Because We Care by Cooper Anderson

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 Wheels on the Bus by Jack Banfield

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”

Square-Eyed in Block 6 by Darcy Lin Wood

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”

Gathering the Hill by Cath Barton

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”

A Change of Heart by Hannah Tougher

‘You take all the time you like,’ he says. ‘Have a browse. Guaranteed we’ve got exactly what you’re looking for.’

His name is Ted. It’s displayed in large letters on the badge pinned to the left side of his blue polo shirt. Over his heart. Underneath, he’s stuck tiny smiley stickers. Three in a row. I try to smile back at his wide face with its blue eyes, big teeth, all bright and shiny.

‘Thanks,’ I say, and shuffle down the aisle. I thought I knew what I was looking for but now I’m not so sure.  Continue reading “A Change of Heart by Hannah Tougher”

Death is a thief by Aldas Krūminis

A whirlwind wails over barren, dusty carcasses;
Cavalry of ranked tombstones stretch over the graveyard
and shade over the dry, scorched sand. They mourn
the bodies cleared of soul, buried in the sand, unnamed;
Weep over the lost ones and grieve those who will not be born.
Such is the cost, measured and inevitable, of the past that is lost. Continue reading “Death is a thief by Aldas Krūminis”

The Fever by Emily Harrison

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”