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

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”

Iron Harvest by Joseph Surtees

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”

Lavender by Amy Slack

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”

The Borinian Snapper by Miguel Guerreiro Lourenço

Eyes closed and a high beats-per-minute synth-wave track. That was how Yana meditated before a cage fight. Slowly inhaling through her nose, she would hum along the song and crack her knuckles. As soon as she felt the beat drop, Yana would snap out of her trance and stand; ready to entertain the crowd in the Guseks Arena.

Step by step, Yana – the Borinian Snapper – moved closer to the main floor, tightly wrapping her hands in red bandages. They contrasted the blue of her spandex pants and white yet sponsored sports crop-top. Yana never cared for fashion, and when her clothes ended up bloody from a cage fight; the way she looked mattered even less. The crowd cheered and hollered; screaming her name alongside many of Borinia’s Gladiators. Some had already fought; but now it was time for the main event: Yana, the Borinian Snapper versus Fett, the Furious. Continue reading “The Borinian Snapper by Miguel Guerreiro Lourenço”

Allegheny Spa by Robert Boucheron

Peace smothers the landscape like apple blossom petals or cottonwood fluff, except that it’s summer, warm as toast. The hour is post meridian. The air is still, and dry leaves hang from the towering beeches, oaks, and maples. Crisp at the edges, yellowing, the leaves filter low-angle sunlight, transmute glare to gold.

I can hardly keep my eyes peeled. Draped in a lounge chair, I stare under lowered lids at the lawn, dark green and evenly mown. Though I go to bed at dusk and rise at dawn, much of the night, I lie awake or read in bed, and then all day I doze. I am idle, lazy, and good for nothing. I read a page and absorb not a word. I write a line, and the pen drops from limp fingers. My mind is blank. Continue reading “Allegheny Spa by Robert Boucheron”