from Glass Houses, by Andrew Wilmot:
ONE NIGHT, THREE WEEKS after his thirteenth birthday, Ned got hard and stayed that way. The skin of his chest started to prickle and grow firm in the early morning hours. Drowsy and half-dreaming, he thought maybe a spider had crawled between his sheets and bitten him on the sternum. But when Ned moved his hand across his chest to scratch the point of irritation, he felt his fingers strike something smooth and slick, felt his nails glide silently over a surface he knew, immediately, was wrong. He threw back his sheets to look down at his torso, and saw the stars and the moon on the surface of his body—reflections from outside his bedroom window. He saw his heart and his organs beating, churning inside of him, housed by skin as transparent as glass.
Ned could not remember precisely what happened next. He could not recall the deafening scream that woke both his parents, nor could he picture the veil of white panic that fell over his mother’s face, causing her to faint at the sight of her son’s new skin.
Ned’s father, ignoring his son’s continued shouts of terror and confusion, picked his unconscious wife up off the ground, carried her from the bedroom, and pulled the door tight. “You’re just lucky she’s man enough for the both of you,” he said to Ned the next morning.
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(excerpt from Laws of Flight by Darren Greer)
DALTON AND I USED to fly to the river.
The river runs right through the centre of town and then makes its way through the country all the way down to Mill Village and Liverpool, to the sea.
It was our favorite thing to do, to stay just twenty feet or so above it, side by side, sometimes holding hands and flying as fast as we could go until we got to the end. Our speed was never so great as when we flew the river.
We knew every crook and every pool. Every eddy and every fall.
We could do it in our sleep.
“We do do it in our sleep,” laughed Dalton.
We never flew the river alone because of the ocean.
When you reach the end of the river and come out on the water endlessly stretching before you, it’s hard to know when to stop. You don’t want to stop. You want to keep on flying further and further until you discover where it ends. It’s almost as tempting as the stars.
Dalton said if we didn’t have each other we might not stop. We might never come back and so be lost forever. So we made a rule that when we go we only go together, where Dalton could always tell me to stop and turn around.
And I always did. But it was hard.
Cecile’s lower lip sticks out. “Tell me how you are.”
She leans into my shoulder. Khalid is looking over our heads at the big-screen hockey. “Really fine?”
Cecile never believes anything is good unless it’s in a book or on TV. She only talks about the problems in her life: the leak in the bathroom ceiling, her mom bugging her to get married, her sister’s eczema. The right answer for Cecile is something that is wrong.
St. Peter put his hand on David’s shoulder. “Here’s the deal. All you have to do to get into Heaven is get over the gates.”
“That sounds pretty simple.”
“Does it?” St. Peter asked. He pointed towards the top of the gates, which now seemed impossibly tall.
“How high are they?” David asked.
“Depends on who’s looking at it,” St. Peter said.
The first release in our new one-story-at-a-time format is Romance, a short story from Dave Margoshes’ new collection, God Telling a Joke and Other Stories.
Read this vintage tale of love learned and lost - and find out how you can win a free copy of the book - here.
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Here’s your chance to read, for free, Somehow There Was More Here by Danny Goodman - a writer Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author Joseph Boyden (The Orenda, Through Black Spruce) calls “an old soul, one who can actually capture and crystallize the modern experience.”
If the page for Somehow There Was More Here is shared a total of 1000 times or more on Facebook and Twitter, we’ll post the entire novella - online, free to read - for an entire month!
Featuring stories by Kirsty Logan, Pauline Holdstock, Caroline Adderson, Danny Goodman, Chad Pelley, Jessica Westhead, Jack Bootle, Courtney McDermott, and more!
from Everything Must Go by Jeff Dupuis
“I’ll give you a dollar apiece for Rope, Vertigo, Blade Runner, and Evil Dead 2.”
“We agreed on the whole box for fifty.”
“I changed my mind.”
“You baby boomers think you’re entitled to everything, don’t you? Stop wasting my time.”
The mellow rushes out of my room as if a fire alarm had been pulled, and I notice how empty it all feels. The turtleneck indignantly clip-clops down the stairs, leaving empty-handed. It takes a lifetime of entitlement to cultivate a tool like that guy, kinda like those thousand-pound pumpkins that win ribbons at county fairs.
A man in the throes of a breakup sells all of his possessions on Kijiji and Craigslist in Jeff Dupuis’ Everything Must Go. Read an extended preview and/or buy the ebook single.