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Mrs Stone’s ENT Appointment by Chris Fielden

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The room stinks of disinfectant. You’d think with the amount of tax my Harold paid over the years they’d be able to afford something more fragrant.

The walls look like a paint factory has vomited on them. Modern art, they call it... Makes me feel queasy.

I look up and see my name in large red letters. Now everyone in the waiting room knows who I am. There’s no privacy nowadays.

I lick my lips and taste denture adhesive. It’s too minty. How am I supposed to enjoy a cuppa when it feels like I’ve been force-fed a Polo production plant?

I touch the door handle. It’s filthy. With £350,000,000 a week back in the NHS, you’d think they could afford to employ a few cleaners.

The doctor’s sitting behind his desk. His mouth’s moving.

“What?” I say.

He says something else. Why do young people mumble?

“You’ll have to speak up, dear.”

He stands and puts something in my ear.

“How’s that?” he bellows.

“There’s no need to shout, dear. I’m not deaf.”




by Chris Fielden
First published in Sensorially Challenged, Vol. …

Summer's Garden by Bobbi Sinha-Morey

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In the cool wind of early October I walk down to last summer's garden, morning glories twined among rows of cornstalks and up the ladders of leaves. I hear them calling to me, and I lean in to listen; delicate little trumpeters flaring their clarion tones, pink as the inner lip of a seashell, and I hear my own heartbeat rise and fall, a tide tugging me closer so I can see each one opening to the light, their faith but a star etched across their faces, rejoicing in their manna from the sun, in their day-to-day life.

by Bobbi Sinha-Morey

The Cold by Alice Pegler

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The cold smells like damp laundry that won’t dry. A musk that floats through the air, attaching itself to the lining of your throat like lint on a carpet. My breath pushes out before me like a cloud, commanding its warm existence into the bleak, shivering room.  I used to love the cold. Knitwear, parkas and rosy tipped ears. I loved the cold when I sat by the fire. The virgin snow gently blessing the ground outside. My icicle fingers melting around a deep mug of hot chocolate. Duvet dresses, movies days and mum’s soup.  Back then, the cold was aesthetic. A simple circumstance, resulting in a brisk pace, chattering teeth and a few numb toes before you were back in the kitchen, taking off your boots. The oven like room would envelop you in a soft satin embrace.  Now the cold is a selfish sister that tries to steal the sheets. She emerges from the deep ocean, pale and frozen, wrapping her rope like tentacles around my muscles, slowly constricting.  My limbs become stiff. I guzzle orange juic…

Not Yours To Keep by Fabrice Poussin

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Today is the second thousandth time
I must attempt to forget, but instead I will build you a temple On the wallpaper of an aging soul.
Don’t go coughing again in the middle Of a night when all sleeps, travel to Dreamlands, neighborhoods so far away Don’t you dare scream again at the boy.
You knew how to smile once, yesterday still I saw you laugh with a stranger and his lettuce A world yours, where no one was welcome But pain, scars, punches never held back.
I want to make you laugh, long to see you Smile behind, within, and outside all that skin No matter the deep grooves and dried up pores You must believe that you too deserve it a little.
You hold it to yourself like it’s yours to keep Don’t you know you are not allowed And the universe demands you share it all For you too can only earn from borrowed time.




by Fabrice Poussain

Family Tree by Patrick Hackeling

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My grandfather wrestled octopuses. He got on the TV and everything. My grandmother shot him dead one morning and she got on TV too.

My dad was in the army. He got a purple heart and black toes when the diabetes came. Before that though he was in all the papers for following orders in Vietnam. My first mama couldn’t take his drinking so she stuck her head in an oven. That only made the local press. Well, till three other ladies in the neighborhood followed suit. 
There was talks of banning gas ovens after that. My uncle was in politics and said something about electrical lobbyists, moguls and such. Everyone was gonna get rich but no one ever did. People just stopped killing theyselves. Started killing each other. A rock 'n' roll singer stabbed my sister to death. Half-sister. Her mama had a stroke on the courthouse steps. Died in front of a million flashing bulbs. That got a lotta press at the time but here it is, near thirty years later, and they’re still writing things 'bou…

Brisk Walk by James Croal Jackson

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do not miniaturize the bicycle torso between blue wheels
nor the twig tree broad-shouldered nor yellow-trousered man walking the candy cane
coming shapes myself an igloo of time contracting
mirror view hot pyramids the tips crumble so reaper crows confuse for wheat
the sculpted falsity in the curving sidewalk

What To Expect by Mandy Huggins

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Simon took Nina’s hand as they climbed the steep cobbled streets to Beyoglu, to their favourite backstreet cafe where men hunched over hookah pipes and glasses of apple tea. The owner greeted them with a smile of recognition, bringing a pipe to the table at Simon’s nod, blowing gently on the coals.

Nina watched the passers-by in silence. She knew she’d have to tell Simon her news before they went home, but she had no idea what response to expect from him, and she was scared.

He put his hand over hers. ‘You’re very quiet?’

She wondered if this was a good time, but as she started to speak, Aslan came back up the steps to take their order. He shouted it across to the kitchen, then sat down with a cigarette, staying to talk until another customer arrived.

In those few minutes, Nina changed her mind. Telling Simon would spoil their entire day. Their last day in Istanbul; a city they had waited so long to visit. And for these precious stolen days Simon’s wife had ceased to exist; even his ph…