My Daughter’s Wings by Jessica Patient

All I can hear is their laughter, in the next room, probably giggling with each other about something silly old mummy has done today. Turning up the television, trying to get the news programme to drown out their nattering. Those hiccups of giggles from Sophie make me smile – I haven’t heard her laugh for a long time. Only Frank knows how to make her laugh. I’m the one who dabs away the blood, soothe the tears, dashing between rooms with trays of food, deal with doctors. Simmer the tantrums.

Rising out of the chair, pulling the dressing gown’s tie tighter around my middle. The fluffy fabric matches the beige walls. Their laughter lures me away from the television. Continue reading “My Daughter’s Wings by Jessica Patient”

Ten Days Missing by Hannah Stevens

There was a song Ben heard once sung by a beautiful black woman whose name he couldn’t remember. She sang about strange fruit hanging from the branches of trees. He’d had that song in his head for weeks now.

 

Maybe the postman was new, maybe he wasn’t quite awake yet, but as Ben left for work there was a letter on the mat that didn’t belong to him. He picked up the envelope and closed the front door. He’d give it to Leon before he left for work. Continue reading “Ten Days Missing by Hannah Stevens”

The Ubiquitous Man by Jake Kendall

1. Rob

Robert Coleman was a man. No one could take that away from him. Neither could they credit him with much more.

You’ve probably passed a face like his dozens of times today alone. It is without flaw or charm, symmetrical – set unremarkably against his shortly cut dark hair which is pushed up at the front.

Often when people met him they felt a strong sense of déjà vu. To the extent that some would swear blind they’d met before, if only they could place where. Rob inadvertently abetted that impression as he talked: a pure expression of the pop-culture hive mind, he spent social occasions discussing the same video games, superhero films and TV box sets with the nearest other Rob-types. Continue reading “The Ubiquitous Man by Jake Kendall”

Time of the Djinns by Salvatore Difalco

September had been a red month. The leaves were red, the sunsets. People were being systematically hacked down, blood ran in the streets. When they—the authorities, the media, the gossips—said the centre would not hold, they meant it. When they said things would never be the same, they were not kidding. When they said prepare for the worst, no one could have imagined what the worst could be.

Dr. Ram, living in an iron-barred flat in the middle of the troubles, had taken to wearing sunglasses even indoors. Seeing everything in the glare of daylight without prophylactic measures threatened what remained of one’s sanity. Dr. Ram, a chiropractor in his old life, got by scavenging these days. A dangerous living, of course. That said, his choices, naturally reduced by the atrophy of the state, were constrained. Continue reading “Time of the Djinns by Salvatore Difalco”

Something Strange by Micah Wendelborn

I loved you. I don’t quite know why after all you put me through. The ups and the downs were as they happened, and I cannot deny that I lost my temper on some occasions.

I’d always loved you for who you were, not what. I knew you felt the same way about me too. It made me happy to think about that, to know you were mine and I was yours. I did think that way, and I know if I tried I could do so again.

Now I’m beyond trying, and I can’t get back. Continue reading “Something Strange by Micah Wendelborn”

Forget-me-not by Jess Doyle

The little girl’s my favourite by a long way.  My mum would have said ‘she’s a bonny thing’ and she’d have been right.  She kneels in front of me and we talk about all sorts and her smile always cheers me up no matter what kind of day I’m having.  Last time she came she said that she wanted me to know that people suffer in life not in death.  It’s a funny thing for a little girl to say but my visitors do talk about some funny things.  I’ve thought about it a lot since she said it.  She offered me her hand too.  Her smile was so sweet and kind and I thought about saying yes, and I nearly did it.  I nearly took her hand.  Then I said no.  No, not yet.  And she was gone.

Continue reading “Forget-me-not by Jess Doyle”