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fiction

Feebleminded

Fiction

December 2018

Ariana Harwicz

TR. CAROLINA ORLOFF

TR. Annie McDermott

Fiction

December 2018

WHISKY WITH MOTHER as the electric blue fades into the small hours and now, a long way from home, my hands are covered in...

Fiction

August 2018

RETRIEVALS

Edward Herring

Fiction

August 2018

  About ‘Retrievals’:   I like to hear writing that is made out loud. Words vibrate in the air...

Fiction

July 2018

The Kid

Michelle Steinbeck

TR. Jen Calleja

Fiction

July 2018

There’s a child in the yard, its shoes flash every time it takes a step.   It carefully places...

Fiction

June 2018

They keep killing us

Sergio Loo

TR. Annie McDermott

Fiction

June 2018

They stuck photocopies in the urinals again and again we covered them in our names. Sheets of paper advising...

Fiction

Issue No. 22

Green_fields

Maria Hummer

Fiction

Issue No. 22

We were told to pay attention to things that were different, and it seemed to me that sex was...

Fiction

May 2018

Self-Improvement

Sophie Mackintosh

Fiction

May 2018

I had been sent back from the city in disgrace, back to my parents’ house in the country. It...

When I was born my mum and the nurses had laughed at my long baby fingernails ‘You were a soft ball with these sudden sharp surprises,’ my mum said, ‘like finding bits of eggshell in your omelette’ I think about this a lot I wedge my thumbnail into the omelette-y skin behind my other thumbnail I do it until red appears like tomato juice   I have always had long and fast-growing fingernails I am getting revenge on the woman who lives upstairs   *   On February 17th I meet Melanie in the foyer of our building To ‘meet’ a person can have three meanings:   To see or talk to someone for the first time To come together with someone intentionally To come together with someone unintentionally   When I ‘meet’ Melanie on 17 February in the foyer for me it is the third meaning   The building is supposed to be called Benson Tower but the first ‘e’ and the second ‘o’ have been gone since before I moved in It has always been Bnson Twer The building is marginally nicer on the inside that it is on the outside Melanie is standing by the fluffy green notice board but she isn’t looking at the flyers, she’s looking at her phone I close the front door behind me and walk past her I wait at the door into the stairwell She hasn’t looked up   ‘Are you coming this way?’   (Now she does look up)   ‘Sorry?’   ‘Upstairs Are you going upstairs?’   ‘Oh Yeah, sorry In a sec’   ‘I can wait’   ‘Do you live here too?’   It is clear that Melanie thinks we are ‘meeting’ in the first sense, even though we’ve met several times I can remember all of the times that we have met Once, we met in the doorway She approached me from behind and we stood side and side, looking at the street It was raining and I said ‘It’s raining,’ and she said ‘Cats and dogs,’ and then she laughed She pulled her scarf over her head and walked out She was wearing tan ankle boots and I wondered if they would fill up with rainwater like two novelty flowerpots   Another

Prize Winner

April 2018

The Great Awake

Julia Armfield

Prize Winner

April 2018

When I was twenty-seven, my Sleep stepped out of me like a passenger from a train carriage, looked around...

290 MILES TO GO   I am on the train now There are 290 miles to go From the window I can see people watching me from the streets and fields as the train speeds past They all appear to be wearing tight white tennis shorts and occasionally, when I look closely, I can see a deep red blooming at their crotches, spreading out across the tops of their legs They wave their arms very high in the air but for no real reason that I can discern There’s no panic or pleading on their faces, they aren’t crying for help All I can assume is that it’s some sort of dance, favoured by the people living in this part of the country Perhaps a ritual associated with the passing train, a means of protection against its speed and bulk After all, talismans do drip from their stiff cotton cuffs, mystical symbols are scratched into the dirty sand by their platformed feet   I see animals too of course Cows and sheep Horses with chestnut backs as reflective as mirrors They move along with the train like a pack of estate agents let loose, finding that their legs stretch much further than they thought Until they reach their limit of course, they hit a fence or a hedgerow or their lungs contract impossibly Then the train speeds away and I leave them behind Goodbye herds! I whisper Farewell beasts! I’ll probably never see the same set of sheep and horses and cows again   I am going to be 290 miles away for some time   WHEN I FIRST ENCOUNTER THE TRAIN I HAVE ALREADY BEEN EXHAUSTED BY THE STATION   I had waited to board the train next to a dusty crowd of people The platform stretched for two and a half miles and the sun maliciously heated the bleached concrete below us I hopped from one foot to the other to prevent the rubber soles of my plimsolls melting and sticking to the ground and most of the other people around me did the same, avoiding eye contact as we soundlessly pranced and waited The heat had

Prize Entry

April 2018

TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY MILES

Victoria Manifold

Prize Entry

April 2018

290 MILES TO GO   I am on the train now. There are 290 miles to go. From the...

Growing up, the joke in my family was that I could sleep on broken glass if I had to  Back then, I often slept for 11, 12, 13 hours at a time  If I woke to a quiet house I would turn over and go back to sleep, no matter how long I’d been in bed for  If I woke again and it was still quiet I would go downstairs to see if my father had killed my mother in the night, or the other way around   I stopped sleeping some time before my final year in school, when I was 16 or 17  I can’t remember exactly when  At first I was bemused by it  I would lie in bed and wait patiently for sleep to come  I burned vanilla scented candles and read huge novels, The Count of Monte Cristo, Great Expectations, War and Peace, Middlemarch  Nothing worked  When I realised I was never going to sleep again I was furious  What had I ever done?  So I stopped trying  I drank hot chocolate late into the night and wrote stories about girls who were dying to be saved, but in the end just died  Afterwards, I ripped them into tiny pieces that my mother wouldn’t be able to read when she was going through my waste basket and searching under my bed   I’ve tried all the cures for insomnia – counting sheep, counting numbers, warm baths, hot showers, warm milky drinks, chamomile tea, sleeping pills, magnesium, going to bed at the same time every night, herbal remedies, massage, sex, drunkenness – but the only thing that really works is to stop being miserable   *   As a rule, I don’t do well at parties, but I went along with it to seem good humoured and young, or at least as young as I was pretending to be  I’d been searching for somewhere to live for weeks when Kate’s ad appeared  ‘If you like books and music, we’ll get along’, it said, ‘Must like cats’  I’d read hundreds of ads by then and was sure no one in Dublin wanted to live with a 37-year-old proofreader, not even the 37-year-olds  In my
The Party

Prize Entry

April 2018

Lyndsey Smith