L’Appel du Vide – Rajiv Moté

On Friday morning, the ambient heaviness in his boss’s tiny office threatened to bend Isaac double, and his ears ached from the pressure in the air. The dread hadn’t started with his boss’s unexpected meeting request, but coalesced around it, wrapping the 15-minute block on his calendar in layers of doubt and worry until it shone like a fat, anxious pearl. It had been gathering over weeks. Office doors that usually stayed open were shut. …

The Noise Inside – Vaya Pseftaki

Sheyen swallows hard and his ears pop. The Noise stops. How long did it last this time? He glances at the water-clock fixed on the wall. Longer than before. It first came a month ago, on his fourteenth birthday, along with the hair. That day, he woke up to a humming, drenched in sweat and with the smooth skin of his head itching. And no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t pinpoint where the …

Absurd of a Feather – Amman Sabet

I’m getting a note from my doctor that will keep me out of the pool for gym. It’s not that I can’t swim. Last year I came in third place for breast stroke. This is different. I’m uncomfortable with taking my shirt off now, and I’d rather spend the period studying in the library while the other kids do laps and cannonball into the deep end. “Terrence,” my doctor tells me in his examining room. …

Mean Streak – L’Erin Ogle

The air is dry and brisk, the leaves curled at the edges and hanging limp in shades of red, gold, and brown, dying as the sun edges farther away every day. It’s the kind of day made for hanging witches. That’s what Jasper says, at least. His father’s the law around here. He and his men found an entire coven of them, hunkered down in a house hidden in the forest, acting like they were …

The Bear Wife – Catherine George

The bear wife took the cub to mommy and me yoga. She didn’t look much like a bear without her fur, but somehow the other mothers seemed to sense it; when she came in carrying the cub they shifted away, drifting on their yoga mats closer to the windows, to each other. She was left alone in the middle like a stone dropped into a lake, each woman a wave rippling outward. In tree pose she …

The Soul Farmer’s Daughters – Kyle Kirrin

Thirteen souls flit about in mason jars on the mantle above my workbench. They’re bright—luminescent, even—but they’re not potent enough for the Duke. I glance at the ghostly light flickering within Vella’s abdomen, then pull another stool up next to mine. “Come, sit. I’ve got a surprise for you.” She joins me. “But isn’t—” “He’s still a little ways out. We’ve got time.” Seventeen minutes to be exact, I think, but never say. “Close your …