THAT GIRL by Kathryn McMahon

If you’re going to listen to this story, you better really listen because that’s what it’s about: listening. You better scoot closer in case you miss something, in case a log pops, in case the wind picks up, because it’s bad luck to re-tell it, any part. The girl in this story will see to that. She could be almost anyone. She isn’t beautiful, or maybe she is, or maybe it doesn’t matter. She’s been watching you, waiting to meet you. To get close. To listen to what you have to say as she bites her lip or runs her…

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THE HORSES, THE HORSES by John Torrance (Megan Pillow)

All in all, it’s a good place to stop for the night. There’s little work to be done and a beauty of a view: a tranquil lake at the bottom of a grassy hill, lush and electric green beneath the early evening sun. No other cattle to crowd them. After they put up tents, perhaps a bit of play to shake off the day’s ride: a tune on Morton’s banjo. Then grass for the cattle and grub for the men: canned beans, or maybe a rabbit that’s a touch too slow, something that makes the belly full without turning it….

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A SPECTRE LURKS AT THE PUTT-PUTT ON RIVERSIDE by Keef

The ghost in our town haunts the putt-putt golf course with the big Peter Pan statue out front. The haunting is the only semi-interesting thing about the course, and even the ghost is dull. Kyle from AP Biology works the concessions, wearing a paper hat and staring at his phone. Hot dogs are only a dollar, but you get what you pay for. All the holes are pretty busted, and there’s always a parade of sad single dads tromping around the place with their kids, trying to make up for neglect and inattention and assumptions that they’d always have what…

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THIS SKIN YOU CALL YOUR OWN by Chloe N. Clark

He told me he didn’t believe in witches. We were on the floor of my apartment, half undressed while he used one hand to unbutton my jeans, when he said it. Out of nowhere.  “I don’t believe in witches, you know,” he said. He began kissing down my neck, hand slipping beneath my jeans. “What do you mean?” I asked. My own hand slid down his stomach. He let out a short exhale of air. “Like everyone told me you were a witch before we hooked up,” he said. I could hear the excitement behind his words, the thought of…

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I PROMISE I WON’T SCREAM by Jan Stinchcomb

They say you did it. Please tell us how it went down, otherwise we will never be able to stop parking in front of your house on Hibiscus Way. The woman who lives there now glares at us from the driveway. She got the place for a good price because of what happened, but by then most of us were gone, sent away in our parents’ last attempt to save us from the bad scene. We have returned, as all children do, because we have nowhere else to go. The sunlight in our hometown knocks us out. It follows us…

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THE ROSE by Joshua Hebburn

Driving back after the funeral, he stopped at a Target to get Starbucks and take a piss. He’d stayed overnight at a motel, and he left the motel early in the morning to make it back east by driving all day.  Driving that morning he thought of the black and white picture of a Joshua tree in the room. It was the only thing not reusable in the motel; it was the sort of picture somebody would take in an intermediate photography class, not something tastelessly good the owners would get in a bulk purchase of decor.  There was something…

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(IT’S NOT LIKE CLAIRE DIDN’T BRING IT ON HERSELF) by Jennifer Fliss

The indigo sky informed all of them that it would soon be time. That the children as clowns and superheroes and princesses would be stuffed full of Reese’s and candy corn and rolling in their little beds positively asphyxiated with the sugar. The teenagers were dressed in threadbare tie dye t-shirts, fringed leather vests. Claire wore bellbottoms and a crop top. She had been about to pull on a long-sleeved shirt. (Ben said don’t.) Doris’s house was not what you’d expect. A rambler, off-white brick and something that was not brick but just as ugly. The numbers, 10220, hung off…

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CATOPTROMANCY by Anne Gresham

You’re too old for this game, even though you’re too young for the ugly words your friends are hissing about you behind your back. You’d rather be anywhere else right now than crowded into Jessica McCall’s bathroom, but your parents are friends with hers. They said you had to go to this sleepover, and so here you are.  The air is heavy with Noxema and hairspray, and the counter is littered with half-empty cherry lip gloss tubes, eye shadow experiments, and dollar store nail polish. Just like you and every other giggling preteen crowded in front of the mirror, Jessica…

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HER HUSBAND’S WIFE by Joaquin Fernandez

Her husband’s wife used to watch them fuck. This was back when it was still fun, back before her husband was her husband, back when her husband’s wife was still her husband’s sick wife, not her husband’s dead wife. Her husband’s wife used to watch them, alive and cancer-free, snapshot trapped, posed happy in drugstore frames, from the wall, from the dresser, from the nightstand that they shook and shook and shook. She watched them while she was moved into hospice, coughing blood in deep, primordial growls. She watched them the day she died, sweaty with hunger while his phone…

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GLASS by K.B. Carle

I don’t remember the before. I’m not really sure I want to. If I went searching for a lost past somewhere in the recesses of a brain that dissolved when I died, would it really belong to me once found? I’m no longer the person I was. In fact, I’m not even a person anymore. Back then, I assume, I had skin, a tongue, a nose. A voice a family might recognize, if I had a family. Fingernails I could paint, or chew when nervous. Eat or spit out of the side of my mouth. People can be gross or…

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