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aggregate fiction story

Stars in Her Eyes

Stars in Her Eyes, by Dona McCormack, will appear in the upcoming Aggregate anthology.


Dona McCormack is a disabled writer living in Northeast Ohio with four fuzzbutts, one oversized goldfish-chomping aquatic turtle, and Michael, her devoted partner. When she’s not poking a notebook with a pen (sometimes by design), Dona pokes thread into fabric (always by design). She writes Realism and Weird, she’s published in several journals including SEP.com, and she won third in Reflex Fiction’s Summer 2019 Flash Contest. Dona’s website: https://DonaMcCormack1.wixsite.com/donawrites, Twitter: @DonaWrites, and Instagram: @DonaWritesInsta.


Wind ripped at the tangled fabric of Willa’s clothing. She pressed her dark glasses closer to her face and tugged her sweater tighter around her frame, hugged down toward the sidewalk, away from the spring gust. Away from the smells it carried of rain-turned soil and fresh mowed grass, of churning earthworms and soggy tree bark. She wished that she could fold herself neatly within her shoes—invisible, squarely-fitted-Willa-feet and nothing else, stepping along, well below everyone’s eyeline. She could not do that, so she curled down, toward her feet.

A man emerged from the dentist’s office on the corner and turned her way. Her step quickened, then slowed, then quickened again. A dance of indecision.

He pulled his brown overcoat against the wind and tipped her his bowler hat. She ducked the kindness, tucking her chin in the hollow she had dug into her chest over the many years. Hiding did things to a body. Crumpled it. Compressed it. Obscured it and marked it with pockets. Willa’s chin rested in the pocket in her chest, hiding her face from the man. She didn’t miss his look of disturbance.

When he passed, she stretched her neck a few inches. Pressed her glasses close to her face and fought the urge to look back at the man—had he been handsome? Would she have recognized him? Maybe he’d shared something of the only face that mattered, the one that always said the same words, from a mouth painted with hot pink that stained coffee-yellowed teeth. Ma’s face. Might he have had lips thin and hard from a thin hard life, like Ma’s lips. Maybe those lips would have said, “Those stars will cut you to ribbons, my girl.”

Categories
aggregate fiction story

April Showers

April Showers, by Eric Nash, will appear in the upcoming Aggregate anthology.


Eric Nash lives in south west England and writes fiction, mainly speculative and often dark. His work has been published by Alban Lake, Demain Publishing, Daily Nightmare, Firbolg Publishing, Great Old Ones Fiction, HellBound Books, Horla Horror, Horrified Press, Indie Authors Press, JWK Fiction, Mythic Magazine, Oscillate Wildly Press, and Sekhmet Press. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association. His website is https://eric-nash-inked-up-and-earthbound.com/


As my dad remembers it, he was walking with my sister Anna along the lane, returning from the little shop at the cove. It was Easter, and my family was holidaying in Devon as usual. The wholesome smell of cowshit surrounded them both as he blocked the sun’s glare with his hand. Those hands: the mountainous knuckles, ridge-like tendons, and valleys of wrinkles and creases were landscapes promising adventure to me.

He called to Anna, hurrying her along. They had been sent on an errand by Mum and had to return with supplies. “Come on, Glitterbug.” The timbre of his voice had always been resoundingly reassuring, even during the frequent fights between my sister and I.

Cola-coloured rivulets raced jagged down her shiny yellow raincoat and dripped into the Dunlop wellies that shattered rainbow-slick puddles with splashes. The eight powder-blue segments of Anna’s parasol were spattered with muck.

She carried that thing everywhere like some security blanket, although you can’t jab someone in the ribs with woven bedding. I was always caught when I retaliated, it was as if my own bruises didn’t exist. Like everyone, he was charmed by the smile which bloomed from her chubby little face, whatever the adversity. This perceived positivity and the supposed selfless demeanour always distracted him. My smile was as fleeting as the attention he paid me.

Categories
aggregate fiction story

Macrophages

Macrophages, by Erica Ciko Campbell, will appear in the upcoming Aggregate anthology.


Erica Ciko Campbell made her writing debut on backwater internet forums in the early 2000’s. Since then, she hasn’t been able to resist tormenting her friends and family with the occasional sci-fi horror story. Her greatest accomplishment to date is To Be Young and Whole Again, the unpublished first novel in the Tales of a Starless Aeon series. She lives with her husband Jeremy and sheltie Charlie in the wilds of upstate New York. If you’re still craving the whispers of war-torn, dead galaxies, check out her website, Written Constellations: https://writtenconstellations.com/. You can also find her on Twitter at @ECikoCampbell.


Curiosity

My grandmother always said that every planet in our galaxy was an atom, and that our entire universe was but a single cell in some megastructure we could never conceive. She theorized that the cosmic revolutions of Mars, Mercury, and even the Earth were little more than subatomic twitches inside some universe-sized leviathan. And as a worm burrows desperately into the innards of a dog, she speculated, we cling to our ignorance and the pitiful limitations of our senses.

Whenever Grandma started whispering about the monsters, my mother got very quiet and fixed her gaze upon the wall. It usually took a few moments for her to snap out of her trance, but when she did, her disquiet would boil into a sedated smile. She’d babble something about how the scariest monsters never leave the walls of the human mind, and how I shouldn’t listen to Grandma’s nonsense because she wasn’t thinking straight anymore.

But my mother’s eyes always left me wondering if she was running from some truth that I’d never know.