Training Terrence by Peter Caffrey

‘I’ll be honest, Celia; the sex is fantastic, but when it comes to social situations, he can be a right dick. He’s juvenile; everything ends up being an innuendo. Phallic objects need to be avoided. I cringe if there’s anything around that’ll prompt the inevitable waggling in his groin area. Carrots, cucumbers, French loaves, bananas; you name it, he does the knob joke thing. Going to the supermarket is a nightmare. If I manage to steer him away from anything cock-like, he makes a beeline for the melons, picks two up and bounces them in his hands while smirking. In truth, I’ve given up. If we’re not having sex, he stays in the wardrobe.’ Continue reading “Training Terrence by Peter Caffrey”

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”

Time of the Djinns by Salvatore Difalco

September had been a red month. The leaves were red, the sunsets. People were being systematically hacked down, blood ran in the streets. When they—the authorities, the media, the gossips—said the centre would not hold, they meant it. When they said things would never be the same, they were not kidding. When they said prepare for the worst, no one could have imagined what the worst could be.

Dr. Ram, living in an iron-barred flat in the middle of the troubles, had taken to wearing sunglasses even indoors. Seeing everything in the glare of daylight without prophylactic measures threatened what remained of one’s sanity. Dr. Ram, a chiropractor in his old life, got by scavenging these days. A dangerous living, of course. That said, his choices, naturally reduced by the atrophy of the state, were constrained. Continue reading “Time of the Djinns by Salvatore Difalco”

Mates Don’t Grass by Matt Hornsby

The office tea-point was a miserable space; a battered sink, whose hole emitted a cloacal smell, and a kettle thick with scale. A window looked out onto the building’s cavernous atrium. Tom gently swung it open and peered out. His gut untightened. Karen was still out there, thank God – talking to some clients in leather chairs, waving her hands around in histrionic gestures. Dampened by the acoustics of the hall, a few words and phrases echoed up; ‘New standards in lean product design’, ‘restructuring the client-customer interface’. The clients nodded sagely.

He could still feel the email, framed ominously in his ‘sent mail’ box: Continue reading “Mates Don’t Grass by Matt Hornsby”

The Heaviness of All Things by Joseph Sale

I hold the scrawny thing to my chest, cradling it like a babe, its paws resting on my collar bones, its fur smelling like pine, its eyes the same colour as Kinko Bay, which stretches behind us, a black mirror scarred with moonlight, until it reaches the grey tower of Mount Sakurajima. In the state of cold fear our hearts beat at the same pace, knocking against each other, its shivering ribs rubbing over my own.

The fox’s eyes have found mine the way that two magnets lock. I feel, in a way that is outside of any sensory apparatus defined by scientific means, its desire for me to look, its desire to show me something in the mercurial glow of its silver gaze, what I need to know. Continue reading “The Heaviness of All Things by Joseph Sale”