Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

There and Back Again

by Jason Erik Lundberg

Ana opened her eyes and sat up. The ground beneath her was spongy and damp, and the wet had seeped into the seat of her jeans and the back of her jumper. The sky hurt her eyes with its brilliant blueness, and though the sun beat down in its harshness, she half-shut her eyelids and bathed in its warmth. How long had she slept?

“Ow,” said a voice next to her.

She turned, and sitting there was a man wearing her father’s face and her father’s clothes, but was not, could not possibly have been her father, because her father had been dead since she was three. But there he sat, rubbing the back of his head and squinting in the sun.


“Hey, monkey. You okay?”

“What? But how?”

“You brought me back, remember? Your sacrifice to the Green Empress. I didn’t mean to keep it, but it appears I didn’t have much choice.”

“But that was a dream. Right?”

“No, sweetie, it happened, all of it.”

Her father suddenly reached over and squeezed Ana in one of his bear hugs, and though she was too startled at first to reciprocate, she breathed in the low smells of his deodorant and shampoo and perspiration, and something in her let go. She grasped him tightly and didn’t even try to stop the tears from flowing.

“Thanks, monkey,” he said softly. “I’ll never forget this.”

“So what happened to the rest of them? The Turtle and the two Misters and the white rabbit?”

“I don’t know. They’re still there, in the world under. Maybe we’ll see them again someday, but not, I hope, for a while.”

Ana’s father stood, his knees cracking loudly, and he helped Ana to her feet. Daughter and father grinned knowingly at each other, and then they proceeded out of the mangrove swamp to find her mother and give her the surprise of her life.

Creative Commons License

01: Mini Buddha Jump Over the Wall
02: The World, Under
03: Androcles Again
04: Look Into My Eyes, You’re Under
05: Shiftless, Hopeless
06: Cricetinae’s Paroxysm
07: Wind and Harmony
08: Dragons at Dawn
09: Goodnight Nobody

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