Creative Work: ‘Rising to the Surface’ by Ryane Nicole Granados

Creative WorksThis week we have a short story from repeat contributor Ryane Nicole Granados. Set in California, this piece takes a look at whether or not there is such a thing as neutral influences in our lives. 

The language of the prose is strong and moves the reader fluidly through to the end. We hope you will enjoy it. 

Rising to the Surface

“And after Miss Asher resisted arrest, is it true that she proceeded to kick from the back of the squad car until the heel of her shoe wedged into the right wheel floorboard?”

At this point I begin to tune out the ticker-tape of the prosecutor and police sergeant whose photographic memory rivals the accuracy of the world time clock. Adjacent to the witness stand hangs an American flag and on the other side of the judge is the State of California flag. The peculiar state bear always looks to me like he is walking off the edge of the fabric. I can relate. I want to walk out too. The alternating floor tiles of white and brown feel like a childhood game of hopscotch calling my name. Continue reading

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Competition Shortlist – Short Fiction: ‘Idle Tuesdays’ by Ben Halls

Creative WorksThis week we have the second story from the Short Fiction Shortlist from our 2015 Creative Writing Competition, ‘Idle Tuesdays’ by Ben Halls.

We found this story engaging from start to finish, and thought that it stood out particularly in the way in which it plays with narrative structure.

Once again, our judge’s comments can be found at the conclusion of the piece.

Idle Tuesdays

The news report is given as traffic, not tragedy; a disinterested tone masquerading as solemn. “The southbound carriageway of the M25 was closed for two hours this afternoon following a fatal collision between a car and a lorry,” she says, her weary eyes playing a poor role in looking serious. It’s been a long day in the newsroom and this is the last broadcast of the evening. She knows just how few people would still be tuned in; it wouldn’t matter if she tuned out.

“The driver of the lorry was treated for shock on the scene, while the driver of the car was airlifted to Wexham Park Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The next of kin have been informed.”

She’d promised herself she wasn’t going to stop at M&S on the way home. She has food in the freezer, and doesn’t need the wine. But she also knows she’ll walk past it from the bus stop. After a beat she moves onto the next story and smiles; a lighter piece about a new wetlands project in central London to improve bird numbers. It’s run twice already today, and she uses the vocal beats of the chirpy reporter as a countdown until she gets to leave.

Jane Boylan does not hear the news report. She’s sitting upstairs on the bed she shared with her husband, rigid and staring through bloodshot eyes at the hairbrush left carelessly on the dresser. The family support officer is holding her hand, but it’s an impotent gesture. Nothing is getting through, her mind seized up thinking of memories, and trying to process that no more will be shared with her husband again.

From downstairs, she can hear the sounds of her two children watching Frozen with her mother. Occasionally she hears her youngest, five-year-old Jamie, telling his grandmother that this is the latest he’s ever stayed up, and how he knows he’s a big kid now because his bedtime is now so late. His grandmother shushes him. Jane’s eldest, seven-year-old Kate, is too old to blindly accept that her mother has to innocently speak to the police officer, and is heard asking where her dad is. No response is given aside from Kate being asked to watch the film.

The support officer tells Jane that she needs to go downstairs and tell them, that children are resilient and often more full of curiosity than abject grief, but Jane shakes her head viciously from side to side. Her eyes remain harshly focussed on the hairbrush.

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Competition Shortlist – Short Fiction: ‘Moonlight for One’ by Leslie Calhoun

Creative WorksToday we feature the first piece from the Short Fiction Shortlist from our 2015 Creative Writing Competition, ‘Moonlight for One’ by Leslie Calhoun.

As editors, we felt that the story stood out for its clear prose and active descriptions.

What our judge had to say about this entry has been placed at the conclusion of this post, so as not to spoil the twist in prose this piece was picked for. 

Moonlight for One

We are alone in the moonlight. Its milky beams illuminate the tension between us like some cold spotlight. I can’t move. One step, and there won’t be any turning back. But maybe that’s what I want.

The brightness almost feels like midday. We should have seen it. Crouching half-buried in a mound of dirt, waiting to snatch a foot, a limb, a life.

Dominik Walesa stands a few feet in front of me. Just a few feet. If I stretch my hand forward, I could almost touch him. His eyes are wide, and I’m certain the fear I see there is just a reflection of my own.

We stand frozen in the field like that for maybe a minute, maybe an hour. Everything is silent. I can’t even hear the crickets in the hedge anymore. But I can almost feel the earth ticking, waiting for the explosion that one step will bring. I know Dominik can feel it, too. The longer we stand there, the louder the ticking reverberates against my eardrums. Step…off…step…off, it seems to whisper.

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Creative Work: ‘Caramia Rediviva” by Wilson F. Engel, III

Creative WorksThis week’s creative piece steps outside the box to deliver a look into the mind of thirteen-year-old zombie hunter Caramia Rediviva. Arizona-based writer Wilson F. Engel, III gets creative in his rendering of Caramia’s world and the result is an entertaining and fast-paced piece of short fiction.

Caramia Rediviva

My frame defines me. Now you see me . . . now you don’t. Flitting around the mall on my new bike with my hair flying like a red streak behind me, I defy authorities of all kinds, even the authority of the Newtonian physical laws of the universe. Zombies have no regard for niceties, and they can be found almost anywhere. Over there, right now, is one of THEM. By the Starbucks. Excuse me, I will ride this way and that, slide under the barrier, and voila! Zap you! Another Zombie gone, no thank you to my pursuers.

Now the Feds have me traced and tracked. They don’t know about THEM or about ME. Imagine calling my DAD! Sheesh. As if I am some sort of monstra. Well, thank you, I guess I am. How would you like to wake up in a pool of your own blood? Thought so. Tell me I should wait, I’ll guarantee you won’t see me tomorrow. I am Caramia the bicycle girl, the board girl, Zombie killer supreme. I rise from my own blood and run roughshod over your illusions, for they will kill you for certain.

Hear me, Zombies? Bloodsucking scum. Mall crawling on my bike, I dodge the law and, over there! Another one of THEM. Under and among the crowd, flash girls and dweebs, nobodies. I am the super agent of the impossible. Don’t look at me, you rafter. I am after THEM. My bike is my weapon, and here I go again. Brake, slide, fire. Another Zombie gone. And look—no blood in this one. No feast today, Zombie GF! LMAO.

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