Smiles are fake
And this isn’t paradise
We’re stubborn and cold
Counting working bars on the electric heater
And sputtering, drinking whiskey, to warm our
Bodies and we remain indifferent in conversations
Which shouldn’t make it passed these thick walls.
Continue reading “Train Wrecks by Mark McConville”
Penn was very special to his parents, very dear, as they used to say. By the time he entered his late childhood, he had been subject to more supervision, worry and love than most kids ever were. In the view of these other kids and some adult observers (like me), his had given him the demeanour of a little prince. During his first check-up after he turned ten, I noticed that he was perfect, and perhaps this was a problem.
“There’s nothing wrong with you at all,” I said. Continue reading “The Image of His Parents by Laurence Klavan”
‘Those bastards never deserved a second chance,’ Bret said, talking to himself as usual. Though nothing was usual tonight. Three of his clients were dead, and he was on his way to a safe house outside of London, in the woody byroads surrounding some forgotten little town. Weygone. Weydon. Something like that anyway. The point was, no one ever looked for him here.
The road was narrow, twisting between colourless trees. If he drove fast enough it would tear, show itself to be a stage backdrop. The car felt real however. It was a beautiful Mitsubishi Lancer, a relic some would say, but the wheel in his hands, the titanium frame, the three litre engine purring, these were all totems to reality. Reality was an important thing to a man like Bret. Continue reading “The Final Tape by Joseph Sale”
They filed into the room one by one. Each with their own freshly hewed scars. Cheap coffee and day-old biscuits had been laid out on a table in the back and a few of them poured a cup, but no one spoke. When it was time, they took their seats.
“I’d like to welcome you all to the group,” one of them rumbled. “My name is Fenrir and I’m a wolf.” Continue reading “Because We Care by Cooper Anderson”
The stovetop coffee pot whistled as the early morning seeped between the blinds, casting skeletal shadows across the floor. Toby shuffled into the kitchen stifling a yawn and wiped the remnants of sleep from his eye with the heel of his left hand. Picking up his World’s Best Dad mug he filled it with steaming, black, Nicaraguan gold and tried to hold onto the dream he had the night before. He could make out half remembered images of snarling tigers and thick, choking smoke, but even this fell through his memory like water through his hands. He shook his head and savoured the silence, the early stillness and the warmth of the the day’s first coffee. Continue reading “The Wheels on the Bus by Jack Banfield”
It took most of the evening, but three tenants from Block 6 finally broke through the barred door into the long-abandoned basement flat.
‘That’s it — we’re through,’ said Jack, the burly building manager. He wiped muck from his face as he lowered the sledgehammer to the carpet. Sweat clung to his chest like a bib.
Dust settled and the door lay in splinters before them. The beige apartment beyond was exposed. Continue reading “Square-Eyed in Block 6 by Darcy Lin Wood”
The website had said the road was rough and “Unsuitable for Nervous Drivers”, but after Porlock Hill it held no terrors for me. It stretched seawards, the grass on either side sheep-shorn. We could see no further than the next bend, until we reached the brow of the first hill and the downward snake of the track appeared ahead of us. There was no sign of the lighthouse.
On the final stretch there was a sheer drop on one side, but a fence gave at least the illusion of safety. And then it was there, in front of us, the long low building tucked into the cliff, the light on the seaward side rotating, slow flashes in the dusk. Continue reading “Gathering the Hill by Cath Barton”