Devil's Drop

Heather Cripps

Louis, Jake and I found the body on Devil’s Drop. It was about two weeks before our last day of primary school, and Devil’s Drop was a clearing on a steep hill in the wooded area just off the play park and it was ours. “Even when we’re thirty and have jobs and suits and stuff?” Jake had said and we’d agreed. There was a tall thick tree in the middle of the clearing and someone before us had tied a thick blue rope off one of the branches to make a swing...

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Oriental Sunrise

Hannah Godden

He parked his car behind hers. He watched her walk up the drive and turn her key in the lock. She pushed the door. Clicked it shut behind her. Nice neighbourhood, he thought. Of course it was fucking nice. He counted to twenty, then got out and followed. He glanced behind at the pavement. Empty. Closed curtains all down the street. He made a fist and knocked on the door...

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Stick Insect

Matt Gregory

‘So, what’s it like?' My coffee has gone cold in front of me. I watch as a barista puts two and a half spoons of coffee granules into a mug then hands it to her manager who snatches it from her and mutters something in Turkish. The espresso machine hisses. Above their heads, a TV flickers to some music channel where a blonde babe wiggles her hips and boobs. The empty sugar sachet I’ve been twisting with my sweaty fingers disintegrates and I put it with the other three that I’ve ruined, on the far-right side of the table. Behind us a toddler babbles as he bangs his toy lightsaber against his buggy. Why are coffee shops always so loud? ...

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Bite of the Monkey Child

Guy S. Ricketts

My name is Gunnar Sibley. I used to work in retail, suffering through that insane hell for 15 years. I currently reside in an institution, while an assigned psychiatrist determines my mental state. The psychiatrist visiting today is named Dr. Michael Kurtz. This is his second time visiting me here, and at the end of the day it will be his analysis that determines my future. I care, but I don't care, y'know what I mean?

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Taste of Freedom

Steven Humber

Static fizzled away into the smooth golden voice of the radio disc jockey, ‘KSSSSSHHH -up is a new favourite of our audience, the refreshingly smooth sounds of Tony Bennett’s The Good Life, but first, a word from our sponsors. You’re listening to Chronkite West State radio…’ The crisp, amber sunlight cascaded through the windows and onto the table tops; dust drifted lazily in its rays like pepper floating in melted butter, and the headlights of cars on the nearby highway painted everything with a sweeping, honeyed glaze...

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Man Overboard

Sereine Coutellier

Basil wasn’t born deaf. He was five when he fell into the sea. He was running across the damp rocks of the pier when his glow in the dark jelly sandals slipped, and the deep masses of water claimed his chubby half naked body. Devoid of armbands, he sunk further and further, cold streams curling around his limbs, dragging him down. By the time his parents jumped in and brought him back to the surface, he was unconscious. He woke up in a white hospital room that smelled like the dentist’s office...

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Passing Thoughts

Faiaz Alam

Well, what on Earth do I do now? I need to fill in this small amount of free time I have. I can’t let it just go to waste, doing nothing.

Ha ha. Funny that. I never thought this would be the first thought to spring to mind in any scenario let alone one such as this. I’m usually quite content doing nothing. Just sort sitting and pondering. Just generally existing really. But of course, you wouldn’t know that, would you? Well, not many people would. I suppose my best friends wouldn’t. Things I get up to in my spare time...

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Alex Johnson

He was born out of a swirling cloud of gases suspended in space. No one had given him a name yet, so he drew his own; a billion letters long, written in the atoms of his heart. Far off across the stellar nursery his brothers and sisters were waking up – hot bright instances in the cold expanse. They had names too, but no one would ever know them. They were too far apart – at least in physical terms. In time the distance was nothing, for stars can see for billions of years, and they share what they have seen with their...

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David Colbus

The Twin Lanterns’ namesakes lit the pub with a smoky glow, smudged and stained brass swinging over the heads of the storm-drenched men. The fish oil that fueled the flames gave off a pungent odor that mixed with the smell of the booze and the crowd. When the sailors walked in, they brought with them the scent of gin on their lips and tar on their hands. Where the whalers huddled, it smelled of the ocean, of salt and oil and blood. With no man willing to leave the comfort of hearth and cup for the storm outside, every seat and stool was filled...

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