There’s Violets for You – Sarah Wallis

It has been cold tonight. Elodie feels the extremes more keenly now. We cannot know if she is immortal, but she takes on the aspect of Tithonus, the mortal fatally blessed with a god’s love who forgot to ask for eternal youth. What error of judgement. Elodie feels the song of age in her bones;…

The Sugar Picture Man – Karen Jones

Sara looked up when she heard the bell above the door. She knew it would be him. She could set her watch by him. He came into her café every day, bought a salad sandwich and a cup of tea, then sat at one of the blue tables – always blue. He would put his…

Monday Morning in a Wheeled Box – Kevlin Henney

Monday morning. As alone as she was on that first date when they realised mutual dislike of one another in the opening seconds. Monday morning, on the bus. Alone and unrushed in the human press of rush hour. Driftwood in the sea of people going this way and that. Workwards. Schoolwards. Awkwards. Misfit pieces from…

The Interval – Eliot Keirl

Please nobody jump please nobody jump please nobody jump … I wish I could not look … robots, why can’t they get robots to drive all I do is press buttons then I’d be unemployed though OK one more down and on we go four bad ones left this evening after all can’t wait schedule…

Be Positive – Sara Jafari

Picking at my nails, pulling at the hanging skin, watching my fingers bleed, I think of what might happen tomorrow, next month, in a year, when my mum will die, through old age or some unknown, when I will die. Life is the great unknown; a grey abyss in which my worst fears could come…

People Who Have Never Hurt Me (Or So They Think) – Marianne Tatepo

I. The courier is alright. Except when he rings. I see a big bouquet: ‘For me?’ The tag says “Becky Hasitall♡”. Cheery Chap chortles “I pushed all the buttons!”  More babble: ‘They’re so heavy! He must really lo– ’. I tune out. As I retreat with my neighbour’s delivery, he double takes my ass. Later,…

The Tree of Life – Freya Morris

There is a tree that speaks to me. That’s how I know it’s alive. Its speech is like hunger in my stomach. I understand it. Like me, it’s alone. It sits on the shoulder of Colston Place, breaking through dying concrete. It reaches out to the forest of buildings with leaves of glass, thirsting after…

SHARKS – Elizabeth Lovatt

It’s like with sharks,’ Maria said. ‘Sharks?’ Jo reached over to push a strand of Maria’s hair behind her ear. ‘That tickles.’ Maria frowned. They were lying in bed together, in Jo’s flat; Maria on her side, one arm tucked under her head, one leg draped over Jo’s. ‘Why do you always describe things instead…

Sight Unseen – Nick Ryle Wright

The city, it seemed, did not want to let them go. Stuck in traffic, less than a mile from the home they were leaving forever, Paul fought the urge to suggest that fate, or perhaps a divine being neither he nor Gerard believed in, was trying to tell them that their move was doomed. This…

Corners – Shreeta Shah

Away from the glittering lights and glinting windows, the suburbs are wearing them: men in the City who are boys at home; girl-women, daughters of the household, wherever they are. Parked in black cars beside long fences (who know, and see everything), their faces unnaturally aglow in the light of their phones, windows open, smoke…

The City’s Plan for You – Andrea Eaker

  Inside the club, the music makes you its tuning fork. It hammers into your chest and overrides your heartbeat. But behind the door marked ‘Ladies’, the music loses its intensity, its invasiveness. That makes the ladies’ a sanctuary: rat-eaten carpeting, soggy drywall and all. Here, with the other women, you lean into the mirrors…

Earth Mother – Paul Attmere

Eyes open but dark. Apart from the bike helmet and the thin plastic bag that covers her body and clings to her skin, she is naked. It is a bumpy ride over rough ground. All she can hear is bangs, squeaks, and the strangely comforting, steady ticking of a bicycle wheel. She thinks about potatoes;…