FICTION

THE OLD MAN AND THE MOUNTAIN, A short story

It's difficult to talk about this, it's difficult but someone should do it, the old man wanted only to confess his sins before his death, there was no priest in the village, I had lost my way in the Blue mountain, I heard some voices and went downhill through some thorns, I met some old people and asked them where I was, they were crying like infants, especially an old woman, she turned out to be the old man's wife, she explained everything to me, she didn't tell me where I was, only told me come to confess him, poor man, he shouldn't take his sins to the grave, I agreed, instead of arguing

Wed, 03/27/2019 - 09:23
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SHADOW MAKERS, An excerpt from a novel

When she looks up, Finn sees that Murphy is on his porch, feeding the magpie family again. Finn frowns. She hadn't heard the birds make a sound. She wonders if Murphy has been watching her, and feels embarrassed, now, about the things she's done in chalk. But when Murphy sees her watching he smiles as if seeing her for the first time today. He beckons her over, and Finn leaves her chalk pieces and walks across slowly, side-on to the porch so as not to frighten away the magpies he's feeding.

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 16:47
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BULGARIAN CLASSICS IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Like any other country with a small language, Bulgaria has some fine writers and poets who remain virtually unknown to the world because their work has never been properly translated. (It is an entirely different issue why Bulgaria, unlike other countries with small languages, has done little if anything to sponsor the translation of its authors). People like Pencho Slaveykov, Geo Milev, Nikola Vaptsarov, Elin Pelin and Dimitar Dimov – all fine poets and writers with dramatic life stories, could have become international household names had they written in German, French or Spanish.

Wed, 11/28/2018 - 11:27
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THE MASTER, An excerpt from a short story

It was the winter of 1980, the year of my birth and of my grandfather's death, when Grandma Nelly first put on Dencho's Dress, as she used to call it, and never took it off again. I remember she even used to wear it at night and sleep in it, with her arms crossed over her chest, as though to embrace herself as strongly and as tightly as possible, tucking her fingers underneath her ribcage. When I asked her why she did that, she would smile and say it was a way for her to embrace two people at once—my grandfather and herself.

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 13:33
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THE MASTER, An excerpt from a short story

It was the winter of 1980, the year of my birth and of my grandfather's death, when Grandma Nelly first put on Dencho's Dress, as she used to call it, and never took it off again. I remember she even used to wear it at night and sleep in it, with her arms crossed over her chest, as though to embrace herself as strongly and as tightly as possible, tucking her fingers underneath her ribcage. When I asked her why she did that, she would smile and say it was a way for her to embrace two people at once—my grandfather and herself.

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 11:32
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MITOSIS, An excerpt from a short story

Metaphase

It was a Sunday. She rolled over. "Good morning." It was one of the things he loved about her, so perceptive. It was a good morning.

"It's a girl," she said. "I can feel it."

"Me too." Being a half-truth, he said it with frontloaded conviction. Whenever he touched her, touched them, he felt nothing. His daughter, hiding from him. Waiting to surprise him. His wife felt everything and he was left to imagine the hands stretching and feet kicking and how nothing in his life would ever be the same. "A girl for sure."

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 13:32
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MITOSIS, An excerpt from a short story

 

Metaphase

It was a Sunday. She rolled over. "Good morning." It was one of the things he loved about her, so perceptive. It was a good morning.

"It's a girl," she said. "I can feel it."

"Me too." Being a half-truth, he said it with frontloaded conviction. Whenever he touched her, touched them, he felt nothing. His daughter, hiding from him. Waiting to surprise him. His wife felt everything and he was left to imagine the hands stretching and feet kicking and how nothing in his life would ever be the same. "A girl for sure."

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 11:36
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SEEING ME OFF, A short story

Listen to me, boy. Sit down and listen to me carefully. I have something important to say to you. Do you remember that forest ranger everybody used to call the Indian? He was no Indian, had never even seen an Indian, but he used to say the only book he had ever read in his entire life was Winnetou, so everybody called him the Indian. Make sure you read the right books, my boy, because you never know what name people may decide to give you…

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 13:12
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SEEING ME OFF, A short story

 

Listen to me, boy. Sit down and listen to me carefully. I have something important to say to you. Do you remember that forest ranger everybody used to call the Indian? He was no Indian, had never even seen an Indian, but he used to say the only book he had ever read in his entire life was Winnetou, so everybody called him the Indian. Make sure you read the right books, my boy, because you never know what name people may decide to give you…

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 11:39
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SEVEN BEDTIMES FOR SEVEN BONZOS, An excerpt from a short story originally published in Yeti magazine

According to their testimony, the three co-defendants had met while flipping ollies in the drained swimming pools of suburban southern California and a decade later had gone on to serve as graphic designers and principal investors in Abacus 5, their own product line of extreme sports clothing. Without seeking prior permission from myself or my former employer, Black Star Photo Agency, Abacus 5 had printed a series of T-shirts that used elements of eight photographs spanning several phases of my career, albeit significantly altered from their original form.

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 13:18
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INITIATION, An excerpt from a novel in progress

Prophecies work in reverse. I see them only now. How the heat lightning flashed across my bedroom through the night, cutting my dreams short and sending me spinning in place, face squashed every which way into the mattress though the light persisted blue-electric on the insides of my eyelids. How I woke to my mother reciting my full name, Katherine Leland Katherine Leland Katherine Leland you've done it again, her anger so loud I heard it all the way from the basement, where I found her clutching a t-shirt splotched with ink, the washing machine's mouth gaping open and smelling of burning.

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 11:20
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WAITING FOR THE ELECTRICITY, An excerpt from a novel

In the beginning, when God was distributing the land to all the nations, we Georgians missed the meeting. The next morning we looked around and realized we were homeless. "Hey!" we shouted to God. "What about our land?"

"Where were you last night?" He asked. "You missed the meeting. I already gave away all the land."

"We were drinking!" we cried out. "We were toasting Your name!"

God was so pleased with us that He gave us the land He was saving for Himself. That’s why we are supposed to relax and enjoy the beauty of God’s earth.

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 06:45
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YEAR OF WOMEN, An excerpt from a novel

There's a minibus going everywhere, I swear. Even in the shittiest little towns, six to eight people get dropped off every two hours. I couldn't imagine what anyone else wanted in Stefan Voda, unless they somehow had jobs and still wanted to live there.

It was picturesque, like Grigorievca, with tin-cutout wells and weathered gingerbread on the houses and gates. Some fluffy yellow dogs with curly tails were scuffling around by someone's fence. I remembered how no young people stayed in the village and wondered if they all – the girls, anyway – ended up like Cristina.

Tue, 01/03/2017 - 12:56
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THE INHERITANCE OF HOPE, An excerpt from a short story

Some folks like to warn that money can’t buy happiness, but I figure it’s hope that holds real worth. Twelve days before emigrating from Będzin, Poland, to the hilled landscape of Oregon in 1943, my great-grandpa Alistair made a single, significant purchase. With the last of his savings he bought a ring for his wife, Kazia. It was forged by a goldsmith who claimed he could weave the couple’s aspirations right into the metal, preserving their visions for the future as neatly as life sealed in amber. Sometimes, that’s all you can do with misery such as theirs – manipulate it, melt it down.

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 15:16
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THE MIRACLE OF ST ELIZABETH, An excerpt from the novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman

This being a crucial period of my life, a period of serious decision making, just as I sit there, all of a sudden – bang! Here it comes! Another decision! So I decide to put an end to the tormenting cycle (no more isolation, no more cheese sandwiches, no more insomnia and gossip magazines).

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 12:07
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