Solstice by N.R. Baker

You moved like a glacier through the best years of my life. Shaped me hugely, imperceptibly, until I’d forgotten what I was before and had become something that made no sense after you were gone, something carved and scalloped by a million unnoticed excisions. After the divorce I looked for myself in what you’d left of me, but saw nothing I recognised in the bleak, hollowed place where I thought I used to be.

Drip…… Drip.

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.

INTERVIEW: Jessica Zschorn, multi-disciplinary visual artist

Jessica Zschorn is visual artist based in Hull, UK. Whilst she is perhaps best known for her distinctive illustration style, her vibrant photography and graphic design work, she is also an entrepreneur and one-third of Meek, a quirky, feel-good band who recently headlined at Scunthorpe’s Café INDIE on International Women’s Day. With numerous projects on the go and a CV longer than everybody else’s put together, it would be easy to feel intimidated by Jessica’s success. Thankfully, her sunny demeanour is enough to put anybody at ease.

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.