Broken Gods

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By S. M. Saves

Within these walls
reside broken gods
cast from their pedestals
left to ruin
all who practice
within their dreamscape.
Awash in Viking’s blood
candy painted foxes
frolic upon waves of peacock feathers
dooming astronauts
who fall from the starless sky.
How far you float
depends on the tea you drink
from ritual writing
to cultivating the ingredients.
Blink and become the sacrifice
to the bewilderment
of all chemical-based things
that crumble into atoms
at the base of rusted pedestals
to the broken gods.

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Choking Game

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By Kevin Berg

Of course we played. Craved the euphoria, hated answering all the questions afterward.

Learned a lot in sixth grade: snow skitching, shoplifting, french kissing, Nintendo and Apple IIe. And the cheapest high.

She’s bent at the waist, own palms pressed into her throat, forced hyperventilation heats the air around us. A dizzy stumble as she jerks upright, my hand on her back and one pressed into her chest like a preacher, a half smile before she’s unconscious and over the railing.

So I ran.

When the police questioned me about her death, it wasn’t just a game.

It was manslaughter.

      
Kevin Berg’s dark fiction can be found at Pulp Metal Magazine, Near to the Knuckle, The Blood Red Experiment, Horror Sleaze Trash, Trembling With Fear, and Underbelly Magazine, among others.

Bear Days

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By Sandra Arnold

I remember the day you said you’d had enough
You asked what sound a bear makes when it’s stung by a bee
I said I didn’t know
You laughed and said but you know everything
If that were true I’d know
You were in the sound of stags roaring in Autumn
In cantering horses on moonless nights
In star-slicked skies and wind in the trees
In the smell of hay and oiled saddles
In abandoned lambs waiting in ditches
And the newly planted rowan overlooking the Plains
Because you said when you saw the mountains you’d know you were home

      
Sandra Arnold is a Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominee. Her novel, Ash, is forthcoming from Makaro Press (NZ) in 2019, and her flash fiction collection, Soul Etchings, is forthcoming from Retreat West Books (UK) in 2019.

Soil

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By Phil Dyer

I haven’t grown a single flower from my dreams.

My family were early bloomers. My mother is famous for hers, brushes improbable orchids from her pillow every morning. She sells them.

Not me. Not yet. Seventeen is late, but not too late. I keep hearing about Papa’s friend, twenty when he saw his first petals. But I am a little worried.

Every morning, I quietly dust away the thin silver trail that threads over my pillow, under the bed, out of the light.

I know what’s under there. Mushrooms and toadstools, glimmering bracket fungus. I don’t know what that means.

Hestia

Hestia

By Ghostlyglory

the summer before we left home
was a stifling one;
a bucket of teeming snakes,
writhing for freedom.
she dropped into our muggy lives like the whisper of fall,
but she wasn’t anything less than a shout.
she was fire and Coca-Cola
and on her back she carried the whole universe,
wrapped neatly in red hair and restlessness.
that summer we screamed to the sky,
cursed its void,
and took oxygen for granted.
before we knew it
she was gone like the whisper of fall
leaving behind strands of red
and the echo of something
that could have been greater.

Problematic Divination

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By Eddie D. Moore

The crystal ball glowed under Mina’s probing fingers. “It’s still hazy.”

Martin glanced at the lock of hair and fingernail clippings on the table. “Let me guess, you need a sample of blood now.” He shook his head. “Maybe I should just take my coin elsewhere.”

Mina’s eyes narrowed and she placed a smooth black stone on the table. “Rest your hand on the stone.” Light exploded from the crystal ball when Martin touched the stone. “Now I can see.”

Sweat beaded on Martin’s forehead. “What’s my future?”

As Martin collapsed to the floor, Mina said, “You don’t have one.”

     
Eddie D. Moore’s stories have appeared in Jouth Webzine, Kzine, Alien Dimensions, Theme of Absence, Devolution Z, and Fantasia Divinity Magazine.

The Perfect Place

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By Mark Tulin

My mother died, but don’t worry,
she’s all right, doing just fine,
spends her days in a wooden box
with me sleeping on the grass outside.

She’s calm. Doesn’t say a word,
doesn’t eat a thing, doesn’t move an inch—
Nothing seems to hurt, plenty of fresh air,
warm sunshine and cool nights.

She’s where she wants to be,
her son by her side
deep in the woods—
The perfect place to reside.

Ashes burnt from the past,
memories drifting in the sea,
no longer flesh and achy bones,
no longer cataracts and hammertoes.

     
Mark Tulin’s poetry chapbook is titled Magical Yogis.