by Jasper Diamond Nathaniel
Elliot lay awake, his cheeks burning as the sun crept in through the mangled curtains and came to rest on his face. “Let’s get up,” he said, “don’t you want to have a real morning?” Maxine, her eyes closed, rolled over to face the wall and squeezed the pillow over her ears. He knew what was coming next but he touched her shoulder anyway.
“Stop it,” she said, “I’m serious,” and then she pulled the covers over her shoulder and inched closer to the wall.
The Shorebirds and The Shaman
by Kelly Fordon
Corinne’s husband, Ethan, died in his sleep. Right before bed, they’d had one of their rote conversations—the same one they had every night.
“What time should I get up?” Ethan was sitting on his side of the bed with his back to Corinne, fumbling with the alarm clock on his ancient phone. “Should I get up for yoga or sleep in?”
“Blah, blah, blah,” Corinne said. “Why do you ask me that every single night as if I actually care when you get up?” Though it sounded awful in the retelling, she’d said this in a playful tone. They chided each other. That was their shtick.
by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi
Listen, I hate the Internet. Listen, I don’t hate the Internet but it eats me up like a groaty sack of potato chips, swallows my time and leaves me feeling penniless and dull. Like I don’t know how to fill my time. Like I watch too much TV.
Something registers as logically but not materially funny. Everybody else laughs.
by Laura Winnick
Phoebe and I meet up at a bar that’s too crowded for us to go fully inside, let alone talk to one another. We lock eyes and exit. It keeps happening that I don’t want to be where most people want to be.
We idle outside, November’s temperature dropping, Phoebe propping her compact dancer’s body on the frame of her bike, and me, stamping around, trying to feel something.
by Nicholas Rombes
Somehow, it was Julia’s Detroit. It seemed it always had been.
I’d been sent to Detroit to save someone, although in the end it was me who needed saving.
Maybe it was because I only understood the city through the filter of her stories and the byways of their telling. It was her eyes, after all, that showed me what to look at, what to ignore.
I Was There, Too
by Alex DiFrancesco
Broom into the corners, mop into the corners. Over and over, my job. I’ve made some bad decisions, I know. I guess not as bad as the guys who end up in the hole.
Matthew Miner. I first saw him when I went to clean out his cell. I’d heard about him, yeah. That guy. The one who had killed all those people. Put here, in the hole, for his own protection. From the guys like he’d been, outside, before the killings, and from the guys he’d hated outside. Nobody wanted a guy like him around.
by Steve Himmer
In hindsight we saw the invisible coming. A meme in which photos of teenagers caught in conversation with adults bore the words “Disappear Me” became ubiquitous enough that even I noticed. Then it spread to include photos of anything that looked unhappy listening to anything else, whether a cat or a dog or a small tree overshadowed by a large one. Videos of kids pulling hoods and shirt collars over their faces while talked at by parents and teachers and scolding strangers earned millions of views, and at school assemblies whole student bodies were swallowed by their clothing before baffled speakers trying to teach them how to fend off a mass shooter. Whatever the unwelcome subject, kids disappeared.
The Collington Archive
by Christopher Wood
“Guys,” she said.
Molly was an accelerated undergrad, the lone freshman in our two-semester editing class, which helped produce Concourses, the university’s recently-launched national lit mag. In sizing up our English department’s rising status, during her college search, this go-getter, or her high school advisor, had been prescient.
She cornered us in the library’s computer room, while Sam printed his EN: 397 Comparative Renaissances paper on Milton and Hughes.
“Hey, Molly,” we said.
Sam’s professor was locking up her office for the weekend in less than an hour. My buddy had to drop off his assignment pronto.
“The Collington archive just went up,” Molly announced.