Read with Care | Disturbing Content
Let’s have angry sex.
Balls out, slamming into the fridge, carpet scalded pelvis, sex- Over 1,820 people dead of the virus today, working all hours for the NHS, blue masks masking bluer language, sex-Can’t punch people, swim or go to the gym, can’t see my mother, sex- Drink a litre of gin, pump the music up loud enough for the police to come, dragging my nails down your sweaty back while you throw me over kitchen counter, biting into your flesh, Russian roulette, bi-weekly lateral flow test, not knowing when my time will come, screaming release type of sex.
Claire Hampton is a neurodivergent fiction writer who is slowly emerging, coughing and confused, from the industrial smog of Teesside, U.K. She has worked for the NHS for more than half her life because nowhere else will have her- she’s weird. Work in/upcoming in The Daily Drunk, Crow & Cross Keys, Full House Literary Magazine, Selcouth Station Press and the Writers Retreat U.K Anthology. Tweets @champtoncreates.
The numbers of my old street have long since burnt in the chemical fire in my brain, but the name has survived. It’s covered in the soot and ash of whatever cheap flower I last rolled but it’s legible. The distant echoes of gunshots make the white lettering levitate and fall back as powder. One inhale and the lines are gone. Holding the sign burns in my hand and makes my mouth go dry. I grab my Costco brand vodka and dive in headfirst. My father’s laugh waits above the surface, but I don’t plan on surfacing.
Addison Walton is an undergraduate student at Michigan State University double majoring in Arts and Humanities and English-Creative Writing with a minor in Japanese. When she’s not busy debating the meaning of life with her friends she’s reworking a single line in a poem or taking naps to avoid the existential dread that fills her up when she’s sat alone in a quiet room. She also likes video games and food. Find her on Twitter @mockturtleneck_
how to prevent a home fire
That night there was a lot of muffled shouting and slamming of doors in the apartment next door, countless tears stubbed out in an ashtray with a narrow base, too easy to tip over. That night a man soaked a cigarette butt in the salty water, then opened the bathroom door slowly as if to silence the squeaking hinge in his throat, and flushed the contents down the toilet. That night a woman dreamed of a room filled with sand she used to collect the ashes.
Originally from Serbia, Bojana Stojcic writes in Germany today, and tomorrow who knows where. She was a total punk rocker once. Now she listens to Sex Pistols only while vacuuming. @BoyaETC
Mom was reheating stir fry. While she wilted over the stove, I read her an article about an environmentalist who designed coffins that converted decomposing bodies into mushrooms that nourished the soil. I imagined a lush forest of reincarnated souls.
She turned around.
Mushrooms for eating? Or drug mushrooms?
The article didn't say.
When she died, I did not grow a mushroom mom. Instead, I got high on amanitas and sprinkled her ashes across the woods behind her childhood home. Where she had scaled the sycamores, muddied her knees, foraged for vegetation to feed her hungry baby doll, her child.
Megan Carlson spends most of her time managing her dog's social media presence. She is a reader for X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, and her short fiction has appeared in Bluestem Magazine, Hypertext Magazine, X-R-A-Y, and others. Find her on Twitter at @MegsCarlson.
TO THE PERSON
‘I’d harvest my own organs if I could,’ I tell him, ‘But I don’t have a steady enough hand. The appendix’s an explosion waiting to happen. The kidney I don’t need could buy meds and a uterus is no good to me. I don’t want a fetus draining me, taking up room, a squatter in my body. I’m no mother earth.’
He says, ‘That’s a lot for a first date.’
I explain the ticking clocks of women my age put guys off so I overcompensate. And now that chemo means he can’t have kids, I tell him this lie again.
Rosaleen Lynch, an Irish community worker and writer in the East End of London, loves stories whether conversational, written or performed. Rosaleen has words in Jellyfish Review, EllipsisZine, Fish, Mslexia, The London Reader, Litro and other lovely places and can be found on Twitter @quotes_52 and 52Quotes.blogspot.com
let's go on a dead husband hunt
I walk out to the barn a few minutes after five. I slide the tired door open and hope I’ll find you there, standing in the light. I stay till night obscures the rafters. There could be hundreds of people watching me from the corners I can no longer see, but I know none of them would be you. Why would you haunt the barn at the end of our property that I don’t have to see unless I want to. It was our bed you went to sleep forever in, swallowing pills as I dreamt.
Marlo Collins (she/her) is an editor and writer who grew up in East Tennessee and consequently cares strongly for the Blue Ridge Mountains and about the proper pronunciation of ‘Appalachia' (apple-atcha). She can only write while listening to Bon Iver and is trying to figure out what that’s all about as you read this. Connect with her on Twitter @marlo_writes.
The Falls at Niagara poured thunder from the indolent river upon the rocks below. Atop that deafening mist, barred only by a split-rail fence, they leaned nearer the edge to consider the plunge. He held her hand so tight that she yearned to jump and to take him with her.