Keivs x Jhedz are on the Mexican label Finite.
Jose Decant is a visual artist from San Jose, CA.
By. Fabiyas M V
A glacier gobbles Sonam,
the highest military post,
with its nine soldiers in
Arctic sleeping bags.
Lance Naik Thappa lies
in an air bubble as a fetus.
Sense becomes a wretched
thing. Bravery freezes.
After the sunrise, a radio
set at another post cracks
to life with his voice,
awakening the recovery
team. He resists the chill
with his will. Image of a
forlorn family frightens him.
Dozens of corpses are dug
out of blue ice boulders.
Thappa’s body is recovered
on the fifth day, with clutches
of death and a rare spark in his
eyes. Press corps move their
cameras, musing how to make
it more sensitive. A pair of
dry lips whispers holy words
before the door of ICU, while
death packs her soldier’s soul.
Pyre burns with flames of
pain. Ash of pride remains.
Fabiyas M V is an international award winning and widely published author from India.
Illuid Haller is a musician from Seoul, Korea.
By. Pat Berryhill
Particles hung in the sunbeam and she recalled hearing somewhere, sometime, dust is nothing more than an accumulation of dead skin cells and that’s why it could feel greasy. Staring at the window wasn’t the same thing as staring out the window and people mistook the two where she was concerned. They would ask, “Isn’t it a gorgeous day?” or “I believe that’s the little dog from next door. He wanders over sometimes. Isn’t he cute?” Occasionally, it was more personal… “Are you watching for him? You know he isn’t coming.”
Some would try damn near anything to goad her into talking, but it never worked. She had no interest in going outside either. Anything that transpired past the glass with the crisscrossed metal mesh and the metal bar shutters, stopped existing for her long ago and she knew, oh so well, he wasn’t coming today, nor any other.
She saw it like an 8mm film reel in her head every night, fighting sleep and ultimately succumbing to the Trazodone. Dinner was at their favorite Italian restaurant, the bougie place with low light and small portions. He wore his noir slacks, dark grey shirt, and midnight matte tie. With his shiny black hair and naturally blue eyes, whispers followed him as he walked through a room. She had on her crimson couture dress. It was mid-thigh, sleek, and form fitting with spaghetti straps. The fabric felt good and was thin. She went sans panties or it ruined the line of the silhouette. She had black, 6 inch heel, Loui Boutons and a black Coach clutch. He made the remark that she need only to let her golden messy bun fall in curly cascades around her green eyes and dinner would be in tonight. Tempted, she still opted to go. They had reservations and on a Friday, they were hard to come by on short notice. She had managed tonight’s in a week’s time. Besides, she wanted to remain in good standing with the owner and chef.
If they had stayed in, if he had left his phone in the car, or had taken it with him to the bathroom, things could have ended so differently, but he didn’t. The phone vibrated and she glanced down. It was a message from Alice. “Tomorrow, I am all yours. Tom is taking the boys to the zoo, doing that hubby thing.” He had told her he was working all day tomorrow. It was why he wasn’t staying at her place tonight. When he returned from the bathroom, the Cannoli was in a to-go box, the table was cleared, and she was waiting at the bar. He paid and they walked in the drizzling, humid, Summer rain to his Beamer.
Less than two minutes on the road, she asked, “So what’s going on tomorrow?”
“Oh, just going over the upcoming case with the partners. We want to be certain all I’s are dotted and t’s are crossed for this new client.”, he replied.
She half snorted, but still spoke calmly, “You lying son of a bitch.”
“Okay, who is Alice then?”
“Really? Are you kidding me?”
“Do I look like I’m kidding?”, she asked blank faced.
“No, you don’t, but you don’t realize this how funny this is sweetheart. There is a perfectly innocent explain-“
“Well, I know I’m not amused. I’m sure her husband who is taking the kids to the park wouldn’t be amused either.”
“He’s taking them to the zoo.”, he replied and half grinned.
“I’m so glad you find this humorous. I really am. Know what? That’s it.” She had that tone in her voice. Not yelling, but distinctly different than before.
“What do you mean that’s it?”
“I can’t stay in this car with you one moment longer.”
She’d always been passionate. He loved that about her. Occasionally, it had it’s down side. In one fluid motion, she reached for her seatbelt with one hand and the door handle with the other. He, knowing she would leap from the moving car, lunged with his right hand to grab her arm and his left hand jerked the wheel into the oncoming traffic by just eight inches. The pickup hit the Beamer and the car was no match for the old metal Ford. Her airbag deployed. His did not. She came to and realized he was badly injured. Not knowing where to apply pressure, there was so much blood, she called 911 and said, “I’m so sorry, babe. Help is on the way. It’s gonna be okay. You’re gonna be alright.” She realized he was trying to say something and leaned into his lips to listen.
She met Alice and Tom at the funeral. Tom was his cousin. And Alice? She was Tom’s wife. A legal secretary that was going to temp that day, help out. After the funeral, she said her thank-you’s to family and friends. She saw him placed in the ground. She went home and sewed her mouth shut with a sewing needle and silk thread. Neighbors called the cops when they saw her at the mailbox the next morning and she attempted to smile, the stitching pulled and tore a bit, causing crimson rivulets to run down her chin.
The hospital cut the silk thread, but couldn’t make her talk. She’d been hearing the last words he spoke since the day after his death. They came out the telephone when friends called with condolences, out the Pastor’s mouth at the funeral, out her air vents in the car, they echoed down the empty halls. Now, out the doctor’s mouth at monthly med checks and other patients’ mouths in group. From under her bed at night as she fought sleep, before she saw it all again…
“I’m so sorry, babe. Help is on the way. It’s gonna be okay. You’re gonna be alright.” She realized he was trying to say something and leaned into his lips to listen.
“I’ll have your lying tongue.”
Pat Berryhill lives and works in Winston Salem, NC. She has been published in Change Seven Magazine, Cultural Weekly, and will be in the soon to be released anthology The Devil’s Doorbell. She is also the founder of the NC Writer’s Collective.
Hectana is a musician from Russia.
By. Ryan Sonneville
The bank of cards spun, the force of the air surrounding its edges
Cuts the quiet, name upon name of specimens
“Belding” to “Evermore” to “Rockwell”
Beneath the script, a series of lines, coded identities
The machine probed through
Searching, thinking, considering
Ideal specimen was middle aged, thin, male, competent
The specimen would not be returned to the database
Minced and deconstructed
Immediate termination following successful application
Flawlessly designed, it evaluated hundreds of samples
The Center required only suitable applicants
Faulty specimens had been previously applied
Failure was not a possibility
The engorged glass eye emanated electromagnetic lines
Searching, thinking, considering
It fell on a single entity for selection
“B. Hitchens – 9735784-AD45”
An entangled web of steel detached the card from the bank
Sent it ascending to a superior model for processing
New request: youth, overweight, female, disposable
It flipped through its cards
Searching, thinking, considering
Ryan Sonneville is a teacher and writer.
Bukun! is a musician from Madrid, Spain.
By. Justin Zipprich
Stuart was on his way home from work when he first saw the black cat sitting in a nearby driveway.
He was in a traditional community with almost identical one and two story homes lining the streets. In most cases, seeing a cat out in the wild wasn’t too strange of an occurrence, but It was when he realized that something odd hung from the cat’s mouth that he found himself struck. He took a step forward in an effort to bring the scene into focus.
It was then that he realized that it was a bird’s body that hung from the cat’s mouth. The baby bird’s head was completely hidden inside the cat’s hungry jaws while its wings, soft body and tail feathers hung freely. The scene was equal parts troubling and intriguing.
A shiver went down Stuart’s spine every time the helpless foul twitched, suffered. Perhaps most disturbing was that Stuart could still hear the bird desperately tweeting from inside the cat’s hungry mouth.
Stuart felt a tiny moment of hope when suddenly the cat’s mouth opened just a little, allowing the bird to jimmy its way to safety. Clearly too injured to take flight, the bird tried its best to hop away, gaining only a foot or two before being scooped up again by the hungry cat. It was the beginning of the end as the bird tried one last time to struggle before the cat gave the bird a final jerk, breaking the delicate bones in its neck. The little bird body went limp.
Not needing to witness what would happen next, Stuart moved on as the cat continued to devour its meal, the predator consuming its prey.
The scene actually seemed to sadden Stuart. He seemed to feel a fraction of sympathy for another living creature, and he didn’t understand it, he had never felt this way before. Perhaps it was because this was the first time that he had seen the cycle of life coming to an end with his own two eyes. Who was to say that one creature had the right to take the life of another? He didn’t like the idea that an adorable house cat could take the life of an innocent and bubbly sparrow but he also realized that it was just the way things were sometimes. But they didn’t always have to be.
He replayed the scene over and over in his mind during the duration of his walk. The sadness, the finality of the whole thing, he couldn’t get it out of his mind. The scene also made him think about his own life. Had he made the best decisions in his adult years? Was there anything that he should try to change in an attempt to become a better person? Perhaps he should change the way he thought about the world; maybe this change of heart would make the world a better place. He had a lot to think about.
When he arrived home he officially decided that it was time to turn over a new leaf. Things would be different from now on. Ready to fully commit to his new way of thinking he began the process of unlocking the fortified door to the basement. It was time to let Margaret go, she had been chained down there for long enough.
Justin Zipprich is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He is proud to have his previous work published by Necrology Shorts, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Fiction and Verse and Whisperings Magazine as well as an honorable mention in Allegory.
Go Cozy is a band from Washington, DC.
Don’t you just hate clowns? The obscene face paint. The colored wigs. The baggy costumes. What are they hiding from? Who do they think we are?
My mother was a clown. She did birthday parties for kids. I had to come along, even though I didn’t know anybody there. People would ask me who I was.
“Well, where’s your grown-up?”
“I don’t have one.”
“How did you get here then?”
“I hid in one of the cars. They didn’t even see me.”
Even if my mother overheard the questions, she couldn’t interfere, limited to squeaking her bicycle horn.
Clowns live by rigid codes of behavior.
Seriously. If my mother had ever talked while in character, the matter would not have been taken lightly. She’d have been exiled by the clown community. Left to die.
She couldn’t explain me. Couldn’t apologize to her customer. Couldn’t yell at me for threatening her livelihood. Not at the birthday party, anyway.
Home was a different story. That’s where I’d experience the rage behind the impassive face.
But then today, on our way up the stairwell, she must have tripped on her oversized shoes and because I heard her tumbling until she hit the bottom.
I pressed my ear against her lips to hear her ragged breath, getting some of her makeup on me. I could feel it, the oily sealant that turned me into a clown.
I touched my face. As a clown, I had the power to become silent at will.
“Sorry, Mom, but I can’t call 911 if I can’t speak. What do you think would happen if I just honked, honked?
“Why, they’d just laugh!”
The Drunken Draculas are from San Diego, California.