The Little G-d of Łódź – Evan Marcroft

On September 6, 1939, a Rabbi and Kabbalist named Yitzchok Falk sets fire to the Great Synagogue of Łódź. “The Germans will burn it anyway,” he tells his apprentice they drag a body out of the trunk of his car. “Let it burn without victims, and for a good reason.” The boy, Max, who holds the feet, only nods. They carry the body in and lay it out in the prayer hall. It is a …

Nana Naoko’s Garden – Michael Gardner

I pushed the little girl on the rope swing, guessing she couldn’t be more than seven, knowing she was my mother. The swing groaned as it arced forward, then back, the rope twisting against the bough of the mulberry tree. We were on the periphery of a country garden that surrounded a large, off-white homestead. Beyond the house were barren paddocks — dry grass, sheep, the odd gum tree. I knew this place from Nana …

Combustion – Kai Hudson

Jaxon has just finished doodling Captain Fiero’s victory pose when the math teacher explodes. Students scream as Mrs. Richardson flails back from the chalkboard, body suddenly alight. Her arms and legs make a bright windmill as she stumbles across the room, upsetting the fake plastic skeleton and catching the bookcase on fire. Jaxon shoots to his feet without thinking, grabs his jacket, and runs to her just as she collapses across Hannah’s desk. He’s too …

Familiar in Her Angles – E.A. Brenner

The trees in this part of the Dragonwood are thin and lanky, like growing boys, like her own willowy limbs, but Lina has no interest in the trees, or young men, or the body that conveys her, stomping feet falling where they will. Her thoughts are for the great lizards, those remote majestic beasts sunning themselves on the high rocks jutting from the tree line. She looks up to patches of hot blue sky through …

The Yarnball Woman – Michael Milne

By the third time Patricia lost a finger, everyone knew better than to raise a fuss. Her family hadn’t always been this calm. When the first finger, a knuckle’s-worth of her left pinky, had fallen plumply into her dinner salad, there had been an enormous commotion. Her young daughters screamed and bolted into the back yard, and hours later had to be coaxed back inside. Jack fumbled with the phone in the kitchen, trying to …

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost – Douglas Anstruther

-1- Carla sat on the edge of the metal railing that lined the motel’s third-floor landing, gripping its paint-chipped bars with long, slender legs. Black lace stockings disappeared into a tattered bathrobe and a lipstick-stained cigarette rested between her fingers. She liked the feel of the breeze on her legs, the thrill of the twenty-foot drop below. She wasn’t a danger junkie, far from it, although she could have probably found a safer way to …