This Love Will Destroy You | by Cathy Ulrich

     You are going to fall in love. After the world ends, the cities fall, you are going to meet someone. You are going to fall in love.

     Maybe he will have thick eyebrows and two missing teeth. So many people will be missing teeth then, hollow mouths. Maybe he’ll have an inadvertent whistle whenever he says south, sky, sea, turn his head, redden.

     It doesn’t matter, you’ll say. You’ll still have most of your teeth, wiggle them gingerly at night, lying on your back in the dark. Look up at the sky, remember flossing, remember braces.

     Do you remember dentists? you’ll say to the man you love.

     Yes, he’ll say. I remember dentists.

     Maybe he’ll have a scar on his forehead, the back of his right hand, the left side of his torso. Maybe he’ll carry a sharpened stick in his hand. That’s all that will be left then, sharpened sticks and butter knives, lighters that flick and flick and never catch. Cans of onion cream soup, more water than flavor. You will have mastered the art of opening a can of onion cream soup with a butter knife, the sharp edge of a rock.

     Maybe he’ll smile when he sees you. People will still smile then, more out of habit than anything. Smile, hiding their missing teeth behind their lips. Maybe he will smile; maybe he will call out to you.

     Or you will call out to him.

     When you were young, you used to fall in love. Teenage kisses in movie theater, clammy hands clasped together. Whispered endearments: darlings, honeys, dears. Whispered I will always love yous. Even if the world ends. Except you didn’t think it would end, really. Not the world, or the love either. Everything felt so permanent, felt so solid.

     We’ll always be in love, you said, right? and traced your shaking hand over their collarbones.

     Look, you said. I’m trembling.

     After the world ends, you are going to fall in love again.

     Maybe he will have a disease that is killing him, something quiet and devastating. Maybe you will, a devouring from the inside. Maybe you will both be healthy, as healthy as any people at the end of the world can be. Maybe you will just be hungry, hands catching on a can of onion cream soup in an otherwise empty convenience store.

     We’ll share? he’ll say. We’ll share?

     Maybe there won’t be enough onion cream soup for sharing. Maybe in this withered, dying world, it will be dog eat dog, every man for himself. Your hands will brush as you both reach for the last can of onion cream soup on the dusty shelf. Your butter knives will clatter as they hang on your waist.

     When your hands meet, you will feel it: a coming apart, a spasming of atoms. He’ll reach for his sharpened stick. You’ll clutch a butter knife in your hand.

     Look, you’ll say. I’m trembling.

 

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Cathy Ulrich makes a creamy onion soup that is really yummy. Her work has been published in a variety of journals, including Whiskey Paper, Wigleaf and jmww.

Annual Confession | by William Overall

     As always let me begin by reassuring that this experiment consisted of six willing and handsomely compensated volunteers. The participants were chosen after undergoing a standard (somewhat) physical and mental ((mostly)) evaluation . The applicants varied in age, gender and intelligence, but all included “the single flaw” identified by Dr. Johnstein (a great hero of mine), and all indicated different levels. The participants willingly signed a contract that was strenuously written by a \\\. The six participants proved invaluable to the research, but obviously the only two I am required to talk about are “Fuse and “Tack”. The two exhibited the highest levels of “the flaw”. Both were very badly riddled with the illness (poor \\\..).

     Even though much data was lost and there is still the lasting controversy behind the end result. It has become much easier to develop identification technology for “the single flaw”. An amazing silver lining! But I do not write to bask in my own research, or to clear my name, but to drag the truth farther into the (light) sun (and to comply with the state’s mandated terms of conviction). However, I would like to praise the faith and diligence of my team of students -a truly brilliant and sometimes ((to their brilliance)) calculated bunch of kids- and also sometimes little \\\’s. As always though I recount them to a true and lasting call to abstractions of the collective conclusion.
Continue reading “Annual Confession | by William Overall”

Two-Shot, Add Steam | by Carleton J. Whaley

     And some would have described her as a girl with piercing blue eyes, but we knew she was not the Main Character, so we left off with that. Interestingly, the next customer was a man with piercing brown eyes, which we hadn’t thought of before. However, this observation led more to us discussing what piercing really meant than to our decision about the man’s status as a character. In that way, he was allowed to be more real than the rest of us.

     Should we consider the contest? That was what some of us wanted to know, to define the rules, fix them to the board and our minds. Unfortunately, the line was starting to get held up. We served them coffee. Some had tea. When they needed eggs, they were cracked. When they needed lemons, they were sliced. We did more sometimes, but that was the gist of it.
Continue reading “Two-Shot, Add Steam | by Carleton J. Whaley”

Freebooter | by T. L. Jacobson

     Pirate Keith, as he insisted he be called now, held the kaleidoscope to his one good eye like a nautical spyglass. Since the accident that damaged his right eye had forced him to wear an eye patch, Keith had taken to acting like a pirate in stunningly quick fashion, much to the consternation of his Protestant parents who hoped he’d someday end up a lawyer or a dentist—something respectable. But it seemed the pirate life had chosen him, so Keith embraced it with verve.
Continue reading “Freebooter | by T. L. Jacobson”

An Impossible Sighting Over Vauxhall | by Jess Conway

0FT

When they watch the bus get sucked up into the sky most people assume it is a stunt for television, possibly a trick by that famous magician. Some people are genuinely awestruck; others, occupied with waiting for their own buses, want the stunt to finish now, please, so that they can have a little clap and then get on with their day.
When the bus does not descend, the awestruck say, wow! That’s a really good trick, to keep it up in the sky like that. Despite themselves, the impatient find that their interest is piqued once more. Some start laughing at the absurdity of it all. Others feel nervous. Others feel fear. The bus station is a veritable smorgasbord of emotion. Continue reading “An Impossible Sighting Over Vauxhall | by Jess Conway”

Two Flash Fictions | by Caroline Kautsire

Doppelgänger Lovers

I love to love, but I am not good at it. My bed has seen many loves; my pillow has heard talks and tears from quiet nights with either John, Jimmy, Justin or Jane—all are blue-eyed with curly hair. The tears on the pillow are always mine. Letting go of one love conjures memories of our dinner dates, hiking days and movie nights. The bed clutters with endings and new beginnings, and each goodbye welcomes new lovers that resemble the former—blue-eyed and curly haired—my doppelgängers.

Indeed, I love to love—when I find one lover in another.
                                                                                    Continue reading “Two Flash Fictions | by Caroline Kautsire”

Stagger Into Your One True Love, and Live | by Fin Sorrel

He enters steadily, devouring the pills so so.
Done with the ruins of drag and let live, exit plans, and soft sleep that leaned, follows, too drastic an infestation to rummage a star for worms in the heart, exactly the day of the dead, we wound around each bottle like a bay needs its baba, vertical Kama Sutra, butts smell strange, exact refuse, the stolen handful of tobacco stain in deep foliage, wandering alternate dimensions; other lives that stack down into a fuel (to be or to become rolled up into coils)

 

 

“Dance with sweat, so staged, exact ferns uncurl the odors of us.”

The box is a black velvet lined stare into the can, so mine, it’s named “Foz”, pulling metamorphosis, health, a supernatural discovery, dance for me, I, finger tips,

Without grabbing a little wild animal, the mischief, a figurine, shape of Carla, Sleep.

 

 

Static embryo-(exact) [ Space station full of white siberian tigers.]

[insert your dick into the computers]
The tiny plastic vaginal tiger play in the coy pond –
Up in the shadow a maple tree quivers urgent, universe (pull back the curtain) frozen with galactic under-verse, dangling nipple pears, a treasure grows slow silence, a motor made of wooden felt slows and cools numbers in her shaded dharma eyes across from conduit 2, bitch is at 3.

 

 

My child, an astronaut who cannot occur, who stands straight dream, in his drunken star, the mare wanders alone, two rough milky way minds, existing space, a holding dream, the aging exact night, from the russian glob, the lips glob. He enters a kind of satellite space, climbs aboard station numbered five-fifteen with a family, it’s morning. Climbs aboard, whisper, a routine check of the locket, fragmentation, on the satellite had been ordered weeks prior, and for the russian government, things took time, evidence of technical difficulties regarding the ship had been reported, and although a small, mostly unused satellite, Harver station needed it to test certain qualities of weather. The windows glazed in perspiration, ice, and small crystals, he enters steadily.
Outside, piles of plastic computers are inspected by members of the team for the color red. Below, the planet Earth forms storm clouds. He enters and finds he is not alone, standing in the middle of a pack of Bengal tigers lounging around purring one in the middle of licking his paws clean. He stands frozen drifting up off of the ground. Teeth gnaw, chew into bark, the inspection outside resumes. The cat’s purr, licking their paws, staring intently at the intruder. He floats there frozen. Any sudden attempt to escape could prove deadly.
A piece of screen is recovered, placed back to the parking shuttle, by sling fried and Boy the other members of the team of astronauts serve veggie chili and steak with GMO’s to the tongues of the tigers.

 

 

A tiny bottle walks into the paper sun, before releasing the liquids to anti gravity. Through the center of blue lines, to a shadow, the paper rolls like a wave, and a member of the team enters after the frozen astronaut surrounded in bengal tigers. She carries liquid in her delicate, ringed hands.
Dangled over the horizon, the siberian cat floats out of the station, chewing on the first astronaut, and looks lovingly at the second as she enters, a broken chair and a backyard yard fence hang next to her head in the skyline, the tiger playing with the blood droplets floating to the ceiling, the cat paws at them, playing imaginary guitar. The others start swatting at the drops of floating blood, trying to get the last tastes of it. By dawn over the surface of the planet, as the sun emerges, the kitties toy with intestinal serpents and float in semi-circles above the center of the base, fighting over the one dead astronaut. One cat puts on a helmet and it sits crooked over his ears.
        “I was right to imagine Separate felt fingers inside
The eyes of the second astronaut.” he says to the next astronaut.
Machines follow download steps, another cat mutters russian to her partner which is barely heard but picked up at Harvey Station. The Bengals yawn, and then perch low, as the pounce, carefully, a graph of numbers float passed in between the tigers and their next victim, these numbers grow, sagging like roots, and vines hanging between the victim and the predators, a low rumbling sound emits from the perched, about to pounce.
Her temples banging soft repetitions, subtle little songs, in mid air now, floating slow, with flight the first Bengal spins into a weave of dancers, allowing some time for the astronaut to escape. Words that surface the edge of the radio get to her partner, she feels threading lips into her thigh, and it burns.
In her mind the lake with cables like arms, forms, moving up from under the water, legs that wander in metal flights land now in the skin of the earth, tearing into an animal, the tangle of Irish memories, when her father was a baby boy, brief momentum, after dream.
Sic.
A female climbs reflections in the helmet now. Tree lines one universal eye ~
A dream occurs

 

 

Two rough stars whiten the sky for a long while, holding her, as she walks her white horse into the distance, through space, into the milky way.
The aging night stalks along the satellite for another fresh victim, the five Bengal tigers lick their lips. Following the floating blood, Lips detail, talks in dreams like a calendar, spinning on a globe
The Night stalks along a thin river
Isis, doing research for participants welcome and very long dream.
(walk aging boards, gracefully touching soft danger
Singing tea through the ancient New York boroughs)
Brief momentum after dream
Sic.
A female motorcycle climbs the
Tree near the wires of town, hanging buckets of

 

Red paint to the passing flames~
Last night is upon a waking morning, the characterized falatio opens eyes in an ocean of broken cars, trucks and vertebrae, described as “a sea of machines.”
There is a possible oceanic reference here, language as sea. Specifics are being researched now.

 

 

Car and truck waves (detail) beneath crashing waves, Vehicles cross power lines over a city. Nadia Wakes, and wipes her encrusted eyelids.
             A sea all futures rises out there. Rusted away through time, she melts into the cloth of the bed, and dazed, her hands squeeze up the soft forest floor, little pine needles from a wool hat summer, women open their doors, so to seat the tesla coils and lightbulbs hanging sound waves dark in the lines of the blue sky from the window.
A reflection of family walking through the vehicular waves that crash onto the shoreline, cars swim trunks pass fish, malleable alloy fins, they hold their little boys hand.

 

 

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Fin Sorrel is the author of Caramel Floods (Pski Porch, 2017) and runs mannequin haus (infii2.weebly.com). He drinks too much.