In this month’s New Writing on the Net, Nicole VanderLinden shares her favorite fiction she’s found online this month! Find your Friday reading list below:
“We Make Our Own Beaches” by Angela Readman | Jellyfish Review, Issue 58
The streets are deserted and guys in orange jackets fix the roads. They drill and freeze, looking up. Two teenagers stick their feet out of a fourth-floor apartment, pearly polish drying on their toes. The workmen cheer. The girl’s laughter somehow chipping through the sound of their drills, the way some people can pick out birdsong in a city.
“Bloody Angle” by Jade Song | Waxwing, Summer
My coworker Jack was my first. He thought it hilarious to mock the accents of food delivery guys who brought us dinners during late night client asks. With jolly cheeks shining from office pantry wine, he rid of the letters L and R: Herro, yoah ordurr is hurr, ching chong. So I stabbed him in the neck with the wooden chopsticks that arrived neatly packaged with his General Tso’s Chicken, his body quietly crumpling over his desk. Moonlight shone through his coveted corner office windows, the ones he had won after stealing my ideas, presenting them in a neat PowerPoint with minimal slide animations. His blood was surprisingly viscous, a slow current infecting the mahogany grains in his desk when I chopped up his torso. This was the only part of assassination that surprised me: his mouth ran faster than his blood.
I was the one who took the photograph of the princess with her toes in the mouth of a man who was not her husband. I didn’t mean to take it. I was sent to pap them and I did not want to be there, not one bit. It had been a long day and a hard one.
“The Son’s War” by Elwin Cotman | The Offing, July 27
It came time, his father decided, that the son move into his own house, one built sturdily of palm logs and mud. Before he left, however, father and son decided it best he have companions. The father gifted him a diamond stone and a jade stone, both the size of a fully grown person. For one sleepless, sweaty night, the son’s chisel flashed up and down in the candlelight. Jewel shards glimmered among the rushes and a green mist thickened the air. Once he’d carved two women as beautiful as his eyes had seen, he gave them such biological functions as necessary for their purpose. He gave them advanced AI brains and ruby hearts that sparkled through their translucent breasts, the better to refract light into their cadmium veins. He sewed boots and dresses for them. Sharp in feature, lean in build and bearing the color of their jewels, they lived to serve him. These courtiers he named Diamond and Jade.
“Search Party” by Rebecca Turkewitz | SmokeLong Quarterly, July 27
I recognized the name instantly. Hannah was a dark-haired, doll-faced American girl with plump cheeks and long eyelashes. She’d gone missing from her locked hotel room in Portugal two weeks ago. She was twelve years old. Her photo was on every News channel, followed by flashing numbers to call to report a sighting. Someone had spotted Richard and me and thought I might be Hannah, after a hasty haircut and two weeks of malnourishment. “I’m not her,” I said. “My name’s Marigold. I’m fifteen.”
“Crème de Menthe” by Carmen Price | The Forge Literary Magazine, July 6
“I’m gonna make my own ramen,” the Granddaughter announced sourly. The Grandmother, without opening her eyes, gave what could’ve been interpreted as a nod of affirmation, and the Granddaughter felt something singe her insides. She jumped off the couch, took the Grandmother’s half-full bottle of crème de menthe off the coffee table, and poured what remained all over the clementine shag carpet before stalking off to the kitchen.
Curated by Nicole VanderLinden