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”
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”
Gary hadn’t visited the zoo in many years. He’d been a child the last time, six or seven perhaps. The sense of wonder was still there for him, love of the penguins and the lions. He was glad he came, eager to revisit that sensation.
Finding his plastic blue elephant key was what did it. Coming across the souvenir in an old desk drawer, pleasant memories sprung forth. Inscribed with the zoo’s name and instructions on the side, it used to be for setting off metal recording boxes by enclosures that would tell people all about the respective animals housed within. He’d loved those. Continue reading “Selling Caramel Turtles at the Concessions is Only Going to Confuse Visitors as to the Intended Use of the Reptile Ones in the Tanks by David S. Atkinson”
He noticed the jagged pieces of metal in the dirt before she did. They looked like shark fins, poking up from the tilled field and gleaming in the sunlight.
“What are they?” she asked.
“Armaments from World War One,” he said, “shell casing, shrapnel.”
Her long dark hair lay across her shoulders and sometimes a gust of wind pushed a strand across her face. He always wanted to stroke it away but never asked if he could. On the far side of the field a rabbit lolled in the heat. Continue reading “Iron Harvest by Joseph Surtees”
Elise held a candle in one hand and a knife in the other. The panic that had simmered in her skin subsided, and she could breathe easily again.
The candle was one of Maxine’s. She collected them the way some women collected cats. When Jonathan first introduced Elise to his older sister, he brought up the candle thing within five minutes, as if it were a defining trait. Later, when he took Elise to Maxine’s flat for dinner, Elise noted the malformed skylines of half-melted candles on the mantelpiece and in the windowsills, the spaces where other people would display family photos. Teardrops of solid wax ran down their sides. Charred wicks bowed to the room. Elise pressed her fingers into the hollows the flames had left behind. Continue reading “Lavender by Amy Slack”