Butterfly Stitches by Jeremiah K. Balko

Dad’s still only twenty minutes away, which is why he can still see us all the time. He’s not like these dads you hear about who don’t want their kids. Mum made it seem like she got us during the school week because she was the mum and he got us on the weekend, like it was the law. Mum doesn’t make us do chores, so we like that, and Rita would’ve picked her anyway. She hates Dad. She has no taste in things. Continue reading Butterfly Stitches by Jeremiah K. Balko

The Tide by David Micklem

I forget about the men. Not actively, like it’s something I need to remember to do. But naturally, as I pull the water around the kayak. I know that this should be a good time to think about work, about how much longer I can stand being in the same room as the pair of them. Or about dating again. It’s nine months since Suzanne left me, and I’ve not seen anyone since. Continue reading The Tide by David Micklem

The Spot by Alan McCormick

In the middle of the sofa seat is a large damp spot. Richard bends down to have a closer look and puts his finger tentatively on the spot. It’s cold and sticky. He recoils, his brain notching up a gear: It couldn’t be? And, anyway, if it was he’d surely try and hide it? And I’m not checking, sniffing. But he does sniff and closes his eyes when he does, he’s not sure why. “Fuck! Fucking hell!” He thinks about checking the bedding in the bag. It feels too much, sordid, but also straightforwardly forensic, a conclusive step down the line to confirming something he’s not sure he wants to confirm right now. But against this instinct, a stronger impulse makes him pull the sheet from the bag. The same spot is on the sheet and when he places the sheet on the sofa the spots merge in a perfect match. Continue reading The Spot by Alan McCormick

The Big Change by Steven Bergmark

Another week passed and he still had no way to conclude the prank, which he wasn’t quite sure qualified so much as a prank as an outright lie. He considered the possibility of simply becoming all three, thus rendering it no longer either a prank or, more importantly, a lie. Although then he would be faced with a lifelong prank and lie against himself. Clearly that was no way to live. Continue reading The Big Change by Steven Bergmark

Slices by IJ Fenn

Jane and Mick and Tina arrived together in that order. It was the same order they arrived anywhere. Tina drove from Brighton on the English south coast in her Mercedes that looked like a luxury liner cruising across the oceans of English countryside and the waves of the English Channel and the vagues deferlantes of La Manche and the French route nationals, with Jane in the front passenger seat and Mick in the luxurious expanse of the back seat. Tina was in control. Jane was second-in-command. Behind them, Mick was already a part of their past, trying to catch up. Continue reading Slices by IJ Fenn