There is a bag of gunpowder in Cesare’s room. She is one of the seven most powerful men in Argentorat, but her lodgings are plain, nothing but a low bed, a chest of clothing, and a shelf of tattered books. The gunpowder is by her books, in a black bag that smells of ink and amber.
Congratulations to Kenneth Yu, our 2009 winner of the Halloween Flash Fiction Contest, and well done to Eden Robins and April Reyes for their talented, top three stories. Read Kenneth Yu’s winning short story below. # Lost for Words by Kenneth Yu When she was young, the words flowed freely, fearlessly, seemingly forming on their own […]
He used the natleoc, the stick of thorns covered in dust and spores above his doorway, for that was what the priests prescribed and he would have this done as the gods demanded. She did not cry when the sharp points broke her skin, and so he hit her a second time . . .
Laurel wanders from place to place, scattering seeds of doubt wherever she goes. She makes people doubt the reality of the world, weaves illusions that have more depth than reality can ever have. She is a dream weaver . . .
49 loved the hotel across the river, and that spring, when fog covered her, he knew he had to tell her. She was all by herself on that side of the river, just her and the rocky shore and the long highway that wound in a ribbon far behind her, and she seemed always so lonely he wanted her to know she was not unloved.
On hot afternoons, mother took us to the shore of the river. While mother sat, watching my elder brothers play on the bank, I told her stories. They always began the same way: “There is an island in the river of gold where there is a castle. Everyone there is rich and happy and there are no slaves.”
Dad’s friend Nitzan says the messiah will be come in five years. We’re sitting around the dinner table at their place. It’s high on the hill, overlooking the sprawl of light that is Johannesburg. Their maid is making the main course in the kitchen. Nitzan makes us all put on yarmulkes and blesses the food. “The messiah is nigh,” he says.
The ocean slid towards him, tempting him, ushering him towards it. When it retreated he saw it had left him a gift—a single carp, stained with pollution. Its mouth begged numbly for help as it cut into the rough sand . . .
Poor girl. Beautiful Diana, named for a goddess, and barely sixteen years of age. Just after midnight she descended through through the gardens to meet her lover. And before any clock could strike one, she was as beautiful as she was dead.
They found her on the playground. It was October, and the ground was cold. There was a yellow leaf stuck in her hair, which spilled like black ink over the mulch. Her dress was white. Her face was white, covered in ice, and it frosted her eyelashes. Her lips were purple . . .