With Nothing to Lose (Not Even Her Body)

Mandira Pattnaik               Adori wasn’t always a shadow. When her husband confined her to a window-less room immediately after her twins were born, she remembers sliding into a numbed state, too garbled to comprehend it wasn’t her, it was him.                             As she stretched her body over the branch of the banyan this morning, […]

The Copyeditor’s Lament

JP Seabright             I dream in the margins. My head full of black marks on a page. Several small underlinings; here and there square, curved and pointed brackets; a specific squiggle; a line of dots. I stet in my sleep, indicating that the marked alteration should be ignored. Stet, from the Latin stare, let it […]

Out to the Rain

Lauren Cortese We think we stopped crying on a Thursday. Those of us who were at funerals or who gave birth that day remember it best for the troubling absence of tears. The rest of us only have faint memories of pride for that day when we didn’t cry in the middle of a fight, […]

How Do You Recognize a Good Man?

Kristina Thornton Friday night freedom hangs in the air as she follows him through the packed street. Shouts and laughs surround them. Legs in stumbling short skirts and puffy peacock chests. It could be Benidorm but it’s Barnsley. He says he knows her. She’s seen his smile at work, at the call-centre. Until he galloped […]

Dentata Non Grata

Kate Doughty               The first tooth came, and the rest of them followed. This would not have been an issue if I didn’t already have a full set to begin with.               It was innocuous enough; a late-season wisdom tooth emerging in the back of my gums. “It’s crooked,” my boyfriend said. “Shows how badly […]

Amicable

Nathan Willis               Say that you need some time alone. It’ll be easier this way. Suggest that your partner visit her friends up north. Call it a vacation even though the kids know better. They’ll say there’s no pool, and no ocean, and they’ll be back before the weekend is even over. That’s not […]

Convenience Store Babies

Rosaleen Lynch               Convenience store babies were all the rage back then. Came with pipettes the size of turkey basters. Advertised in windows, posters, zines and on family meals. Cartoon diagrams, a mix of science and wonder, like describing how to grow sea monkeys. The sign below it told customers to read the label carefully. […]

Illumination

Sarah McPherson When I am fired, I take the angle-poise lamp from the edge of the desk. I am not sure why I do it, perhaps out of spite or some sense of entitlement. I have given the place so much of myself that I want to take something back. I spin open the clamp […]

In the City of Philandering Flowerpots

Tara Campbell               How, exactly, does a flowerpot make love? And how does a flowerpot betray? Technically, a pot is a vessel, able to receive more than one seed at a time. But there is more to philandering than that. There is also an act of seduction, a promise made that this union is special, […]

Laughing Tiger Buckles Slowly: A T’ai Chi Lesson

Tom Walsh T’ai chi is going slowly. The instructor’s cat died and we spent a lot of time talking about that. He brought the new kitten to class on Tuesday. There are four of us in the class and I am (by far) the youngest. I love it. # During High Pat on Horse, I […]

Little Limbs

Leonie Rowland               He came to me on his seventy-fifth birthday, when his hands were soft enough to save. They had kept him alive for a lifetime, laying bricks that grew into buildings, cooking food that grew into flesh. He used to say we had that in common, but my skin was smooth like porcelain, […]

Star Guard

Todd Clay Stuart               On the first night of the comet, Beth looks up between the austere poplar trees in their back yard and pretends to see what Jake sees, but the sky—star-smeared and wondrous—is just black gesso to her. Jake puts his arm around her. You’re looking in the wrong place, he says.               […]

Statistically Speaking

Daniel Guy Baldwin               There is a fifty-one percent chance of being born a boy, forty-nine percent chance of being born a girl and a much lower one of actually being born at all. On top of that, the odds of intelligent life developing were three to two. This is higher for unintelligent life; you […]

The Galactic Well at the Edge of Existence

Riley Cross Eo stirred the well with a silver spoon. The waters of space and time rippled in response. He waited for them to calm, watching patiently as galactic stars beaded across the now placid surface. A myriad of tools lay before him, spread across a linen cloth. Using tweezers, he extracted each bright star […]

The Obligatory Alligator

Jesse Millner Last night I dreamed I drove through an army base I’d never been to before. It was huge and filled with movie theatres, shopping malls, apartments, a main street with all the various army departments like War, Peace, Punditry, and Speedskating. The army bases of sleep are indeed strange places. In some Western […]

The Registrar

Abi Hennig He tucks a stray curl behind her ear. She leans into him, rests her head on his shoulder as he picks up the pen. ‘You ok if I…?’ She nods, shifts her weight, places elbows on desk, twiddles the ring on her finger. On the other side of the table, I touch my […]

Workaholic

Katja Sass It’s 9.45 pm. Everyone’s gone except a 30-something woman sitting alone in her 2m2 office cubicle, finishing off the last of the audits in time for the 9.45 am meeting tomorrow. She closes the folder and places it on top of the other folders, smiles at the mountain of completed work. She switches […]

Foreign

Lisa Ferranti Editor’s note from Sudha Balagopal: I’ve enjoyed Lisa Ferranti’s fiction for the gentle intimacy her stories convey. In this tale, too, she draws us inside the lives of her characters with a quiet skill where we learn of their internal fears and uncertainties. She lures us into their relationship and into rooting for […]

The Grapevine

Marcy Dilworth Editorial note from Sara Siddiqui: In her vivid and concise story, Marcy Dilworth describes the wisp of energy and enthusiasm a somber event like death brings to the tedium of small-town life. Imaginations run rampant, facts are distorted, and the truth lays buried alongside the dead under the versions of evolved falsities. Coming […]

How To Tame a Sea Parrot

Rachael Smart (words) and David Smith (photos) Editor’s note from Janice Leagra: This is a very special and exciting feature for me to publish, because it’s the marriage of creativity between two gifted people whose individual talent and work I so enjoy and respect. That Rachael and David are also friends who collaborated on this […]

Lorna

Johannah Simon Editorial note from Myna Chang: This story pulses with desolation and skewed hope, from the powerful narrative voice to the gritty details of the setting. I heard Johannah read this story at an open mic night a few months ago. I encouraged her to start submitting it then, but I admit I’m glad […]

If You Were the Last Man on Earth

Dara Thomas Higgins Editor’s Note from Janice Leagra: I’m drawn to Dara’s writing, in part, for its sly, deadpan wit and strong voice. Dara’s sharp observations of human foibles make for entertaining reading. His stories can often be dark in subject, yet somehow life-affirming – the reader sees him or herself in Dara’s characters. I […]

You Can’t Always Get What You Don’t Even Want

Cheryl Markosky Editor’s Note from Jan Kaneen: I came across the first version of this flash in a Retreat West workshop that Cheryl and I were attending, and was immediately struck by its sassy, quick-witted, playful voice and the changing pace of the narration. I liked the comedic take on the idea of unwanted things […]

Insolubles

Ali McGrane Editor’s Note from Jan Kaneen: I’ve been an admirer of Ali’s writing for ages. I love her use of lyrical and often startling language, her musical timbre and strange combinations; but I chose this piece because it opens with what might be called a cliche, or an often-used phrase that teachers of flash […]

Bee Costume

Dan Sanders Editor’s Note from Janice Leagra: I’m drawn to Dan’s stories because they are intelligent and entertaining, told from a singular slant. He has a rich imagination, as evidenced by the story below, and an ability to find the humor in a poignant situation. His characters are quirky, but believable. I appreciate his mastery […]

So Much In Between

Ellen Weeren Editor’s Note from Sara Siddiqui: Ellen Weeren gives us the story of a woman who’s birthing a baby right after the man, the baby’s father, walks out on her. A story that isn’t new but needs to be told again and again for the emotional and physical trauma women are subject to as […]

The Forms I Took to Escape From You

Sharon Telfer Eel … you, all slippery sweetness baiting your trap, me, gliding sliding straight in, wriggling slithering bumping those curving lips closing in writhing the edges curling in those grappling fingers the turning back, impossible … Bear I roared. You muzzled my jaw and set hot metal under my feet, clapped as I danced […]

Assembly Instructions For a Love Triangle

Raima Larter LoveTriangle.com Thank you for completing our online questionnaire. See below for your personalized LoveTriangle kit instructions! Materials included in your personalized LoveTriangle kit:Item H: One (1) 58-year-old grocery clerk (female, Helen), inheritance recipientItem A: One (1) 59-year-old geologist (male, Alan), recently widowedItem B: One (1) former high school boyfriend (Bentley), rancherItem F: Two […]

Un, Deux, Trois

Helen Chambers ‘Morning all – hope you’re wide awake, cheerful and ready to work hard. Don’t yawn, George, or you’ll set me off again. Hello Mrs Smithson, I can’t talk now as I’ve already started the lesson as you can see, so why don’t you come in after school? You can’t? Tomorrow morning at 8.15 […]

The Counselors of Stelita Tero

Mike Keller-Wilson The counselors of sleepaway camp Stelita Tero are beasts, uncaged till morning. By now, we’ve shed our counselor skins, stripped off first-aid fanny packs and letter-bead bracelets. We’ve unclipped our nametags and go nameless, feral. I am not Shamrock, not until the breakfast bell rings at seven thirty. That’s not Bonsai and Choo-Choo […]

A Horse Named Kairos

Marissa Hoffmann When Dad isn’t reading, he’s talking, and there’s no stopping him when he’s in a good mood. Mum is on a work trip, and Dad hasn’t noticed I haven’t brushed my hair. He’s buttering bread, chatting on about the Ancient Greeks—a special moment they called Kairos. He says it’s when someone does something […]

Domestic Blindings

Jenny Wong After my thirty-seventh birthday, I begin to wander the house at night with the lights off, and wonder if this is how it will feel to become like the other women in my family.  10 steps down. A carpeted landing. 3 steps down. Ground floor.  A formula my will body remember long after […]

Brought to Bed with a Good Book

Jacqueline Saville Kerry agreed to be my birth partner eventually. She’d been in greater denial than me about my expanding waist and ballooning ankles. It was the cravings that convinced her, the night I was wearing out her living room carpet, crossing back and forth in front of EastEnders till she had to give up […]

Instructions for Maintaining the Fabric of Your Universe

Karen Jones and soft touches in those first few hours of the honeymoon. Slow caresses, case still full of dresses, this room the only world, his touch all the covering you need. his scent from your skin. Sweat-mingled, salt-taste to tongue, you never want to be clean again. if you have to. But do it […]

The Language of Flowers

Grace Palmer “Dearest,” he began, but as he hesitated over the next word his pen dribbled ink onto the paper and blotter.  Harry tore the draft letter in two and fed it into the grate with fire tongs. The embers coughed up a meagre flame.  How could she? But The Times announcement left no room for […]

Remediation

Kate Gehan Her son Jonah noticed gray pellets of scat on the roofline leading up to a displaced board under a soffit and suddenly all the midnight rummaging sounds in the attic above Julia’s bedroom returned to her, an aural tilt-shift of something she had been trying to forget. “Probably a squirrel,” said Jonah.  Julia […]

Underworld

Cate West It is morning, early. Sunk on a mattress. The tube isn’t running or she’d feel the joists shaking. If she was home. She’s not home. She opens her eyes. Furrowed mattress, damp with cold. Fag-scarred carpet. An ashtray, half empty, a bottle, rolling. Smirnoff. How did she get here? Swam through the usual […]

So That Light Carries Through

Chris Panatier Editor’s Note: Chris has a talent for writing the uncanny, to which I am very drawn, because of how it reflects the dark mysteries of real-life. Things don’t add up. Humans and the world around us are rife with contradictions. We think we know so much, when, in fact, we know so little […]

Our Last Night (tw: abuse)

Travis Cravey Editor’s note: I am drawn to Travis’s writing because his stories are honest and memorable. He features characters the reader sees, knows, and interacts with often in real-life. These people have dreams, but their choices, misjudgments, or lack of insight can bring on their own disasters, which rings true for this reader. There […]

yellow train

Lost Property

Lynda Cowles 13:44 The last train leaves the station. Rails hiss. Cables buzz. Pigeons flap then float back down. On the platform, a suitcase waits. Ludo drags it into the station office; lugs it onto the desk with a thump. It’s old and leathery, like him. Agnes the ticket seller shuffles over, pokes it with […]

writings in a planner

Accommodation

Kim Murdock Her husband worked late and her daughter was made of clothes and music so Miranda decided to arrange the calendar to accommodate herself. That grid of numbers in a sea of unremarkable white space.  On Monday, she locked the bathroom door and ran a bath. Taps full open until musky bubbles crept up […]

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Sunshine Sugar

Amy Stone I smile. I can hear those paws in the snow, padding over to where I stand. Sure enough, he’s at my feet. He sits. The pads of his feet are thick but still, it makes me shudder to think of him out in this. Mammy says I’m not to give him the bones, […]

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Little Miss Buford

Edie Meade I spend a lot of time on the floor behind the deli counter at Buford’s Grocery, watching the top of the case where the heads of customers emerge between big jars to talk to Momma. Most of the jars hold bologna ropes, pickled pigs feet, snouts, ears, liver, giblet slop that old men […]

fir tree decor

A Paranormal Dialogue

(CW/TW: abuse) Constance Malloy He’s dead. Frozen in time. Etched forever in charcoal, posing with his arm on a chair back. But every time I sit down to watch TV, I feel his gaze. Somehow, I sense he’s letting me know She sits on the sofa, all smug, acting like this is her house. this […]

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Halo

Meagan Johanson Your mother was in love with you. Enchanted—everyone was, she says, pulling the hair color box from the bag. Those cherub cheeks, Shirley Temple grins—as she sits you down, drapes your shoulders with a tattered old bath towel. You were born with a head full of black hair. Straight and as thick as […]

red boat on water near green trees

Lesson in Survival

Jamy Bond             I’d lost my lover to heroin: lips like small blue balloons, skin like frosted glass. I needed a new life. A purpose. So I quit my job and volunteered to teach English at a boys’ school in Mozambique.  I boarded at the school in a small room at the end of narrow hallway […]

white dandelion flower shallow focus photography

Seeds

Jolene McIlwain               My wife leans into her pappy―Macon, she said yesterday―in this photo we found folded in a hankie in a box next to a creased paper and envelopes of dried seeds. We’d agreed she’s five then, though she didn’t need me to concur, since she still had baby teeth and it was before […]

blank business card on laptop

Windows Explorer Cannot Process This Request

Philip Charter Are you sure you want to reopen this application? [Yes]  X                                [No] C:\Users\Steve\Business\Tax Returns\2017-18 £19,446.40 in expenses even though you never spent more than twelve pounds at the barbers. You drove everywhere in fourth gear to save fuel. […]

What Is or Is Not True

Laurie Marshall While it is true I did not accept his proposal, that did not prove that I did not love him. I was raised by an independent woman raised by an independent woman raised by a survivor of war and famine and things that may or may not have been true but which were […]

What Butch Says

Tania Hershman            Butch says I need to watch everything you do. I say, But he’s just sitting there. Butch slaps my back. Exactly! says Butch. He brings me pens and notepads. He moves my chair to the window. Butch says it’s like spying. He says I have the skills for this. He says it’s not […]