Particicution

(Based on a scene from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood) Identical red dresses and white winged bonnets crowded around the drugged man, the rapist. His pulpy face a mess of cuts and purpling bruises. His stench forced me to cover my nose and mouth. Sounds of retching and murmuring in the soupy air. Then, a shrill whistle signaled “Kill …

All the Colors of the Rainbow

A couple moved into an apartment. They discovered that one of the doors was locked. They called the caretaker who explained to them that the room behind that door had been designed and built automatically. No human being had been involved in the process whatsoever, or had even seen the room, and all data pertinent to its construction had been …

My Own Van Gogh

I thought about taking up Art once. Before I met Margery. Before I went into investment banking. Something I picked up in the military during the war. Not a real war. More of a military intervention. The Mongolian Intervention we called it. The gas fields of Northern Mongolian. We were liberating the gas lines there. We did liberate them. Very …

Colorful

Amidst the murky gloom of San Francisco’s fog, on my commute to work into the Financial District this morning, a little boy got on the bus with his mom as I yawned. He must have been no older than seven or eight. The boy resembled my father when he was that age, which is probably why I couldn’t keep my …

The Patriarch Strokes a White Cat (Or How to Defeat Fascism)

You draw colored circles on my back in front of a fire that might have burned for centuries. Important Things always existed, always pierced us, always blew our minds. We went hiding under the pecan tree, one for each of us, on opposite corners of my yard, where all the leaves fall, the squirrel cracks up, and the hawk watches …

Yunhee-dong

The rain tapped against the window intermittently for days, hypothetical ellipses leading nowhere, until noon today, suddenly intensifying into staccato exclamation points. Monsoon season arrived during the bus ride back from the clinic at Hannam ogeri. Not impossible to get an abortion in Korea, despite what the first doctor said, immediately offering to perform an ultrasound in his neat, contraction-free …

The Return

It was evening. We were standing near a line of trees that looked like conifers; the sky was darkening behind the trees. It was time to go back. This was the last crossing: our damaged equipment would permit no more. We had seen things that were almost impossible to believe. Ahead of us, our scientist turned a dial as her …

Aurora

The last night I slept soundly was the night before my wheezing father announced the succession.  He named me – his daughter – as his heir.  He hoped aloud that my brother would advise me faithfully.  The pulsing vein in Damian’s forehead suggested otherwise.  With one word my father had severed our fraternal connection more effectually than any witch’s curse. …

Old Whitworth

Old Whitworth, a seventy-year-old dentist who should have retired a decade ago, endured in the practiced removal of ailing choppers. Yet his fees were a pittance in post-war years, offering irresistible rates – if you weren’t too particular about the origin of his dubious credentials. Whitworth, white-haired, save for rounded bald spot, reddened by anger from a patient who didn’t …

The Interview

Tell us about your scar. Does it hurt? Only when I smile. I suppose it has a story? Yes, but not a very interesting one. I have another. Another scar? No. Another story. Would you like to hear it? Please. Our readers would be most interested. I was nine. There had been an accident. An accident? Nothing serious, I hope? …

Flotsam

“This started when I moved to Amy’s house,” Judy said, as she and James set out for their evening stroll. It was the same stretch of the East Coast Park that they had walked every evening, for the last forty-seven years. James was still in his work clothes, a navy-blue Coast Guard uniform. Judy wore a beige top over black …

Rebecca Buller

Azalea Martine’s Daily Schedule   Every morning at 6:30, Azalea Martine wakes up and throws back the covers. She opens the blinds and windows before freshening up in a bathroom with walls the color of sun-bleached grass. At 7:10 John Martine watches his wife, Azalea, make oatmeal and bacon for breakfast while he taps his fingers on the tabletop and …