Eve and Adam, 1955

Emma Phillips

There was a bonfire but instead of Guy, they torched an effigy of you. My mother’s hot dog lips fixed in a grimace as your straw goatee fizz crackled. The Waltzer churned my stomach; I vomited apologies into the grass.

When they ran you out of town, they thanked the Almighty for my release, as if God could ever take me Ferris wheel high.

You were the devil’s own, pinking my cheeks until I was spun to candy floss. They hollered good riddance to flames as you burned. I licked my lips, longing for that toffee crunch of the apple.

Author: Emma Phillips grew up by the M5 in Devon, which led her to big cities, then Asia, before she returned to her roots in 2013 to bring up her son. Her work has been placed by the Bath Flash Award, Best Micro fiction 2022, Free Flash Fiction Competition and her words appear in various places in print and online. Her flash collection Not Visiting the SS Great Britain is forthcoming from Alien Buddha Press. She tweets @words_outwest.

Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash

Fairground Distraction

Julian Cadman

Watching the passing plane, Sarah pondered whether the turbulence on their honeymoon flight had been an omen.

A passing unicorn, dipped in front of her, as if mocking the trajectory of her marriage. Had ‘I do’ become ‘I’m done’?

She waved as her children passed by, then looked over at her husband, back turned, engrossed in his mobile. Maybe his secret mobile, she’d discovered last week.

Looking back at the children, she smiled as their horse and racing car began slowing down on the carousel.

Was her marriage going round in circles as the attraction was coming to an end?

Author: Julian Cadman lives and works in Hampshire and took up Creative Writing as a hobby seven years ago. He particularly enjoys writing flash fiction and short stories.

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Fragile Night

Gabe Sherman

Her skin is delicate like tissue paper: sinew and wrist bone, her insides wrapped tight like they’re trying to be her outsides. She’s white but not like heavy cream, more like a hemophiliac — she exudes translucence. I want to hug her.

Gentle, I remind myself, floating toward the doorway.

In my arms, she is sand, spilled across the floor, which is to say I feel myself losing time through cracks in the hardwood. It’s so late the night suggests first light and I’m struck because I miss my mother, my grandmother, my sister, the gnarled oak roots in Northeast Ohio.

Author: Gabe Sherman is a writer based in New York. He loves to cook, play basketball, and watch the seasons change.

My Sister’s Life Was Nothing Like A Rollercoaster

Alison Wassell

The sensation seeking life was not for Louise, the adrenaline adventure, the racing heart, the dizzying heights, the freefall plunge, anticipation, fear, the exhilaration of those moments left hanging upside down.

The dodgems, though, she could relate to. Day following day, zooming around the same small circle, going nowhere, fast, the bumps, the shunts, the occasional pile-up, the knowledge that someone else’s finger flicked the switch that controlled it all.

Hook a duck is more her thing now. Placidly paddling, you’d struggle to pick her out from the crowd. Sunshine yellow on the surface, only she knows the scars inside.

Author: Alison Wassell is a short story, flash and micro fiction writer with no plans whatsoever to write a novel. Her work has been published by Reflex Fiction, Retreat West, Bath Flash Fiction Award, Ellipsis Zine, Litro, NFFD and The Phare.

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Jose Varghese

They called him Em.

He was five, and knew only the crumbling walls in the facility. When a green van came for him early in the morning, only six were left. He didn’t bother to wake the other kids sleeping in concrete cages.

Voices guided him in the van.

The new room was white, and his ‘parents’ were many.

“Em, come in”, the first voice welcoming him was a mix of metals clanging.

“Fair chance, Em. Survive”, another voice said, in a turbine whirr.

He grew up among them, M for man.

The others were terminated, he heard, tears frozen.

Author: Jose Varghese was a finalist in the 2018 Beverly International Prize, runner up in the Salt Prize, commended in the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize, finalist thrice in LISP, published in Litro, Nine Arches Press, Haunted Waters, Southword, Camas, Dreich, Wild Roof, Meridian APWT/Drunken Boat, Unthology, Reflex Fiction, and Flash Fiction Magazine.

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

The Fair Witch

Martin Barker

Though she doesn’t wear a black pointy hat and is fairer of face than most storybook hags, the boy suspects her a witch. To reach her he must suffer the glassy-eyed stare of monstrous gilded horses. A pipe-organ bellows out a manic tune, engines roar, the ground shakes. He crosses her palm with silver as she stands behind her thrumming cauldron. Gossamer ghosts are created from thin air and wrapped around her wooden wand. He watches, mesmerised, until she thrusts the magical rose-tinted cloud into his grubby fist. He thanks the witch of the funfair and devours his sugary marvel.

Author: Born on a funfair, the son of a Travelling Showman, Martin lives in Poole, on the south coast. He relishes the challenge of short stories and flash fiction, of drawing pictures and evoking emotions with a concise number of words. He’s still working on his first novel.