Results for: “Fiction”
|Worrell, P.J.||Thistledown Press||ePub|
RACHEL IS ON ONE KNEE AT the front door tying her laces when she hears them come in from the garage and set down heavy bags, probably groceries, on the kitchen counter. David brings the carseat into the living room. Lilia is making snuffly piggy noises.
“Mother, could you take Lilia for a walk while we fix dinner?” Obviously they had planned this on the drive home.
“But I was just about to go for my run,” she says over her shoulder, then stands up and stretches her back. “Oh, I suppose I could. I want to check out the autumn flora. I’ll run in the morning instead.”
“I noticed some scraggly asters. We’ve had a touch of frost.” David is dressing Lilia in a red sweater no doubt knit painstakingly by the other grandmother. Her arms resist being forced into the sleeves. “The daycare said Lilia was fussy. It’s her teeth.”
“You cut your teeth without any problems.”
“She has all of the symptoms,” Avery interjects from the kitchen, like it’s the second verse of a duet. It’s her teeth, it’s her teeth.See All Chapters
|Scott Russell Sanders||Indiana University Press||ePub|
Whatever was groaning apparently did not feel much need of breathing. Phoenix calculated it was likelier to be a machine than a beast, for what beast could bellow so mournfully without pausing to inhale? Still, in the wilds you could never be sure. Mutants cropped up all the time. Who knew what roomy lungs some of them might have? Maybe he should put on his antlers and go frighten the thing into silence. Nothing like a fierce pair of horns to stiffen the old backbone.
“It’s getting louder,” he observed, twisting round to glance at Teeg. Her haggard look unsettled him. What if it was a beast? “Maybe we should pull over?”
“It’s probably just a drone they put in to scare people off the river.”
“Anybody. Us, for example.”
“Well,” he admitted, “I think it’s done a pretty good job on me.” His playfulness did not erase the pinched look from her face.
According to the map that lay crumpled over his knees, they were passing through the suburbs of Portland now. But there was nothing remarkable on the shore, except some queer mounds of brush and saplings. Did they cover the ruins of buildings? Where the first bridge was supposed to be, crumbling cement piers thrust up from the river. Grass and brush had rooted on the crowns, where electric shuttles used to run. How odd, to have lived in a city that was open to the sky, with plants actually growing in the yards.See All Chapters
|Jessica Hollander||University of North Texas Press||ePub|
January on the Ground
I was having trouble, lately, flitting around. The thing was, people told me about the choices I’d have in college, how I’d learn all this amazing stuff. But there were no classes about bat-eating cults or the origin of jack-o-lanterns or how to carve things in the wood of dead trees. There was a lot of construction—those dusty orange cones—and worksheets covering the same things I’d learned in high school: composing a thesis, the convolutedness of World War One, rules about imaginary numbers. And when I left the dorms and drove across Chapel Hill for another “reasonable” Sunday Family Dinner, it seemed my heart beat normally again. My breathing slowed, my head cleared: just seeing the sturdy brown colonial, the white pillars, the wrap-around porch.
But the inside of my parents’ house deteriorated. The rooms had the hastily cleaned feel of a nine-year-old’s bedroom: pictures and trinkets awkwardly angled, magazines shoved beneath couches, shoes in a massive pile by the door. Dad sat on the edge of a chair, an afghan folded unevenly beside him, reading his latest Men’s Health. He had a slightly ashamed, slightly indignant look when I caught him reading it. And Mom developed a fondness for leaving things burning on the stove. She went to the back porch and stood stiffly, her arms bent, her shoulders back too far. She stared into the long flimsy grass and weeds, the weary pine trees. It was unsettling to see, especially once, when rain suddenly poured from the sky, and she stood there, pelted with water—these millions of drops whizzing through the air, flying into her—like someone attacked. Her clothes sagged from the weight. Her pants in the back got so sad and droopy, I had to look away.See All Chapters
|Colin Rafferty||Break Away Book Club Edition||ePub|
First song: she comes out, precarious on high platforms. She wears a black ensemble, as though in mourning. Her negligee flows out behind her, caught in the light diffracting off all the smoke in the room. She grasps the pole and swings herself around casually, testing her footing on high platform heels. Reassured, she shrugs the sheer negligee off, pushes it with her shoe toward the back of the stage. She looks out at the men sitting at the edge, all eyes on her. Their hands reach for dollar bills to lay in front of her.
She reaches a thin arm behind her back and grasps the string that holds her top on. She begins to pull. All the men stare at her, waiting. We all stare at her, waiting. I stare at her, waiting.
I start that summer by visiting the tomb of Abraham Lincoln. The morning I do this is a bright clear morning, the sky a blue that looks like I could peel it off in long strips. The sun sits assuredly, with no clouds to distract from it.
I have always known of Lincoln, and Lincoln has always been mythology to me. As a child, I encountered an autograph of his and stared at it in devotion for hours. The stories I learned about him—the log cabin, the rail splitting, the walk through the snow to return the book—I believed in as fervently as I believed the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. My Lincoln seemed to ten-year-old me the perfect American, wise and fair, statesman and reluctant warrior, steadfast. Even revelations about his depression or the Marfan’s syndrome couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm for him.See All Chapters
|S. A. An-sky||Indiana University Press||ePub|
MIRKIN CONTINUED TO stare fixedly at Beryasheva. Suddenly he stood up, took a few paces around the room, stopped, and announced steadfastly and decisively, “You must run away from home. That’s your only salvation!”
Zvulovina jumped up from her seat and stared at Mirkin, her big round eyes wide open, and an expression of fear and incomprehension on her face. Beryasheva regarded him with an attentive, inquiring look.
“You say, ‘Run away,’ ” she repeated in astonishment.
“Yes! Run away!” Mirkin repeated insistently. “Just think. Let’s suppose that a miracle occurred, and the cripple whom they want to marry you off to suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth. Let’s even suppose they don’t foist other suitors on you and stop tyrannizing you. What would you gain? The best you could expect is that you might read several books on the sly. Then what? It’s impossible to keep struggling; in the last analysis, your father will prevail and force you to marry—you’ll be destroyed and perish once and for all. . . . In the meantime, you could actually become someone capable of real thought! Yes!” he concluded energetically. “You must run away from this darkness! Run away!”See All Chapters
|Michael Martone||Break Away Book Club Edition||ePub|
Wayne is a good man. I’m lucky to get him. People keep telling me those things, as if I need reminding. He took care of his troubled sister from the time he was nineteen years old, tracking her more than once to the houses where she was shooting up and taking her back home. Wayne’s youth was sacrificed on the altar of that girl. I should be grateful that a man like that wants to marry me now, when the skin under my eyes is showing lines and the legs that used to look slim and good in shorts now just look like stalks. I am grateful. But shouldn’t a man have wanted a little more out of his life? Shouldn’t a man have taken some time off from his mess of a sister once in a while, going out to the quarry with a few guns and friends who’ve been drinking? He took care of her to the day she died, and after. He was the one to wash her body for the funeral. People talked.
This is exactly why I need to wear a white dress, even if white makes me look little and washed out. Mama said I could pass for a used cotton ball. She thinks I should have a pink wedding gown. She thinks I look good in pink, which is true, but she forgets that white means something. I’m not talking about how I’ve had other boyfriends. Everybody in town knows that. White means respect for the tradition, and I’m trying to get this right.See All Chapters
|Stephen Leather||Monsoon Books Pte. Ltd.||ePub|
Just because I’m going to Bangkok, doesn’t mean I’ll … Since he was talking to himself Fred didn’t need to complete the sentence. His internal dialogue consisted mostly of such snippets: loath the exploitation of women … anyway have a relationship … whatever that means …at least think I do … giving it an effin good try anyway.He was in a business lounge at Heathrow. To prove his point to himself, he fished out his mobile and dialled a number he knew by heart, but had not yet assigned to autodial. It rang until her voice began reciting her automatic reply. She had gone out of her way to be charming to callers both known and anonymous: do, do, try me again later, I’m in a meeting just now … Except she wasn’t in a meeting. It was quite early Sunday morning. Fred had to leave the UK on his day off in order to start work on his assignment Monday night, in order to get back to the UK, the office and her before the end of the week. See All Chapters
|Becky Adnot-Haynes||University of North Texas Press|
Thank You for the ____________
y husband and I are eating takeout spaghetti and meatballs in a motel because our house has bedbugs.
At one point we didn’t have them and then we did, finding them moving in their slow buzz on the mattress seams and headboard and behind the electrical switch-plate by my nightstand. My husband wanted to stay with friends, but I’m not the type of person who likes to see whether you eat poached eggs or GrapeNuts for breakfast.
My husband booked the motel. According to him it’s nice enough, which means it’s gross. There was a long dark hair on one of the towels when we arrived and the whole place seems kind of damp, like Spanish moss. The little fridge in the kitchenette works only for keeping beers sort of cold, which we found out after we bought milk and deli meat. The only good thing about the motel is that it has cable. We spend a lot of nights eating cheap Italian food from Paliani’s and watching whatever’s on: sitcoms, cartoons, cooking shows, infomercials, shows about the lives of famous people’s unfamous spouses, shows about people who want to be magicians, shows about badly dressed people who are ambushed into buying new wardrobes. Our favorite is this show about people who have really weird andSee All Chapters
|Forrie, Allan||Thistledown Press||ePub|
Pondering a marriage proposal from her lawyer boyfriend, Gabriela decides to visit her friend Marta in Mexico in “The Land Within” by Audrey J. Whitson. Gabriela expects a joyful reunion, but upon observing the strain on Marta’s marriage, she must confront the complicated reality of matrimony.
See All Chapters
|Forrie, Allan||Thistledown Press||ePub|
The protagonist of “A Run on Hose” by Rona Altrows is a middle-aged woman who works in a lingerie shop. After her husband falls ill, she becomes fascinated with a regular customer who she nicknames Rosie due to the woman’s constantly flushed cheeks.
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|Robin Hemley||Indiana University Press||ePub|
What Jan remembers of the underwater town is this: she and her former husband—former boyfriend—Ethan, standing on the shore of the lake and casting stones where the steeple might be, guessing outcomes. Two children, not their own, had accompanied them to that shore, Leslie kneeling, Walt sorting through rocks to skim, and Jan remembers thinking how ruined and old these children were, how their parents could never do enough to make amends. She remembers her own resolve to be strong and parental, and how the mistakes of others hit her like refracted sunlight. She felt like a visionary, a rock in her hand, sure that wherever she aimed, she was bound to strike something hidden, the secret button that would make Atlantis rise again. She was twenty-one. Revelation had seemed as sure as blood.
Of course, she couldn't have been thinking all of this at the time. Feeling it, perhaps, but not thinking, so it's not a lie exactly. If she were being honest with herself, she'd probably tell you that this weekend, except for the ruined children, was the happiest she's ever been, that things were in order, that she felt she had an advantage over the rest of creation. But she can't completely remember it this way. She knows what happened next. A year later, one month before she was married, Ethan introduced her to the woman he was sleeping with, though Jan didn't know who this woman was at the time. It took three more months for her to uncover that bald fact, and it still must stun her today. What she can't understand is how Ethan could set up their life in one way, and at the same time destroy it so carefully, like some roofer shingling half the house while leaving the other half to rot in the elements.See All Chapters
|A.J. Sebastian SDB||Laxmi Publications|
Probing Relationships in Jayanta
Mahapatra’s Selected Short Stories
Though known for his great poetry replete with symbolism and imagery, Jayanta
Mahapatra (1928 - ) as a writer is preoccupied with projecting cultural and human values. In an interview he is recorded to have said: “Write whatever you feel, feel from your heart, from your inside. One thing will also help you. Just you write from the level, tilt a little higher level. If we can go somewhat towards God in the guise of writing…
If we can that should be our goal…Your conscience and soul search good things”
(“Interview.” http://retort.brentley.com). I am particularly attracted by his collection of short stories entitled The Green Gardener and Other Stories, that portray universal human predicaments. In this article I attempt a reading of four stories, viz. “Eyes,”
“Another Day,” “Ringing Silence,” and “Turn Left for Happiness,” where the fictionist delves into intricacies of mutual relationships among couples - their doubts and fears, faithfulness and betrayals, and agony and ecstasy in love.See All Chapters
|Jesse Lee Kercheval||Indiana University Press||ePub|
In l’angoissante aventure, the movie I had largely slept through in Ilya’s apartment, Mosjoukine, desperate for money to buy medicine for his daughter, breaks into his childhood home and opens the safe, only to be discovered by his estranged father, who attacks him. They fight, and Mosjoukine kills his own father. In the apartment, I’d woken up to see this nightmare playing out on the tape.
What ending could be more sadly Russian than that? Then—unbelievably, astoundingly—the film changes. It pulls the world’s oldest trick. Mosjoukine, young again, boyish, wakes up on the couch in his father’s study where he has fallen asleep. Every bitter moment of the film had been nothing but a dream. It was an impossible ending, one too silly for words, but I was overjoyed. Anything was better than the story turning out to be true.
Now I wanted to pull the same trick, wake up. But that wasn’t going to happen. My brother, Ilya, was dead.
When I told Ilya my dead were with me always, he’d laughed. Now, as the police hauled me from the church, as my eyes closed from whatever opiate they’d stuck in my arm, I thought, where is my brother? I felt the air around me for him, for at least some sense of him.See All Chapters
|Peter Brown||University of North Texas Press|
ittle Jimmy surveyed the mirrors on the ceiling, the spotlights above the runway, the horseshoe shape of the bar. Everything was cleaner and brighter than he imagined. A semicircle of tiny tables, each set with three chairs, zigzagged all the way around the room. He put his arms behind his head and stretched his long legs out between his two extra chairs. When the waitress passed, he pulled his feet in and like a schoolboy raised his hand. He ordered a margarita, then loosened his collar. Little Jimmy was six-four, and though this had been true five years already, it seemed his very bones were a lie. He had been five-three until his last semester of high school, when he was eighteen, so the growth had come too late. Despite his outsized limbs and hands and head and feet, he was still Little Jimmy Rose in his neighborhood in Stapleton, in his mother’s kitchen, and in his heart and soul. He avoided looking up at the mirrors, to see how he dwarfed his table.
When the waitress returned with the drink, he said, “What time do they start?”See All Chapters
|Charlotte Jones||Solution Tree Press||ePub|
“Conrad’s home!” his youngest sister, Anna, shouted from the staircase when he opened the door to their home.
It was half-past six, less than an hour before he, the officers, and Zinnia would leave for Fort Asman, situated on the very edge of Sunburst closest to the Evron. As soon as Shira had affirmed it was Kaelo, he had arranged leaving on the next moonshimmer for the fort. With the other officers’ permission, he had also summoned a foggy wind, a creature that few knew existed and that the Sunbursti military had kept secret for decades. This particular foggy wind, named Zafrir, would meet them at Fort Asman the next morning.
“Hello, Anna,” he said, scooping her up under his left arm and spinning her around before hugging her tightly. The smile he wore had a tenderness some did not believe he possessed. “You are getting so big! I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to hold you!”
“You say that every day,” Sori said from the doorway to the kitchen. At nineteen and nearly finished with school, she was becoming more and more beautiful every day. Conrad often joked he would need to keep his sword sharp to chase away the suitors; usually, she rolled her eyes and laughed then reminded him he was not allowed to swordfight due to his damaged shoulder. When Conrad glanced at her, though, her arms were crossed, and her face was stern. His smile faded when he saw her worry.See All Chapters