FULL OF HOLES by Luz Rosales

Kylie fingers Martina under the bleachers after school. Martina is warm, and moist, and slippery, and when she cums against Kylie’s palm, she moans so loudly that Kylie thinks everyone on campus must have heard. She hopes this is true.  “I’m so proud of myself,” she says, and Martina laughs her scratchy laugh. Martina doesn’t come to school the next day, doesn’t answer Kylie’s texts. The day after that, she’s found floating down a river in pieces. *** Several of their classmates attend her funeral. They crowd together in the church, sniffling, and holding each other, and pretending to cry….

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SPEECH CAPABLE by Elias Chen

Changliu and her sister were huddled over the kitchen counter. Between them lay an unopened bowl of instant ramen, shrink wrap intact, the container propped upright on a folded kitchen towel. Changliu and her sister looked directly into the smiling face of the man printed on the lid. The image was animate, blinking, shifting his shoulders, his lips parting now and again like he was about to speak but waiting for a cue. It was their idol, Xiao Tan. What was supposed to happen? After they opened the package, Xiao Tan was supposed to launch into a ninety-second monologue from…

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Monologue of a pirate ship that doesn’t have a figurehead, or maybe it did, long ago, but it’s hard to tell now because its bow is encrusted with these ossified clam shells and barnacles, which, during a storm, scuttle about and open up and scream, as though they had mouths. by Jiaqi Kang

I only ever wanted to know how it felt to have the wind beneath your feet, eager to hoist you up to where you needed to be, hands outstretched, palms faced upwards and fingers laced together, inviting. As a sapling I watched children do that, paid special attention to the one at the bottom who was always getting a faceful of leg, ass, and hand as his friends used him to clamber over the wall. I was friends with the wall. My roots were entwined with the bricks at its foundation. We’d come up around the same time, the wall…

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MISSIONS by Ali Raz

Mission 1   We weren’t in any particularly good place, just a parking lot without any cars. Part of the lot had been flooded and now resembled a pond. It was only a matter of time until A, high on soda, stripped out of his clothes and plunged in. The others encouraged him with maniacal hoots of laughter. I ducked over to untie my shoelaces, squeezed a tube of explosives from inside of one, and proceeded to attach it to the underside of A’s Toyota. I waited for two hours to be out of sight before I dialed The Number…

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NOSEBLEED WEATHER by Marilyn Hope

Twelve-year-old Tibby Wallace takes the winter with him when he dies, but it’s an act of rage. Summer scrapes through the valley overnight. Pollens convulse, lakes flood. Hundreds of snowshoe hares wear their December-whites in the sudden verdure; easy prey for owls, foxes, Mazzie Mako’s feral cats. Soft, torn bodies everywhere. Tibby evokes eight-foot-tall stalks of hogweed from every ribcage, furious and toxic to the touch. But it’s the yarrow that spells murder to me and Cricket. “Never seen anything natural grow in such straight lines,” Cricket says, studying the row of rusty blossoms that slit across the town limits…

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YANG LIANTING REDUX by Celeste Chen

Content warning: castration, mention of piss, some sexual content, typical wuxia violence after Dongfang Bubai   The last time we met, she cleaved off my arm and I castrated her, took her balls and tucked them into my robes. For safekeeping, I told her, and she nodded. We’d always had an understanding, Dongfang Bubai and I. She wanted to swallow the world and I wanted to ruin it, but the Jade Emperor had had enough and told us to give up. You’ve grown too great together. Either stay and change or leave with nothing and start again, he said, and…

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KERNEL PANIC by Rebecca Rubenstein

When his mind went blank, Benno walked to the water store. Smack-dab in the middle of a strip mall a block downhill from his apartment, it was the kind of place that didn’t pull punches. It sold water, and vessels with which to hold water, and that was it.  Water cooler jugs lined the walls on one side, and empty aquariums formed a barricade on the other, and the floors teemed with pallets of imported bottled water—glacier runoff from Iceland and Switzerland and all the lands. Metallic shelving flanked each side of the store, and on those shelves sat sturdy,…

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ALBTRAUM by Corey Miller

I coax Mother’s wheelchair through Newark terminal to our United gate. I pray she knows where she is—where she is going. I can’t understand her anymore; sensing death she no longer speaks in English. She dreams of her hometown, Essen, Germany. Unaccustomed mother tongue, I download Duolingo on my iPhone to learn Deutsche. To decipher her code. Returning Mother to her homeland, I use all of my sick days from work, expecting to catch a bug at some point throughout the year. I’ve never traveled outside of America. My passport on the verge of expiring. Mother’s lips are as tight…

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JUST A SHOT AWAY by Hannah Grieco

I can picture Mark’s face, the surprised V between his eyes as he watches the news. Or answers his phone at 2AM. Or opens the door to two police officers. Who knows how he first finds out? But I know he’s shocked, absolutely floored, in full denial. This has to be a mistake, he insists. Nat would never, she barely even— We have video footage, they tell him. We have a clip of your wife shooting a pretty blonde bank teller right in the face. And Mark says, my wife? Natalie? She couldn’t— We have another one of her blowing…

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I LIKE PICKUP TRUCKS by Kayla Soyer-Stein

Here is what I am doing this summer: 1) Drinking. 2) Riding around in the backs of pickup trucks. There’s not much else to do on this island. Tonight me and Kate think we are the drunkest we’ve ever been. We are outside the bowling alley and looking up at the sky at this one star, which is chasing us all over the place and about to fall on Kate’s head. LOOK OUT, I scream and Kate covers her face and falls all over me, knocking me down, and we both lie in the wet grass and laugh like witches. …

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