Special Issue: Holiday Noir 2019
Untitled by Mary Grimm

We gather for drinks like in those movies with a detective with a British accent. The confronting of the suspects and we’re all there.

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Christmas Carol by Morgana MacLeod

After a night of rotisserie sleep, turning over and over your firepit bed, you wake weary, ashes in your hair, heart pumping sludge. Even tinsel wilts in the heat, humidity suffocating sparkle.

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The Three Men by Al Kratz

And it came to pass, on such a winter’s eve, in a dark stable, that two thieving hands of two different men brushed against each other while grabbing the back of a sleeping mule.

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The Gift by Steven John

His daughter sent him a mobile phone for Christmas, together with instructions on how to turn it on and charge the battery. There was an earplug on a long, fiddly wire to help him hear her, when and if she had a moment.

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Lopsided Angel by Meg Pokrass

This was the quality Christmas had: Mom working on her plans of escape. Dad with his closed-door dreams. The Christmas angel drunk on top of the tree. Dad had recently come to think of Mom as a threat to his happiness.

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Fulfilling by Fiona McKay

Kate is not ‘imagining it’. There are small tufts of pale fluff on her neck, and no, it’s not ‘just a tissue in the washing machine’ as John suggests. There’s nothing drifting off his shirts, nothing clinging to Ella’s favourite black top, Josh’s Minecraft t-shirts. It’s more solid than tissue, just on her clothes. And only she can see it.

Bog Iron by Shane Larkin

We make stops on the way to our bog plot to look at the little skeletons. Dad tells me about them. Curlews and skylarks in dancing poses. Tiny skulls.

The Storyteller of Aleppo by Donna Obeid

In the barren cold camp, you wear a dusty cape and top hat, wave my cane as if it were a wand and tell me your dream-stories, one after the next, your words spun and tossed like tethers into the air.

I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours by Eliot Li

I tell you I’ve only ever shown it to a girl who I met on a tour bus in Moscow, where I was traveling with my parents. She had bad acne, and she really liked Duran Duran.

Get Your Authentic Stardust Here by JP Relph

The night the sky cracked, I was sprawled on the hood of my car beside that good-for-nothing boy, naming constellations, ignoring his fingers on my neck.