Fiction: 2020s

Fiction of the Day


By Edna O’Brien

When the new shopkeeper arrived in the village he aroused great curiosity along with some scorn. He was deemed refined because his fingernails looked as if they had been varnished a tinted ivory. He had a horse, or as my father was quick to point out, a glorified pony, which he had brought from the Midlands, where he had previously worked. 

I Feel It

By Paul Dalla Rosa

In Majorca, jet-lagged at the airport, Nathan bought a one-liter bottle of Tanqueray, and then, after an hour’s drive, their van stopping in a small, possibly medieval town, a second bottle of gin, soda water, limes. They drove farther, another half hour, the sea beside them, before reaching the house. The house was isolated, far from town, on the side of a cliff that plunged into water so clear that from the terrace Nathan could see fish swimming at the water’s base.

There was a woman waiting for them. She took them through the house, each room all sparse white walls, wooden beams across the ceiling. She had all seven of them cram into the bathroom, where she demonstrated flushing the toilet. It was how one usually used a toilet. She said, “This is very important. One flush.” The woman lingered, untrusting, then left them keys.

They had rented the house for a week, after which they would fly on to Tel Aviv, arriving on the second day of Pride.

Trial Run

By Zach Williams

I pitched through the lobby door and then, as I caught my breath, stood looking back at the storm. It was bad out there. The city had been reduced to dim outlines and floating lights; snow moved down Nineteenth Street in waves. I beat it from my hat and coat, knocked my boots together. Under those high ceilings, each sound reverberated. Only the emergency lights were on, there was no one at the front desk, all the elevators in the bank sat open and waiting. And in a fit of hope, I thought there might not be, in all the building, even one other soul.

Though I hadn’t hit that button, the elevator stopped on nine: silence, nothing but cubicles in the faint light of an alarm panel. When the doors slid open again on fourteen I saw Manny Mintauro, our security guard, like a stone slab behind his podium. Half his face was in shadow. My heart fell at the sight of him.

“Sup, bro,” he said, deep and grave.  

The elevator doors closed behind me. “Hey, Manny.” Snow dropped from my jeans onto the carpet. “Thought it might just be me today.