Foreign

Lisa Ferranti Editor’s note from Sudha Balagopal: I’ve enjoyed Lisa Ferranti’s fiction for the gentle intimacy her stories convey. In this tale, too, she draws us inside the lives of her characters with a quiet skill where we learn of their internal fears and uncertainties. She lures us into their relationship and into rooting for […]

The Grapevine

Marcy Dilworth Editorial note from Sara Siddiqui: In her vivid and concise story, Marcy Dilworth describes the wisp of energy and enthusiasm a somber event like death brings to the tedium of small-town life. Imaginations run rampant, facts are distorted, and the truth lays buried alongside the dead under the versions of evolved falsities. Coming […]

How To Tame a Sea Parrot

Rachael Smart (words) and David Smith (photos) Editor’s note from Janice Leagra: This is a very special and exciting feature for me to publish, because it’s the marriage of creativity between two gifted people whose individual talent and work I so enjoy and respect. That Rachael and David are also friends who collaborated on this […]

Lorna

Johannah Simon Editorial note from Myna Chang: This story pulses with desolation and skewed hope, from the powerful narrative voice to the gritty details of the setting. I heard Johannah read this story at an open mic night a few months ago. I encouraged her to start submitting it then, but I admit I’m glad […]

If You Were the Last Man on Earth

Dara Thomas Higgins Editor’s Note from Janice Leagra: I’m drawn to Dara’s writing, in part, for its sly, deadpan wit and strong voice. Dara’s sharp observations of human foibles make for entertaining reading. His stories can often be dark in subject, yet somehow life-affirming – the reader sees him or herself in Dara’s characters. I […]

You Can’t Always Get What You Don’t Even Want

Cheryl Markosky Editor’s Note from Jan Kaneen: I came across the first version of this flash in a Retreat West workshop that Cheryl and I were attending, and was immediately struck by its sassy, quick-witted, playful voice and the changing pace of the narration. I liked the comedic take on the idea of unwanted things […]

Insolubles

Ali McGrane Editor’s Note from Jan Kaneen: I’ve been an admirer of Ali’s writing for ages. I love her use of lyrical and often startling language, her musical timbre and strange combinations; but I chose this piece because it opens with what might be called a cliche, or an often-used phrase that teachers of flash […]

Bee Costume

Dan Sanders Editor’s Note from Janice Leagra: I’m drawn to Dan’s stories because they are intelligent and entertaining, told from a singular slant. He has a rich imagination, as evidenced by the story below, and an ability to find the humor in a poignant situation. His characters are quirky, but believable. I appreciate his mastery […]

So Much In Between

Ellen Weeren Editor’s Note from Sara Siddiqui: Ellen Weeren gives us the story of a woman who’s birthing a baby right after the man, the baby’s father, walks out on her. A story that isn’t new but needs to be told again and again for the emotional and physical trauma women are subject to as […]

The Forms I Took to Escape From You

Sharon Telfer Eel … you, all slippery sweetness baiting your trap, me, gliding sliding straight in, wriggling slithering bumping those curving lips closing in writhing the edges curling in those grappling fingers the turning back, impossible … Bear I roared. You muzzled my jaw and set hot metal under my feet, clapped as I danced […]

Assembly Instructions For a Love Triangle

Raima Larter LoveTriangle.com Thank you for completing our online questionnaire. See below for your personalized LoveTriangle kit instructions! Materials included in your personalized LoveTriangle kit:Item H: One (1) 58-year-old grocery clerk (female, Helen), inheritance recipientItem A: One (1) 59-year-old geologist (male, Alan), recently widowedItem B: One (1) former high school boyfriend (Bentley), rancherItem F: Two […]

Remediation

Kate Gehan Her son Jonah noticed gray pellets of scat on the roofline leading up to a displaced board under a soffit and suddenly all the midnight rummaging sounds in the attic above Julia’s bedroom returned to her, an aural tilt-shift of something she had been trying to forget. “Probably a squirrel,” said Jonah.  Julia […]

Un, Deux, Trois

Helen Chambers ‘Morning all – hope you’re wide awake, cheerful and ready to work hard. Don’t yawn, George, or you’ll set me off again. Hello Mrs Smithson, I can’t talk now as I’ve already started the lesson as you can see, so why don’t you come in after school? You can’t? Tomorrow morning at 8.15 […]

The Counselors of Stelita Tero

Mike Keller-Wilson The counselors of sleepaway camp Stelita Tero are beasts, uncaged till morning. By now, we’ve shed our counselor skins, stripped off first-aid fanny packs and letter-bead bracelets. We’ve unclipped our nametags and go nameless, feral. I am not Shamrock, not until the breakfast bell rings at seven thirty. That’s not Bonsai and Choo-Choo […]

A Horse Named Kairos

Marissa Hoffmann When Dad isn’t reading, he’s talking, and there’s no stopping him when he’s in a good mood. Mum is on a work trip, and Dad hasn’t noticed I haven’t brushed my hair. He’s buttering bread, chatting on about the Ancient Greeks—a special moment they called Kairos. He says it’s when someone does something […]

Domestic Blindings

Jenny Wong After my thirty-seventh birthday, I begin to wander the house at night with the lights off, and wonder if this is how it will feel to become like the other women in my family.  10 steps down. A carpeted landing. 3 steps down. Ground floor.  A formula my will body remember long after […]

Brought to Bed with a Good Book

Jacqueline Saville Kerry agreed to be my birth partner eventually. She’d been in greater denial than me about my expanding waist and ballooning ankles. It was the cravings that convinced her, the night I was wearing out her living room carpet, crossing back and forth in front of EastEnders till she had to give up […]

Instructions for Maintaining the Fabric of Your Universe

Karen Jones and soft touches in those first few hours of the honeymoon. Slow caresses, case still full of dresses, this room the only world, his touch all the covering you need. his scent from your skin. Sweat-mingled, salt-taste to tongue, you never want to be clean again. if you have to. But do it […]

The Language of Flowers

Grace Palmer “Dearest,” he began, but as he hesitated over the next word his pen dribbled ink onto the paper and blotter.  Harry tore the draft letter in two and fed it into the grate with fire tongs. The embers coughed up a meagre flame.  How could she? But The Times announcement left no room for […]

Underworld

Cate West It is morning, early. Sunk on a mattress. The tube isn’t running or she’d feel the joists shaking. If she was home. She’s not home. She opens her eyes. Furrowed mattress, damp with cold. Fag-scarred carpet. An ashtray, half empty, a bottle, rolling. Smirnoff. How did she get here? Swam through the usual […]

So That Light Carries Through

Chris Panatier Editor’s Note: Chris has a talent for writing the uncanny, to which I am very drawn, because of how it reflects the dark mysteries of real-life. Things don’t add up. Humans and the world around us are rife with contradictions. We think we know so much, when, in fact, we know so little […]

Our Last Night (tw: abuse)

Travis Cravey Editor’s note: I am drawn to Travis’s writing because his stories are honest and memorable. He features characters the reader sees, knows, and interacts with often in real-life. These people have dreams, but their choices, misjudgments, or lack of insight can bring on their own disasters, which rings true for this reader. There […]

yellow train

Lost Property

Lynda Cowles 13:44 The last train leaves the station. Rails hiss. Cables buzz. Pigeons flap then float back down. On the platform, a suitcase waits. Ludo drags it into the station office; lugs it onto the desk with a thump. It’s old and leathery, like him. Agnes the ticket seller shuffles over, pokes it with […]

writings in a planner

Accommodation

Kim Murdock Her husband worked late and her daughter was made of clothes and music so Miranda decided to arrange the calendar to accommodate herself. That grid of numbers in a sea of unremarkable white space.  On Monday, she locked the bathroom door and ran a bath. Taps full open until musky bubbles crept up […]

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Sunshine Sugar

Amy Stone I smile. I can hear those paws in the snow, padding over to where I stand. Sure enough, he’s at my feet. He sits. The pads of his feet are thick but still, it makes me shudder to think of him out in this. Mammy says I’m not to give him the bones, […]

healthy fashion person woman

Little Miss Buford

Edie Meade I spend a lot of time on the floor behind the deli counter at Buford’s Grocery, watching the top of the case where the heads of customers emerge between big jars to talk to Momma. Most of the jars hold bologna ropes, pickled pigs feet, snouts, ears, liver, giblet slop that old men […]

fir tree decor

A Paranormal Dialogue

Constance Malloy He’s dead. Frozen in time. Etched forever in charcoal, posing with his arm on a chair back. But every time I sit down to watch TV, I feel his gaze. Somehow, I sense he’s letting me know She sits on the sofa, all smug, acting like this is her house. this is his […]

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Halo

Meagan Johanson Your mother was in love with you. Enchanted—everyone was, she says, pulling the hair color box from the bag. Those cherub cheeks, Shirley Temple grins—as she sits you down, drapes your shoulders with a tattered old bath towel. You were born with a head full of black hair. Straight and as thick as […]

red boat on water near green trees

Lesson in Survival

Jamy Bond             I’d lost my lover to heroin: lips like small blue balloons, skin like frosted glass. I needed a new life. A purpose. So I quit my job and volunteered to teach English at a boys’ school in Mozambique.  I boarded at the school in a small room at the end of narrow hallway […]

white dandelion flower shallow focus photography

Seeds

Jolene McIlwain               My wife leans into her pappy―Macon, she said yesterday―in this photo we found folded in a hankie in a box next to a creased paper and envelopes of dried seeds. We’d agreed she’s five then, though she didn’t need me to concur, since she still had baby teeth and it was before […]

blank business card on laptop

Windows Explorer Cannot Process This Request

Philip Charter Are you sure you want to reopen this application? [Yes]  X                                [No] C:\Users\Steve\Business\Tax Returns\2017-18 £19,446.40 in expenses even though you never spent more than twelve pounds at the barbers. You drove everywhere in fourth gear to save fuel. […]

What Is or Is Not True

Laurie Marshall While it is true I did not accept his proposal, that did not prove that I did not love him. I was raised by an independent woman raised by an independent woman raised by a survivor of war and famine and things that may or may not have been true but which were […]

What Butch Says

Tania Hershman            Butch says I need to watch everything you do. I say, But he’s just sitting there. Butch slaps my back. Exactly! says Butch. He brings me pens and notepads. He moves my chair to the window. Butch says it’s like spying. He says I have the skills for this. He says it’s not […]

Each Breath a Chain

Sara Hills After school and on Saturdays we couple up and make-out under the overpass in the middle of town—under shirts, over jeans. Our parents say the tunnels are full of rats. They tell us to take the long way round, warn us about gang violence and drugs, but we laugh them off. The only […]

Sharpest Teeth in the Swamp

Myna Chang Every morning, Uncle Leon’s out there baby-talkin’ his favorite gator, Ethyl. “Who’s the smartest girl? Yes, you are,” he coos in his old-man grull. I’d pull the pillow over my head but Cousin Tommy Dob’s already bouncing his dodgeball, boing on the kitchen floor, boing on the porch, boingboingboing against my bedroom wall. […]

Dr. Audubon Will See Me Now

Amy Barnes My therapist is a bird woman. When I arrive, a caged parakeet sits in her office. Carrier pigeons arrive and leave with rolled-up charts. The walls are covered with large framed bird prints. Rows of bottles filled with beige seeds march on window-sills. The hunched woman who leaves before me clutches a bottle […]

En Caul

Bayveen O’Connell A mighty grunt, then a smooth slither out. The midwife gasped and in the next breath, giggled. “In all my years!” She cradled the glistening bubble, gazing into the newborn’s eyes within. “What? What is it? What’s wrong?” The young mother, still panting, tried to crane her neck over her belly. “Quite the […]