Fiction | Monsters Make Monsters by Nina Ellis

I was the pretty sister. I was the good one, too. Some people said Jackie was the good sister, but that was to compensate for her moving 7,450 miles away from home to save the world. ‘Next right?’ said Jackie, frowning at her phone in the passenger seat. You mean left, babe, I said in my head. Jackie has never had much of a sense of direction, geographically or in life. That’s why I’d come here in the first place—not to see hippos, like I’d told her, but to get her to [...]

Fiction | Down the Marina by Daniel Kramb

Daniel KrambDown the Marina At the city’s edge, half way into the marina, Ana-Maria sits on top of her boat, wearing a man’s jumper, pants...

Fiction | Silver Lining by Charlotte Newman

Things were not so free back then, but I was. Still a girl, living in my body. We’d been at the pictures, her dad and me, slurping pop, finding each other’s hands in the space for drinks. He waited until we got to the station to kiss me, which seemed so out of character. I’d seen no proof of happiness in marriage and dishwashers, so when he asked me back to his flat, I didn’t mind. It wasn’t 'beyond' I was after [...]

The Rat by Hannah Lowe

The landlady watches herself in the living room mirror, phone held to her ear. In the blurred morning light her face looks young again,...

Fiction | Winter by Philip Womack

One Wednesday evening, on the stone steps outside an umbrella shop somewhere near Tottenham Court Road, Sam encountered Silvestra de Winter in person for the first, and last, time. Rain droplets spattered down the back of his neck. The umbrellas, lining the window like carcasses in a butcher’s shop, were striped in pinks, greens, and oranges. Some, in what was evidently thought a rather witty touch, had carved animal heads. One duck-headed umbrella looked like [...]

A Glamorous Life by Karl Manders

IN THE SUMMER, while their shells are still a pale colour, you may eat the white kernels of unripe hazel nuts. You extract their...

Fiction | Asma by Dur e Aziz Amna

Dur e Aziz Amna received second prize in our Short Story Competition 2017. The year Asma moved in with us, we were living in a two-family...

Flowers by Mark Godfrey

She communicates through flowers. Daffodils are for happiness, carnations for sadness, snowdrops mean hope and tulips stand for strength. She saves dahlias for saints’...

Fiction | In Search of Scott by Will Kitson

Will KitsonIn Search of Scott I remember the first time I read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work. I was 20 years old, in the second year...

Fiction | Just Wait For The Party by Laurane Marchive

‘Why not just burn everything?’ Sarah puts down her cup and reaches for the bottle. She pours herself more wine. On the table, all the glasses are full. ‘You know we can’t,’ I say. ‘Why not? Let’s just get rid of them, once and for all.’ She gestures at the plants making their way through our windows, through every crack in the walls. Around our kitchen and living room, short green stumps line the edges of the ceiling like sharp poking fingers, their flesh covered with a thin [...]

Fiction | Your Story, My Story by Connie Palmen [Extract]

To most people, we exist only in books, my bride and I. For the past thirty-five years, I’ve had to watch with impotent horror as our real lives were buried beneath a mudslide of apocryphal stories, false witness, gossip, fabrication, and myth; how our true, complex personalities were replaced by hackneyed characters, reduced to mere images, tailor-made to suit a readership with an appetite for sensationalism. And in all of this, she was the brittle saint [...]

Fiction | Night As It Falls by Jakuta Alikavazovic

Paul couldn’t believe that she lived in a hotel. Better yet, or worse, he had known it, then forgotten. They talked about her on campus, rumours had preceded her, so much that her body already existed in whispers, but Paul didn’t care about gossip. He cared about girls, and women. Their mouths, their flesh. He was eighteen years old, and living multiple lives. By day he went to university, he stared at huge blackboards or whiteboards, he traded and compared notes with [...]

Fiction | “Smack” from Salt Slow by Julia Armfield

The following text is an extract from the story “Smack”, taken from Julia Armfield’s debut collection Salt Slow, published by Picador: 'The jellyfish come with the morning – a great beaching, bodies black on sand. The ocean empties, a thousand dead and dying invertebrates, jungled tentacles and fine, fragile membranes blanketing the shore two miles in each direction. They are translucent, almost spectral, as though the sea has exorcised its ghosts [...]'

Fiction | Not Contagious by Haleh Agar

We’d agreed to the terms and conditions. How to accept and decline an invitation of touch. What to do in case of accidental erection. We’d ticked the box that confirmed we were clean, contagion-free, sound of mind people. Pierre roamed the yoga studio with a disarming smile. He was there to enforce the rules: platonic touch. No funny business. Most people in the studio had paired off, their bodies locked together on those tired mandala cushions. Some lay hidden under white duvets like dead unmoving things [...]

Fiction | Are There More People Alive Than Dead? by Laurane...

Laurane MarchiveAre There More People Alive Than Dead? The phone rings. 5am. It’s your boyfriend. He is in New York so with the time difference,...

Fiction | The Sinners’ Corner by Mark Sadler

I returned to work on a dismal Tuesday morning, emerging from the main entrance of London, Fenchurch Street, railway station under opaque grey skies....

Fiction | Asphyxia by Violette Leduc

My mother never gave me her hand… She always helped me on and off pavements by pinching my frock or coat very lightly at the spot where the armhole provides a grip. It humiliated me. I felt I was inside the body of an old horse with my carter dragging me along by one ear… One afternoon, as a gleaming carriage sped past, splattering the leaden summer with its reflections, I pushed the hand away right in the middle of the road. She pinched the cloth [...]

News | The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses 2019

Last night the winners of The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses were announced, with this year’s announcement signalling a re-structuring of the...

Flash Fiction | Never Fall For That by Rebecca Lilly

"Clarify your intent," — Lama Chopra, ourmeditation teacher, rang the bell for us tosit — "the Reaper was once an old friend."My...

Fiction | The Swallowed Man by Edward Carey

I am writing this account, in another man’s book, by candlelight, inside the belly of a fish. I have been eaten. I have been eaten, yet I am living still. I have tried to get out. I have made many attempts. But I must conclude that it is not possible. I am trapped within an enormous creature and am slowly being digested. I have found a strange place to exist, a cave between life and death. It is an unhappy miracle. I am afraid  of  the  dark. The dark is coming for me [...]

Fiction | Alysm by Irenosen Okojie

I am walking our dog in the park when the burning sensation infiltrates my throat as though it is new-found land. The burning sensation makes me want to slip into the abandoned baby harness slung over a bench, then run towards a baying that escapes the heat in my blood. The burning sensation has instructions for daylight. In you. Out of you. Beyond you. The burning sensation says the fog expanding in your brain has accomplices. The burning sensation warns [...]

Fiction | Quiet Mountain by Sally Jubb

They got on at Vico Equense. The carriage was almost full, but the two of them managed to squeeze into a seat diagonally opposite,...

The Golden Hour by Frances Gapper

That afternoon was a particularly trying one for Mary. Having changed her mother’s incontinence pad and left her on the sofa watching ‘Homes under...

Fiction | Don’t Tell Father by Denisa Vitova

Denisa VitovaDon't Tell Father -----My mother bought a new dress she didn’t necessarily need but which fit her tall, slim figure perfectly, its creamy colour...

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