Decree 53 required all civilisations in the known universe to be prepared for Phase 5. Thus, when Thelma Yttkyd, MD, woke up and smelled smoke, she knew exactly what was expected of her. The previous year, when she lost two sisters and both her parents to the fires in the North, her rage swelled like a super nova, and she realised she had to speak up. She was rewarded with a prompt demotion from her position as Head of the Burns Unit and further humiliated when assigned to be a mop-up team leader.
Her nostrils told her the inferno had finally reached the East, the last un-scorched corner of Jordgubba’s only continent. No fear touched her heart, however, because she believed her own forecast, and knew her plan was almost foolproof. Continue reading “The Law of Inevitability by Peter Ninnes”
The noise is back.
A slight scraping followed by a small muffled patter that disappears before they have time to make out what it is, or where it’s coming from.
“Was it footsteps?” Gemma frowns in her attempt to hear more. A deep crease has formed between her eyebrows. Continue reading “Angel Wing by B.F. Jones”
‘Those bastards never deserved a second chance,’ Bret said, talking to himself as usual. Though nothing was usual tonight. Three of his clients were dead, and he was on his way to a safe house outside of London, in the woody byroads surrounding some forgotten little town. Weygone. Weydon. Something like that anyway. The point was, no one ever looked for him here.
The road was narrow, twisting between colourless trees. If he drove fast enough it would tear, show itself to be a stage backdrop. The car felt real however. It was a beautiful Mitsubishi Lancer, a relic some would say, but the wheel in his hands, the titanium frame, the three litre engine purring, these were all totems to reality. Reality was an important thing to a man like Bret. Continue reading “The Final Tape by Joseph Sale”
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”
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”
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”
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”