands bobbed in and out of the water. Inside her head she had access to the names of each and every glowing object in the sky…[CONTINUE READING]

Vertebrae and Moss

by David K. Yeh

This morning the sunbeams are coins my father casts into the bannered crowd. Hoisting me onto his shoulder, he fiercely kisses my mother’s cheek, her laughter bright as emblazoned silk. This memory is long ago, far away. My thoughts are thirsty roots that drink the past. The earth holds everything in her depths…[CONTINUE READING]

The Blue Martini

by Jameson Rader

“Being blind, I am always concerned with my appearance. As in, never staring into the same direction too continuously, wearing darkly tinted glasses in case I do, breaking away from dates to feel my face, nostrils, and hair in the bathroom stall. Making sure that nothing feels out of sorts, also that I demonstrate a nice contour. How I look is always on my mind…[Purchase Issue]

Half A Skinned Rabbit

by Zahid Gamieldien

The girl, who has forgotten her name, answers to Dee these days. The man, whom she calls Pup, says that Dee’s mother named her with a beautiful name, that it started with the letter D, but he’ll be goddamned if he can recall it. Truth be told, he doesn’t recall too much; doesn’t want to, mostly. Life is a constant act of forgetting—how else can one go on?…[Purchase Issue]

Nussubaum And The Nautilus

by Nathan M. Beauchamp

The reflective silver of the salvage crab’s carapace scalds Grandmother Nussbaum’s hand as she lowers herself into the cockpit. She fumbles with the harness, cinching it around her narrow waist and bony shoulders. It takes several minutes to gain neural sync. Conjuring complex geometric shapes, much less a whole series of them, gives her trouble these days. But after the hatch seals, the joystick unlocks, and the circulator whirs to life, a girlish excitement flushes her face…[Purchase Issue]

Poetry:

Shadowbinders

by Yuxing Xia

We tried to track its footsteps
through the trail of broken cow bones
and crumbled candy wrappers,…[CONTINUE READING]

Remembering the Fifth of November

by Lucy Gabriel

The fire kicks embers to dance
in veils of smoke, like oracles.
They remember a ritual, older than bonfire night,…[CONTINUE READING]

Fever Dream

by Colleen Anderson

The fire’s heat beads upon my brow.
I stare awake, unfamiliar from that realm.
In the dark and downy warmth I see… [CONTINUE READING]

The Unstuttering of Star

by Susan Gerson

Sublime flutter, the stutter of breath
slowing with sun to frame
moments circling rim, distancing
sauvignon day done in… [Purchase Issue]

The War of Night and Day

by Matthew Wilson

Damn the demons at the door
Now the night has killed the sun
Zeus sits shaking on his throne …[Purchase Issue]

Nyx

by Lorraine Schein

Born was I of great Chaos
(who also spawned Love).
My darkness helps break… [Purchase Issue]

 Persephone

The Bang’um Bailey Girls

by Kelly Archibald

Hey, sailor,” I called to the young guy creeping along the walk in his Beamer. This one’s a big money client, so I pulled out all the stops, lifting one rainbow stockinged leg up onto the guardrail next to the road, giving him a glimpse up my skirt. “You know what they say, boy, if you can fuck a clown, you can do anything. Whaddaya say?”…[CONTINUE READING]

The Knot

by Mari Ness

She knows how useless this is, how pointless.

Even if she could remember the exact spot – and as she has repeatedly told everyone, again and again, told herself, again and again, she can’t – the one thing she can remember is that very long moment between his cry and the thump…[CONTINUE READING]

This Life Without Wings

by Gary Emmette Chandler

At the edge of a meadow, a gaunt young man reaches up and places a cloud in the sky. He straightens two fingers and rotates his hand into an open palm, filling the cloud until it swells with rain. It hovers there, a mile above him, puffed and dark against the sky. After a moment he extends both hands, stretching it like dough. The cloud spreads and billows, blanketing the sun.  He smiles, and listens to the wind…[CONTINUE READING]

The Minotaur’s Wife

by Megan Arkenberg

I think it is fair to say that when you saw me for the first time, small and thin for my age and unimposing in a poppy-colored wedding gown, you thought you knew precisely what you were getting. You knew my brother—knew him too well, the rumors said—and at seventeen, I was much like Sphairos to look at, too pale, too skinny, my dark hair dry and thin. But you thought I had my brother’s thoughts as well, spidery and tangled and poppy-colored, and in that, my husband, you were quite wrong…[CONTINUE READING]

The Body Speaks

by Ashley Hutson

I am the bruise. In my season I was beautiful. I bloomed like ripe fruit on the flesh, tiny pomegranate seeds taking root in the pores as my fingers spread to touch the eye. Next to my red, angry glory the green iris gleamed like a jewel. As I aged, I deepened into a lovely wine color, then sky-dark, then brightened to a wan yellow. Now I am weakening, slowly disappearing. Now I resemble a giant, pale freckle that was faded fast by winter…[CONTINUE READING]

Beautiful Faces

by Jenny Maloney

The Joint closed at 10:00p.m. and afterward there was cleaning. Kelley didn’t mind the cleaning as much as the other two managers. With the chairs upturned on the tables, the grills turned off, and the register change counted away, the place had an energetic peace about it, like an amusement park after hours…[CONTINUE READING]

Dried Flowers

by Valya Dudycz Lupescu

My sister’s parlor reeks of sickly sweetness, and I worry that she’s been going after the neighbors again…[CONTINUE READING]

To The Mistress Of The Labyrinth

by Crystal Lynn Hilbert

She props open the door to her labyrinth on warm summer nights, leaves trails of candles to mark the way, and dead heroes’ clothing in still-sticky beehives. She builds a new shrine from old tithes, stacks the abandoned offerings of centuries past with fairy flame and woolen underthings, plasters the gaps in her stone walls with little but her anger, her patience…[CONTINUE READING]

Poetry:

Persephone, Out Past Curfew

by Katherine Hoerth

The story’s almost a cliché, my tale
that everybody tells and tells again… [CONTINUE READING]

the fruit

by Margaret Donsbach Tomlinson

peel away the outside layers
you will have to use a knife… [CONTINUE READING]

Three Poems

by Terry Ann Thaxton

My mother cannot catch
baby alligators, but that is, perhaps… [CONTINUE READING]

Dawn/Lake

by Sylvia Ashby

I had been to birth two nights now:
First the womb poured pink silver… [CONTINUE READING]

Remember Winter

by Deborah Walker

The lean hare leaping across the white sky.
The sun riding high and small and bright… [CONTINUE READING]

Ares Full Cover

Avonna

by Nathan Beauchamp

The elevated highway rushes beneath the Jaguar as I scream through the desert in the left lane. The speedometer reads 220 KPH. From within the air conditioned cabin, the desert looks like a white-hot furnace. Jen would say I’m running away. Maybe I am…[CONTINUE READING]

Red Clay

by Steve Toase

From our cab we saw the road obscured by thick red clay, a quilt of receded floodwater washed from crop bare fields on either side. Every so often an abandoned possession poked up through the mud. A mobile phone long out of charge. Three cheap, rusted, pans…[CONTINUE READING]

House Of Clouds

by Leah Erickson

A quickening, so delicate that it could only be picked up by the machines, those electronic murmurs and whirs and beeps that measured the faint whispers of her heart, her breath, and her brain. In that moment the reanimation of her life was as delicate as a puff of dandelion seed on the wind. Would she hold aloft?…[CONTINUE READING]

The God Of War

by Richard Thomas

Eric strolled into the Starbucks still in his bear costume, rotten breath muttering curses, his hands clenching and unclenching, a wave of heat pushing into the crowded space, his lips pulled back in a snarl. The thin blonde lady at the front table slammed her laptop shut, and spit on the floor, as the computer seized up again—every time the angry bear had come in to warm up…[AVAILABLE 8/01]

Hildy Bakes A Cake

by Chelsea Sedoti

Hildy Braun had a bible on her head. It was a gift from her second foster mother. “Proper young ladies have proper posture,” Miss Ansley had said, crowning Hildy with the heavy family bible…[CONTINUE READING]

Hero Complex

by Nick Gregorio

Kelly doesn’t remember me. She can’t. When she woke up she couldn’t remember anything. Or speak very well. But she was able to write. I saw the notes she would scribble. Who was I? Why I was there, spending so much time in her hospital room. Always the same questions. Every night. Notes handed off to her parents about me…[CONTINUE READING]

Take The Flay Train

by Doug Black

In my Hell, I’m flayed alive by my mother in a dirty operating theater. Every time, it goes this way: I’m frozen in a standing position, arms outstretched like I’m bound to an invisible crucifix. Mother’s in surgical scrubs and a mask, so all I see are her eyes, webbed in red, and crow’s feet like the Grand Canyon…[CONTINUE READING]

Resistance

by David Braga

There was a sign out by where the highway used to run that said PROMOTE COEXISTENCE in big, black letters, only someone had sprayed END OCCUPATION over it in sloppy red paint. Back beyond it I could see the fence blocking off the freeway ramp; the barbed wire at the top gleaming like teeth in the sun. Cars had been one of the first things to go. From nearby old metal squeaked, rust on rust…[CONTINUE READING]

Green Waters

by Querus Abuttu

Sarah Coleman caught the sharp whiff of a rotten egg smell, and rubbed her nose. The stink crept stealthily underneath the sweet odor of wet pines, moss and dead logs, and it tried to make you think you imagined it. Yep, the swamp was sneaky. It liked to trick idiots. Of course, she never went near it. Not ever. And she wasn’t about to do it today, either. Stupid, stupid Tomas. He knew nothing…[CONTINUE READING]

POETRY:

The Dead God

by Kristen Hatten

The shadow of a bird or a beast Splits the silhouette of an empty moon Tonight. It is the dead, deep hour. …[CONTINUE READING]

Aprodite mock

Observations On The Failure Of Our Experiment

by Stacy Sinclair

Roger.

I remember the moment I fell for you.

We were in the morgue at the university. Classmates. You cradled lower intestine in your gloved hands, clumsily trying to scratch your nose with your wrist. Your eyes held this fierce glare of childlike determination…[CONTINUE READING]

The Furies Of Pennsylvania

by W.P. Johnson

The killer woke up in their barn, quenched of thirst. He groaned and felt an unbreakable kink in his neck from sleeping on the floor. His head was a hollow husk of dull pain and his face was coated with dust.…[CONTINUE READING]

Verses Of Lace

by Lee L. Krecklow

He had never before been moved by the news of a person’s death.  His parents were both alive and able, as were his wife’s parents.  His grandparents were dead, but why wouldn’t they be?  He was young at the time of each of their deaths, younger than twelve for each, yet he was old enough to remember thinking that it was natural, if not obvious, that it would happen, that surely they should whither into nothingness, with their living skin already so wrinkled and spotted, their knuckles and backs curled and gnarled, their hair gone thin and colorless; news of their passing was the reiteration of a pre-existing fact…[CONTINUE READING]

Flight And Weightless

by Sean Taylor

At the beginning of what is now Alaska’s first plain, where discoverers went to discover things (as we did) and where discoveries should have been made, before the Inuit cultures and the nose kissing, there were these strangers. And they would never say it’s so damn hard to meet people in cities, but they knew it’s not as easy on frozen lakes…[CONTINUE READING]

Green Future

by Deborah Walker

Hey, Mrs M.”

Miriam ignores the boy. She pushes her way through the tangled undergrowth of Trafalgar Square, past the stone lions with their impassive eyes virtually obscured by their liana manes. She must remember to bring a pair of shears, tomorrow…[CONTINUE READING]

Bird

by Malia Lehrer

Short stories happen in New York City, she had explained to her mother as she stuffed the cheap duffel bag with sweaters. It was the best thing, the only thing for her writing. She could not possibly have moved anywhere else…[CONTINUE READING]

The Somnophiliac

by Z.L. Melton

In the room where you sleep, I am drunk on the blues of your twilight skin, on its rising and falling. I have had no wine or liquor to drink, but the feeling is mutually composed within the airtight seal of my crudely-shaven head. My cock is pathetic now, but it will grow, I promise, to the grace of your light breathing. I stroke its rippled underbelly to the rhythm of your exhaling…[CONTINUE READING]

Perfect Pease

by Sarah Read

Sue pressed the blade to the skin, applied the slightest pressure and slid the knife, splitting the little orb. Its moist kernel shined. She pinched the two halves with the puckered tips of her fingers and dropped them in the pot where the ham bones boiled…[CONTINUE READING]

Harold vs. The Maid

by Ben Freeman

They can do that?” Harold asked.

“Yes Harold,” Sherry said. “Why do you think I wanted the newest model? And the male version?”

“So, you want a divorce?” Harold said, sitting down on the bed…[CONTINUE READING]

A Little Lower Than

by Letitia Trent

They showed up naked and confused in small towns and cities alike, their skin without marks or blemishes. They had no belly buttons. They knew human languages but at first spoke with difficulty, as though our words did not move smoothly enough to accommodate their thoughts…[CONTINUE READING]

Whatever You Can Spare

by Thomas Kearnes

Sometimes the humiliation is worth it. No snipping, no snapping, maybe even “I love you, Mema” when I get enough. I never stand outside the store for long. At least, it never seems long after the first kind stranger presses a five or a wad of singles into my hand…[PURCHASE PRINT ISSUE]

Rapture

by Richard Thomas

Dia pulled two apples off of the tree in her backyard and inhaled the crisp air and sunshine, her long, flowing gown barely covering her tan flesh. It was early in the morning, the sliding glass door to her house open wide as she walked across the lush grass, watching two sparrows bickering over birdseed around the little red birdhouse she had made with her son, Eric…[PURCHASE PRINT ISSUE]

POETRY:

Two Poems

by Angela Ball

The goddess didn’t present
Her card.  “Keep this
At all times,” she didn’t say.
[CONTINUE READING]

Pygmalion

by Jacob Haddon

I have you now, Pygmalion
you turned your eyes from woman
worshiping art as your patron
[CONTINUE READING]

Taxidermied: Three Poems

by Kristina Ten

With your full weight on my chest, knees inside my knees,
asking what’s the world record for folding a piece of paper
in half. Every day, set your first alarm for seven and your
[CONTINUE READING]

Early Times

by R.A. Allen

Sweet as a front porch julep
we are in the early times
of our love. That amber sun
[CONTINUE READING]

Poor Hylas

by Jason Primm

Skilled and quiet in the daylight, I thought Hylas
Would drink the way he tied a knot or worked a knife.
[CONTINUE READING]

Two Poems

by Holly Day

despite the legends, he kept an impeccable house
even the tiny room where the children were kept
was bereft of any evidence of crime. the bones
were always immediately take out back and burnt,
[CONTINUE READING]

Dionysus Banner

Pomegranate Wine

by Sarah Read

Pulse. Flash. He stood in the crowd, eyes flinching from the strobe, offset with the throb in his lungs from the bass, the brush of erratic sweaty palms around his shoulders. The painted concrete floor stuck to his leopard print shoes as he turned to watch the gaping faces frozen in instances of light[CONTINUE READING]

Naxos

by Megan Arkenberg

The Ford died with a hiccup and a puff of smoke two miles out of Naxos, Wisconsin. I looked over at Ari in the passenger seat, she looked at me, and we said oh shit pretty much simultaneously…[CONTINUE READING]

The Ground You Walk On

by Benjamin David Knight

We arrived on the edge of the Kahllian Dome-Plains at about 5:30 this morning, as the hot Kahllis sun climbed over the broken pillars and broken upturned bowls on the horizon, casting jagged shadows over our approach. The locals of a nearby village refer to the Dome-Plains as, in their tongue, “Ancestor’s Folly”…[CONTINUE READING]

Shroom Soccer

by Maui Holcomb

I would’ve been spared memories of Strauss if it weren’t for a case of cabin fever. After days of April rain, the clouds parted, and I felt the urge to venture out to the Studio City Farmer’s Market. Traffic cones blocked off a side-street, and shoppers navigated booths sporting baskets of strawberries and grapes…[CONTINUE READING]

Children Of Nameless Streets

by Faisal Pakkali

The land was barren and strange. The sun did not rise here. We all huddled together to form a city and its streets had no name. Just a place to shelter ourselves. We had come here because home was destroyed and we belonged nowhere. We deserved nowhere. Sometimes we looked up at the sky and we could see our home, round and dark and cold, a full stop in the sky…[CONTINUE READING]

The Crows Followed You Here

by Mary Renzi

Every year right around the holidays, I knew to expect a lot of stabbings on the reservation. The violence was so reliable that I could mark my calendar. Frank was driving that night and I was sitting shotgun handling the radio and dispatch and Tim was in the back…[CONTINUE READING]

Wild And Free

by Vanessa MacLellan

Sitting in a shadowed corner of a deserted coffee shop, I look into the full moon through the clear glass windowpane, watching the outline of dark shapes bound from rooftop to rooftop, howling and reveling at being alive…[CONTINUE READING]

Head Like A Hole

by Richard Thomas

I’ve been waiting to audition for a while now, but they keep telling me I’m not ready. My knuckles on the metal door hardly make a noise, shivering in my leather coat and faded jeans. I turn to leave and the door flies open. It’s a girl in head to toe PVC, with long, braided hair…[PURCHASE PRINT ISSUE]

Meat Sweats

by Dino Parenti

First thing I noticed about Earl Fuller when he entered my life ten days ago were his boots. Despite all the blood, my eyes shot right to them.

His screaming and cursing in the ribald manner of George C. Scott in Dr. Strangelove? Well, I’d gotten used to that a while ago[PURCHASE PRINT ISSUE]

POETRY:

Ultrasound

by Maria Hummel

When you were born, which you are not yet,
and grew up, which you have not done,
loved another, which you have not found,
and lasted long in life, which you may,
[CONTINUE READING]

The Story

by Keetje Kuipers

It was the kiln-fired season:
you spread seed catalogues on
[CONTINUE READING]

Two Poems

by Jordan Sanderson

The sun falls like a cantaloupe dropped from a truck
onto dew-damp pavement. Scoop the seeds
into your mouth. Rinse your eyes with the juice.
Roll in the yellow meat the way dogs roll in carrion.
[CONTINUE READING]

Before The Battle

by Matthew Wilson

Oh, Dionysus, talk with me a while.
Till the cheers die, and all the wine has dried.
Though we die for Zeus, for your medicine
your name in my heart has always lied.
[CONTINUE READING]

Poseidon-1

The Sand Baby

by Shona Snowden

Hush now. Be still. I have a story to tell.

Not long ago and not far from here, in a small town up in the hills, lived a farmer and his wife who longed for a baby.

For many years they kept their longing close to hope, but when their hope ran out the longing grew until it became pain…[CONTINUE READING]

The Sea Came

by Linda Hallgren

The dead never stayed buried for long. Asra regards the three-fingered hand reaching out from the cairn. There’s no tissue left, nothing to hug the discolored bones except for algae. Most bodies are swept away before they begin to smell…[CONTINUE READING]

Lions Of A Stony Shore

by Kelsie Hahn

When the kite alighted on the head of the young male sea lion hovering at the edge of the herd, the harem promptly made him king. They didn’t know what a kite was or where it came from…[CONTINUE READING]

Flood Savings

by Michael Chaney

Fitting engine part A to encasement part B makes their fingers smell like burning tires. It smells worse if they do not wear the latex gloves that Eric, the supervisor, wants them to and no one does. Twisting the red nozzle onto the cylinder cues whoever is next to attach the handle and float the assemblage downline….[CONTINUE READING]

The Odyssey Of The Penelope Anne

by Ken Goldman

The gaff-rigged Island Packet schooner caught a stiff wind, tracing the same course from Cape Cod to Nantucket as the early New England whaling ships had followed en route to New Bedford. Having ‘come about’ a full ninety degrees Richard secured the main sail of the Penelope Anne and reached into the cooler for a Heineken….[CONTINUE READING]

The Paredrae

by Jason Metz

Lucas Dubois chases down leads. It’s why he’s circled the globe, landing him in Virginia Beach. He sits pouring through files, sipping coffee, and bites into a cheeseburger. The diner, a retired rail car, is a postcard slice of Americana, red vinyl stools and formica countertops…[CONTINUE READING]

From The Sea

by Matthew Brennan

She came from the sea, the morning after the storm. The day was clear and bright, windy, with a few clouds racing across the sky. Her hair was long and black so that it acquired a hint of blue, and the shade of her irises was subtle enough that she still squinted and shielded her eyes when the clouds covered the sun…[CONTINUE READING]

An Evening Breakfast

by Douglas Gibson

Jenny, yeah, she was pretty. One night in the midst of a break with a girl I’d been fooling about with we ended up drinking a little too much and she said I could sleep in her bed, no funny business we both agreed, but I let her know that I’d probably get a hard-on if we cuddled before dropping off…[CONTINUE READING]

Double Income, No Kids

by Zachary Houle

It’d all started innocently enough: Pamie wanted to go on the pill. Said she wanted to be sure that we couldn’t have children — ever. She wanted to be Double Income, No Kids all the way.

“It’ll fuck you up, though,” I offered, sitting in the dining room, over breakfast. Scrambled eggs. The way I’d always had them, even since I could remember…[CONTINUE READING]

The Parts Which Make Us Whole

by Emma McMorran

There once was a too-small boy who lived in a too-large house. In order to keep this house, with its attendant cars, pool, gardens, and, of course, the staff it took to maintain a home so large, the boy’s father was always away at work. His mother kept busy making friends so that the too-large house was never empty, and spent her afternoons lunching, drinking iced tea, and other things mothers are known for…[CONTINUE READING]

ARTEMIS

Gravidism

by Jessica Meddows

Octavia walked through the downstairs foyer of her office block, the greasy smell of frying bacon in the employee cafeteria wafting into her nostrils. Her mouth watered and she wrinkled her nose. She shook her head clear of the olfactory assault and waited for an elevator in the stark white foyer. Devoid of plants or art, LCD screens in the foyer pumped out MediaCorp headlines – headlines Octavia wrote and released on screens in every Government Corporation building…[CONTINUE READING]

The Covetousness Of Trolls

by Thomas Canfield

The further the two men penetrated into the warren of caves the stronger and more pronounced the scent became. Vanderhof tried to think of something similar to compare it to. The nearest he could come was wet muskrat, the scent resembled that of wet muskrat. Although, upon reflection, Vanderhof realized that he had probably never encountered a wet muskrat in his life. But the oppressive funk was no less real for all that…[CONTINUE READING]

Super-Human Condition

by Jason Lairamore

Eyes pierced the dark alleyways, so many eyes, and they looked at me, some with fear, some with anger, but all with the worst thing imaginable.  Each and every person’s jadish glowing eyes possessed intelligence.  And not just the budding dawn of intelligent awareness I’d seen on other carbon-based planets.  These people burst with enlightenment.  I sighed at the waste of potential.  It was all for naught, all of it…[CONTINUE READING]

The Goddess

by Alexandra Grunberg

She was trapped inside the block of marble for as long as there had been marble in the earth. She did not bemoan her situation, because she did not know any alternative. She did not wait for rescue, but rescue came all the same, and it cut out a block around her and pulled her from the ground….[CONTINUE READING]

The Philosopher

by Karen Runge

There’s something malicious about the way the sun strikes our caravan windows in the early morning.  The house we left behind has those big, sunny French windows — the kind that need thick, heavy curtains to lock out the full flood of sweet, natural light.  I didn’t appreciate it enough, I think, when we lived there; the way all that open sunlight catches the dust motes drifting around the room, the milky slide of it in the still afternoons, the honey-shimmer of it, soft and warm, pooling over my skin….[CONTINUE READING]

The Midnight Lover

by Carol Schwalberg

Annie conceded that Frank was the quasi-perfect husband, bright, kind and, nicest of all, solvent.

As her best friend Barbara nodded, Annie ticked off Frank’s other virtues. He never smoked, he hardly drank, and he only glanced at other women. He clucked at her problems and shrugged off her purchases. By day, he esteemed her, and at night, he gave her eight or ten ripple orgasms and occasionally a real zinger…[CONTINUE READING]

We’ve Only Just Begun

by Renee Asher Pickup

I was crouched down in the corner of my bedroom watching an earwig crawl up the side of my dresser when I heard my mother’s ear shattering scream from the kitchen. I jumped up and ran to see what was wrong and found her backed into a corner, both hands over her mouth just staring. Her eyes were so wide I thought they’d fall out of her head. There, on the cheap linoleum floor, the cordless phone laid cracked open, a dozen earwigs spilled out around it. Most of them were dead, but a few writhed around on the bodies of their former comrades…[CONTINUE READING]

Rather A Nice Finish

by Eryk Pruitt

The motel had a washer and dryer, so Melinda Kendall thought it best to take advantage and get after her clothes before they got out of hand.  She went down in a pair of shorts and a tee shirt she figured she’d just throw away anyway.  She stuffed every other stitch she owned into one of the motel’s trash sacks and brought it down to the wash…[CONTINUE READING]

Beyond The Eye

by Dino Parenti

The policeman staggered on bleeding feet a dozen yards behind the priest.

Save for his patrolman’s hat and badge, the latter having been pinned raw into his bare flesh above his heart, he was naked—leashed to an ancient nag that, for the past four hours, has been dragging him across the desert at a sluggish gait…[CONTINUE READING]

The Pixelated Paladin

by Steve Gronert Ellerhoff

The almost real sun burned bright from the monitor, setting ten times faster than the real one.  Its heatless, coded beams flared the autumnal leaves of the maple tree his character stood beneath and fell into eclipse behind the five-spire basalt fortress on yonder plateau. Seen from an over-the-shoulder perspective, the Nordic paladin, donning white crystal armor bedazzled with glinting gold rivets, idled with an occasional programmed turn of his helmeted head. Jean-Luc, who customized this character down to power bonuses and width of eyebrows, shared no physical resemblance to him save for being of Norwegian stock. Whereas HoNoR_BlAdE91 (the username HoNoR_BlAdE was already taken) looked to be forty with a bodybuilder’s physique, Jean-Luc was nineteen with receding acne and a curvature accentuated by the tight XL shirts he wore. Sitting before his desktop computer, he idled in his own way, impatiently taking gulps from a two liter of Diet Mountain Dew. He’d just talked to his Dad on the phone so the wait was increasingly irritating…[CONTINUE READING]

 

 

HADES

Pitter Patter 

by Querus Abuttu

Peggy Raider’s fingers pumped on the baby’s sternum. “One and two and three and four and . . .” Her other hand reached through the isolette and squeezed the ambu-bag after every fifth beat. Puffs of air pushed into tiny lungs.

“Hurry!” She looked furtively at the nurses in the room. “I can’t get the heart started!” No one tried to help her. The floppy body beneath her hands failed to respond…[CONTINUE READING]

The Book Of Seth

by Rebecca Jones-Howe

Seth’s fingers started shaking when he pulled up to the rehabilitation centre. His father, Adam, shifted in the passenger seat, still smelling of sherry. Seth glanced at the entrance, wondering what father would smell like when he walked out a sober man.

“What are you going to do while I’m gone?” Adam asked.

Seth shrugged. “I’ll take care of the house.”

Adam sighed and opened the side pocket of his duffel bag. He pulled out a photograph and handed it to Seth. It was the closest thing to a full family photo Seth had ever seen, taken while his mother was still pregnant with him, just before Cain killed Abel….[CONTINUE READING]

Heavyweight 

by Jason Metz

Sometimes there’s a focus so sharp, that it’s impossible to see anything else. That’s how these sort of things happen. One minute I’m standing on top looking down at everyone, the next it’s the sound of a heart monitor beeping. It’s the kind of blow that knocks you sideways. The kind of shot that gives you tunnel vision, where there’s only one goal, and you’re willing to do anything to achieve it. That’s the kind of focus I’m talking about.

Here I stand in the corner, a wrath, burning storm swinging, waiting for the final bell to ring…[CONTINUE READING]

The Meantimes

by Gabriel Holt

Octavius Weld lived in the Meantimes. He lived in the spaces between things, the moments between waking and sleeping when you forget your parents’ names and what color your eyes are. He had a job, too, just as you or I would, but his job was special. He managed the time filled with haze…[CONTINUE READING]

Hardboiled Hell

by Ryan S. Mooney

She’s a real steam-engine kind of girl. The type that’ll flirt with some dude while you’re off hustlin’ nine ball. The type that’ll make sure you peep the guy, who’s a real fake, flirting with her.

And then, she’ll make like reefer, planting herself close enough for you to dig…[CONTINUE READING]

Harrowing Emily

by Megan Arkenberg

It’s like no matter how much I shower,” Emily says, “I can’t get the smell of grave dust out of my hair.” She stands in the bedroom door, wrapped in a burgundy bath towel, and all I can smell is her soap and banana-scented shampoo.

“I wonder if Persephone feels like this after she claws her way out of Hell.” She towels her hair brutally and leaves it as it falls, small blonde spikes sticking up at her temples and behind her ears, a crown of colorless thorns…[CONTINUE READING]

Soul Kisses

by John T. Biggs

Reality starts like the migraines Jeorgia used to have before the accident. A little throb behind her left eye, a hint of nausea. There might be visual distortions; It’s hard to tell, because one second Jeorgia’s gone, and the next she’s here. This time she’s sitting on a man’s lap, running her tongue over the contours of his ear. In a moment, she’ll remember his name, because her body never forgets even though her brain is broken…[CONTINUE READING]

From The Backs Of Four Shop-Rite Bags

by Kevin Winter

The hand-painted sheet of cardboard in the window of Shop-Rite bore the words CLOSE-OUT SPECIAL…BARGAIN-LOW PRICES!!!  What it did not say was STOCK UP FOR THE END OF THE WORLD or LAST-DAY-ZOMBIE-SALE.  Signs like that carried the potential to incite panic and panic could turn to riot and riot in these conditions, with this many folks toting firearms in itchy hands and itchy fingers would be dangerous.  As dangerous as what they said was headed our way….[CONTINUE READING]

 

 

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