Push

Let us discuss the fly who drifted into the work fridge and landed on her leftovers – the Christmas Lunch sandwich with the “herby pork stuffing” – and vomited a mixture of spit and stomach acid right there. Let us think about her biting and swallowing the sandwich and – around 72 hours later – vomiting her own mixture of spit and stomach acid right there, near the work fridge. Let’s see her going home and next morning texting her boss: “Apologies – I’m sick” again and her boss texting back “Hope you feel OK soon” again. Let’s imagine her lying there, sick, as she starts to think and decides, firmly, that she will quit that boring job with the nice boss. Let us think about the fly, the same fly, gliding into her flat and resting on her pillow. Let us discuss what a difference it made. How small and huge that was.
by
Henry Barnes

Ritual

It's our Sunday tradition to drive into the Peak District, strap on our water packs, and start our GPS watches. The world brightens during the uphill slog. Ascent defeated, our reward is to share a pack of Jelly Babies as we soak in the view. Today, fog shrouds the summit. Freezing rain drives into my face. I don't stop at the top, but push on, slipping and sliding down the muddy slope. You were always in better shape than me: racing to the top and then looping back, nimble as the sheep that skittered out of your path, to run the steepest sections a second time. I said you had the heart of a man twenty years younger, and you laughed and said you hoped he wouldn't want it back. Driving home alone is the hardest part.
by
Hannah Whiteoak
@HannahWhiteoak

Funny How the Colors Stick With You

I remember her color: black speckled with serpent's green. Today, when I should be slumping at my desk writing copy for a natural cleaning product made in Salinas, I'm daydreaming about my mother's toes and how my father used to kiss them. I have a date tonight. One of those muscly Crossfit guys. We met near my house on open mic night – he sidled next to me, complimented my blouse (we both knew he liked what was in my blouse, cradled in my faithful pushup bra), and displayed a fair tenor later in the night when he sang his version of The Color of Love. I'm not sure why I mumbled, "Yes", when he asked me out, maybe I was bored. Hours later, spiderwebs crowning me, I find it: a crystal bottle with striations of color, tumbled to the bottom of a crate of her things.
by
Emily McIntyre
@mcintyrewrites
Can You Illustrate This Piece?

1. Read the details here
2. Send your art to colorsstick@adhocfiction.com

Not All Points of Sail Are Equal

If you were a schooner, you would outrun the swiftest, you with your mad eyes locked on elusive prizes, trying to shoot the bar before it shoots you. Steering and trimming and trimming and steering, leaving the safety of broad reaches, risking side-swipes from the heavy boom. You would careen as you drew closer to the wind, pushing for the horizon, a-tilt, blinded by spray, moderation foreign to your one-man armada. If you were a schooner, you would forget the simple lessons of Newtonian mechanics: all with or all against the gale’s force is never as safe as a steady beam reach. Closer and closer you would haul your craft until you were, at last, in irons. If you were a schooner, you would end locked in a standstill, pointing toward an edge where dreams and fate coalesce, with no hope of further motion.

Credits

fiction by
Christina Dalcher
@CVDalcher

image by
kerry rawlinson
kerryrawlinson.tumblr

©
creators

down-the-drain

Close Shave

Pain, if it could be called that? No no, that's not it. Raw and humming. Undercurrents of seared heat. That was it. A thick drop of blood explodes above the blank curve of the white marble sink. A parabola, a topological space, a set of points clustered in equal dimensions, a god damn deformed line. The drop gathers again after impact, diluted now by shards of old sinewed water. Gravity and momentum push it toward the plug hole, next stop? The sewer and onwards to Dublin bay. Face never ever clean. Shadows, always shadows. Morning - noon - night. Pluck a clean razor, try again, 140 times until it's right.

Credits

fiction by
Luke Timmins
@luketimmins77

image by
kerry rawlinson
kerryrawlinson.tumblr

©
creators

shell ghosts by kerry rawlinson

Just A Crisp

There was a time before Lucy stopped eating. Creeping up behind me she plunged her hand into my Walkers Cheese & Onion and ran away, cheeks bulging. 'It's just a crisp,' said Mum when, with tear streaked cheeks, I reported my sister's crime. Now, years later, we sit at opposite ends of the kitchen table. My finger traces the knots in the pine as Lucy carefully peels an apple, cores it, slices it into wafer thin slivers. That's how I see Lucy. Wafer thin. If I held her up to the light I believe I would see right through her. She hugs herself to keep warm as we watch the uneaten apple slivers turn brown. I push my open packet towards her. 'It's just a crisp,' I say.

Credits

fiction by
Alison Wassell
@lilysslave

image by
kerry rawlinson
kerryrawlinson.tumblr

©
creators

Just a Moment

…he pulls, and this time papa raises a blind and bloody bundle, suckling into cold light, seeking hot skin and beating heart, and papa reveals tears, and fears, and godly thoughts and thank-you’s, and when from behind papa’s pillared legs the infant peeks round, grappling for papa’s clever hand, well… from under papa’s skin bursts a proud shield, bearing ironed-out dents, patched holes, and a new bullet-proof coating, and this life-time’s work shelters junior as he steps forward, reaching for coloured spools, stitch after stitch, he weaves seven sorrows and sins, ecstasies and wonders, until a young man, stands, still and tall, he understands, and spins his own creation, procreation, discovering tender-lust, and the twining and binding of love and lives, for life, a beating, systole-diastole, through the umbilical-thread to mama, till it’s time, and she pushes…
by
Ruth Tamiatto

Can You Illustrate This Piece?

1. Read the details here
2. Send your art to justamoment@adhocfiction.com

Hindsight Party Invite

To: Date: That summer night, katydids and the shimmering air, and when I came to the door, you a "plus one" in a red floral summer dress standing rosy cheeked from the sinking sun, gift in hand. Time: Minutes brought bodies, brought heat and all moved like molasses through the night, you a red blur in and out between dancing strangers, their hair sweat-stuck to glistening foreheads. Your date left the party late with the thinning crowd, drunk and mad that you did not follow. Place: My fetid house chased the stragglers out to the pool where you sat, feet dangling. I handed you the whiskey, you pushed me in and followed. And when it began to rain we danced drenched on the lawn to the The Beach Boys and Glen Miller till the sun came up. R.S.V.P: You were there. I wish I'd asked you your name.
by
Rory Bouffe
@stokedfishy
Can You Illustrate This Piece?

1. Read the details here
2. Send your art to hindsightpartyinvite@adhocfiction.com

The Gulls

The Gulls

Hey lady hey lady hey! Helen, in the elbow crook of the bay, and the boys in the boat crying for her, their voices high and hoarse on the evening air. The tide mouths the toes of her trainers and she ignores them, like they're more of the cawing seagulls, one and the same. Hey baby, hey! They're coming closer aren't they, steering inland, the beer slopping in them, threatening to spill out. The ends of their cigarettes bright as little suns. They go to war tomorrow, they sing. They wear their camouflage already. Give us a kiss lady, give us a taste, go on. Come aboard for our last night of freedom. She rests her foot on the side of the boat as it reaches her. Smiles, because it costs nothing, no other reason. Pushes them back out onto the dark sea.

Credits

fiction by
Abi Hynes
@AbiFaro

image by
Zowie Green
www.zowiegreen.com

©
creators