Table of Contents


Chris Castle
So Close to All This Water
Silver Cane

Mary-Jean Harris
The Secret

Jasmine Giacomo
Rediscovering Home

Donal Mahoney
Bells from the Cathedral
Snapdragons Crackle

Nicholas J. Carter
Hell on the Highways

K. Bond
The Collector

Robert Lee Frazier
The Dread that Visited Zurinia

Stephen Jarrell Williams
Over the Abyss

Brian Barnett
Fairy Tales on the Brain

Bruce J. Berger
June 1, 1967

Ann Cro
The Bones Under the Oak, Part III
The Bones Under the Oak, Part IV & V

Austina Wan
Little White

Michael C. Keith
Robin On Air

Kenneth Radu
Good Neighbours

Howie Good
The Poor Swimmer's Guide to Modern Swim Strokes

Christian Berntsen
The Sun Shines Down

Richard Williams
Fear of Flowers

Thomas Healy
On the Fringe of the Congo

Hal Kempka
The Princess and the Dimwit

Nima Kian

Shells Walter

Dena Daw

Erin Swan

Au Clair de la Lune
Dear Flowers

Jenni Saarenklä
The Bear is the Forest

Cédric Abt
Un jardin tout sec
La bulle

Rosie Colligan
French Red Riding Hood

Elisabeth Zartl
Collecting Stars

Serhat Albambi
Following the Owl
Kaptan Remzi
Pek Eylenceli Bisi

Teresa Martinez
Los duendes abandonados
Luces entre los Alamos

Tom Brown
Personal Demons 1-2

Aurore Peuffier
The Beast of the Forest

Squid & Pig
The Princess and the Pea
Hansel and Gretel

Jesús García López

Luigi Lucarelli
Old Guys

Ignacio Navarro N.
Mexico on the Moon

Astrid Prasetianti
Waiting for an Old Friend

Alessandro Andreuccetti
Bosco in Autunno
Il Flautista

Phan Tran Minh Thu
Remove I
Remove II
Remove III
Remove IV

Two Sides 2

Steven Warrick
The Sea Serpent
The Octopus

So Close to All This Water

Chris Castle

They say they came from outer space.

She walked into the room, lit the candle. It twitched, rose, and she waited; been weeks since she flinched. She placed the bowl down, stood back and listened to the shackles. It lurched into the weak light, fingers climbing into the bowl, and as it began to feed she lowered, sat and brought out her own plate of food and the two of them sat in the near dark until they were both finished.

She took the bowl and placed them in the sink, wiping them down with the rag as best she could. She turned the dial on the radio, even though she knew it was dead. A force of habit. She tidied up as best she could, flicked the dial off, all the while a piece of paper, sat there, in the corner of her eye. Eventually she finished, sat at the bare table, and pulled it out in front of her.

She re-read the instructions, her voice humming quietly. Struggled to read her own handwriting at points, remembered how horribly she’d scrawled it, listening to the other woman’s voice, uneven, breaking; her own, dried in panic, disbelieving but still writing it all down. And all of it was true in the end. She looked up to the calendar, followed the twenty-seven crosses marked off. The blank dates somehow seemed bigger than any others. She read the last point, fixed on the space as she did. She folded the paper into a small square and put it into her top pocket.

She made her way to the window. Everything was still empty, the bodies turning slowly until eventually they would just be dust. No one walked up to the overturned cars, no dogs running in or out of the smashed shop doors; just the nothingness. She counted the houses, saw she had two left on her side of the street, the jewellers and the bookies; jobs for tomorrow. She turned to her left and saw the flicker of the sea. She wondered if it had started to turn in colour yet, clog with all that had happened. She stared at it for a long while and then she turned and headed back down to the stairwell.

Silver Cane

by Chris Castle

It wasn't that Rose couldn't talk; it's that she chose her words carefully. Her father always said she would watch and learn and smile but also wait. Her father learned to live with Rose's ways and the two of them smiled inside the silence. But Rose had a secret too and figured fewer words meant less chance of a mistake. So she went on, until the man with the walking cane began to spoil everything and then Rose knew she had to speak up.

She worked in an office on the outskirts of town, close enough to the desert that sand blew in from the car park. Rose knew she only got the job because her father knew the owner but she worked hard all the same. She filed the paperwork and made sure things were up to date. She enjoyed the peace of it; workings with paper, hearing it rustle under her fingers. At lunch she sat on the stone steps of the building and ate her food. In her breaks she sipped coffee from her window and watched the sand kick up. Sometimes the boss, Mr. Meacher, would ask her for a file and he would smile his thanks without speaking, as if hypnotized by Rose's silence.

On Fridays, her father would drive down and they would have lunch. It was her favorite part of the week; each time they would drive to a different place and order different things. Rose's late mother was a cook and Rose liked to think she took something of her in the way she enjoyed her food. And each time they ate, her father, as promised, would reveal something else about Rose's mother, a small secret, which would fill in another piece of the puzzle.

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The Secret

Mary-Jean Harris

It is no longer the time to hide. We must reveal ourselves!” the young man announced. He pounded his fist on the wooden table in front of him and glared at his comrades demandingly. Although the novice of the group, he held a distinctive pride that most of these perceptive men possessed.

An eruption of objections with immense dissatisfaction projected across the room. Disgruntled men lashed fervent protestations that echoed through the stone walls.
“Enough!” cried Andrew, the leader of the guild.

The men fell silent and settled back down in their high-backed chairs, which contained intricate carvings elaborating the wood. Impressions of monks working zealously on scrolls, nobles dancing in courtyards of roses wearing finery only the richest could afford, knights slaying unicorns and other enchanting beasts, and many more revelations and events of the day. The room of the guild was built to hold complete secrecy—no one could hear a word of the avid conversations held inside.

“Thank you,” Andrew said, once the men had given him their complete attention. He turned his sharp, wise eyes to the younger man who had interrupted. “No,” Andrew declared, “We will not share the Secret.”

Rediscovering Home

Jasmine Giacomo

Rhou slammed her newly-cleaned courier case on the marble table and stalked over to the cupboard, yanking it open. She lifted out a mug with a blue stone embedded in its handle, and poured it full of cold tea from the pot over the dead fire. She had a finger poised on the embedded stone when the ashes caught her eye. They’d been dead for over a day. She rolled her eyes and focused her anger into magic. Through the blue stone and into the mug it went, and the tea began steaming.

She sniffed it, satisfied. Old hot tea was infinitely better than old cold tea. Now, if only someone had been here to welcome her.

But no. She was always out of everyone else’s loop.

Sitting in a chair, she leaned back and rested her heels on the table. The adobe arch that framed the open window let in a warm spring breeze, and Rhou enjoyed its coolness, compared to the fervent, bustling heat of Capiscala.

Bells from the Cathedral

How do you tell
a wife you love
there are Spring days
in raw Chicago
bright with sun
and the boom
of bells
from the Cathedral
how do you tell
a wife like that
there are Spring days
you wish you had a girl

© 2010 Donal Mahoney. All rights reserved.


Snapdragons crackle

in the air for Maura

and her flowing gait,

a swagger neither Nora

nor Maureen would ever

let a suitor savor.

Maura knows

that in her wake

men with scythes

and burlap sacks,

creep like gators,

eyes afire, jaws agape.

Nora and Maureen

can smell these men.

Unlike Maura

and her flowing gait,

Nora and Maureen will smile,

take their time and wait.

© 2010 Donal Mahoney. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, MO. He has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. He has had poems published in or accepted by The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, Public Republic (Bulgaria), Gloom Cupboard (U.K.), Revival (Ireland), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), Poetry Friends, Black Lantern Publishing, Super Highway, Pirene's Fountain (Australia) and other publications.

Hell on the Highways

Nicholas J. Carter

The localized pockets of Hell on Earth caused quite a panic at first, but the frightened people were calmed when, after careful study, experts assured them that the phenomena were not a sign of the apocalypse, or any sort of organized attack at all, but utterly random events.

Which for some reason only occurred on highways. The grand, fiery demons that materialized in the lanes looked just as startled as the motorists that ran them over. And the demons did very little actual damage; accidents proved to be the real problem. They often happened when drivers, dodging some devil or another would veer into the next lane only to crash lamely into another car.

People got used to it. Hellholes (as they were called) became no more troublesome than any other nuisance on the road. News broadcasts set aside thirty seconds for them between weather and traffic.

Ten years later, experts estimated that hellholes caused fewer accidents per year than black ice. The road crews were still required to include a priest in orange vestments in case of flare-ups. Consecrating a highway would mitigate things at least until the holy water evaporated, generally three or four days.

The most palpable effect was a slight increase in car insurance rates.
©2010 Nicholas J. Carter. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Nicholas J. Carter lives in southeastern Massachusetts with his fiance. He will be graduating from the University of Massachusetts (Boston) in the fall. His work has been published in The Big Table and will soon appear in Clockwise Cat and Boston Literary Magazine.
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