Duet for Unaccompanied Cello – Chanel Earl

My favorite place to practice the cello will always be the observatory. My friend Jamie, an astronomer, first let me in one day when the sun was up and visibility was nil. I practiced for hours under its high dome, right next to the telescope. The echo of music in the observatory was singular: less vibrant than a racquetball court, more round than a stadium stairwell, a fuller sound than I have found in any …

Luminaria – Matt Thompson

It’s a cold, hopeless wind that blows across the Southern Seas on these winter nights. Blade-edge gusts skim the waves; paper lanterns swing from the rigging, and the merchandise below decks strains against the swells: statues of boars and elephants, carvings of crocodiles and dung beetles, their marbled visages mocking the dreams of those who bear their burden of passage. On such a night one might remember the deserts of home, rocky outcrops on the …

The Last – Premee Mohamed

Erik was balanced atop one of the standing stones on the black pebble beach when the elders told him of his father’s death. Drowned, they said. Out at Sampson Fjord. Killed by Old Blue. Darkness overtook him and he spilled boneless from the stone, was caught and laid on the wet weeds of the tideline. Elder Erde lifted his ankles into the air with one hand. Erik’s friends paused incuriously, then wandered off. “I want …

Serenity – Jeanette Gonzalez

Nikki shook the can and sprayed again, trailing a long, jagged streak of crimson paint to the far end of the wall until the contents came to a sputtering halt. He stepped back to the crowded sidewalk to admire his handiwork. He had defaced twelve buildings around Reflection Square. Eight houses, a grocery store, and three shops, all built of smooth, white stone and lined in neat rows with equally tidy flowerbeds. Mature trees dotted …

My Dog is the Constellation Canis Major – Jarod K. Anderson

I didn’t actually want a dog, so I guess I got what I wanted. The little guy belonged to my grandma. I don’t know many old ladies, but I still feel confident saying that she was a very cool old lady. She was 85 when she died, but she wasn’t that “so old it hurts to look at you” kind of 85 that makes death a blessing. She was more of a “gardening every day, …

Regarding The Sainted Pirate Nicholas – Michael M. Jones

So there we are, in the venerable Rat King Tavern, on La Isla de los Diablos Perdidos (Lost Devils Island to you English-speakers), somewhere deep in the Emerald Sea, and it’s me and One-Handed Carlos and the Professor and Barney that acts as the bartender, and we’re swapping true tales of the strangest things to ever cross our paths back when we were still sailing instead of warming barstools and seeing to visiting crews. It’s …