The Hand Shop | by Christopher Iacono

     I never wanted to sell hands. I had never thought people would want such things until a lawyer told me I had inherited my father’s hand shop.

     I hadn’t spoken to my father in years, so I was surprised that I was even in his will. Then again, who else would have received the shop? He had no other children.

     I wanted to sell the shop, but according to the will, I had to sell the rest of the inventory first. No reason was given. Maybe my father was punishing me.
Continue reading “The Hand Shop | by Christopher Iacono”

Weeding | by Steve Campbell

Carl bursts out of the church door, storms up to the nearest gravestone and kicks it repeatedly. Gripping the top of the stone he looks down the weathered face as each new strike lightens the leather across his toes.

“Aaaaarrggghhhh…”

“I wouldn’t let Father David catch you doing that.”

The man is sat on the bench, smoking, his face obscured in a swirl of grey. He’d been gardening in the churchyard a few moments early when the congregation had shuffled inside wearing reluctant clothing and, as they’d passed, he’d nodded politely at them. Carl had made sure to return the mock salute he’d received with a smile, even when everyone else in the group had acted like the man wasn’t there. Carl had been bought up better than that. Continue reading “Weeding | by Steve Campbell”

Lifeboats | by Paul Curtis

     Every third Thursday of the month, the town held an art competition in one of the bars along the sea front. The tables and chairs from outside would be brought in and arranged along with the furniture they already had inside.

     The chairs were positioned to face the back of the bar, where a screen was erected to display all of the artwork. The place would always be busy and the low buzz of excited chatter permeated the entire venue. The candles which were dotted about the venue on tables added to the warmth and cast wicked shadows along the walls and ceilings. Samantha was looking at these silhouetted shapes when Catherine had asked her for the third time if she wanted something to drink. Samantha remained silent and shook her head before looking down at the table. Catherine exchanged a look with Peter who shrugged and turned to face the stage. They had both gotten used to her by now.

    Samantha was fourteen and for the past year Catherine and Peter Tuens had been taking her along to events like these. They were a couple in their late fifties who had no children of their own and had offered to take Samantha out every now and then, which both her parents agreed to.
Continue reading “Lifeboats | by Paul Curtis”

Shoot | by J. Bradley

Mitch and me play rock-scissor-paper to see whose turn it is to spend time with mom and his paper covers my rock, which is such bullshit, but those are the rules.

I bring out a photo album to the glass shed we have mom living in. Her green gaseous body sways with the air, which usually means she’s asleep. Mom stops swaying when I stop in front of the shed, makes herself the face she remembers having in her old body: hello. Continue reading “Shoot | by J. Bradley”

the other side of everything | by Alyssa Zaczek

     I like to imagine that the physical act of racking one’s brain would look and feel something like dislodging the remnants of a sandwich from the roof of your mouth. You thrum thrum thrum against that thick fatty layer of peanut butter with your tongue, panicking in that small dumb way you do, until that ribbed pink flesh is revealed in fits and starts and swaths just as you always knew it would be. And so here I am, curled up on a friend’s futon in Andersonville under a ugly chenille blanket, thrum thrum thrumming to remember a phone number I once knew by heart.

     Esme wakes up around one in the afternoon and asks me if I am okay, which I am not,
and if I remember last night, which I do not.

you showed up unannounced

i figured

you were dressed like you’d mugged a drag queen

sort of figured that too

we went out

and?
Continue reading “the other side of everything | by Alyssa Zaczek”

The Cause of Janet’s Death | by Steve Campbell

“It’s a sad business.”

“It is that. Sixty three is no age.”

“You heard about how she passed didn’t you?”

“Yes. Heart attack, wasn’t it?”

“That’s what the official report said but her husband…”

“Widower.”

“Yes, her widower, Brian. He told my sister-in-law, Carol, that it wasn’t a heart attack that killed her. God rest her. He said Janet’s heart was fine. Nothing wrong with it. He said it was spiders that killed her.”

“Spiders?” Continue reading The Cause of Janet’s Death | by Steve Campbell”

Blue Bliss | by Rob True

Shane is looking in a box. The box is full of light. There is a scene through the light where a rabbit carrion is picked apart by a magpie.

“Thank you,” he says, “I knew it would all work out.”

Shane smiles and closes the lid. The lid slams shut with a heavy bang, but the loud noise seems to come from behind him. Shane turns, shocked by the crash and sees an empty room, different from the room he was in a moment ago.

In the top right corner where the walls meet the ceiling, a shadow is slowly growing, spreading out. The darkness fills him. Horrified, Shane runs from the room.
Continue reading Blue Bliss | by Rob True”