What’s Prodigal Mean? by Bogdan Dragos

he felt a bit guilty about it but just a bit He knew it was wrong to be happy when father came home drunk and stupid but it was the only time when mother came to sleep in his room, “because your father needs to cool off,” as she put it It was a good…

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…

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…

Fantasy World Map by Bogdan Dragos

yes, there are those days when you lie in bed with palms under your head and stare at the cracks in the ceiling There were many cracks on the kid’s ceiling and he watched them imagining that they were borders between countries He was looking upon a world map and he started naming the countries…

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…

Rotten Tongue by Bogdan Dragos

the big purple bird with no eyes and chipped beak didn’t fly It walked like a normal person would. Almost like someone was wearing it as a costume but he knew of course that there was no one wearing the costume It was real and it showed itself to him on too many occasions. Every…

To Become a Man by Bogdan Dragos

the good thing about being young is that you don’t take as much damage from falling ten is a fantastic age for falling and for getting into fights with other kids It usually all ends with a handshake and a tightened friendship Unless adults get in the way. It all goes down when adults get…

The Storyteller by Tiffini Johnson

I got out of this town as soon as I could.  I got out of this house when I turned eighteen.  I didn’t think I’d ever come back. The scholarship from Yale was the best thing that happened to me in years, if not ever. It was about more than the medical degree. It was…

A Cracked Shell by Bogdan Dragos

“Lack of love,” she once told him, “can turn a man into a cracked shell. Turn his steps into rotten butterfly wings falling. Turn his breath into ether. His heart into a sick slug struggling to escape a haunted bog.” Sure, sure but then again his parents told him long ago when he was a…

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…

You Laid Eggs Under my Eyelids? by Bogdan Dragos

the pains in his lower back were killing him “Fuck,” he said, “that’s what I get for not investing into a decent chair.” He reached into his pack and took out another cigarette. “But I gotta smoke to stay alive. What a shitty life.” He typed for another 36 minutes and then his friend, the…

Sometimes You Just Have to Kill ‘em by Bogdan Dragos

watching the rain fall against the window while listening to whiskey blues and thinking about her and how great it would’ve been if she were still alive Only the whiskey is missing and the cigarette and the willpower to admit that she never existed in the first place. Not outside the pages of the book…