The Photoshoot by Ken Wetherington

Photographer: Look to the left. Okay, good. Now to the right. Fine. Now look straight at the camera. Hum … Not so good. Your profiles are best. You look more noble.

God: It’s my nose, I think. It’s more regal in profile.

Photographer: Yeah, I think you’re right.

God: I’m always right.

Stinky McGuirk by Rick White

Stinky McGuirk will not be remembered as an exceptional guinea pig. Never really more than a novice climber, his problem solving skills were in the lower percentiles for the Caviidae family. Averse to water. His aroma, questionable.

He had the appearance of a perpetually shell-shocked rodent — twitchy, trembling. Bug-eyes staring vacantly into the middle distance. His ginger and white hair stuck out at every angle, like some demented throw-cushion.

The last guinea pig in the pet shop, he looked like he needed a good home. And Jessica, suffering twin indignities of living through high-school and her parents’ divorce, was in need of a loyal friend.                                    

A Perfect Companion by Emily Harrison

From inside the dim recesses of his bedroom, the yellow light of the laptop screen soaking his skin in a sickly glow, he purchased the parts.

They arrived sporadically over a raw-bone winter. Limb by limb. Feature by feature. Ordered via the Dark Web. His hands itched as each delivery piled on his doorstep. Stomach quivered as he sliced open the boxes with the jag of a serrated kitchen knife.

Her skin was crystalline, stomach slim, hips like blown glass. Blueprints pertaining to a pristinely crafted perfection. The only blemish: crimson lips that came as adornments. He’d selected nude on the website. Allowances could be made. A first-time hiccup. The parts had taken a month to arrive and her assembly, carried out in the icy bowels of the basement, was well underway. 

A Spare Moment by Holden Zuras

“Do you have a moment?” The old man asked me.

“Well, a few,” I responded. “I have to return this book by 5 o’clock today. They charge an exorbitant late fee.” 

“One spare moment is enough. I just want you to help me mull over something that’s been consuming my thoughts.”

“Of course, but I don’t believe there is an afterlife.”

“Ha! Silly boy! I was only going to ask you if you were happy.”

Uninvited Onions by Hermione Cameron

I am embarrassed by my dissection of the sandwich. My fingers pick away at it, clumsily pulling apart the various parts, like some inexpert surgeon. 

Why did they have to put onions in it? Is nothing sacred? 


Outside the window someone who looks a bit like someone I know walks by. 

I continue my open-heart sandwich surgery, easing open the bread skeleton, pulling apart the strands of cheesy yellow flesh, prodding around the tomato red blood cells. 

The Sharp Edge of Spring, a love letter to Hades by Lauren Theresa

Sitting in my room
incense burning in the living space.
Unsettled here, on the edge of Spring. 
Today marks Oestara, the Vernal Equinox where I reside. 
It’s 9:22pm; already one foot deeper into Spring than the Winter 
And I’m having a very difficult time stepping out of my Dark Beautiful Season.

This Winter has been long and deep.
Entering it with a distracted head, focusing on the holidays and festivities—
the novelty of the seasons. 
When January edged on and February came,
I was truly finding my Self in the Depths of Darkness. 
Consumed by the cold Void as the days were mostly consumed by the Moonlit eve. 
Although I first met this with resistance, I’ve grown comfortable here. 
Not complacent or at ease, but profoundly at Home 
in this fiery Underworld.