The Only Man in the World to Feel Pain by Olivia Baume

She justified it to herself by saying that he was happy for a moment at least, and that was more than she could say about herself. Who’s to blame a person for being happy? For taking the reins, the steering wheel, and turning the dial on their penchant for misery. That was certainly more than she could say about herself. Or most people, for that matter. She admired that about him. He never over-analysed. Or thought much at all. Continue reading The Only Man in the World to Feel Pain by Olivia Baume

Letter from the Mouse Cage by Johnny Gaunt

Mam made a mistake Scotty. And now dads dead. That means she cant ever say sorry to him. Just think about that for a minute. Imagine needin to say sorry but you cant. So instead you just get the pain. Can you hate someone in pain? Im not sure I can cos I know what that pain feels like. We both carry it about with us like guilty humps on our backs. Its always there. Always. Continue reading Letter from the Mouse Cage by Johnny Gaunt

Dama Bianca by Urška Vidoni

When her husband was at home, she tried to be the best wife she could, and when he wasn’t, she tried to be the best mother she could. But all was in vain; the knight couldn’t, or maybe didn’t want to, see the effort she was making for the family. The balls at the castle became less and less frequent, and her husband sought the company of the bottle instead. Continue reading Dama Bianca by Urška Vidoni

Amazon Super Prime by Remy Maisel

Helen thought it was strange, but pre-emptive purchases couldn’t be right one hundred percent of the time. Though, they were right most of the time, which made it seem like they could predict the future, but they couldn’t. For one thing, she wasn’t at all certain how Amazon had known that she and Pete had lost the corkscrew they’d already had, but it was more likely that that wasn’t what had happened at all – most likely, they’d bought that one from Amazon and statistically they were right around the point that most people either lost or broke theirs. Maybe it was even designed to break after about two years.  Continue reading Amazon Super Prime by Remy Maisel

Pray For Her by Patrick Nevins

Jack’s home since finishing his master’s was a two-bedroom apartment in a red brick building with quiet tenants. For one week last August he’d enjoyed waking up early, listening to NPR while he ate breakfast, and walking the two miles to Trinity; a zigzag of streets led him by well-tended homes and houses turned into offices and salons. His route was thick with trees and their blessed shade. Then his sixteen-year-old niece, Leigh-Anne, moved in. Continue reading Pray For Her by Patrick Nevins

The Buddha in the Beatnik by Sam Dawson

In the summer my friends and I would bike along the canal path, industrial architecture of red brick reflecting on the water’s surface, all the way to the House of the Beatnik.
It was a decrepit old place, with rotting wood and missing tiles; something out of a Stephen King novel. But to us it was one big toy. We’d throw stones through its windows, listening for breakages inside. We’d knock on the door and scream when it swung open at our touch. We risked rusty nails and tetanus by hanging from the protruding planks in the porch roof. And yes, despite our parents’ warnings to avoid him, we wouldn’t run when the beatnik came out to speak with us.
Continue reading The Buddha in the Beatnik by Sam Dawson

Hinckley, Ohio by Kevin P. Keating

Here was the wolf stalking a young girl as she skipped with a basket in hand along a lonely trail. Here was the wolf bursting through a cabin door to devour an old woman cowering in her bed. Here was the wolf attacking a huntsman, eviscerating a lamb, tricking seven little goats into coming outside their house. In another series of drawings, an elderly sorceress, with the wave of her magic wand, transformed a handsome prince into a slavering wolf. The librarian had read them a story like this once, and he used a low, raspy voice when it came time for the wolf to speak. They remembered how the librarian’s breath was warm against their soft skin and smelled like cherry medicine. Continue reading Hinckley, Ohio by Kevin P. Keating

Stalingrad by Aoife Loughnane

Suddenly, we had arrived at the stage of the night where the sexual tension had lost what little subtlety it had to begin with. We leave at twenty to one. The minute we’re outside, he pulls me into him and growls, “I’ve wanted to do this for ages.” He holds the back of my neck. The kissing is the good kind. After trying and failing to get me to listen to records and drink tea at his apartment, I kiss him goodbye. He pays for my taxi. Continue reading Stalingrad by Aoife Loughnane

Heading for Somewhere by Nicole Christine Caratas

Suddenly, your bike is heading toward the rice field. The tour guide led you down cracked, narrow path between a duck pond and a rice terrace. You’re flying over your handlebars. You land face first in the mud. The rest of the group panics, but you stand and bend over in laughter. Your guide pulls you out of the field and hands you tissues. You think it’s all very funny, until you see your crash has killed two field mice. The guide yells to the men working in the fields and assures you that the mice’s death won’t be in vain. You think about what that actually means. Continue reading Heading for Somewhere by Nicole Christine Caratas