Heal and Grow by Jake Kendall

The photographs have not done justice to the cottage.

Sarah recalls the website thumbnails: that vibrant red door; those shells, set between the bricks framing the windows; hanging baskets that are an eruption of life and colour… Gorgeous. She’d sent jubilant screenshots to her mother from the train. Yet photographs can’t capture the true allure of this place – the remoteness, the quiet. The trains had taken her only to the nearest village. For the last two miles, Sarah’s taxi was the only vehicle winding down narrow country roads.

The Glorious Revolution of the Taco Classes by Tain Leonard-Peck

It was the best of times; and it was the worst of tacos. An endless cycle; ebb and flow, wax and wane. Beans and cheese. Sour cream and salsa. Double and dip.

Again and again, we all had naught to do but watch as our joys came to us, then inevitably slipped away.

In this, we are all lamenters; grievers; mourners. We all wail and gnash at the bitter draught we must drink. The loss of the seasonal specials.

Across the Threshold by Sumbul Shahin

The door was locked. Of course, it was. It would have been a disappointment if we could waltz right in. After all, we had spent centuries on our quest for this door. Our entire conscious lives dedicated to this very moment.

We stood spellbound for a few moments, watching the fluid motion of the carvings on the ancient steel door. The serpent dancing around the lock shimmered its warning. The carvings of men and women in love and in combat glittered and shone. They were enacting stories as old as time. They were also offering hints to the combination of pictograms which would open the door. Adam and I turned to look at each other. Now that we were so close, all our doubts had resurfaced.

The Sam Experiment by Pete Able

The old woman in the apartment across the hall always called me “Sam,” but Sam wasn’t my name. My name was Joe. But I didn’t correct her. At first it was out of embarrassment, but then I began to see humor in it. Guests would come by and she would call me “Sam” and I would explain the joke and we’d laugh about it.

But then later, after awhile, I began to think that maybe she had it right. Maybe I really was a “Sam.” I thought that maybe I was given the wrong name at birth, that perhaps there had been some kind of crazy, cosmic mix up.

Storm by Aldas Kruminis

During the stormy night under the starless heavens, thunder and lighting reigned the sky. Bolts of violent light blasted through the heaven like the raptures of human veins. Stiff uprooted trees lay dead in the trembling grass, frail huts shivered at the sound of the cracking fury and the living buried themselves from the rage. This was the night when Gods cracked their whips at the sins of men and the winds, full of evil, haunted the scattered villages. It was a violent and tempestuous night, ordered to conceal the secret birth.