The first great act of love I ever witnessed was Split Lip bathing his handicapped daughter. We were young, ignorant of mercy, and called her Boneless or Balled-Up Gumby for the way her limbs were twisted and useless. She looked like a newborn colt, appendages folded in as she lay on the velour couch protected by guardrails. Leo and I stood outside the window on cinder blocks, watching. She was scared of the tub, so to bathe her Split Lip covered the couch with a tarp and caught the runoff in a bucket. Mrs. Split Lip was long gone, unable to bear the work Boneless required. She found another man and together they made a little blond beauty they dressed in red velvet and paraded up and down the aisle at St. Caspian’s while Split Lip held Boneless against him in the last pew, shushing her whenever the music overcame her and she started making horrible moaning noises trying to sing along.
Posts Categorized: Fiction
We’ve gathered at the railway.
Our nerve endings have faded, the gamut of our sensations become just two poles, yes or no: Can you feel that?
No. Not much anymore, said while testing a point against the pillow of thumb, of palm, against corded wrists. Glass to skin. Needle to skin. The way flesh puckers before it’s punctured. But nothing coursing beneath it: a riverbed of fissured earth.
We’re waiting on the tracks that skirt Bangkok. The rhythm on the rails is a heartbeat and it pummels through us. We lay on the ground to better catch the pounding, the low moan of a horn. We stand with backs stretched, shudder pleasantly like a man urinating. We hum train songs, skip on the crossties, stack gravel into mausoleums for diminutive kings. We are listless, parched, and waiting for the arrival, finally, of a man who comes tripping across the dawn expanse. Distant roosters rouse the moment. A nursery rhyme ripples through us:
Make way! Give way! How many birds can we feed today?
To celebrate Halloween, Indiana Review senior editors shared what stories, poems, and novels cause shivers down our spines. If you’re wanting a spooky evening in tonight, why not check out our recommendations?
Be sure, too, to see our literary Halloween tableau on our Instagram page.
Mom brought home the mantis shrimp on Monday while I was at school. Dad had just last Wednesday, during visitation, bought me the video game that even most of the fifth graders weren’t allowed to play. The game disappeared while I was sleeping, but I guess Mom wanted to make absolutely sure she was still keeping ahead of her competition. “It can see more colors than we can imagine,” she said on the ride back from school, and then, “I don’t know if it’s bigger than a breadbox. Ask another question.”
I’d had eight fish in my aquarium. One of them, Benjamin, had lived there for almost two whole years. By the time I got home, the mantis shrimp had killed them all.
While we were anxiously awaiting to read your stories for the 2016 Fiction Prize, we interviewed one of the finalists of last year’s 2015 Fiction Prize, Jennifer Popa, on her short story, “The Lost Boys of the Shirley Marie.” If you’re looking for some inspiration or some writing tips to get you out of a rut, continue reading below.
Jennifer Popa recently relocated from the interior of Alaska, where she did her MFA in Creative Writing, to the South Plains of West Texas where she is now a PhD student of English and Creative Writing at Texas Tech University. In addition, she’s made homes for herself in Seattle, Washington; Hiroshima, Japan; and all over the state of Michigan. She’s currently working on a collection of short stories, some of which can be found at The Citron Review, Green Briar Review, Grist, and Fiction Southeast.