Category / Fiction

Sarah Layden The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York is at capacity, with the 15,000 assembled chanting “Hell no, we won’t go.” Then longtime pantsuit aficionado Janet Jackson climbs onstage and clicks her heels three times. The despondent women of the Pantsuit Nation—and the men who love them—snap to attention. She’s as familiar […]

Melissa McDaniel You aren’t allowed to do work on anyone drunk or stoned, but this guy has all the right paperwork and identification, so you ignore the dull gleam in his eyes and the way his hand shakes when he signs his name. It isn’t until he’s sitting in the chair that you think, Maybe […]

Michael Compton John, son of Kat and Stacy, that nice lesbian couple everyone seems to like, so cool with Paolo, the donor dad, that they even invite him to John’s Little League games, despite the fact that Stacy’s cutting eyes reveal she isn’t so cool about it as Kat, who birthed the boy, and, they […]

Beth Konkoski A friend from college sends me an actual letter and a snapshot where she sits on a wall in front of a lion’s cage, the hindquarters and a tail glimpsed through bars in the background. Her daughter stands beside her in a sweet flowered dress, her dark hair a wave of preteen style. […]

Benjamin Brandenburg   Comments (21): NutAllergy: Name? WheresTheBeef: Yeah, this girl is smoking hot. Does anybody know who she is? Bob95432: Her names Miranda Bennett. Shes from Peoria, IL. Big6Wang9: No – that’s Stephanie Bingham, from Florence, SC. We went to high school together. No doubt about it. MrMontague: She looks kind of like this […]

Other Kinds of Freezing Jennifer Popa Rick left a bag of apples we’d picked in October in the lazy Susan of his almost-furnished apartment, the dodgy place he rented on Goddard Street, and by Christmas we discovered they were still there, but not until I’d spent the weekend fixated on the fruit flies they attracted—it […]

Charles Rafferty A man wished to become notorious, so he purchased “The Birth of Venus” at auction and burned it on live TV. People were outraged. Afterward, at the press conference, he took a long sip of his mimosa. “With great wealth comes great privilege,” he told the journalists. “Surely that much is clear in […]

Julia Gerhardt There were only four people in line for the club: a couple and two teenage-looking girls whose whimpering did not make their fake ID’s any more valid. The couple was even louder. “Would you stop being a little bitch?” the man said to his girlfriend, fingering his wallet for cash. Isabella flinched. “Everything […]

Pat Siebel This one ends with a Pacific barracuda thrashing my left calf and gnawing my tendons to dust. I was fine. Didn’t feel a thing. Our captain lauded me and the neuropathic leg I’d hobbled in on. We’d been collecting food to sell to mainland markets, our boat doubling at that point as an […]

Emily Sinclair Post a pic of yourself at a party. Post a pic of what you ate, what you drank. Post a pic of you with your friends. (There was a shooting in Cleveland. A boy, twelve. A boy, black. A boy, holding a plastic gun.) Post a pic of your pet. Post a pic […]

Kara Oakleaf The astronauts’ baseball league is forever losing balls to low orbit. A line drive sails over the right fielder’s outstretched glove; a pop-up foul arcs backwards and never drops, and the game pauses as someone retrieves another ball from a storage compartment inside the shuttle. The moon’s moons, the astronauts joke as the […]

Curtis Smith A pool in the hills. The city below. Tall buildings and a moat of smog. A smothering that made her think of stillness, yet she knew this wasn’t the case. The pool clean, a shimmering of captured light. The movie star on a raft. A naked drift, a daring of the paparazzi and […]

Leah Jane Esau When I was a kid, we had bad teachers. The teachers ate lunch in the staff room and left us in our classrooms, unsupervised. One year there was an incident: some boys started a food fight, culminating in someone throwing a textbook, which was heavier than they anticipated, and they’d hit the […]

Lucas Church Most of my history took place in high school gymnasiums: Hard breathing punctuated by squeaks from sneaker rubber. I preferred not to be called Coach—who was I to shape the palsied actions of our nation’s youth?—but we all agreed on Movement Advisor, which I thought could explain more of me than not. Amanda […]

Emma Bolden So I know that Jennifer’s hair was on fire, and it was totally embarrassing and maybe dangerous, but I shouldn’t have been suspended. Like, I get that smoking is against the Honor Code, but Mr. Balfour is always standing right there on the lawn, just openly smoking. And we look up to him. […]

Julia Dixon Evans   For Suzanne On a December morning, when all the sea creatures beach themselves over and over again until they fall apart, bones and flesh and innards spilled on the sand, I realize: Yes, I’ll survive never letting go of him. The noises from the ocean: hissing waves, primal moaning, agony. The […]

Jennifer Fliss The adjectives are the first to go. Pretty. Lovely. Sad. Angry. Then verbs. Walk. Talk. Breathe. Later adverbs. Eventually your hearing is whittled down to strict nouns, not even pronouns. He and she and I dissipate into the noise of the world. When you begin to lose your hearing, you think this is […]

Amy Bilodeau Use second person so the reader is fully immersed. Think of your worst ex. Not the one who refused to clean toilets and accused your little brother of stealing his pot, but the one who slept with your best friend and called your mom an infamous whore—he loved the word infamous. Imagine him […]

Sarah Clayville He loves her in stages. The first one begins with her favorite lilacs from behind the butcher’s shop on Walnut Street and mocha chips so she can make her special cookies for the orphanage. He didn’t even know orphanages existed anymore until he followed her from work and watched her kneel in recklessly […]

J. T. Bushnell It will be a spring wedding. Her bridesmaids will wear rain boots and hold daffodils, and the downpour clattering on the tin roof of the grange hall will nearly drown out the ceremony. Afterward she will be delirious from happiness and relief and admiration from others, and it will last into the […]