Gambling, debt, and the sounds of Sinatra swirl with cigarette smoke in George Murray’s quiet action story “The Kneeler.” Follow one man’s journey in a casino bar from opera to loan sharks to deadly trouble.
In a new pandemic world, brain fog seems to be affecting us all. That phrase takes on a whole new meaning in Madoka Mori’s unnerving “Fake Meat.” Perception is a slippery beast for this protagonist, causing his world to swiftly unravel in a way that is humorous and eerie all at once.
There’s nothing quite like a mother’s love - but there’s nothing quite like her disapproval, either. Vivian R. McInerny’s “Apartment Complex” is a story that’s as comedic as it is relatable: life sure takes a different turn when Mom moves in.
"Pareidolia" is an intriguing tale that leans in paranoia and the paranormal. Conor Marko asks questions about the boundaries of obligation and addresses how we move forward from tragedy.
The spookiness of a dim, overcrowded antique shop packed to the brim with bric-a-brac can scarcely be denied. Add some malicious magic into the equation, and you’ve arrived at the setting of Patti Larsen’s “Lifted.” This is a curiosity shop best visited during daylight hours.
Kallista Kusumanegara constructs a singular vision out of flashes of many, lending new ideas to what comes after life. "Destination" calls for a letting-go, allowing us to surrender to the wash of words, visuals, and stories.
Mirages. They can come from wistful thinking, from nostalgia, from the burning sun. In “Heat Stress,” Claire Ibarra immerses us in the mind of a mother running away from her past into the Moab desert. But what is she running toward?
The ballet - an art which embodies culture, beauty, and grace. But what of the people behind the performance? Elodie Hollant's “Libellule” offers a glimpse into the personal world of one ballerina, following her as she moves from a childhood love of dance into the darker complexities of adulthood.
Fresh Off the Boat
“Fresh Off the Boat” provides a look at the present through the lens of a sobering vision of the future — a world darker, but not too different from our own. Kelson Hayes brings us to a dystopian Central Europe which may be just around the corner for all of us.
Burden of Proof
It's one of the hottest summers in recorded history and a couple are attempting to navigate their relationship to each other — and to the future of the Earth. In "Burden of Proof," Scott Hardy captures cycles of inner and outer conflict with a dark and biting wit.
The Envious Flood
A familiar scent is a surefire way to catapult the mind back into memory, to a particular moment in time. Decay, a sea breeze, wine. Three smells that tie this story together, and propel the protagonist down a west coast highway. Steve Hanson’s “The Envious Flood” resists the pull of nostalgia to level a clear-eyed gaze at the past.
There’s fear of the unknown - darkness, monsters, and the like - but sometimes the most terrifying are the things - and people - we think we know best. Jacqueline Garrahan’s “Bull” is a masterful look into the frigid, the cruel, and the disturbing, deep in the dead of a Maine night.
Settle into the southern humidity with Lucas Díaz-Medina’s “Going Fishing.” A journey of introspection and self discovery unfolds as two boys mosey down a bayou back road. Family history and mythmaking collide when a passerby gives the boys a lift.
Mistress of the House of Books
Matthew Daniels puts a new spin on job interviews with “Mistress of the House of Books.” With a heavenly interviewee, the power dynamics are bound to be flipped. But there are some roles in this world that just can’t be reversed.
Girl Wants A Cigarette
A corporate team-building event is the unlikely setting for a compelling story; Sophia D'urso's sharp wit and close observation make "Girl Wants a Cigarette" into a memorably modern adventure.
Science fiction often gives a glimpse of “what could be,” but less often does it leave the reader with lingering feelings of “what could have been.” In " Searcher", Daniel D'Augustino creates an intergalactic cosmos where hard choices can change the path of history.
A remote destination to call your own...but what if you aren't really alone? Idyllic woods can quickly become the stuff of nightmares when fear takes over. Chelsea Catherine's "The Not-Deer" ushers us into a world that may be closer than you think.
Path of Least Resistance
Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming? What if you had the power to make those daydreams reality- would you? Bernard Bleske explores just those questions in “Path of Least Resistance.” Through river rafts, long lost loves, and cheap beers, Bleske weaves a story that reminds us to be careful what you wish for.
Swipe left, swipe right- it’s a match. Settle in at a wine bar back table for a Tinder date that’s doomed from the start. Meg Anderson’s take on a classic revenge tale won’t end quite the way you might expect. Trigger Warning: This story deals with sexual assault.
Hosted by Erica Wagner
Erica Wagner is the Lead Editorial Innovator at Creatd, Vocal's parent company. She is an author, a critic and a broadcaster. Her most recent book is Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, The Man Who Built The Brooklyn Bridge; her new book, Mary and Mr Eliot: A Sort-of Love Story, is published in the autumn of 2022. She loves to read, write, cook and fly.
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