Face Behind Bars by Bogdan Dragos

her hair made her face look like it was always behind bars or trapped in barbed wire Nothing could get through those thin bars but the mouth of the bottle as it joined hers strands of hair would get inside her mouth and between her lips and into the bottle and she wouldn’t care one…

This Species has to be Killed in its Infancy by Bogdan Dragos

the kid handed him a piece of paper and asked, “Can we put this one on the fridge?” It wasn’t a drawing “What’s this?” he asked There were words written on it I am getting in my car and I’m driving very far Following the star of my dreams It seems my destiny awaits as…

Already Talking like a Real Man by Bogdan Dragos

their deaths were four days apart first went father and then mother And now the dark smoke took the shape of a cat and clung to his shoulder, digging sharp claws into his tender flesh “It hurts,” he cried “Oh, shut up,” the smoke cat said, “Be a man. In this world only the strong…

What the Shadow Eats, the Shadow Becomes by Bogdan Dragos

A great shadow seems to have tripped and fallen over these memories like a thing alive and hungry How lucky it is to have stumbled upon such treasure I feel it eating right now, like a famished animal filling its belly with chunks not even chewed It’s eating her face and I can no longer…

Allergies by Bogdan Dragos

“Are you trying to kill me?” his mother screamed. “Are you trying to fucking kill me!?” He backed away. “Mom, please.” “Shut up! You brought a cat. A cat! Of all things. In the house! Knowing full well of my allergies. That is a declaration, young man. A declaration that speaks very loud. You are…

Feeble Door by Bogdan Dragos

Such a feeble door it was a joke like made of cardboard it stayed ajar and the rusty knob was barely hanging to it it didn’t actually work and there was no locking it either the only thing that made it close was its misalignment with the frame It just kinda pushed into the frame…

It’s All a Game by Bogdan Dragos

but what are we alive for if not to play and enjoy games life itself is but a game and the best at it are those who don’t grow up, those who can still view it as such She tried to teach her four children this truth that’s why she brought them into the backyard…

SURPRISE by Michael Walters

She looked into the box.  Her eyes widened, and she violently closed the box back up. Until that moment, she had felt in control, but now? Reaching for the duct tape, she began wrapping the box in layer after layer Pretty soon she ran out of tape leaving the box completely covered Relaxing a bit,…

Shock by Bogdan Dragos

the three of them stood by the banks and watched the water turn red So it’s not like in the movies. When you see someone dying you don’t burst into uncontrollable fits of screaming You stand very still and watch and can’t speak can’t blink can’t turn away can’t run can’t do anything really Shock…

Heaven in a Hole in the Wall by Bogdan Dragos

honestly the soul-crushing loneliness can only be matched by the soul-crushing company of shitty people Is there even a middle path anymore? He asked this question to the hole he punched in the wall of his bedroom It was now an empty bedroom after his lover left days ago to be with some coworker or…

Will Not Get With the Times by Bogdan Dragos

he just wanted to write Very old-school character Used pencils and paper But the city wouldn’t let him. The city outside his four walls stood like a sea of noise against his dreams “Listen,” his wife said, “these days they don’t even accept snail mail submissions. You have to get with the times. It’s done…

Drown Everything by Tony Espino

Carl looks past the photos of happy customers on the wall at a sparrow perched in the dark on an empty pill bottle outside. An artifact from a time when medication could relieve anxiety. A time when there was a choice to fix society or increase the dosage to deal with society. The highest dosages…

The Women in Dreams

(A short story in Vietnamese by Nguyễn Văn Thiện, translation into English by Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm) There was a time when he took too many sleeping pills, he would have these vivid dreams. As soon as he fell asleep, he turned into a woman. Talking about it makes little sense, confusing, and often rather…

Said the Ashtray by Bogdan Dragos

Of course predators don’t always murder their prey Many times they will just catch something for fun and then release it and revel in the godlike feeling of having allowed a creature infinitely weaker to live “My cat brought me a mouse,” she said. “Held him from the back of the head, like a newborn…