Insects

Sheena laughed inwardly as she imagined how she looked, caught in the swarm of shoppers whose individual silences and sounds came together in a low buzz. Their sharp beetle elbows poked into her drab-coloured winter bulk until she reached one side of the aisle and started moving to the back of the store, against the traffic. Spilt grain and breakfast cereal cracked beneath her soles. She winced at the sound. A picnic table blocked the next aisle. She stepped onto the bench and looked from side to side, as if…

Ointment

OINTMENT Anthony Ferguson Cody Wyatt sat on a park bench overlooking the river, watching her breath condense in front of her face. She tried to convince herself it was too cold to be out. It was a bad idea. She should just walk away now. She belched and the hint of ethanol on her breath told her otherwise. Rubbed her bleary eyes, half raw from drink, the other half her angry tears. She knew she was in for the long hall. Too late to turn back. Try as she might…

baby carrots

baby carrots CLAY MCLEOD CHAPMAN Emma brought home a bad batch of baby carrots. You could tell just by looking in the bag. Gnarled things, really. Like fat fingers, their pudgy knuckles pressing against the clear plastic. I had volunteered to help her unpack the groceries, as a peace offering, finding them nestled in between the OJ and eggs. Over a dozen whittled digits pointed up at me—J’accuse! I grabbed the bag and tossed it in the air, feeling those baby carrots slap and settle into my palm. Think these…

As is My Custom

AS IS MY CUSTOM Susan Snyder Last night, as I lay in bed, tucked in much too tightly as is my mother’s custom, I heard the trap snap shut, the unoiled hinge of the door, it waits for me. Heating the thermometer on the bulb in my little lamp, and I am allowed to stay in bed. She’s leaving for work. Now I’ll have some time. I listen as the front door snaps shut, the unoiled hinge of the door, and I bounce up. It was waiting for me, wide-eyed,…

Amabie’s Pond

Amabie’s Pond Gary Buller It had been a day of sandcastles, donkey rides and candy floss. A day to mend broken hearts. We took the scenic route, following the sat-nav down a coastal road to my parent’s house. Molly was asleep in the back and our springer spaniel, Scout, snored from his crate. The passenger seat, once occupied, was empty. Looking in the rear-view mirror, it surprised me how much Molly resembled her father. Those rounded cheeks, long eyelashes and chestnut hair. She had my lips though, thank goodness, now…

The Red Boy

He comes into the kitchen where I’m cooking dinner. “Mommy,” he says. “What?” I answer, distracted. “There’s a red boy walking in my room.” I glance at him. “A red boy?” He nods. “He walks like this.” He presses his chubby arms tightly against his small body and cocks his head to the side. He takes a few jerky, shuffling steps. _____________________ He carries an armload of plastic dinosaurs into the living room and dumps them on the floor. “Why aren’t you playing in your room?” I ask. I’m folding…

I’m Not Matthew

I’m Not Matthew Kev Harrison All the kids at school knew about the weird house. Some even said they’d been in the garden to collect the ball when they’d kicked it over. Others still said they’d seen the old witch-like woman that lived there in the flesh, walking around outside, but no-one believed that. She never went outside. Sam threw his keeper’s gloves on to the ground. “I’m not getting it. It was your bollocks shooting that sent it over.” The other two boys looked at Craig. He rubbed the…

Cannibalism: A Robot Anachronism

Cannibalism: A Robot Anachronism I eat the parts of the robot dissections that can’t be reused, won’t be refurbished; I build myself anew, a straggler, a vagabond, I scour the hazmat tents and contamination labs, sort through the biohazard bags and junkyard waste for in these carcasses is mechanism, instrument: a fresh start, a chance to reinvent and resurface amongst the others. Just a pinch of technology, a dash of warfare… Give me its metal gears, its stray wheels, and broken cogs, the scarps of aluminum that cut my gums…

Matriculation

Matriculation The rooster didn’t want to die. It raked its spurs and twisted its head halfway around to try and jab at Fiona with its beak. But she kept her chokehold under its head while her free hand shoved a dagger through its neck. Blood spattered into a ceremonial bowl. Fiona chanted, the words, not Latin or English, phrases of a tongue whisper-taught to her. A dirty mist formed into a bubble in the bowl, but as she continued her incantation, the greasy bubble broke and dissipated. “Not bad for…