• Fiction

    After

    by Allison O’Leary After it ended, Laura would sit on the bed in her room, eyes closed, fingers gripping, mind quiet, quiet, quiet. Being a practical person, Laura understood the negative consequences of psychological repression and allowed herself at most three minutes a day to sit and think as every muscle in her body yearned to scream. Calmly, she would go about her day: washing the laundry with a cupful of lavender soap, filling out job applications, wondering whether she should take the old cat into the vet. Decisively, she would will herself not to think about it, not to let her mind wander to places that would prevent her…

  • Fiction

    when I was young and unafraid (it was all a game)

    by Aurelia Gonzalez The first time I heard “Tell Your Heart Heads Up” by Mutemath, I was in an abandoned cabin, half a mile from the AK-1 highway, just north of Wasilla. I was looking for food. I was with Em, the only other living person I’d met between Peters Creek and Wasilla. We had thought we were still in a dead zone, where even lightbulbs didn’t work, and when we heard the noise we jumped. Em went straight for her gun. I ducked under the table in the kitchen. We realized after a minute that there wasn’t really anybody else in the house, and we both felt pretty stupid.…

  • Fiction,  Poetry

    Last Train to Cragganock

    By Allison O’Leary She waits for him every evening and his soft words mix with the smoky dusk and the music of the street buskers. 1958 passes in a blur of candlelit laughter, whiskey headaches, and clicking heels. She sees other women waiting for their lovers on street corners, cigarettes daintily clasped between red lips, leaning up against brick walls with the same pearls, same pinned hair, same anxious, begging eyes. She ain’t like them, she’ll say. Her hands tighten around her copy of Patrick MacDonogh poems he gave her the first night, trembling. He’s a upstanding man, a good Catholic. She’ll wear her rosary on the nights she stands…

  • Fiction

    Panda Fable

    by Sarah Cooley One fine day, a young girl went skipping through the woods. This girl had an adoration for all wildlife, but her mother had always been careful to warn her about bears. Bears, her mother said, were terrible, carnivorous beasts that would eat anyone that bothered them. The little girl promised her mother that she would be wary of the dreadful bears, but being a very optimistic child, decided that acting friendly couldn’t hurt. She hopped along the woodland path, and came across a cave. She stopped near the entrance and called, “Is there anybody home?” A low voice rumbled, as a brown furry face appeared in the…

  • Fiction

    Learning From Injury

    by Kyle Mayer It is true that disaster awaited him. Almost to be expected, if you knew him. Which I did not. It is said that he was a well-liked kid and a good person with plenty of friends and seventy years of success waiting for him. He was regarded as intelligent by most and had already been accepted to a prestigious research program at a faraway university. I can’t claim to have known much more about him, but his past exploits are largely irrelevant, as his old life pales in comparison with the severity of his misfortune. Do not mistake me, however, for his life was not entirely without…

  • Fiction

    Get the Cat

    by Kirby Hobley Get straggled along after the other little cats jumbling down the path. “Don’t stray!” the line leader reminded. “It’s dangerous,” she threatened. But the evening wind was whipping at his fur in fits and starts. It bothered his whiskers and tousled his thoughts. He itched to let it blow him up into the treetops. Get was afraid of nothing and the forest believed him. It wiggled, promising mischief, so, without a moment of consideration, he disappeared into its tangles. The forest was pleased to have a willing subject and slathered its affection on him. It worked its sappy fingertips into his fur and tickled his heart with…

  • Fiction

    Learning to Speak

    by L. J. P. T. Krallek “Where were you today?” he asked, looking up from his book as she came into their bedroom, her jacket halfway down her arms. She shrugged her shoulders and went to sit at her antique vanity, placing her back to him. In the first years of their marriage, she’d turn and look at him while readying herself for the night; the last several had held only cold, squared shoulders and rigidly straight backs and stilted answers to half-hearted questions. “I wasn’t sure you were coming home.” “I nearly didn’t,” she replied, pulling an earring loose from her right lobe. “There’s not much reason for me…

  • Fiction

    Fenario

    by L. J. P. T. Krallek They had called it a house of hope when they first came. There were young still, and after the dark storms of war, life seemed to hold new promise once more – despite the scars sustained by both from the days of fear and fighting. His scars were easier to name – the bullet wound in his leg, the loss of his tear-ducts in Africa, the horrors that woke him screaming in the dark stillness of the night until he cursed dreaming and hated sleep and turned to whiskey to deaden his memory and render nights calm and without terror. It was harder for…

  • Fiction

    Sweater Vests and Whiskey Breakfasts

    by Shadow Silvers Feet shuffle and glasses clink to a steady, silent rhythm. Swish, clink, swish swish, clink. After a while the beat stops and the bartender looks up from drying a glass, asking if I’d like another. Toying with the peppers and onions in my rancher omelette, I peer at the sad tear-drop remnant of a terrifyingly spectacular double straight whiskey. Taking a melted cheesy bite of my boozehound’s breakfast, I contemplate leaving the tally at three. This contemplation reigns my consciousness for a mere second before I decide it isn’t enough. Hell, it’s never enough. If it were up to me, I’d have a bottle. But they get…

  • Fiction

    In Dreams They Walked

    by L. J. P. T. Krallek Tsura blinked in the searing light, and looked about. For a moment, the light was too bright and the whole world seemed white and burning. She felt neither heat nor cold, and slowly, she opened her eyes again. As the light subsided, she begin to make out the shape of the land around her. She swayed a moment, her knees giving slightly, as she realized she was standing in the midst of an ancient forest, her thin skirts brushing against small drifts of snow. Fir trees towered far above her head, glistening in frost and bearing great armfuls of snow on their needled boughs.…