Charmed and Strange

by Maggie Secara

You can call me Callista, if you like. Back when I was leaving footprints in the Anglian strand, my name was a sort of nasal snort that more or less meant “Hey, you with the limp.” Then Reynaldo found me. Happily I changed that inarticulate grunt for the alternating freedom of attenuated electrons, for which I’ve most recently traded bronchitis and a nervous twitch.


by Paul Michael Moreau

I received a garbled and incoherent message, barely recognisable as Gloria’s voice. None of her subsequent texts made sense either - something about needing my help to move house. It was all rather strange as we were no longer close, drifting ever further out of touch all these years since Mum died. I overcame my reluctance and she picked-up immediately, unleashing a panic-stricken babble so incomprehensible that I simply barked, 'Calm down,' the first words I had spoken to her in years.

God's Dog

by S.E.Gale

‘Agnes? What’s going on? What is that thing?’ She shrugs her thick shoulders.

‘Don’t know, Pete. Alien maybe? Ali found it huddled on the veranda a year or so ago. Real frightened of the dark. Took us a bloody age to figure out what it ate.’ Then she smiles and even in the dim light, her smile is malevolent. ‘My daughter says he’s an angel, dropped from out of the sky. I think it’s more likely he came from the other place.’ She stomps a slippered foot on the ground and laughs low. 

Home Untethered

by Michal Wojcik

Clothes are a problem, as are food and money and language. I can’t predict when home will have a flight of fancy and, after I so painstakingly learn the appropriate words and customs, take me to another unfamiliar place. There are times I’d rather stay in this small house of mine, on the rocking chair in front of the fireplace, and close off the many outsides. But I must eat, and endure the stares and pointing fingers if I find the world has changed once more.


by John Davies

The fog that had seeped into their dreams remained when they opened their eyes. From the river, its tendrils turning each corner of the city, it had risen to claim the streets - thick and dank when it reached the nostrils, its scent somewhere between sea and earth. Through doorways and keyholes, cracks in floors, windows and shutters, fingers of mist had entered their homes; seeking out where the children huddled. 


by Cassandra Khaw

My father is the heavens, the wind, and the bones of the earth. My mother was the snake goddess who crafted the first woman out of yellow mud and pity. The explanation crouches on my tongue like a waiting leopard but I swallow it. She’s too beautiful to frighten away.

“My parents are dead,” I say.

The Chalk Children

by Barry Charman

His “people” are sickly and pale; their arms are unnervingly long, their heads float above them, attached to their spines with pieces of red string. Parents confronted him, angered by troubled children; they asked him what he was drawing, why did he have to draw such strange things? He told them he saw these people, clearer and clearer every day.


by D Ceder

He wakes with the ringing and checks his bedside clock, wondering who can have died at this hour. The hallway is cold and he huddles into himself going down the stairs. Picking up the receiver, he hears the shouting: of one voice; then many voices; then one again. Strangely disoriented, wondering if he is still dreaming, he asks who it is, but can’t make out their words.