SPA CARE by Xenia Taiga

The spa was located in the hills, behind the town’s famous billboards.

“The farthest spot on known earth,” her husband said, looking over the brochures. “No fast foods for miles.”

Her husband helped her pack, while she stood to the side eating Dorito’s. The afternoon sun shone on her as she got in the car and slammed the door. Her husband waved. When she pulled out of the driveway, he called out to her. “Relax enough, so you can ovulate and then we can get back to business.”

ROSA by Anne Germanacos

Just a name

Rosa, a girl in a story, a name I happen to like. She’s a girl with a father who follows her to the ends of the earth as she follows a story, a myth, an incantation.

She is trying to be a virgin and a diplomat, like Gertrude Bell.
She would also like to be a mad heroine, like Isabelle Eberhardt.

Her parents would like her to finish her homework.

HAGRIDDEN by Jen Julian

They called it a boo hag. It’s what Eva said was haunting her when I got her on the phone six years after I’d left Miskwa. I felt the same way every time I talked to her—nostalgic a little, but hurting with secret embarrassment—and it was always at some odd hour of the night when the city noises kept me up. I always found myself wanting to hear her talk about ghosts and demons. She was still living deep in the bog in her grandma’s old house, but she was no more Gullah than I was, and whiter than French bread. Still, the stories of the Gullah folk burrowed deep in her, and they were stuck in there just as firm as when she was four foot tall and barefooted.


Patsy Smith left Rochester, New York on a sunny Saturday morning intending to drive all the way to California. But after three and a half hours, crossing through an Indian reservation, she got lost. On a long, straight road, where there hadn’t been a route number for many miles, there was a sudden break in the forest and she saw a small building with cars and trucks parked in front. She turned in to ask directions.

Pulling the door open, she smelled beer. She saw men with their backs to her sitting at the end of a room on bar stools, and close by, a few small tables and chairs that were mostly empty.

LENT by Paul Lisicky

Father Jed’s head was stuck in Lent. He said these words to himself as a kind of talisman. Otherwise, his head would have split in two. He sat on the chancel with Father Benedict, the assistant pastor, up on the priest’s seat. Why was he so torn up on the night of the Easter Vigil? It was the most joyous mass of the year. The choir, the drummers, the brass ensemble, the woodwind players, the readers: everyone had been preparing for this night since the doldrums after Epiphany. The church was dark, completely dark. It gave Father Jed a thrill to think of one of those perpetual latecomers stalled at the vestibule.

BETWEEN MEN by C. Dale Young

You never know you want to live until someone tells you that you will die. For four years, Leenck had worked from home processing accounts for an investment firm. Leenck was dying. Suffice it to say, he was painfully aware now that he was dying. He had already gone to the bank and withdrawn all of his savings: at the counter waiting for this manager or that supervisor to sign this or that form, the teller had looked at him that morning as if she knew, as if she, too, knew he was dying. It was as if everyone were staring at him.