‘You take all the time you like,’ he says. ‘Have a browse. Guaranteed we’ve got exactly what you’re looking for.’
His name is Ted. It’s displayed in large letters on the badge pinned to the left side of his blue polo shirt. Over his heart. Underneath, he’s stuck tiny smiley stickers. Three in a row. I try to smile back at his wide face with its blue eyes, big teeth, all bright and shiny.
‘Thanks,’ I say, and shuffle down the aisle. I thought I knew what I was looking for but now I’m not so sure. Continue reading “A Change of Heart by Hannah Tougher”
A whirlwind wails over barren, dusty carcasses;
Cavalry of ranked tombstones stretch over the graveyard
and shade over the dry, scorched sand. They mourn
the bodies cleared of soul, buried in the sand, unnamed;
Weep over the lost ones and grieve those who will not be born.
Such is the cost, measured and inevitable, of the past that is lost. Continue reading “Death is a thief by Aldas Krūminis”
The reddening was getting worse, splitting out across my sclera like the wetlands of southern Louisiana. It was a common symptom according to the experts – bloodshot eyes. A drop of saline could soothe it, but the wine red would still snake across my white; a marker that I was a sufferer – a casualty of the spreading allergen. It didn’t help that I constantly rubbed them, wound my index fingers anti-clockwise to counter the itch that came as a side syndrome, swollen blood vessels abound. I’d circle and circle and circle until the kohl that I’d applied bled as though I was made from coal. I checked the pocket mirror I kept in my bag and licked my thumb to wipe the collection of smudges away. The sweat from the underground train had made it sticky and the more I wiped, the more it dragged like a child’s finger painting. Continue reading “The Fever by Emily Harrison”
I walked along the offbeat path that led to our house; steeling myself. Even though it was yards away I could already hear the fighting going on. Mum and Kenny, husband number four, were screaming at each other loud enough for the whole neighbourhood to hear. My stepfather had probably come home late after his shift at the car factory. Mum was always volatile and incredibly violent. She’d probably had a shitty day working at the nursing home and was looking for an excuse to lay into someone.
I deliberately spent a few hours at the shopping centre after school in the hope I wouldn’t run into a row at home. No such luck. As I rounded the corner the yelling grew even louder. Mrs Slyde the obese woman who lived in the home opposite was smoking on her front porch. As usual she regarded me with a toothless leer. Still despite her unfriendliness the old woman never seemed particularly bothered by the constant fights going on next door. The whole Slyde family was weird. Continue reading “Home Sweet Home by Cordelia Harrison”
Harriette wasn’t crazy about being admitted to the psych ward of Gut Gezunt* Hospital.
She’d be found out for the lesser Jew she was.
Fridays, when she couldn’t obtain a Shabbos goy** to turn on or shut off the lights, she did it stealthily herself.
She not only didn’t keep kosher but tore from the bone freshly fried pork, greedily devoured this treif***, and let illicit juices escape down chin and neck — onto a blouse relegated to a corner of the bedroom. When roommates were elsewhere Harriette would throw stained clothing into the incinerator, no questions asked. Except of herself. And maybe one day a rabbi. Continue reading “Tainted by Iris N. Schwartz”
My wife turns into a cat sometimes when she thinks she is alone. She thinks I don’t know, but I do.
I’ll leave her washing up our breakfast things, shout a hearty, extravagant goodbye, get into the car and slam the door loudly, rev the engine so she knows I’m going, and roar off down the road. I’ll park round the corner and jog back in my suit and tie. It’s only worth doing this on days when she isn’t going in to work: she’s a part-time teaching assistant at the local primary, specialising in working with SEN kids, but two days out of five, plus weekends, she works from home as a freelance copy-editor. That’s when it happens. I suppose she must be bored. Continue reading “My wife, the cat by Anna Rivers”
Derek Pryce hated the cold.
He pulled his thick, double-hooded coat tight as the angry wind and lacerating rain pelted his back. The constant thudding of the torrid weather and the sheer misery of it all drowned out the self-preserving voice of reason that tried its best to warn him: turn back; you shouldn’t be out here.
He forced himself forward, slowly, cautiously. The footpath wet and treacherous. Continue reading “The Great British Break-Off by Jake Kendall”