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Pets “R” Us

Katie Coleman

I brace as your cool hand manoeuvres beneath my apron. In the stockroom, we’re stacking boxes beside a tower of canned meat. I tell you how my husband’s OCD is driving me nuts. We crush against megabags of lemon-scented cat litter. Knock over bottles of flea shampoo. We paw and drag our teeth against bare skin. You’re pressed against the door. The tannoy announces I have a phone call. I tie my hair and crunch up the stairs. A light flashes at checkout twenty-four. The cashier hands me the phone. It’s my husband’s voice.

‘It’s time we topped up on bleach and scouring pads.’

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Katie Coleman is a writer living in Phuket, Thailand. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Ghost Parachute, The Ilanot Review, Bending Genres, Briefly Zine, SoFloPoJo, Lit 202, Five on the Fifth, Bright Flash, Centifictionist, Corvus Review and Potato Soup Journal. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes. She has a master’s in creative writing and works as a teacher. Katie can be found on Twitter @anjuna2000.


Ken Poyner

I don’t know why I was kidnapped.  I have no money, no rich relatives.  There I was on the corner waiting to cross to get to my piano salesman job interview, when a black sedan pulled up, two men jumped out and squeezed me into the backseat between them.  I was too surprised to provide much resistance.  The driver never turned around.  We drove the city streets until they became sparse, farmland on either side.  I watched the crops go by.  I had never concentrated on them before.  Usually, I would be driving, and the road scenery appears much different when you command the wheel.  The passing agriculture can be quite calming.  I was feeling less and less surprised.  There were windmills off in the distance.  I thought, perhaps this is how one gets a job as a piano salesman.

Ken Poyner’s collections of brief fictions and speculative poetry can be located through links at, Amazon and elsewhere.  Recent work exists in “Analog”, “Asimov’s”, “Café Irreal”, elsewhere, both print and web.  He lives with a wife, several cats and betta fish, in the lower right-hand corner of Virginia.

The bus to nowhere

Doug Jacquier 

The bus to nowhere was late again but she’d be on it. It arrived and I leapt aboard and raced up the aisle, knocking over old men that looked like Keith Richards and trampling on the children of the revolution, to find her gazing out the window at Itchycoo Park.

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Doug Jacquier writes from the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. His poems and stories have been published in Australia, the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and India. He blogs at Six Crooked Highways

No Mercy: In memory of painter and Holocaust survivor Fred Terna

Howie Good

The fire of a crematorium chimney cast flickering light on a barrack wall. Much later, he saw a woman running in stilettos. Mountains wore down to valleys. The dead were still there, but using their fingers and toes to count and communicating in a series of excited clucks. He always knew that they wouldn’t go away, that he’d have to live with them. I myself can’t sleep for the rain noisily clawing at the roof and walls, like an extremely elderly demon, the hag who murders children in the womb or at birth and then clings to the souls of mothers and talks through their mouths.


Howie Good's newest poetry collection, Heart-Shaped Hole, which also includes examples of his handmade collages, is forthcoming from Laughing Ronin Press.

Planned Obsolescence

Meghashri Dalvi

Jehra rechecked his calculations. The date was indeed approaching, as per the plans that lay open on his side. He wondered if he should just go ahead or consult Prome. Disturbing Prome for this trivial decision might not be a good idea. But then, it was always good to get something on the record in case of any future queries.

Glancing around casually, Jehra gestured a few notes to his machine.

Subject: Planet Tertius: Intelligent Bipedal Species.

They have reached the planned obsolescence date, and their functioning is now impaired. Please state your decision.

The response was quick. Humans? Eliminate them.


Dr. Meghashri Dalvi consults in Technical and Marketing Communication when she is not writing science fiction or teaching Management. She has published 130+ Marathi and 40+ English science fiction stories.  Her stories have appeared in Aphelion, The Odd Magazine, Quantummuse, Spillwords, and 101Words among others.    


Mikki Aronoff

Right at the get-go there was a clash, you trying to break free of Ma’s chokehold, Ma aiming to get the jiggle out of you, bellyaching about all the wrong boys you’d meet and how they’d treat you like meat, not pudding or pie, and so she set her book on your head and barked circle the front room! and you strutted around the fish tank — empty all these months, and the TV, and the sofa, where Johnny, a wrong boy, comes and sleeps sometimes after a thieving night, and you swayed between balance and buckling, but then, gripping that book so tight, you couldn't help the giggles that flew out your mouth when it tumbled to the rug, landing open to the page turned down at the corner, and you picked it up, scanned the heat of “50 Shades Freed” and sashayed right out the door, jiggling.


Mikki Aronoff chases words in New Mexico. She has work in Flash Boulevard, New World Writing, MacQueen’s Quinterly, ThimbleLit, The Phare, Bending Genres, The Ekphrastic Review, The Fortnightly Review, Milk Candy Review, Gone Lawn, Mslexia, The Citron Review, Atlas and Alice, 100 word story, trampset, jmww and elsewhere. Her stories and poems have received Pushcart, Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, Best American Short Stories, and Best Microfiction nominations.

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