Monster

BY KATHERINE SEARLE

There is something in the house. I've known that since the day we came here. I think it comes from outside--from the woods that press against the fence a little closer each year. When we bought the house, Simon said the trees were a blessing that most people would envy... 

The Inspection of the Bear

BY KATE FELD

In the dream she is walking through some Mittel European village, leading a bear on a rope. The rope is fraying. The bear is not tame. It lumbers along after her, but it’s getting bored with this. Villagers watch from windows. Through the glass she feels the weight of their prayers... 

The Queen and the Silence

BY REBECCA HARRISON

They called her the Grey Queen. Her gaze was the colour of storm echoes. While kings had fought and fallen, she’d watched and waited for the crown. When they lay in chill tombs, she sat on the throne. Her words were as cold as stone rain. In the castle halls, courtiers danced to stunted music while she stood at the tower tops and looked across her land... 

Pattycakes

BY LAURA GARRISON

I’m arranging the display case when the bell tinkles, and by the time I straighten up these two old biddies are right in front of me, nestled together like salt and pepper shakers. One of them has bone-white hair that’s long enough to sit on, and the other’s hair is real short and black as a grave beetle...

Tides

BY BENJAMIN MILLER

Conor looked out the trailer window into the inky fog of night, his fingers gripping the sheets under his knees. “I wanna go out now.” His mother looked up from the couch, where a pulp thriller was spread on the table of her thighs, and he could feel her eyes roll back into her head. His father groaned, but smiled.

Stones

BY DIVYAM CHAYA BERNSTEIN

The woman sits at the edge of things and waits. Water drips from her white-blonde hair and creates puddles on the wooden surface of the bar. The woman’s face makes Liz want to imagine things but Liz focuses instead on the people who push forward, waving their twenty-pound notes in the air...

I Remain Yours

BY ELINOR ABBOTT

Dear Walt, The snow’s almost melted now. The bones of the earth are showing again, the mesa to the west sheds its white coat for the last time, I hope. The fence is busted, wire came down from the weight of the snow. I worried the cow might wander off but she stays put, I guess even she knows there’s nowhere to go...  

The Leap

BY PAUL ALEX GRAY

The engine growls as the bus jolts up the winding road. The passengers have slid open windows letting in a breeze tinged with smoke and the splintered scents of the city below. The man who now calls himself Mark sits by his son. Ryan stares at his phone, swiping through stories with barely a blink...

Shall I Throw It Down

BY BOGGY

“Shall I throw it down?” asked a monotone drone above us.“Go ahead,” shouted Mr. Monofilio into the dark gape. Metal scraped against metal and a heap of rubbish crashed at the base of the furnace. Someone had hung a cardboard sign reading “toasty fireplace” next to a large white button with a faded “ignite” printed on it...

The Green Dress

BY REBECCA HARRISON

Princess Emilia wanted a green dress. At the court, she had emeralds pried from necklaces and rings— Duchesses and maidens moped at their bare hands. The jewels were crushed into a dye and soaked into a silk gown. Emilia stared at the dress. She ran her fingers on its skirts—it glinted like shattered songs. “Greener,” she screeched...

A Black House Rots North of Town

BY SPENCER RHYS HUGHES

What you do is: you take the 295 up through Portland until you reach US-1 and you follow US-1 up through all the empty woods of Maine until you’re sure there’s nothing around you but the trees and whatever lives in the trees; you take it up through places where everyone lives in trailer parks and the bones of dead towns...

The Mound

BY SJ BUDD

Overnight the garden had perceptibly shifted, even Marilyn with her city eyes could see that. Betwixt the falling of twilight and the lifting of dusk the garden had taken on a luminosity of green, so bright it seemed to vibrate with joy. A shade of green that possessed a wild and savage nature in servitude to no one. Marilyn almost dropped her morning cup of coffee. It seemed to her that the garden had travelled back in time to a primordial state of being...

Home Improvements

BY JILL HAND

Danae left for work one morning only to return to find that her house was gone, fallen into a sinkhole. She stood on the sidewalk amid a gaggle of curious onlookers, staring at the place where her house used to be. There was nothing there now but a ragged hole in the ground cordoned off by wooden barricades strung with yellow police tape. All my stuff was in there, she thought dazedly. Not quite all. Danae’s cat, a black Persian named Evil George, was at the vet’s...

My Ex-Girlfriend's Ex-Girlfriend

BY JM WETHERELL

My ex-girlfriend’s ex-girlfriend called me up tonight and told me to look out the window. Did I not see it, in the haze above the steaming rooftops of apartment buildings extending west—the greenish-gold filigree, a tear in the late summer sky? ...

The Alchemist's Daughter

BY REBECCA HURST

Once there was a scholar who all his life sought to turn lead into gold. Alchemy was his art, his science and his religion. It left no time for anything else; he lived as one who is blind, deaf, mute. Or at least he spoke, but only of gold...

All the Hippies Are Dying

BY GWENDOLYN KISTE

My mother went to Woodstock. The real one, not any of the imposters that came after. She says she met my father there, but since I’ve never met him myself, I can’t be sure. And seeing how I was an eighties baby—a product of shoulder pads and Aqua Net, not mud and free love—I doubt she kept him hidden away from relatives and friends for a decade and a half just to pull him out of cold storage and declare “Let’s make a baby!”...

Sever

BY JAN STINCHCOMB

When Sheila arrived at Langelinie Promenade, her cheekbone was purple and swollen. She was making a pilgrimage to the Little Mermaid statue, where a crowd had already gathered. Sheila pushed forward to see the mermaid, or what was left of her, and heard a woman explaining to a small boy that the statue wasn’t supposed to look like that. Someone had stolen her head. This was not nice. It was, in fact, an act of vandalism. A crime....

Tsunami, Mon Amour

BY WILLEM MYRA

I hired a team of scientists—the best one-hundred grand could get you in those days—and had them fabricate a hurricane I named after you. The scientists promised me it would kill at least three-hundred people and wreck four times as many homes, and when you said, “That’s all?” it broke my heart because that was my present for you...

Lore

BY HELEN MCCLORY

They killed the hare when the mist was on the early morning river. They had come upon her in an abutting field, while crossing it silently out on a hunt. She lay in her form, resting, eyebright and whiskers quivering. Dew on the long and parted grass. One man whistled through his teeth. She did not move. Her nose moved. Someone cocked their gun...

Return to Grenash

BY MARK FURLONG

The nimble beast flashed with frenzied speed through the dark, dense trees. With each violent step the sodden ground surrendered, causing him to falter, recover, and then falter again. Sharp, thorny branches sought out the vulnerable openings of Lathon’s sallet, raking flesh, and digging shallow, scarlet gullies into his arms. He desperately struggled to guide his steed through the thick underbrush with muscle memory and instinct guiding his way.

“Do you challenge?”...