“All That Was Left Behind” by Jeff Soesbe

Ralph Patrick was forty-four years old, bald, pudgy, pale, and depressed, so the spam, titled “LOOK PERFECT & FEEL FANTASTIC”, called to him.  What the hell, Ralph thought as he clicked. What have I got to lose? Five days later, a small black box arrived wrapped in plain brown butcher paper. Return address: BZ LIFE IMPROVEMENT, PO BOX 213354, STULL, KANSAS. Inside were three oval … Continue reading “All That Was Left Behind” by Jeff Soesbe

“One and One Makes One” by Eleanor R. Wood

If I could change one thing, I’d take back the words I flung in stupidity and confusion. I’d shake sense into myself and hear what you meant when you said we were one. When you said you didn’t even need to touch me to sense our connection, and I turned away for fear you wanted more than we had. But it was always more than … Continue reading “One and One Makes One” by Eleanor R. Wood

“The Surgeon” by Deepak Bharathan

Scrub, scrub, and scrub. Repeat. Mirza drifted into a soothing song from a long time ago.  Mes amis, que reste-t-il?À ce Dauphin si gentil?Orléans, Beaugency,Notre-Dame de Cléry,Vendôme, Vendôme! Just the way her mother used to hum to her. She still loved it. But she snapped out of it. She needed to focus. Even though the surgery was supposedly routine, it was different each time.  Her … Continue reading “The Surgeon” by Deepak Bharathan

“Taking Care of Our Own” by Kelly Matsuura

“This isn’t the way…” Tears streaked my face and I couldn’t finish my words. This isn’t the way I want to say goodbye to my brother! If only I could scream it aloud.  It was three-thirty a.m. and we had to be quiet. Our lives depended on it. We were crossing the alleyway behind a Goldilocks bakery, with Danilo’s butchered corpse in four heavy trash bags.  *** Earlier that … Continue reading “Taking Care of Our Own” by Kelly Matsuura

“DEZLON-182-D’s Scrapbook” by Katherine Quevedo

Thunk!   I jumped as DEZLON-182-D dropped a square metal book on the coffee table in front of me.  Luckily it didn’t dent the marble, the nicest thing in here.   “Watch it,” I said, rubbing the cold surface with my hand.  “This is a family heirloom.”   “I am sorry, Emma.  What do you think of my project?”  Her eye-bulbs shone brighter than usual.  She folded her gray hands expectantly.   The book … Continue reading “DEZLON-182-D’s Scrapbook” by Katherine Quevedo

“Best Home on the Worst Street” by C.H. Pearce

In her ComfortPod, Nora has everything she needs. She can lie in her bunk—on her back, on her right side, left side, or on her stomach—to read. She can hook herself up to the immersifilm headset to explore limitless worlds and possibilities, singly or in multiplayer. She hasn’t done that yet, and never will, limitless worlds and possibilities being what they are. Her favourite immersive … Continue reading “Best Home on the Worst Street” by C.H. Pearce

“The Windows Rattled” by Seth Alter

The windows rattled because we had this shitty oil burner in our basement from the turn of the century. The seasons were changing. It was getting colder. Some days the heater just wouldn’t kick on at all, and we’d shiver under blankets. But on days when we could hear the rats in the wall, we knew they’d go down to the basement. Then lo-and-behold, the … Continue reading “The Windows Rattled” by Seth Alter

“A Girl’s Best Friend” by Filip Wiltgren

George knocks on my door. “Lin,” he says when I open, “I-“ I stab him twice in the heart, shluk-shluk, and he collapses, blood gurgling from his mouth and wound. I slam the door. *** Ten minutes later there’s a knock on my door. I open it a crack and there’s George, standing over his corpse. “Lin,” he says, “I’m-“ Shluk. Right in the gut. I … Continue reading “A Girl’s Best Friend” by Filip Wiltgren

“Gallows Hand” by Claire Loader

Softly creaks the weighted boughToes that shake like leavesThat seek communion with solid groundNot the mortuary of trees The night hung like a dark cloak, the mist its damp companion.  The muddy trail to the great cedar tree snaking in the pallid moonlight like the tracks of a glistening beast.  It was no time to be out, well past now the hour of gentlemanly tasks.  … Continue reading “Gallows Hand” by Claire Loader

“The Goyle and the Rogue” by Alexandra Grunberg

A cherry-wood wardrobe, wet and rotting. A silver-rimmed mirror with a single crack, jagged as a lightning strike. A ruby-encrusted jewelry box, a moldy velvet pillow, a porcelain figurine of a horse half-submerged in mud. All gifts to placate the beast of the swamp, the ravenous Goyle. Sylvia reminded herself that the beast had not risen from its abode since the town started leaving their … Continue reading “The Goyle and the Rogue” by Alexandra Grunberg