issue 5

The Lake, the Valley, the Border Between Water and Wood, and the End of Things, by Watson Neith

Standing in their galley kitchen, Juniper sank her knife into a soft block of smoked goat cheese. She had left it out to soften for so long that the cheese practically parted before the knife touched it. She considered the other sliced and chopped hors d’oeuvres on the tray: cheeses, check; sliced cucumber and whole cherry tomatoes, check; olives stuffed with garlic, just needed straining; sliced baguette, check; blueberries from Laila’s enspelled hothouse, check; seasoned almonds for Lydia and salami for herself, check.

issue 5

Broken Idols, Guarded Hearts, by Elizabeth Loupe

They gave us support groups after they brought us down. We’d expected death, but they said we’d been punished enough. That was true. And there were too many of us who were still well-liked among them, even if they had decided we needed to go. So they gave us support groups, and they gave us decent apartments, and they trained us to do jobs like the rest of them. We took to it all quickly enough. Thousands of years may tend to make you inflexible, but they don't make you stupid.

issue 5

The Eleventh Hour, by Karim Kattan

Every morning, the seafood vendor sets up her purple wooden stall in a small alleyway near my apartment building. She stands there, all day and most of the night. She is tireless, which makes me sometimes suspect that she might be a steam-powered robot of some sort. She comes wrapped in shawls, no matter the season, pink and cream and sky blue, and she peers from behind them with piercing eyes. When I don’t think she’s a robot, I suspect she is Indurian, but I have no way of knowing. She barely talks and her accent is undecipherable.

issue 5

Every Next Day, by Rebecca Burton

Your mother takes you to swim in the sea every day. You’ve been going for as long as you can remember, never missing a day. When you were small, you splashed around in the tidal pools and learnt to float in the shallows. Now that you are nearly grown, the pair of you explore the entire bay. You know every rock, every current, every tide. You’ve swum through storms, broken ice, basked under sunny skies. You’ve watched others flee from sharks or be swept away by the breakers, but the sea holds no fears for you.