By David Berger
Immortal or mortal?
Minstrel or warrior?
End of the world?
Fire or ice?
Bang or whimper?
Male or female?
Hearts or diamonds?
Clubs or spades?
Black or white?
Sweet or bitter?
Turing or Von Neumann?
David Berger is a self-described “old guy from Brooklyn, now living in Manhattan with my wife of 25 years: the finest jazz singer in NYC. I’m a father and grandfather. I’ve been, among other things, a caseworker, construction worker, letter carrier, high school and ESL teacher, a legal proofreader and a union organizer. Love life, my wife and the world. Hope to help the latter escape destruction.”
By G.J. Hart
Nothing had changed: the penpot, the stapler, the stained mug, the chair that squeaked each time he moved and the argument still ringing over and over and all over nothing and the lights still red, the road still empty, his sandwiches wrapped and boxed and no sound, barely any movement – one wheel squeaking, a freak shower, so much blood, so many colors, and his boss looming – the quarterlies – not even late – and blue lights across the beige wall, across the the flipboard and should he buy dinner, should he buy flowers, should he apologize, should he, should he, should he?
GJ Hart currently lives and works in London and has had stories published in The Molotov Cocktail, The Jersey Devil Press, the Harpoon Review and others.
By Sophie Flynn
If there’s an art to making so much from so little, I must be one of the world’s greatest artists.
I turn a tin of beans into six meals that last three days and feed three mouths; a tatty blanket becomes a duvet, a curtain, a towel; cold bath water’s transformed into an underwater adventure. Every day I practice: unpaid bills into paper airplanes, holey socks into hand puppets, growling stomachs into noisy monsters.
But when they’ve gone to bed, my skills run out. Because some things can’t be made from nothing and I can’t make a life from this.
Sophie has just earned an MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes. She has had short stories and flash fiction publishes in various literary magazines and anthologies and is currently trying to finish her first novel.
By Matt Kendrick
Your ear is an entranceway. A gnarly passage hewn in cartilage; earwax stalagmites rising from the floor. The inner cavern is a spiral galaxy of planets and stars. It pulses like a bullfrog’s throat – alive but dying. Viewed from the spyhole of your iris, its lights are extinguished one by one. Supernovas of sadness. Memories corrupted and collapsed into black hole vacuums. A solar flare erupts then sputters out as you fail to recognize my wizened face. A comet meanders past; chasing its own tail. Your ear is an entranceway through which I whisper to keep you from forgetting me.
Matt Kendrick is a writer from the East Midlands, UK. His work has previously appeared in Fictive Dream, Lucent Dreaming, Spelk and Storgy.
By Mommy With a Side of Me
She sat alone. Like shy flowers in the table’s center, she’s often noticed but quickly forgotten.
From across the room he was in awe of her delicacy. Extending his strong hand and a warm smile she obliged, hesitantly. His brilliant eyes won her over. Dancing for 50 years, with their hearts beating in unison, they lived.
They sat alone. A radiant tree in the room’s center. Generations of love celebrating them, as their thoughts fondly traveled back to that first night. The beauty of their life now falling as tears, reflecting a world only they will know.
The author “pours words from her mind as one might pour a glass of wine, sipping them slowly until they’ve cast their spell upon her.”
By Teresa Grabs
Carl unwrapped the present and gave his perfected “gee, thanks” smile.
“It’s a family tradition,” his father said.
Carl nodded and placed it with the other useless gifts that littered his bed. Thirteen was a bust but so were the first twelve, so it came as no surprise.
Later that evening, Carl opened his new book more out of boredom than interest and gasped. Feast, famine, war, imprisonment, and death flooded his mind.
His mother crept into his room. “So, how’s your future look?”
Future? His? Lie. Just lie. “All my dreams come true.”
She clasped her hands and smiled.
By Ran Walker
The sign posted at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, stated Africans arrived there in 1619. Kwame glanced at the American flag, flapping majestically in the wind, on the pole behind the sign. “The White Lion” was the name of the Portuguese ship that brought Africans to the spot where he stood.
Kwame turned to face the bay and stared out on the endless horizon of water. In the distance he noticed a barge marked “China,” stacked high with shipping containers, sailing out toward the Atlantic. He couldn’t help but wonder if that was the route The White Lion had taken.
Ran Walker is the author of sixteen books. He teaches creative writing at Hampton University.