The Other Boy by Robin Maginn

don’t think just act don’t think just act don’t

The metal girder was cutting through Eddie’s tracksuit, slicing through the fabric and into his knees as he strained. He cursed, yelled, but he wasn’t strong enough to pull both children to safety simultaneously, risked letting them fall.

‘Listen,’ he said, into the hole. ‘I need to let go for a second.’ Continue reading “The Other Boy by Robin Maginn”

My wife, the cat by Anna Rivers

My wife turns into a cat sometimes when she thinks she is alone. She thinks I don’t know, but I do.

I’ll leave her washing up our breakfast things, shout a hearty, extravagant goodbye, get into the car and slam the door loudly, rev the engine so she knows I’m going, and roar off down the road. I’ll park round the corner and jog back in my suit and tie. It’s only worth doing this on days when she isn’t going in to work: she’s a part-time teaching assistant at the local primary, specialising in working with SEN kids, but two days out of five, plus weekends, she works from home as a freelance copy-editor. That’s when it happens. I suppose she must be bored. Continue reading “My wife, the cat by Anna Rivers”

BE QUIET by Dale McMullen

Man, I’ve messed up.

Two years in prison or a year here, that was my choice – and I’ve made the wrong one.  How hard could being a silent monk be I thought.  This is the government’s new thing, send criminals off to learn the values of inner peace, come back a year later a changed man.  It made sense on a lot of levels; it cost them pennies to run it, you get criminals shipped away (out of sight, out of mind), you run a success story on the news every now and again and everyone is happy.  Now don’t get me wrong, I think this works for the majority of people, I just hate it.  I was shipped to The Holy Isle just off Arran. Continue reading “BE QUIET by Dale McMullen”

My Daughter’s Wings by Jessica Patient

All I can hear is their laughter, in the next room, probably giggling with each other about something silly old mummy has done today. Turning up the television, trying to get the news programme to drown out their nattering. Those hiccups of giggles from Sophie make me smile – I haven’t heard her laugh for a long time. Only Frank knows how to make her laugh. I’m the one who dabs away the blood, soothe the tears, dashing between rooms with trays of food, deal with doctors. Simmer the tantrums.

Rising out of the chair, pulling the dressing gown’s tie tighter around my middle. The fluffy fabric matches the beige walls. Their laughter lures me away from the television. Continue reading “My Daughter’s Wings by Jessica Patient”

Ten Days Missing by Hannah Stevens

There was a song Ben heard once sung by a beautiful black woman whose name he couldn’t remember. She sang about strange fruit hanging from the branches of trees. He’d had that song in his head for weeks now.


Maybe the postman was new, maybe he wasn’t quite awake yet, but as Ben left for work there was a letter on the mat that didn’t belong to him. He picked up the envelope and closed the front door. He’d give it to Leon before he left for work. Continue reading “Ten Days Missing by Hannah Stevens”

Yet These Birds Do Fly by Nick Norton

Here was a hole, very pale, shapely, a most comely hole. It was a hole we enjoyed for it was always moist. This was a sipping hole, an oft tasted delight. We flew down, we sipped, tasted, and we were refreshed. Our conversation was vital, sparkly, like the water; vibrant. Our nests we set all around in the gentle arms of white stone. The cliffs appeared to form a temple, all delight and all beauty, our voices funnelled into one chorus, the warm air buoyed the small crescents of our wings. Here was gentle living. It was home. Continue reading “Yet These Birds Do Fly by Nick Norton”