Ignoring the instructions, the man stuck the pointy end of his tool in the slot of the little box I’d dropped my coins in. He then proceeded to hammer it in, angling it down to widen the gap just enough for the coins to spill out. He expertly caught them with the plastic cup meant for the laundry detergent, and then returned the container to the contraption with a quick, well-aimed blow from his...
Excerpt from So Long, Annemarie
by Joan Juliet Buck
A man with yellow hair takes me down to a basement movie house where other avatars are watching a porn film on a screen. The cartoon me in the polka dot dress in a basement porn house and the flesh and blood me in the bathrobe at the desk are both riveted by a video of flesh and blood strangers projected on a wall in a cartoon universe.
The Teachers’ Room
By Lydia Stryk
I meet her at the door and kiss her hard. I grip her arm and force her up the stairs. My anger leaves me heartless, callous. Esther understands and plays along. The look in her eyes is knowing, ready. There’s no room left for bodies gently lapping, no space here for the perfect rhythm of love. Every touch that was soft is rough, every tease now demand and seizure. The sweetness between us that...
Always Crashing in the Same Car
By Lance Olsen
It was John Lennon in house-husband mode wanting to show Sean the planet at the end of the Seventies, inviting a group of his mates to meet up in Hong Kong for a week’s holiday. Exploring the back streets one soggy afternoon, they heard a voice behind them. A cute kid, maybe ten or eleven, running up and asking, brisk with excitement: Are you John Lennon? Without hesitation, John answered: No...
By Kathrin Röggla
So, the bad news first. All of a sudden, we have rivers. No one saw it coming. All of a sudden we have mountains, seas, and lakes—yes indeed, we have bodies of water. Still water, rushing water, water gushing up from the deep.
By Olivia Kate Cerrone
They met in an open field at the compound with the sky bright and empty overhead. No drones or wireless signals infiltrated the space. Or so he was told. Joseph sat before his senior commanders, Mitchell and Jeanine, at a long portable table, among several other patriots, each handpicked for the militia’s most sacred mission. A private meeting held in secret...
Never Too Late
By Matthew Norman
I don’t know who will read this letter, or if this whole exercise is a trick. I don’t have any hope that it will reach the right people. I don’t even know if the guard will come back to collect it. But this is my story and the story of my country. Please save us if you can.
A Time of Splendid Isolation
By Alex Weilhammer
They lived in a box by the side of a road, and within their box, they were gods whose thoughts came to life. With a sudden snap, they could collapse walls, raise ceilings, add stairs, re-do flooring, conjure statues, erect fountains, and more.
In all the months they had been living in...
How Fires End
By Marco Rafalà
An excerpt of the novel How Fires End, published by Little A, 2019.
“I had three brothers,” she began, “but now—” Nella took a deep breath, held it in, let it out slow. “Now I am the last Vassallo. After me...
A novel excerpt by Cecilia Hansson
From Natur och Kultur, 2019, translated from the Swedish by Kira Josefsson
A BEGINNING OF SORTS
When I go to Erstagatan to be unfaithful it is spring, and I am 31 years old.
For four years I’ve been trapped inside a relationship, and this is me breaking out.
Sometimes a Slow, Steady, Light
They liked to play a lot of weird twin jokes. Mateo would slap his own cheek and Julián would cry out in pain. They would dress in the same way to see how long it would take for people to figure out who was who. They also developed a secret language that turned out to be a mixture of Turkish and Spanglish. The mixing of Spanish and English was easy, this was how we grew up. The...
The threshold that divides his memory in two was a deep gap. This deep emptiness was filled with a hum. The sound of shouting. Tear gas. With nerve gas. With fog. The void was covered with the smell of burnt people. Megaphone sounds. Threats. Crumbling walls. With shattered doors. There’s never been a threshold, there’s never been one.