The Lotus Café

Months of nicotine patches, hypnotism and bitter-tasting gum had not cured Noel of his love affair with cigarettes. His mind was like the tip of a sword, focused on the missing pleasure. One bleak Friday, he sat facing his boss. He watched his lip curl around unintelligible phrases, his only thought the smooth descent of … More The Lotus Café

The Chess Game

It started small. The nudges against her father’s control, his put downs and criticisms. His expectation she would mould to his will like clay. Olga watched him teach her brother chess. Of course, her father made sure he never won. The pieces click-clacked against the board and her brother glowed under the sun of his … More The Chess Game

Futureset

The year 3000. The suburbs. ‘It’s state of the art. One trillion pixels in that sunset alone.’ Nia’s husband turned to her, his body bristled with excitement. ‘Well? Aren’t you going to say something?’ She studied the three-dimensional projection on their living room wall. The quivering burnt orange, the wisps of coral and silver and … More Futureset

Escape

Must label the pasta containers and rearrange the cans, Ella thought as she sat on the floor of the pantry. The terracotta tiles were cold and the light flickered as if it might expire. She hugged her legs and counted to twenty, the shrill wails of her children far away. I’m alone, she mused. All … More Escape

Brother Sister

‘Brother Sister’ was the third music festival Issy had attended in two months. Soren had promised a sun machine would make the grass golden, they would be enlightened and the vibes of the festival would change not only them, but the whole world. Issy was sceptical. ‘Soren, there’s no such thing as a sun machine, … More Brother Sister

Page Three

Ross Hamilton filled the position of photographer at the town rag, ‘The Strickland Spectator.’ He was fresh out of a three-month course at the church hall, taken alongside elderly residents keen to escape their houses. His Minolta had a few dings on the edges but was otherwise in fine condition. ‘You look sexy with that thing … More Page Three

Shatila

Bassima shook her brother’s shoulder, her head bent close to his ear. ‘Nasur! Wake up. It’s too early to sleep.’ The boy groaned and rolled onto his back, opening one eye. His skin had a grey cast and the other eye was sealed closed with an infection. ‘What is it? I was dreaming of Homs. … More Shatila

The Set

It was difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when Toby’s set fell apart. He had been drinking, but not so much that he couldn’t stand up. There was minimal swaying and some slurring. Yet laughter came and washed over him like the most refreshing of waves. The large crowd sat at round tables, nursing their … More The Set

The Vestry

Louis Girard hated Father Babineaux. His high lisp as he intoned the sermons, his sunken cheeks and the way his fingers moved like spider legs as he touched his rosary. Yet, far more disturbing were his pink lips—full and sensuous, suggesting desires far from God’s grace. Louis prayed to his favourite saint, Theonius, for intervention. … More The Vestry

Mahamaya

The young woman frowned as Edie reached for her phone. ‘The retreat starts now,’ she said, her eyes clear and untroubled, two still pools of water. Edie imagined this superior being lived each tranquil day the same as the last. ‘But it’s beeping,’ said Edie. ‘I think it’s important.’ The woman picked up the device … More Mahamaya