The Read More Project

The Read More Project features some of the best prose, poetry, and narrative non-fiction around. We regularly publish work from a variety of writers, with a special focus on new and emerging writers. These works will span genres, styles, forms, voice, and more – we want our corner of the literary world to be as varied, as eye-opening, as challenging as possible.

If you’re interested in submitting something to us, you can find more information here.

All Poems and Stories

Copycat by Phoebe Thomson

Some children did dances and jokes. One did an impression of Homer Simpson, but most of us sang to each other. My number was in the second half, and I spent most of the fire taking indecipherable photos on my disposable camera, trying to decide what I should sing.

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.

Juniper by Nicholas John Greenfield

Maybe that was why Franny liked Dot. He had roughly cut hair and used to smoke rolled cigarettes that smelled like damp leaves and thunderstorms. He called me Topper, which I didn’t like very much, and never made eye contact with anyone other than bus drivers, which Fran thought was quirky but Jack and I strange.

ToadGirl by Kerry Byrne

“Your pa’s Toadman. Your pa’s Toadman,” the boy sang over and over as he followed her home from the market. He scuffed the scree along the path, provoking dust and picking up stones to pelt her back. A sliver of flint ricocheted off her right ear, a misthrow, drawing blood. She wanted to turn around then and face him, to bare her knuckles like teeth and punch-punch-punch his freckled nose until his vest matched the rust of his hair.

The Kite Surfer by Sarah Thunder

It’s a good day for flying with a tall wind.Surf backs up on the glassy sand.The sea is as it should be, graveand on the other side of the silt […]

Rise and Shine! by Hannah Miodrag

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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.

Know Thy Neighbours by Slawka G. Scarso

You bump into them on the stairs, in the lift, while picking your post from the letterbox. Some you’ve known for years. You say hello, ask about their grandchildren, or their pets. Some still avoid your gaze but they will keep the door open for you if they see you carrying groceries. 

Fast Train to Zion by L M Rees

At eight o’clock, just before the electricity gets turned off for the night, Tata lights some candles on the kitchen table. He shares a chair with Mama and I sit opposite them on Uncle Zalman’s lap. I can tell it’s going to be good night; it’s past my bedtime, we’ll all have plenty to eat and Tata will tell us stories.

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.

The Procedure by Nicholas John Greenfield

The whole thing had begun two years before when we were travelling through Chile. We’d never had kids, but the absence hadn’t left us unmarked and, as we sat in a dusty bar drinking warm beer, Lily had been distracted by a table of travellers half our age.

Gargantua by Justin Bryant

The first time I saw the spider, I was two bites into a midnight bowl of store-brand generic Cheerios.  Movement caught my eye, something fast and primal, flashing behind years-old jars of pasta Lisa had left behind.

Storm Beckoner by Judy Darley

Those memories ruffle the monotony of water gnawing on rock, gulls and kittiwakes harrying the wind. She glances up, glimpsing her reflection in the window. Transparency scrubs her face clean and transforms her to the ghost of a young girl.

Adjustment by Frances Boyle

She had fumbled out of half-sleep in Jacko’s bed. She registered the sound, the bright flashes, in the way you count off lightning to thunder. The flashes were pulse-accelerating, though they had nothing to do with her – they marked someone else’s emergency.

A Faux-Symmetrina by Sean Chua

We kissed once, during first year. I spat afterwards, laughing. She mixed tea leaves in her dorm room for friends. Dried, packed with tiny bows. Mine always tasted rather tart. […]

Missing by Amy Elizabeth Doherty

I stop dead, startled. Her image catches my eye, small and desolate, staring out from the laminated paper. A monochrome photograph with a screaming pink border – it’s hard to miss. Someone has neatly attached the poster to a street light opposite the river, so that anyone walking toward Stratford centre will see it.

The Lemon Grove by Maria Clark

For a country that prides itself on lemons, we only have three groves in the town. One is perched high above the cliff road, the tree roots sprawling over the brick wall. The other is a private residence, and you can only glimpse it from the right side of the house, the lemons flashing like orbs of light.

They Told My Friend by Amita Basu

Voices rasping, eyebrows beetling, they declared: “This is it. Your lives shall be ever foul. You think yourselves valuable. Cogs in the machine. But when one of you falls, ten spring from the dirt in your place. What They owe you, They shall never give you.”

We Still Don’t Use The Garage by SJ Townend

We have our happy routines: Job Centre on a Monday, Wetherspoon’s on a Thursday, kebabs on a Friday at the start of the month, then beans with a flipped egg to garnish when the giro runs dry. The boys keep the kitchen clean and I do the lounge. The bathroom is no man’s land – it’s functional, but you wouldn’t want to be trapped there for longer than needs be. 

I Thought It Was Tough Love by Jimmy Webb

I was brave, I knew I was, but the ride was far too high. I shook my head small enough to not be defiant. Even though I wanted to see the ocean in the distance. Even though I wanted to be away for just a few minutes and get the sea air on my face. It was too high even for him, and he knew I knew it.

When We Were One by Jen Gupta

Those years were yellow –  a summer sun flirting with bedtime. We could talk to birds, we could speak cat. The shed in the backyard was our secret home. We hid blankets and plastic […]

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.

Designed for Life by Ian Murphy

Clive’s ebullient words had lingered in her mind all morning. Festered. It wasn’t the big day, that was still an entire month from now, but it was the day her hopes and dreams were to be confirmed in writing. Any minute now, according to the app.

The Miner by Kurt Van Ristell

They worked him ’til his fingernails turned mulberry,Peeling from their beds like autumn petals.They used new therapies to fix his crumpled distals, Alloyed his carpals with an icy clutch of […]

Where I Belong by Cara L McKee

The places where I belong arethe fairytale-real wooded spaces,wearing leathern boots and wrapped in wool,or up on the wild, windy moorendlessly searching Heathcliffmay I never find himwith hair and cape, […]

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? by Robert Lumsden

Though the Outcasts were apprehensive of The Towers, few could resist the strange longing they compelled. Nobody should hold themselves to blame for this, the Ultras taught. Lusting after the cold and distant reminders of their loss of paradise was no sin provided each Outcast understood the shining obelisks for the harbingers of hell they truly were. 

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.

Hammer and Sickle by Michael Cooney

In this way, Carl Trampler’s military career ended in a less than honourable discharge. And in those days a discharge like that could mark you for life. You would never get any decent kind of job, like at GE in Schenectady, or even with the Post Office.

One Green Bottle by Gerald Green

The letter fae the agency is burnin a hole in ma poakit. Should ah huv telt her about it? Ah think mibbe ah should’ve, but then ah remember the way she’s been puttin me doon and how she’s been bang oot ay order. Nae chance. 

Say What You Mean by Chris Marek

Or what if your mother asks you for the hundredth time if you’ve looked into any new jobs related to your bachelor’s degree in philosophy? Do you tell her, No, Mother, I haven’t. I’m going to suck the teat of the government checks until the money runs dry and Avery eats her own tongue to survive? No.

Allergy by Patricia Bamford

I arrive at the party, ruddy cheeked and out of breath. I surprise myself by naturally joining in conversations. I have things to say! I confidently decline cocktails, wine and beer, but at this point in my recovery I have not yet put down the weed. I go ahead and smoke what’s offered. I tell myself, Why not? It’s a party…

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. 

Greedy Bird by Julian Harvard

I once put a suit that cost as much as your car in the bin. The jacket had a bleach splatter just below the breast pocket. It had been a […]

A Sense of Grandeur by Maud Woolf

My eyes fly open. I look up. And up. And up. I cannot see the ceiling. There is no ceiling. There’s nothing above me but void and I grip at my sheets to hold on, suddenly sure that if I let go, I will fall upwards and into that looming, gaping emptiness–

Crackers by Karen Walker

First published in The Womb Department Anthology content warning: death Dressed in the cleanest clothes she has, Wendy shops at Grocery Giant on Mondays when selection is best, her pocket full of coins. […]

The Diving Board by Stephanie Parent

Originally published in the Red Skies anthology by Splintered Disorder Press. Every evening after midnight, summer of 2020, strangest summer of my life, I heard it: the sound of the […]

Birdie by Rebekah McDermott

My plucking had gotten very bad by then and I was starting to wonder if my flesh was trying to speak to me. It would mutter to me, not only at night, but also in the day, when I was listening to customer’s voices. The tweezers were much too harsh to use on my eyelashes and so these I removed, gently, by pulling them out with my forefinger and thumb. I pulled up my jumper to look at my stomach, noting how my hips jutted out at sharp angles, how my breasts slumped, barely filling the cups of my bra. There was satisfaction in the harsh curve of my collar bone and the spareness of my skin.

Daddy’s Brown Belt by Edith K Magak

content warning: physical child abuse I was 11 when I told my father to kill me. It was after midnight, I think. My younger brother Sammy and I had been […]

Latent Life by Sherin Bual

Originally published in Sky Island Journal. I. Arthur squinted into the tall, rectangular window of his eighth-floor office, then out at the horizon. The flood of fluorescent winter daylight on […]

Seahouses by Louise Wilford

The sight of her – there, then – was so extraordinary that he stumbled slightly, snagging the current of people moving along the pavement. That’s what made her glance over, recognising him immediately. He considered just hurrying on, pretending he hadn’t noticed her, but she was already waving, beckoning him to join her, so he had no choice.

Wadi by Kimbalena Zeineddine

mountain has an escarpment running round it at a tilt so it looks like a jawline and, on the summit, an indentation looks like puckered lips. The mountain is an upturned face kissing the empty sky. Without announcement, Hamad veers off the highway. This is how we come to all our stops: as if it’s an emergency. I turn to Hamad.

It Hurts Me Too (Modern Love) by John Higgins

He always comes in wearing a towel, the two edges tucked into themselves to stay up, just below his chest. Water slides down his body, drips onto the floor. I feel he does this on purpose, attempting somehow to make me feel ashamed of my pudginess, my post-sleep sweatiness, contrasting his gym-bought body with my own.

Lady’s Mantle by Leon Coleman

He tries to remember their time at the allotment. The crack of dawn. Spring. Clear blue sky, sunshine, fresh. He was ready, spade in hand, to help her turn some soil. Along the edge of the path, she crouched down to show him something: a clump of spreading green foliage, webbed fingers covered with tiny droplets of water like glass beads. Lady’s Mantle, she had called it. What a strange name for a plant, he had thought.

On My Spooky Shit by Lauren Lewis

I saw myself shrug off a cardigan, Alec’s t-shirt and the floaty trouser things I substituted for pyjama bottoms – grimacing slightly at the state of myself – and when I took off my underwear, my skin came off with it.

The Word for Salt by Cathy Browne

Helen’s room fuzzed into focus as my eyes adjusted to the painfully bright lights. A water glass on a bedside table, a monitor whirring gently on top of a trolley, Aunt Janet sitting in position; Helen lying in a propped up hospital bed, her breaths ragged and rasping; and an empty chair waiting for the next sentry.

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.

Wheelbarrow Rides, and Fractions of You by Kate Wilkinson

Another woman comes up to me, shaking my hand. This one has wispy hair, a dark dress, she’s old – and, before you ask, I don’t know how old, Granny. Just old. Anyway, she says she’s called Susan, and Susan is telling me that you were in London together in your early twenties, during the war. Apparently when the air raid warning went off you would run to the shelter together, and when you were there, huddled underground with strangers in the dark, she would play guitar and you would sing, and people knew the two of you as the musical girls from Mayfield Street.

Selkie Soliloquy by Bailey Merlin

I’m a Selkie searching for the skinyou buried to bind my body to yours.Or maybe you were the Selkie and I’veforgotten the tragedy of digging in the knife,tightly twisting until […]

On Coming to Despise a Literary Hero by John Higgins

Charles Bukowski always comes to see me at my lowest points. He never comes when I’ve received some constructive criticism in a rejection— we enjoyed your story, especially its imaginative sweeps— or when I’ve dreamed up some clever title— Major Transgressions, Corporal Punishment, for example

Torridon by Laurence Morris

The hills of Torridon rise up and are no more or less than that.They are sandstone, gneiss and quartzite,not sleeping giants or rock eruptions until we name them so. Yet […]

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.

Evolution by Craig Dobson

November’s cold enough to make melinger in the hothouse, eyeing an okapibucking its extinction in the Congohere, in a deserted zoo in Hampshire. Braving the chill, I come close enoughto […]

Accidental View by Craig Dobson

A stone through glass, breaking time,shards falling, leave me in my teens again:bending to the ruined greenhouse panewhose stained wood frame could standanother coat, the few tomato plants behindnot thriving […]

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.

A History of Dogs by Claire Taylor

I killed my parents’ beloved Golden Retriever. I didn’t murder her, but simply wore her down, did her in. That’s what they tell me.

Summer Ghosts by Abigail Seltzer

In the village of Santa Maria de los Duendos, Leonora Sabia, the eighth daughter of an eighth daughter, hangs out washing. She has never understood how she managed to produce three strapping sons whose t-shirts, jeans and underpants take all day to dry in this steamy heat. Leonora rubs her aching back, a legacy of pushing these man-babies into the world. Girls would have been a comfort to her. Men simply create work for women to do.

The Long Hop by Rebecca Lawn

It feels like the night they first met, ten years ago, at this very bar. When she last saw Théo in person, he was twenty-nine and she was eighteen. He was a businessman and she was an au pair. The lines on his forehead and cheeks have deepened, and there is grey at his temples. Emma wonders how different she looks to him. The emerald nose stud has gone. She has lost the roundness of her cheeks. The thin skin around her eyes has started to crinkle when she laughs. But she can apply makeup better now, almost as compensation.

I Am by Jason de Koff

The passions we have are not the passions we own.Where the captured soul has been hardly won,and the beating life we live finds rapture in the cause.To search and to […]

Saudade by Melissa Ashley Hernandez

If I could, I would bottle the soundof a Game Boy startup, the way safetyscissors glide through construction paper,the shutter of a Polaroid camera,the kshhh of a spinning yoyo,and create […]

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.

The Laughing Chamber by Thomas Lawrance

Capital punishment was abolished in the UK in 1969 (except in Northern Ireland, which experienced a legislative delay of four years). The last execution had taken place in 1964. The majority of executions in modern British history were conducted by hanging, but decapitation remained on the books as a punishment for treason until 1973.

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.

Wolfgang by Samantha Knowles

They stood beneath an ancient oak tree in a little park. Known as Lovers’ Tree, it was the one thing in their average town that could be called a landmark, aside from the huge fiberglass waffle sticking out from the roof of Carol’s Waffle Palace. 

The Podcast by Eamonn McKeon

A childish excitement, which had been brewing since the podcast began, stirred by thoughts of unprecedented social media exposure and a revitalised public image, swirled deep inside Frank’s belly, and he tried his best to stifle any visible appearance of its existence. But god, it was hard not to smile. So much had depended on this interview going well.

Chrysalis by Piers Pennington

When she was little, a birthday tea preceded the unveiling, but ever since her early teenage years it has been a fine dinner with a single glass of rare vintage wine from a crystal goblet. At the end of the meal her father blindfolds her with her linen napkin and leads her to her new domain. He opens the door, takes her in his arms, kisses her on the lips and whispers “Together. Forever.” Then he uncovers her pale blue eyes and gently wipes away the tears of wonder and delight with which she greets each new creation in her honour.

Flat Tire by DJ Pileggi

“Yeah, you fucked up,” Kyle, his foreman, said as water squirted out of the copper pipe. “You’re practically forty and you can’t solder a joint?”
“I’m thirty-five.”
That’s not much better.”

Big Cat by Jo Robson

How is it twenty years since… all that? Twenty years since we buried you. Twenty years since I’d seen him, or even heard of him. Not that he doesn’t cross my mind often; he’s always hanging out there in the back of it somewhere. 
Cat, I says ­­– I use Cat these days instead of Kitty. Sorry. 
He doesn’t recognise me, of course, with my blonde bob. Never grew it long again. And he’s gone from wavy blond to wispy bald. Some nice sense of karma in there, I thinks. Looks like he’s put on all the weight I lost. Jeans too small. Flab kamikazeing over the edges. He’s all blotchy round the nose and cheeks. Piggy little holes for eyes. Blue. Never forget those eyes.

Trapped by the Undertow by Susan Rouchard

The water beckons; I launch my body into waves. Below my feet, sharp rocks and sea urchins, in every nook, glow purple. Salt coats my arms. I slice through the […]

Recipe for Free Speech by Sena Chang

This piece was previously published in Daruma. recipe for eternal suppressionof free speech (9.2 million ratings)​1 by joseph stalin, 1929  ingredients ½ cup of journalists 2 cups of censorship (disguise as cleansing […]

On The Bank Of Someșul Mic by Zaher “Zack” Alajlani

My life seemed fairly settled at that point, and, as I was well into my thirties, I felt that I had to have a family. I thus started dating Cristina, a secretary who worked for our company. She was timid and soft-spoken. Her green eyes were vastly uncomprehending. Her fake blond hair made her indistinct and obscured all that might have had been special about her face. Yet, she had a nice figure. Her breasts were large and inviting, and she had marvelous, long legs. 

The Harvestman by E.M. Duffield-Fuller

That was the very first rule of the harvestmen. You could not just take. That was stealing. That was theft. There had to be payment first. Not cold coin, a cheap and worthless currency, but older treasures from when the world was still blood-smattered from its birth. Fear. Grief. Anger. The only things worth keeping.

The Lunchbox by Susmita Bhattacharya

Every day the dabbawallas ferry about 170,000 dabbas across the island city. Their accuracy in delivering the right lunchbox to the right person with only a colour coded symbol on the dabba is a subject of research in many business schools across the globe. For most of the dabbawallas are illiterate, yet their accuracy is rated as a sigma six or at 99.99%, which means one error in six million, on par with some of the world’s best organisations.

Abecedarian of Loss by Claire T Jennings

Apples lie rotting in their cottage garden as she falls asleep upstairs. Sweetbabes torn prematurely from the arms of their mother, now battlecorpses buried in shallow graves. Theirdead flesh and […]

The Gulf Between Them By Ola Mustapha

For a brief period, it seemed my parents’ marriage might survive my dad’s fling with the Yugoslavian manicurist from the salon above his shop. 

How Are You? by Amy Stewart

I’m alright, thanks – although now you ask I do feel a bit,you know,skinned –like the last layertougher than the reststretched tight over my drumhas ripped – and out comeall […]

December 14th, 1922 by Natascha Graham

Vita is caught up unexpectedly by EM Forster, who encompasses Vita and her attention halfway through a sentence. And then she is laughing, charming, taking the floor, immediately the highlight of the evening, her being, in short, (what Virginia had never been) a real woman. Virginia is left to push her wine glass half an inch further away, leaving a half-moon of condensation on the table, a puddle reflecting the fluttering caprices of the fire’s waxes and wanes.

Pedalling For Peaches by Yannick Pas

The bushy eyebrows flexed and the great toucan-like nose, having been tickled by a wandering moustache hair, wrinkled as Gherardo looked around the town square as the prospering sun slowly peeled back the early morning’s inactivity. The townspeople emerged from their shaded domains and into its ceaseless glare as they went about their daily routines. He peered through the golden rays of sunlight that had crept around the sides of the crumbling buildings and blessed the cobblestones with its amber gaze.

Experimenting with the Vigenère Cypher by Zuhra Abakarova

After several attempts, I realized that it’s impossible to describe an experience one hasn’t lived through. The third line was contained within the experience itself; it was enveloped in numbness, and the poetry would only be revealed when the experience was described. 

Leftovers by Ceinwen Haydon

Wine-careless, you try to wipetacky, viscous stuff off our soiled floor.Still my feet stick. I can bear no more.I begged you to take more care when spillingnourishing meals, everythingI’ve ever […]

Gary by Josh White

He wasn’t sure if the damage to his body would remain with him for the rest of his life, but he knew, unequivocally, that the hospital bill would.

The Hypnotists by Genevieve Jagger

I wasn’t trying to get into anything serious when I responded to the ad. I mean – I was serious, but I was serious about not being serious.

On The Run by Fija Callaghan

I’ve screwed up before. God knows I haven’t been a saint, done things I ain’t proud of, said things to my poor wife that I shouldn’t have, but this… this will ruin me.

Sounds Sensible To Me by Luke Fisher

The sound I am thinking of describes me, exactly, the sound is exactly how I am, now. It’s the hum of a jack when it’s half-way into the aux but not quite. Not quite the grunge-growl of feedback, but it sits between the pops and crackles. Rice Krispie music. It’s not the death spiral of Stereophonics out of a neighbour’s window either, but it has aspects of that melancholy. It contains within it the last note of the fire alarms we had in primary school, the note which fades slow into deflated-expectations. But above all it’s joyful. I could dance forever to this sound. 

Cheat Code by Sam Roberts

I tell them about Shackleton and the struggle on the ice, how they rowed eight hundred miles to Elephant Island and endured their way home to face the horrors of a war. The children are quietly spellbound by the story of brave explorers risking their lives in a frozen world. Any young lives I can save from what’s coming – to give them the spark I never had, that was crushed out of me on that floor, to save even one life – will make my seventy years worthwhile.

Family Night by Nicholas Elliott

How many times had they been here? Every third Saturday of the month since the beginning of time. It used to be called the Golden Dragon, now it’s the Happy Buddha. It’ll be something else next year. It’s the only thing that changes. Family Night, he calls it.

Something In The Water by Jędrzej Kierys

The things dehydration does with you. It prevents you from forgetting, maintaining the lust for water at the centre of your field of vision every second of your waking hours. And then when you put your head down on the sandy rough ground beneath your feet and sense your mind drifting away somewhere to a place of sweet rest and blissful emptiness, after barely two minutes have passed you find yourself dreaming of water again, of vast oceans and seas and lakes and bountiful life-giving rivers and you’re awake once more, dry and solitary.

On the Outside of Everything by Mike Fox

 The canal tapered away from us, dappled with light in the hazy afternoon sun, relentlessly straight and level. I’d developed the habit of gazing at it, hoping the sense of distance it created could take my mind somewhere else.

Madame Clara Had a Dream, and You Were in It by Steve Gergley

An hour after my mother’s funeral, I stepped into her bedroom and found a message on her answering machine. The message was from my mother’s psychic, a woman who spoke with a fake Cajun accent and who referred to herself in the third person as Madame Clara.

How To Unravel Reality in Seven Easy Steps by Ryan Walraven

The bar, Hops with the White Rabbit, was also not within his purview. It was located on the outskirts of Honolulu’s Chinatown, in what Daniel could only describe as an industrial park. The façade was spray-painted brick, while the inside was dimly lit and covered in tawdry tapestries. It smelled of incense and cigarettes despite the city’s smoking ban, but the owners brewed their own beer and kombucha, so it had that going for it.

Family Portrait by Lisa Deane

I’m smoking again. If there’s a silver lining to all this, it’s the sweet burn of tobacco in my lungs after eleven years of abstinence. I wonder what my accusers would say if they found out I’m not so much a sadist as my wife is a masochist. Nora has always been wild. I was afraid I’d lose her if she didn’t get what she needed. And you know what, I started liking it.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Woman by Shannon Savvas

But Venice is different.
You want to be jostled among the crowds, jump on and off the waterbuses, amble down alleyways, over footbridges, take a turn too many and get lost only to have the delight of finding your way back.

Root Rot by Melissa Martini

Mama is a tornado, a storm. She strolls into the house, heels pounding into the wood floors, singing Bon Jovi and swinging her purse. She cries to you, using your chest as a pillow, her tears raindrops watering you – but you do not bloom, you drown. She smells like she did when she would return from the doctor’s office, rubbing alcohol and sweat.

Slater by Euan Currie

Its seven pairs of legs scuttle soundlessly across the tiled floor, moving in a purposeful line before pausing in front of her foot, antennae caressing the air. With a sniff of irritation, Heather plucks a tissue from her pocket and reaches down to clasp the woodlouse, the segments of its hard body putting up slight resistance.

Cleopatra’s Needling by Karen Ridley

Age shall not wither her I think someone said. Well, that was a bloody lie for starters; I wither like a plant in a winter bed.  Now gnarly hands twist like roots […]

Phosphorus by Jordan Aramitz

There’s a firefly warmth to your wry eyesthat I want to capture in mason jars,to make string lights out of them,out of memories better left behind. 3am is the bewitching […]

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