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"The Girl Who Wished" by Eric Charles May

Issue #1 / February 2014

Illustrated by Geoffrey Grisso


ERIC CHARLES MAY is an associate professor in the Creative Writing department at Columbia College Chicago. A Chicago native and former reporter for the Washington Post, his fiction has appeared in the magazines Fish Stories, F, and Criminal Class. In addition to his Post reporting, his nonfiction has appeared in Sport Literate, the Chicago Tribune, and the personal essay antholog Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck. His first novel, Bedrock Faith, was published by Akashic Books in 2014.



"Once upon a time, way back in the 1950s, when there was no cyber or cable anything and the cars were all big and boxy, there was a little girl who lived with her mother and father, just the three of them, in a fine brick house on the Far South Side of Chicago. (Only Negro people, as they called themselves back then, lived in the neighborhood, nearly all of them also living in fine brick houses.) The Girl’s favorite part of the day was evening when her Daddy returned from work. No matter the season, she’d wait on the front steps, anxious for the sight of his tall, dark figure walking down the street. If he was whistling, The Girl knew he was happy and she’d run to him so he could grab her with his large hands and lift her up...


"Accidental Falls" by Christina Murphy

Issue #2 / February 2014

Illustrated by Francesco Orazzini



CHRISTINA MURPHY's stories have appeared in a range of journals and anthologies, including A Cappella Zoo, PANK, Word Riot, Spilling Ink Review, and The Last Word: A Collection of Fiction. Her fiction has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was the winner of the 2011 Andre Dubus Award for Short Fiction.



"My mother, returning with a bottle of wine borrowed from a neighbor for the party at which people drank more than she expected, tripped over a piece of broken pavement, fell onto the sidewalk, and took a chunk of skin off her palms. The bottle shattered. My mother, a hysteric by nature, screamed and cried and drew a crowd—my father chief among them, who discovered that a shard of the green bottle glass had imbedded itself in the center of my mother’s forehead. He removed it gingerly, telling her it was all right, she was not hurt. This was no comfort to my mother, who was fixated on that she could have been blinded. This was my mother’s world, the could-have-been of multiple horrors and outcomes. He helped her to her feet. She was still crying as the crowd gathered round, giving her comfort with the one platitude she claimed as her own—how awful that this should happen to her...


"Torn" by Sahar Mustafah

Issue #3 / March 2014

Illustrated by Mark Para



SAHAR MUSTAFAH is a writer, editor, and teacher from Chicago. Her work has appeared in Word Riot, Hair Trigger 35, Mizna, New Scriptor, Chicago Literati, and Dinarzad’s Children: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Literature (2004). Her short story “Shisha Love” won the 2012 Guild Literary Complex Fiction Award and was nominated for a 2013 Pushcart Prize; her short story “Perfect Genes” earned 3rd Place in the 2013 Gold Circle Awards from Columbia University Scholastic Press Association for collegiate magazines. She received her MFA in fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago and is the co-founder and editor of Bird’s Thumb, a literary journal.



"We sat cross-legged on my bed, the globe wobbling between us on its plastic stand, and you turned it until a part of Asia and all of Australia faced me. You pressed your palm against Africa and teased a corner of South America until you peeled it off, taking most of the Atlantic Ocean with you. I held my breath, worried you were going to tear it away from the rest of the world—much too easily—and ball it up and throw it into my wastebasket.



But you let it hang there, and when I slowly spun the world I pushed my fingers through the hole as though, at nine years old, I might feel water and seaweed and a shoal of fish and maybe the rough dorsal ridges of a whale...

"A Sense of Humor" by Cynthia Scott

Issue #4 / March 2014

Illustrated by Timothy Tang



CYNTHIA SCOTT is a freelance writer, blogger, and copyeditor at Zharmae Publishing Press. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Graze Magazine,, eFiction,, Rain Taxi, Bright Lights Film Journal, Strange Horizons, Creosote Journal, and others.



"She rubbed her eyes twice when she saw the hand. It lay between the rows of collard greens, gray and waxen, cut clean at the wrist, with dull fingernails, clenched fingers, and clotted blood around the clean, white bone. It looked like something for sale at a Halloween store, something trickster children might use to scare the bejeezus out of little old ladies, except that it wasn’t made of rubber. Flies buzzed around it and black ants trooped over it, tearing its flesh with their powerful mandibles and carrying away the bits to God knew where...

"Good News Or Money" by Patricia Ann McNair

Issue #5 / April 2014

Illustrated by Olga Kosheleva



PATRICIA ANN MCNAIR has lived 98 percent of her life in the Midwest. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, where she received the Excellence in Teaching Award as well as a nominatin for the Carnegie Foundation’s US Professor of the Year. McNair’s story collection, The Temple of Air, was named Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year in traditional fiction, Devil’s Kitchen Reader Awardee in Prose, and finalist in adult fiction by Society of Midland Authors. She’s received numerous Illinois Arts Council Awards and Pushcart Prize nominations in fiction and nonfiction, and her work has been named a finalist for the American Fiction Prize twice.



"Hello, is this someone with good news or money? No? Goodbye!




Hello, is this someone with good news or money? No? Goodbye!

Ha! Yeah, right. A Thousand Clowns. Jason Robards. Right. Ok, yeah. Hey. It’s me. Surprise. Long time. I know.


So here’s the thing. It’s about Mom. Are you there? Are you listening? Can you hear me? It’s about Mom, she asked me to call. I didn’t want to, but she asked…



Hello, is this someone with good news or money? No? Goodbye!

Goddamn machine. You wait a minute to try to collect your thoughts. It’s about Mom, right? I got something to say.


Oh, wait. You probably think I’m calling about something bad. Oh, jeez. Wow. That’s not…I mean…it’s not bad. Nothing bad. No, hey. It’s good. Ok, take two. Or whatever...

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