Shocking pain. Light burns through my eyelids. My muscles seize. The air around me crashes and crackles, buzzes and zaps. My skin tingles; my body releases.
Then all is soft, silent darkness. I try my hand. It clenches.
I hear a triumphant shout next to me: “It’s alive! It’s alive!”
Jessica Hoard is a writer of over 25 years. She received her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Memphis. She has appeared on stage and screen and has published her photography. Her writing has been published in magazines and literary journals including Breath & Shadow, Pear Noir!, Karamu, The Society of Classical Poets Journal, and Short, Fast, and Deadly among others. She is mother to three cat children and in her spare time likes to go camping in her vintage Shasta camper, Rosie.
Weapon loaded, I exit the elevator, striding past the reception.
Weeks of building trust, flirting, stalking. The habits of my prey learned. A lioness with her rhinoceros in sight. Armoured in innocence and Gucci, I hand it over.
“Brought you lunch, babe.”
Peanuts in a sandwich; who could have guessed?
L. S. Muller is a Swiss Swedish tea drinker, who reads too many books, loves canines and writes fantasy and horror.
A victorious army marched upon the capital.
As crowds came out to exalt the old general, the green-eyed and white-knuckled king clutched his crown. In the general’s honor, he arranged for a feast spiked with aconite.
However, the general had already made his escape, and elsewhere, a farmer came home.
Michael De la Peña’s parents blame his near-sightedness on the fact that he has always had his nose buried in a book since the age of nine. However, he still has a clear view of all the myriad of designs that bounce around inside his head, and his daydreams, permutations of each mental blueprint. He is often elbow-deep in his latest project with his brow furrowed.
After the autumnal fogs of Mars
Have made me melancholy,
And the moon’s tranquil seas
Have melted my bitterness,
I sail to Earth
And stroll beside the snapping salty oceans,
To my cryogenic grave,
Drop petals onto empty casket,
And mourn humanity
And days when life was simple.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia. Recent work has appeared in Retreat West, Milk Candy Review, Ellipsis Zine, and Best Microfictions 2020.
“If you don’t break me out, I’ll do it myself,” the text said. Two infections in her nursing home; more to come.
I used to be a light sleeper. Now I can’t remember how I used to manage without the rhythmic, labored sounds of her apnea machine lulling me comatose.
Jane Danforth is a student who suddenly has a lot of time on her hands. She is a senior attending Zoom University.
I am the last. Radiation poisoning or madness have taken the others. Last year we watched the death glow on the horizon and someone joked, “Well, it’s just us and the bugs now.” Today I found the brittle husks of a dozen cockroaches under my bunk and laughed myself sick.
Aeryn Rudel is a writer from Seattle, Washington. He is the author of the Acts of War novels published by Privateer Press, and his short fiction has appeared in The Arcanist, The Molotov Cocktail, and Pseudopod, among others. Learn more about Aeryn’s work at rejectomancy.com or on Twitter at @Aeryn_Rudel.
“You imagined it,” I tell myself. But the footsteps overhead are unmistakable.
I force myself to go and check, entering the hall. Faces twist toward me, howling and horror-struck. I scream and flee but still I hear them, one rising above the rest:
“Did… did we just see a ghost?”
Sam Canning is a writer based in Edinburgh. After years in the writing wilderness, she joined a class, completed two novels, and is in the process of writing a third. She recently signed to the literary agency A.M. Heath and can be found digging up all kinds of ridiculous tales for her online blog ohmygsoh.wordpress.com. Follow her on Twitter at @yesshescan.
I escaped his slithering hands and bolted into the night. Johnny’s malty breath followed me before giving up with a cuss; he was always skittish about the marshes.
Crouching among the reeds, a frog startled me. I clasped him in my fingers, took a breath, and kissed him.
Nicholas Katsanis lives in Chicago and writes magical realism and absurdist fiction. He is currently editing his debut novel. Follow him on Twitter at @NicholasKatsan1.
Halfway through his two-day mission the ship approached lightspeed. His knuckles whitened, and in a snap he was the first person to exceed the cosmic speed limit. Master of time and space.
Many came to celebrate his historic return. His wife and son weren’t among them, but his four-times-great-grandchildren were.
Travel to pontiuspaiva.com to read past stories. Hopefully more of his stories will be published in the future.
The evidence was already heavily against me. The ring—that item meant to solve my problems—found in my possession. Tire tracks in the mud. The dirty shovel in my car.
But what really convinced the jury in the grave robbing case was DNA proof. My nail in the coffin.
Michael Augustine Dondero is a Brooklyn-based writer. Read more on his website, augustinedondero.com. He’s also the co-creator of the horror/sci-fi podcast “Lost Signal Society.” Tune in at lostsignalsociety.com.