Category: Fiction

There and Not There by C.J. Dotson

We all read the stories when we were little, didn’t we? A bunch of children go into a wardrobe, or through a tiny door that’s only bricked over sometimes, or find a secret key, go down a rabbit hole, cross a bridge, fall into a book, vanish. Then there’s magic, and adventure, and villains for the children to test themselves against. At the end they come back and no time has passed, no one realized they were gone.

It’s bullshit.

Plane Girl by Andrew Stiggers

Though she loves her best mate to bits, Rachel doesn’t believe her for one moment.

“Yes, someday soon, I’ll be flying planes,” Jeany had told her as they were observing from the bar an airline pilot crossing the terminal hall. He’s smartly dressed in his gold-striped uniform.

“Sure, Jeany.” Her friend could never stick with a job. She gets bored too easily, flittering like a moth from lamp to wall light. First there was the hairdresser’s, then the vet’s, and now more recently the dental assistant job. “That’s it—I’ve quit the practice,” she’d announced, tossing her keys on the benchtop after returning to their flat.

Disconnected by Lillian Brueckman

Savannah went missing on Thursday, or at least that’s when Ida noticed she was gone. Ida had missed work a couple days in a row due to a violent case of the stomach flu that had her puking in a trash can every few hours. When Ida returned to work on Thursday and planted herself in the swivel chair at her desk, she realized Savannah’s cubicle had been completely cleared out. Her telenet screen and in-desk keyboard had been removed and replaced with an outdated monitor and detached keyboard. A disconnect? They really hired a disconnect? Ida sighed and wondered why in the hell their HR manager would let this slide.

The disconnect, Ida soon discovered, was a man named Parker Kavanaugh. He replaced Savannah at the very beginning of the following week and soon enough she was a fragment of Ida’s imagination. She forgot about her quickly.

Minnesota English by Jessica Evans

Every prayer group meeting starts precisely the same. Men in shirtsleeves rolled to their elbows (when the temperature rises above seventy), or wool sweaters politely folded back against their wrists carry crockpots while the women walk behind in a single line, carrying lighter plates. They place the dishes down delicately and then slowly backstep away as if the food might suddenly demand their penance or refuse to participate in the weekly meeting. There is reverence in their counterfeit kowtowing (low and slow) as each woman tries her best not to bump into the other. The hot dishes become veiled in regency.

Triggered by Dan Brotzel

‘How do you say your name, sir?’ asked Brian.

‘Afamu.’

‘AHH-farrrrrrHH-MOO? OK, sir, I’ll do my best with that.’

‘And what about you, my dear?’ He looked at her encouragingly.

‘Jill,’ she said.

‘Thank you, Jill!’ he said, with a satisfied smile to the rest of the group. He seemed to be saying: Why can’t everyone else have a nice straightforward name like that?

Vacation Cities by Robert Boucheron

Zingpow

Zingpow is a resort town, a seaside splash of glass towers, whitewashed villas, and thatched huts on a sparkling beach, with a harbor for yachts, an indoor shopping mall for luxury brands, and exclusive clubs in which to dine and dally. Zingpow is a playground for the elite, a getaway for the one percent. Zingpow is a jolt for the idle and a balm for the weary, a place to rev up and a place to relax. Zingpow accepts major credit cards, wire transfers, and pure gold.

The Wastelander by Martin Webb

A single teardrop draws a bright line down the old man’s dust-smeared cheek. Its slow passage further marks a face weathered by time and toil. This dystopia, this burning Earth, has claimed his kin. It seems that now, finally, it is his turn to die.

Baker coughs, his raw throat screaming for relief. He’s on his knees, this once proud man, and the tear he sheds is not born of the pain or the humiliation that he’s being subjected to. It is for his friends, the two young travellers who not so long ago accompanied him, the two who were killed instantly by the band of raiders who’d ambushed them.

Dog Days by Kate Lunn-Pigula

The first week of the summer holidays was wonderful. I finally had some much-needed alone time, time to read books that I had accumulated since September. I lay down in my sunny garden with my dog, Fred. He’s half-Westie, half-poodle. A Westie-poo, the woman at the rescue place said when we bought him. He’s a mutt, said my now ex-partner.My ex didn’t like Fred.

My ex also didn’t like that I worked in a rough school. By rough, he meant “state”. He said I didn’t have enough ambition. I had ambition, I told him, I want to be a great teacher. I’d like more money, who wouldn’t?, but I was comfortable earning what I was on now. You need to get your life together, he said towards the end. I can’t go on living like this, as if we were destitute.