“She expects to get caught and almost confesses every Friday. But if there’s anything her father talks about, it’s tradition and family and maybe the way he sustains that is by only looking at what he wants to see.”
Anita Goveas is British-Asian, London-based, and fuelled by strong coffee and paneer jalfrezi. She was first published in the 2016 London Short Story Prize anthology, most recently by the Cincinnati Review. She’s on the editorial team at Flashback Fiction, and is a submissions reader for The Selkie. She tweets erratically @coffeeandpaneer. Her debut flash collection, ‘Families and other natural disasters’, is available from Reflex Press, and links to her stories are at https://coffeeandpaneer.wordpress.com
"In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love" according to Tennyson. Well, it's April, and I'm not young, so I think I will just turn lightly to this short story about the hazards of same. (Ed.)
“I walked along the corridor. Her flat was on the ground floor of a large Edwardian conversion, and seemed to stretch back a long way from front door to garden. It was light and airy in the morning sun, with a particular quietness. I imagined that few, if any, arguments had taken place there.”
Mike Fox has co-authored a book and published many articles on the human repercussions of illness. Now writing fiction, his stories have been nominated for Best of Net and the Pushcart Prize, listed in Best British and Irish Flash Fiction (BIFFY50), and included in Best British Stories 2018 (Salt), His story, The Violet Eye, was published by Nightjar Press as a limited edition chapbook. A collection of new stories is being prepared for publication by Confingo Publishing in 2023. www.polyscribe.co.uk
I have reason to suspect that when studious geeks at school try the same psychedelic drugs as the seemingly cool popular kids, the effects may be more extreme. This story is a trip in more ways than one. (Ed.)
“It was Jim who suggested the magic mushrooms. He knew a guy in Lyme. This was the summer of 1990, just before I left for university, when I was still green as common eelgrass. Fiona said her parents would be away the following weekend, so we could do them at hers.”
Michelle Christophorou lives in Surrey, UK. Her short fiction has appeared in various places online and in print, and her story ‘Wearing You’ (FlashFlood journal) was included in the BIFFY 50 list of best UK and Irish flash 2019/20. She is the author of novella-in-flash, KIPRIS (Ad Hoc Fiction, 2021), shortlisted for a Saboteur Award. In 2022, she won the Free Flash Fiction competition and had work shortlisted in both the Bath Flash and Short Story contests. Michelle is a recovering lawyer. Find out more at michellechristophorou.co.uk.
“In the hospital in Sligo Town, the undertaker’s assistant was bathing Bridget Ellen while her children were flying or sailing across the Irish Sea from scattered points throughout England. In trains and cars, others were nearer, Ignatius, the youngest of all of them, even had time for a drink.”
Marion Urch McNulty is an award-winning artist and writer. Her first novel Violent Shadows (Headline Review) was published in the UK in 1996. Her second novel An Invitation to Dance (Brandon 2009). Various short stories have been published in Ireland, England, Canada and the US. Her video works are held in galleries around the world and archived by the University of Dundee.
The Rings is part of a collection of short stories titled Of Love and Other Miracles which playfully subverts the lives of the saints.
We're back with a new series of original short stories online. Don't worry, the reprints are still there somewhere on the menu too. And what better way to start the year than with a tale of young people in a northern town, somewhere near the sea and the eternal question about staying or leaving. Ed.
“There was a far-off shimmer to the north, and Da told her it was the glow of Newcastle, luring the unwary with her swagger and shine. Annie knew he’d made it up, that you wouldn’t be able to see the city lights from so far away, but she went along with it unquestioningly, as though she believed every word. ”
Amanda Hugginsis the author of the novellas Crossing the Lines and All Our Squandered Beauty as well as several collections of short stories and poetry. Her work has also appeared in a wide range of journals and newspapers and on BBC Radio. She has won numerous awards, including three Saboteur Awards, the BGTW New Travel Writer of the Year, and the Colm Tóibín and H E Bates short story prizes. She was also a runner-up in the Costa Short Story Award and the Fish Short Story Prize, and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and many others.
Greetings to our friends in Ukraine and also in Russia. Here's a wish that your differences may be settled by diplomacy and not more war. I have to say something constructive when I'm about to share with you a short story in which a young woman asks, "Have the Russians won everything yet?" Ed.
“In the Soviet Union, with its ritual of daily obstacles and anti-Semitism, the U.S. had seemed a haven, a far-away hope of her life’s opposite. She was young when the exodus of Jewish refugees, as they were officially called, started in the 1970s, mostly to North America and Israel. Suddenly, everyone knew someone, or was someone, who was leaving. Her mother’s coworker. Her father’s cousin. The girl who sat behind her in school.”
Yelena Furman lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches Russian literature. Her fiction has previously appeared in Narrative.
We're delighted to welcome the author of one of our first stories of the month back to these pages. In a tweet, M.E. Proctor describes her latest as a slightly nostalgic, slightly magical story and invites you to have a read friends and listen to the "Boardwalk Oracle."
…Even in the fading light of the day that concealed the worst scars of decrepitude, the seediness of the place could not be ignored. Many shops were boarded up and metal curtains were down on those that weren’t. The coin-operated machines were battered, nicked and banged metal, flaked-off paint. Relics from the early age of automation...
M.E. Proctor lives in Livingston, Texas. After forays into SF (The Savage Crown Series), she’s working on a series of contemporary detective novels. Her short stories have been published in Bristol Noir, The Bookends Review, Beat to a Pulp, All Worlds Wayfarer, Shotgun Honey and others. On Twitter: @MEProctor3
Not much sign of mystical religious experience in contemporary short stories, is there? We are here to remedy that with another unusual story of the month. Prepare to be conveyed to the boundary between the here and now and the ineffable beyond. Ed.
“Seated again, he closed his eyes. Now and then he had sampled High Anglican services (had, in fact, dragged along both Maureen and the children) where the priest broke out the censer, smoking the pews like a beekeeper gently rousing his charges, but he preferred things here in the cathedral: high enough, quite solemn to be sure, but musical and slightly imperfect; human, somehow, and all the better for it. Sometimes he’d invited people from the office.“
James Roderick Burns’ short story collection, Beastly Transparencies, is due from Eyewear Publishing in 2022. He is the author of three collections of poetry – most recently The Worksongs of the Worms (2018, haiku) – and a short fiction pamphlet, A Bunch of Fives. His work has appeared in a number of journals and magazines, including The Guardian, Modern Haiku, The North and The Scotsman.
Her mouth is wide and painted royal blue, her teeth stark white in comparison as she bares them at the ceiling in thought. She can pass for a corpse pulled cold from the salty water of the ocean outside her window, frail and blue and perfectly preserved.
“What do you want to be?” She asks me.
Jessica Fogal lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest (USA), where she’s a full time legal assistant, amateur street photographer, and author. She’s been published in The Ilanot Review and has had many prints showcased in art galleries such as Terrain Spokane, and continues to use her lifelong passions for performance, visual, and literary arts as an inspiration for her creative writings.
We're back with all new stories. Here's something to think about because, you know, nothing at all is happening in the world these days, is it? Read the whole story before you make up your mind about this one. It might not be just what you think. (Ed.)
“Al Nash kept the dark secret of his hair loss hidden under his favorite blue canvas Navy cap, and pulled it even lower as he told his son, Troy Nash, about Robert E. Lee …”
Jack R. Johnson is a monthly columnist for North of the James Magazine in Richmond, Virginia; an editor of The Alliance for Progressive Virginia blog and a contributor to Style Magazine. His published works include short stories, articles and the novel, An Animal’s Guide to Earthly Salvation. His latest novel, In Black and White, is scheduled to be published by Propertius Press in 2022.
He looks at Anne with marked indifference, as if expecting her to introduce herself and explain the purpose of her visit, and then, after a second, makes a little twitch with the left corner of his lips indicating a smile.
‘Well,’ he says, ‘look who’s here.’
Sergey Bolmat published his first novel in Russia to great critical acclaim. To date, he has published three novels, two collections of short stories, many articles and essays in various periodicals, and a biography of Nikolay Chernyshevsky. Some of these books were shortlisted for literary awards, translated into many European languages, adapted for radio, and optioned and developed for film. His first short story written in English appeared in The Higgs Weldon.
* Photo: Sergey Bolmat by Natalia Nikitin (detail)
… Later, John places the kettle on the hob. I’m sitting at his kitchen table again, rolling another joint. My eyes are level with his waistband as he leans across me to take cups from a shelf, the tip of his tan-coloured leather belt close to my face. I yank it …
Barbara Robinson has an MA in Creative Writing from MMU and reads at literary events in Manchester. Her short story Supersum was short-listed for the 2016 Willesden Herald prize and her novel Elbow Street shortlisted for the 2018 Andrea Badenoch Fiction Award and longlisted for the Grindstone Literary 2018 Novel Prize. She has had short stories published in Ellipsis Zine and Fictive Dream.