FICTION

DING! by Will Finlayson

The kid must have defected. He’s still lying there in the dirt—red-faced and full-uniformed, one arm in the pig’s water trough, that red insignia hot on his sleeve—and what should they do with him? They point fishing spears and pitchforks and kitchen knives at him. Tie him up in the barn that’s what’s to do, Nema says. Kill him right here and now is what it is to do, says Jenko. It’s that we should turn him in to a judge, Harlem says. Isn’t that the wartime law? So they tell Harlem that he should take the kid to the

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FICTION

HORSESHOES by Mary Alice Stewart

She says it big and like a threat and smiling, horseshoe in hand, “I don’t like losing,” and she swings, lets go, and hits the stake head on. A ringer—iron rings against iron and I hold my drink up and shout for her. The game is alive again. Kayla plays inconsistent. It’s sometimes hard to watch, some bad throws, can’t even get one close, then she gets pissed off and you can see in her face that she’s decided it’s over for her and she’s just going through the motions. It’s awful playing her when she gets all fixed like

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FICTION

THE MILK BOTTLE LEGS OF THE HIGH WIRE WOMAN by Frankie McMillan

1 When I look at her legs I see upturned milk bottles, and I’m talking here of the glass bottles that milk used to come in and I love the shape of those legs, I could stay out all night on the frosty grass looking up at the wire and Miss Tatyana walking the wire in silence, only the guy ropes creaking and the twang of the metal pulley, and you know, those legs get my score, those legs belonging to Miss Tatyana all the way from Russia where they didn’t have glass milk bottles, only Mr Stalin, his mouth

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FICTION

AFTER SHRINKING by Hannah Cajandig-Taylor

We lived in a pale blue dollhouse with three stories & a basement. Obsessed over hot air balloons & weather blimps. Collected snowglobes & birdcages & convinced our giant neighbors to order countless pizzas by jumping on the remote buttons until a commercial with extra-large pepperoni flashed across their TV screen. Until we snuck enough triangular pizza box tables to furnish the place. Grew make-believe green beans & perennials on the roof. Protected our cardboard porch with Venus flytraps. A drawbridge. Toothpick mailbox. The works. Repainted our plastic appliances with glittering silver nail polish. Sharpie’d our heights on the wall,

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FICTION

EXCERPTS FROM THE NOVEL VENICE by T.J. Larkey

Tough I’m lying on my floor, next to my bed. My bed is this big padded mat that rolls up and can be moved very easily. It’s comfortable, but I like the floor better. I believe that lying on the floor for a few hours a day will toughen me up. I was a spoiled kid, very soft, so I’m always looking for things to toughen me up. That’s how I got here. I got it in my head that moving to a big city I’d seen in movies and television, where I didn’t know anybody, would somehow make me

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CNF

SONG FOR AN EMPTY WORLD by Miles Coombe

The road is lit with street lamps. It’s weak, bulbs on the edge of giving out, but the glow is still there. I am in his bed, a fresh bruise over his eye this time, and curled into his side. He feels smaller with my arms around him. My eyes are closed and I see an explosion of grey in a room too white to be real, and where I know there should be screaming, my own included, there is only static. He wakes, with a hammering heart and a cry on the tip of his tongue. Something inside him

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FICTION

WELCOME TO THE RECKONING by Omar Hussain

Your family’s old brown and blue station wagon pulls up to the house. It’s not your house. It’s never yours. At three-years-old, you’ve already lived in four dodgy houses, a mobile home, month-to-month condos and rent-controlled apartments. This is your grandfather’s house. He tells you and your parents that you’re welcome to stay for as long as you’d like, but you’ve heard that one before.  The wagon comes to a stop. The gears slam into park. Your dad is screaming about something—the latest rage attack. He gets out of the car, paces around the hood. To the passenger side door.

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