Eyes closed and a high beats-per-minute synth-wave track. That was how Yana meditated before a cage fight. Slowly inhaling through her nose, she would hum along the song and crack her knuckles. As soon as she felt the beat drop, Yana would snap out of her trance and stand; ready to entertain the crowd in the Guseks Arena.
Step by step, Yana – the Borinian Snapper – moved closer to the main floor, tightly wrapping her hands in red bandages. They contrasted the blue of her spandex pants and white yet sponsored sports crop-top. Yana never cared for fashion, and when her clothes ended up bloody from a cage fight; the way she looked mattered even less. The crowd cheered and hollered; screaming her name alongside many of Borinia’s Gladiators. Some had already fought; but now it was time for the main event: Yana, the Borinian Snapper versus Fett, the Furious. Continue reading “The Borinian Snapper by Miguel Guerreiro Lourenço”
Man, I’ve messed up.
Two years in prison or a year here, that was my choice – and I’ve made the wrong one. How hard could being a silent monk be I thought. This is the government’s new thing, send criminals off to learn the values of inner peace, come back a year later a changed man. It made sense on a lot of levels; it cost them pennies to run it, you get criminals shipped away (out of sight, out of mind), you run a success story on the news every now and again and everyone is happy. Now don’t get me wrong, I think this works for the majority of people, I just hate it. I was shipped to The Holy Isle just off Arran. Continue reading “BE QUIET by Dale McMullen”
Peace smothers the landscape like apple blossom petals or cottonwood fluff, except that it’s summer, warm as toast. The hour is post meridian. The air is still, and dry leaves hang from the towering beeches, oaks, and maples. Crisp at the edges, yellowing, the leaves filter low-angle sunlight, transmute glare to gold.
I can hardly keep my eyes peeled. Draped in a lounge chair, I stare under lowered lids at the lawn, dark green and evenly mown. Though I go to bed at dusk and rise at dawn, much of the night, I lie awake or read in bed, and then all day I doze. I am idle, lazy, and good for nothing. I read a page and absorb not a word. I write a line, and the pen drops from limp fingers. My mind is blank. Continue reading “Allegheny Spa by Robert Boucheron”
“Can I get you anything else?” The waiter asks.
I run a finger over my lips and read through the selection again.
You were never one for sweets. It was always starters and a main whenever we dined out, never a dessert. Your nose scrunched up at the merest mention of them on our first date. I should have known then really. Continue reading “Dessert Menu by Steve Campbell”
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”