Going Down by Tim Craig

The elevator is between the twenty-first and the twenty-second floor when the cable snaps, so the passengers have some time to share their life stories before they hit the ground. ‘I married too young,’ says the woman with the red hair and the butter-soft gaze and the lapel badge which reads ‘Baby on Board’. ‘I …

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The Lion, the Witch and the Super Sindy Home by Charlotte Turnbull

The second-hand Super Sindy Home arrives in our frigid, old house as abruptly as anything arrives when one person wants rid of it, and another wants something for free. ‘Where do you want it?’ my father asks my mother, as if it was not him who had been talked into taking it from a colleague …

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Fins by Martha Lane

Toby fired jagged grit into the pond. Watched ripples do the hokey-cokey. Grandad’s precious carp scattered with every splash. Idiots came back though, too stupid to realise it wasn’t food he was shooting at them. Their long strong bodies moved like snakes. Snakes with insect wings flapping. Tissue-paper delicate. Their scales flared against the mucky …

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Heart Burn by Iona Rule

I remember the smoke that night, how it blew across the heaving hillside that rose like a fist in the dark to where we watched from the far shore, far enough away to be safe, but close enough so we could say “we were there” on Monday morning on the school bus, how we listened …

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From Pretend I Am Real by Leigh Chadwick

Monogamy is buying a gun and watching your lover swallow all the bullets. This is what Leigh Chadwick thinks as she lies in bed, listening to the thunder outside her window. It’s night, late enough to almost be called morning. A streak of light cracks through the blinds. Whenever Leigh Chadwick sees lightning, she imagines …

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Cafeteria by Rick White

In the school cafeteria at lunchtime, hungry mouths of lickspittle children lick salty chip-fingers and belch like milk-drunk babies in each other’s faces. Douglas’s table is empty, his belly too. He stares into the space between the formica tabletop and the linoleum floor, tries to disappear. The other kids call him names, they avoid him …

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