By Stacy Trautwein Burns

No warning on the mountain. Sky so blue, it hurt. We stopped to breathe and Mattie lit a cigarette. First came sound: a kind of rushing.

We fell like we’d fall forever, like the end of the world, hell opened, wind burning; it was just me and Mattie and the rushing sound; I remembered her hands that day we saved the whale.

Legs splintered. Silent. Maybe there was a bird. As I tell it, I remember there being a bird—far away. I reached for Mattie, her hands. Then came screaming: a kind of crying.

Stacy Trautwein Burns’ work can also be found at Jellyfish Review, Smokelong Quarterly, and New Flash Fiction.


Here She Comes


By Phil Town

Here she comes. My God, look at her! With the sun behind her, giving her an almost-halo. How confidently she walks. Wearing her high-heels today, I see. They make her legs go on till next Tuesday. Or maybe that’s just perspective. Whatever, they’re beautiful. And so is she. Am I objectifying? Of course. But what else have I got until I talk to her? That’s going to happen today, though. I promised myself. The red skirt, then. I like that one. Here she comes. Here she comes. Now or never.
Tomorrow. I’ll speak to her tomorrow.

So Much Pain


By RLM Cooper

There he is again. Looking. High-rise living isn’t exactly as private as everyone says. I might not know my neighbors, but he certainly knows every curve of me. What would he do if I gave him a real show? I’ll just casually unbutton my blouse and lay it aside here on the bed.

Is he embarrassed? Really? Then why does he stare across the way at me? He doesn’t look young. Nor old. Maybe he’s lonely. Maybe crippled. Maybe he has no one at all.

So many stories. So much pain.
I will be kind—and close the curtains.

Without a Voltage Meter to Check How Hot a Fence Is, You’re Just Guessing


By Brad Rose

With its windows rolled down, a lowrider passed, Sympathy for the Devil, belting out its introduction to Satan. Ramon turned to me, said, “Did you hear Vito was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution?”

I said, “We used to be partners, but we were never really close.”

“For only one dead cop, they’re offering a lot of reward money. Do you think it’s because they found the body handcuffed with its own handcuffs?”

“Good times pass so quickly,” I smiled.

“Of course, a cop never knows what he’s walking into. Say, is that an electric fence around your place?”

Will It Be Painless?

By johnlmalone

Is it any good pleading? Thompson says.
For your life? Not really.
But you can’t just toss me aside like a dog carcass, not after all I’ve done for you.
You were more than serviceable, W admits. But you’ve served your purpose. You can’t argue with me.
Will it be painless?
Well, get it over with then.
One minute, W says.
He reaches into his satchel and pulls out his laptop.
Finish your drink, W says. Out with the old and in with the new, he smiles, keyboarding fiercely.
And with that, Thompson is gone.

Dating a Carnivore


By Hákon Gunnarsson

James had one hobby, food. Sometimes it seemed to be his entire life. He was always falling for the latest trend, one day a vegan for the animals, and the next a carnivore. “Only meat. That’s the way to go,” he said to Lisa on their first date. She surprised him when she said: “I couldn’t agree more.”

On their second date he went to her place. He sat down on the sofa to wait for the dinner. The last thing he heard her say was: “I’m a cannibal for the animals, and the plants,” and then everthing went black.