In the Frossard home, there are no doors (the plaster tired of taking the brunt). In the Frossard home, there are people living in the walls (Isabelle is one of them). Isabelle is clogged between cockles and pipes. She feels them like her father’s ribs—he used to be thin and the craters of his bones were pronounced. We used to know him too, the walls whisper. Father cracks one of the Sunday plates, a plate his grand-maman carried through the war—of which she will remind him, surely. C’est typique, ça. The glue fails, the kitchen shrinks. It’s morning.
Jake McAuliffe is a cancer research PhD candidate from Cork, Ireland. He has work published in a few places online and on paper that mean a lot to him. Twitter @JakeMcAwful. Best Microfiction 2020 nominee. Can just about crack every bone in his body, and sometimes when he tries crack his neck, it feels like he's about to die—but he usually doesn't.
Nothing about him says wife-beater. He wears spotless shoes, fancy scents and manicured hands. Speaks with a gentleman’s calm. You’d be instantly enamoured.
Like she was.
But now, she has seen through the calm. She knows the stench of rage. She’s experienced the chokehold of his butter-soft fingers. She can trace, from memory, the patterns of his shoe sole.
Counting on cosmic retribution is futile, for karma is a sluggish beast. She must deliver her own justice.
Tonight, with a feast fit for a king, she waits. With an assortment of toxins to pump into his veins, she waits.
Megha Nayar will tell anyone who cares to listen that she was longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2020. She teaches English and French in order to afford bread (and cake), and writes prose to remain sane. Her work has appeared in Trampset, Variety Pack, Burnt Breakfast, Cauldron Anthology, Postscript Mag, Ayaskala Magazine and The Daily Drunk Mag, among others. She tweets at @meghasnatter.
HI ANGRY, I'M DAD
Everyday rage. It’s nothing big that will cause an explosion. It’s the incessant demands, orders, bickering, needling, taunting, not listening that will lead to something shouted you can’t take back. The only thing that accepts stop is the bloody wi-fi speaker!
Fire requires fuel and you are oversaturated with it on a daily basis. Bombs in miniature, detonating ever quicker.
A continued war for one, pushing your borders further and further out while the walls of your house creep closer and closer. Are you alienated or alienating? Are you trying to chill out or hide out? Is everybody the same?
Scott Cumming enjoys reading too much to consider himself a proper writer. He resides in Aberdeen with his partner and two sons. Catch up with all his misdemeanours on Twitter @tummidge
I want to take each egg out of its hollowed-out home in the cardboard carton and throw them against the wall. I want to smear your tobacco into our sheets and leave your damp, dirty towels on the bed. I want to rip open the cushions on the couch we bought last fall and pull out all the stuffing. I'll toss it like confetti over the whole room. I want, desperately, to see your face when you walk through the door to this mess, this devastation, this trash. But I'll be halfway to Mississippi by the time you get home.