My Detox Distilled
But fear loomed like
a stitched whale song.
Laying in the fetal position
wrapped in the arms of solitude,
worse than trapped, no bird songs—
under the cover of a static quilt,
with imprisoned hushed mind voices
beneath and their spun spiraling eyes,
whispers that cycle like lightning
along the trails, bolting down
around Remorse Passage, surging across Regret Line,
plowing straight into Resentment Way,
silent electronic surges boom,
amplified by the hollowed inner walls.
A steel wheelbarrow dumps pile after
pile of hot steamy hopelessness
into the echoing abyss, packing it tight
like a trunk, until it overflows.
Then light cuts down the stock,
and carries the whole heap—
back to the radical,
a mere pretext
Dark spread across the land
in strange westward blows,
from the mouth of a Titan.
Black blanketed the forest,
the gray squirrels hid in trees,
the rabbits to their burrows.
An egg was left by a mother
in the middle of the forest’s
floor. Silent guilt oozed from
the egg toward its neglector,
suffocating her to death.
Night set in for the long hall,
weighing down the trees,
and the bushes longed to see
the sun dancing around the earth
with free food like Jesus.
The once pleased owl
grew tired of the perpetual
blackness, became depressed
as he stared out at the sky,
missing the absence of difference.
And the moon no longer shone,
it slinked back into the abyss.
The owl stopped hooting
and started to lose its feathers.
by S. Babin
S. Babin holds a BA in English Literature from the Ohio State University, and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He lives with his family, and works in Columbus, Ohio. His work will be forthcoming in The Wayfarer; Spark: A Creative Anthology; Bop Dead City; Cactus Heart; Star 82 Review; and many more.
After I dropped out of university I spent some time working on my uncle’s farm. My uncle was called Frank and wasn’t much to look at, the whiskey had done that to him, whiskey and heartache. He was getting on now so I chopped wood for the fire and made dinner as best as I could. In the evenings I lost myself in Tolstoy.
My uncle got me into butchery. The first thirteen pigs I killed I named. The last thirteen I resorted to using numbers. Perhaps I was feeling more human.
The one person I killed, in an accident, her name I have long since forgotten.
I remember the date it happened though, that’s something.
When the summer was over I started back for the city and found myself in a diner with a woman I did not know. I told her that I loved her right there and then and knew from the moment I set eyes upon her that we were to be married. She was called Mercy and she thought what I said and did was very strange but that she would leave it go this time because I had a tired face and when men are tired they do foolish things.
Frank died a little while after that and the pigs cannibalised each other before the last one finally starved to death. I don’t know if she had a name or a number.
I married Mercy but she left me after a few years and married another pig farmer because he was heartbroken and she felt pity for him. I told her as she was leaving that she had too much faith in the word and she said she knew this to be true.
by Roy Endean
Roy Endean lives in the south of Ireland. His work has appeared in Brand Magazine, The Steel Toe Review and Corium, and has been performed by The Accidental Theatre Company. He is the recent recipient of the Burbage New Writing Prize.
The Old Dog finds its legs in the corner. He wants to take me for a walk, but I’m too weak. He knows that better than anyone. He’s been waiting.
We found each other the day I sank into my cups and carved up a drifter for sport. Together we buried the corpse underneath a wooden shed. I remember thinking how deftly his charcoal legs beat back mounds of frozen earth. Back then the Old Dog was only a pup with thoughtless marble eyes and fangs like sewing pins. He’s walked in my shadow ever since, placing paw after paw in my wayward steps. He’s seen me lie and cheat to cover up my crime. He’s watched me kill again and again. With each transgression the Old Dog took on weight and edges and heat. Now his claws glow like coals in a forge and his old bones land like anvils, cracking my ribs as he mounts my chest. His jaws close around my throat and I can taste his canine breath. The scent of eggs fills every cavity in my skull.
My Old Dog wants to take me for a long walk.
by Zach Lisabeth
Zach Lisabeth is a Los Angeles-based speculative fiction author. His work has appeared in the anthology RealLies (The Zharmae Publishing Press and he is a graduate of the 2014 Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Workshop.