Here you’ll find merch, Issue #8 story excerpts, interviews, the issue’s Spotify playlist, & links to reviews. So take a look, and make sure you haven’t missed anything!
Bullets are the ultimate union of surface area, velocity, and surprise, capable of reaching and penetrating anything within their trajectory, provided that all the proper conditions are met. Wind, obstacles, and precipitation are not ideal conditions, but they can be overcome as long as you can recalibrate the bullet’s trajectory, which is my skill.
Liz expected the birthplace of humanity to be a little more impressive. She shifted the heavy pack on her back, looking around the Great Rift Valley with a pout. Her enthusiasm for the trip had evaporated on the string of plane rides from Atlanta. Her watch and Gameboy were handed over to her mother somewhere over the Sahara, leaving her bored. Her mother stood before her, hands clasped, smiling proudly. Liz studied the landscape. Goosebumps pebbled her arms. Her pout dropped into a frown. This wasn’t a vacation. This was a lesson.
“Welcome to the birthplace of humanity, Lizette,” her mother said, sweeping her arms around.
My girlfriend, Beatbox, squeezed her handle brakes and stopped. We all followed suit and she pointed to smoke billowing over treetops in the distance.
I nodded. It was a hopeful sign. The smoke was light grey and steady. It wasn’t a house burning. It was most likely someone cooking dinner.
The cardboard sign read, “HOPELESS, ME AND MY SISTER NEED MONEY FOR SHUTTLE BACK TO VENUS.” The word “hopeless” should have been “homeless” but because Vida couldn’t write in Hangul, she dictated the words to Menino instead. She blamed the mix-up on her outdated translator, which began acting up ever since she arrived in Seoul.
“People will get it,” Menino argued as the escalator descended to the first level of Chungmuro Metro Station. “You’re desperate and embarrassed, and you’d rather be dead than ask anyone for help.” He walked over to a nondescript corner, took his seat on the immaculate tiles, and held up their sign. “The bigger problem is that no one will believe a Korean boy and black girl are related.”
“‘Black’ isn’t a country,” Vida said.
“It is for us,” Menino answered. “Look around you. You’re alone.”
Poem: “Octopus” by Martha Darr
Poem: “Black Rapunzel” Doxa Zannou
Quick Sip: For the fiction, the theme tends to move around action and movement, flight and escape. From astronauts fleeing destruction and death to young women navigating a post-apocalypse, the characters find themselves cast adrift, unmoored what they expected their lives to be…