jadon-barnes-1446
21 sec 
Fiction & Issue Three

Ubiquitous

By Ed Carmine

 

 The crunch of her palette cleansing salad was a detestably audible as well as visual experience. Her incisors ground the spines of her lightly dressed spinach leaves into a flecky green resin with mechanic precision. My salmon arrived, midway through her bouts of frontal lobe rattling chews and nauseating small talk, drenched in its own juices and lifeless in its bowl.

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annie-spratt-261990
15 sec 
Fiction & Issue Three

Avatar

By Evie Kendal

 

‘She’s gifted!’

‘Cursed you mean! Are you sure? How did this happen?’

Lady Maria Wetherford stared at the small creature smiling up at her from the crib. She cooed quietly, sucking on her tiny thumb and giggling periodically – all the while tracking her mother’s movements with unnatural closeness.

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john-towner-125995
27 sec 
Fiction & Issue Three

Skin

By Charlotte Duff

 

Oscar must be outside. Normally he’s at her by now, nuzzling at whatever part of her body happens to be protruding from the edge of the bed. A cold nose or a nibble on her big toe isn’t the nicest way to wake up, but there it is. And then those brown doggie eyes looking up at her. So she’ll get herself out of bed, bare feet on cold linoleum, to drop some more biscuits in his bowl.

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tim-graf-185818
23 sec 
Fiction & Issue Three

Memories

By Brendan Leigh

The bike bucked as it went over the little bump in the driveway, and I bucked with it. The drain pump would have to be cleaned again this weekend, the refuse that builds up over time been forced out by sheer force of water. Dad had told me that water always followed the path of least resistance, but that when enough force builds up, you’d better move out of the way right quick.

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Jeremy Yap
22 sec 
Fiction & Issue Two

The Quickening

by James Nicolson

Jane had seen the news reports. Animated billboards spilled their message as moving colours across travelways; others using public transport would have the same message projected into their eyes from hand terminals, huddled silently on a monotrain. Regardless of medium, the news was always the same: Artificial Intelligence was here.  The AIs were free. AIs could change matter.  AIs are matter.  And the AIs are benevolent. Just ask.

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matthew-wiebe
22 sec 
Fiction & Issue Two

Silt

By Eloise Faichney

Stassi lay with Cole’s corpse for two nights.

It wasn’t until the third night that she dared to reach out and touch him.

She poked solid flesh with a trembling finger and jerked back in fright, startling her cat, Fuckwit, who lay curled at the foot of her blanket. The feline rose, stretching her back and circling indignantly a few times, before settling back down. She kneaded her claws into Stassi’s feet. Read more

A photo by Jacob Aguilar-Friend. unsplash.com/photos/FRUNWjolvNA
46 sec 
Fiction & Issue Two

Treasure

By Kathryn Ryman

The cave is larger than the beast that keeps it. The walls stretch up high into the dark and the roof seems as distant as the moon when first you enter. The dragon itself is small. It lies stranded in the center of its vast empty domain, a huddle of bones and wasted muscle. You feel your heart sink; awash with disappointment, you regard the pitiable creature from afar. It rolls its sunken eyes towards you and scents the air but it does not get up, makes no move to guard its barren kingdom. You start forwards refusing to be deterred. The treasure could be something small you reason, something that can’t be seen from as far away as this. Something tiny you think… or something invisible even; with a dragon lying there before your very eyes will you really draw the line of disbelief at invisible treasure?

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DCIM101GOPROG0287902.
28 sec 
Fiction & Issue Two

The Town

by Keren Heenan

Out here the wind always blows up high and hard before a storm; the sudden buffeting of trees against the wall, low murmur building to a howl and the darkening outside the window. There’s a feeling as if the sky itself could fall. And then comes the rain.

He arrived on such a day. Sometime between the howling of the wind and the bruising of the sky, he glided into town, some said, as if he knew where he was going. But I know now that he probably didn’t.

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wilson-lau
04 min 
Fiction & Issue Two

Shinkansen

By Trina Denner

It was cold.

The carriage doors opened to let in the young woman, and, with her, a gust of wind that carried an assurance of snow. They closed behind, silencing the platform, sealing her in with the fragrance of wool and warm bodies.

The train did not dally in its launch, but transitioned from stationary to fast in one solid movement.

The faux fur lining the edges of her jacket held droplets of winter. Although, it wasn’t winter yet. It was barely October. She shrugged off the hood, and with wet beads falling to the floor, she was revealed. Rusty smears flecked her skin; the colour of parched bone.

The men did not look at her. They gently curved their faces to left or right. She gave a snappy shake of her head to dislodge the hair wedged at her nape, knowing they would not turn towards her. Not that she would mind if they had.

She raked her fingers through hair down her chest, enjoying the feeling of it, unraveled.

She found the men oddly unreachable, and in a way, disappointing.

Nothing like the boys back home, with their howls and barking. Their strained voices from Holden dual-cabs yelling ‘show us your tits’.

She grabbed at an overhead hand-hold, scanning for a seat. It was mid-morning and the daylight was faint.

Not like back home.

This was a sun wrapped in blue cellophane. Crisp and cool. She was used to a sun with harsh angles, drawing contrast and colour from everything it touched. Bouncing off the surf, blinding you so you couldn’t see if it were your brother on that wave, or your boyfriend. Hell, it could even be your grandmother’s podiatrist for all you could see, in that sun, from the dunes.

The young woman chose to sit on a side-facing seat, between two men, who moved in responding unison. Both shifting their weight, minutely away, and back down, as if at a more respectable distance. She wasn’t sure if she’d sat there just to make them uncomfortable, and she didn’t care to work it out.

She sat as an isthmus. No, as an island.

Contained, obvious, and quite decidedly remote.

And bare, she reflected, as she turned, finch-like, to take in the gentleman on her right. Funny that she would think of him as a gentle-man, in his middle-aged business suit, with his ever-dark hair and posture noble enough for a monarch. He was definitely not a bloke. Or a fella. Or a lad.

He turned further from her. Almost imperceptibly so, but she was as a bird in that moment, and noticed his discomfort under her placid scrutiny. She flicked her head to the other side, crossing her leg against his silent rebuff.

On her left sat a man not much older than herself. He wore dark glasses. Superdry. And mowhawk-reminiscent hair. And Tsubi jeans. And a Comme de Garcons jacket.

Stylin’, she thought, but then went on to consider nothing else about him as she noticed the two women across.

They were old. So old. Fragile old.

Their eyes were closed in sleep, this pigeon pair, and for all intents and purposes, they were dead. Frozen in last century; painted white faces and rose bud lips that were mostly just rouge on skin rather than actual lip. And those funny thick-white socks with their clogs, which made her thoughts shift whimsically to running through summer in thongs.

So different from the old ladies back home with their fawn coloured slacks, pleated definite and straight down the front of each leg, and singlets for bras, and their hair permed into tight, fake balls of violet.

The two ancient dolls swayed gently in their sleep. Hands on purses neatly in their laps, and white-gray hair twisted smooth and stabbed through with sticks that held glass beads jingling softly as they danced with the motion of the train.

They stirred in her a memory she did not recognise as her own.

She closed her eyes, recording the sight of them. Their kimonos of red and pale blue, and cherry blossoms and herons. The finest of thread woven into a gloss. The young woman smiled as the eyes of one flickered in her slumber. It was the smaller woman. The plumper one.

She wondered what she dreamed about that should cause her lashes to flutter so, speculating that perhaps it was her lover from decades past who had returned to her, where age could not reach them. His hair jet and eyes alert, and his lips parting softly as he kissed her dream.

The red letters scrolled across the digital board at the corner of her vision. Shinjuku station.

She stood with a last look at the old women, who refused to stir as the train baulked at the sight of the station.

The doors opened and the scent of early winter burned her nostrils. She stepped down and was immediately engulfed in the tide of black-haired travelers. She, ginger and bright, zigzagged in a haphazard line as she moved away from the train.

 

Image by Wilson Lau

Chocolate
21 sec 
Fiction & Issue Two

New Dog

By Andy Goss

‘We need a dog,’ she said.

‘There will never be another Suki, you know that.’

‘Yes. But it was so good, having that other person, that animal person in our lives. It just seems right to me. Suki has left such a hole.’

Joe fiddled with his teacup, turning it round and round, peering into it as if the answer lay within. But you can’t tell fortunes with a teabag.

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贝莉儿 NG
33 sec 
Fiction & Issue Two

The Fishbowl Astronaut

by Clare Millar

On the driveway was the kind of van you would expect to be told about before arriving home. Stark white with the letters ‘exterminator’, it was parked right in the way of where Annalise wanted to park. She turned her keys to silence the car. For a moment she lingered with the door two-thirds open, and thought it was likely a mistake; her house was more likely to need an ambulance than an exterminator. But she quarantined her doubts with the soft click of the lock. She jiggled her way between the dead rose bushes and the pearly van. There were no clues behind the windows.

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Alejandra Quiroz
27 sec 
Fiction & Issue One

High-Wasted Genes

By Matthew Jones

Her jacket was dancing in the wind. Out of time; off beat; sporadic. He thought she looked so beautiful. He exhaled slowly, trying not to get lost in his own thoughts. He must focus on the situation he had stumbled into tonight. Focus on the beautiful girl in black skinny jeans, her dark hair whipping about her face, her gaze meeting his with a sweet smile. In the snarling wind her fringe covered her eyes, but he could still make out the radiant blue which glinted underneath.

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Artur Rutkowski
26 sec 
Fiction & Issue One

Same but Different

By Tina Tsironis

Often a gap will develop between someone you thought you knew and the person they have become. A gap that widens at first gradually and subtly, and then all at once like a jet plane flying full throttle into a building.  The sight of my younger brother Steven chasing my mum down our hallway last year, his face fire engine red, pushed the gap from slightly far apart to so extensive you’d have to run a marathon to reach the other side.

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Siyan Ren
24 sec 
Fiction & Issue One

The Last Job on Earth

By James Nicholson

No one could actually hear the actual sounds of intelligence, or of thought, but John Johnson knew the three animated suits before him were thinking. Considering, scanning and analysing him simultaneously; monitoring everything from his blood pressure to the dilation of his eyes, his heart rate compared against brain function.  The thoughts, Johnson mused, would sound like a soft serve of static; a screen whose signal was not quite right.  Thoughts would sound grey.

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Matt Howard
19 sec 
Fiction & Issue One

A Series of Microfiction

By Arianne James

Invisible

Her mother sits in the wicker chair by the bay windows, watching the snow flurries swirl in gentle tendrils, like dancers in white tulle floating around a ballroom. Baby can hear her knitting needles clickety clacking their way towards a scarf. The tiny girl lies on the sheepskin rug by the open fire—but don’t worry, there is a grate.

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