The first in a series of excerpts from issue 19: the unpublished authors issue. Available online, at Barnes and Noble, and at independent booksellers nationwide.
From Dayneé Alejandra Rosales's "The House We Built to Save Our Marriage":
When we accepted teaching positions in Nome, a small community on the Bering Strait District, we struggled finding housing. But we chose to see this as an opportunity to create the house we’d always wanted – without the need to fit into someone’s vision of who we were. We spent weeks choosing paint, wooden floors, the blue shutters. We settled on restoring old pieces of furniture and hanging Kusama prints. We did not account for the more practical dilemmas heading our way until the phone calls from our contractors came flooding in. They said the cost of shipping materials from the mainland would be astronomical and we had to narrow down the scope of our vision. Our design was not practical, and we had to start over.
From Benjamin Sloan’s “The Tick”
He kept it covered with an old sweatband around his wrist. Whenever he got a moment
alone--as now--he stepped into an empty aisle and pulled back the cloth to admire the creature's clandestine beauty. It had puffed up like a piece of boiled corn, plump and healthy. If he stared at it long enough, he could almost see it expanding on the nourishment of his blood. And the larger it got, the more beautiful it was. Its body had gone from a flat black to a gleaming gunmetal gray swirled with striated variations like a little planet with its own atmosphere--a little Jupiter locked in the orbit of its host. Only--no--it did not orbit, it did not move at all, it only stayed with him…
From Helena Duncan's "The President of the World":
The next afternoon Jess and I sit a yard apart from each other on the blue couch in Dr. Euston’s office. It’s on the fifteenth floor of an office building, and from a window you can see all of the Salt Lake Valley: boxy Mormon temples dotting the brown landscape like sugar cubes through a soupy haze of smog. I was told great things about Utah, that the scenery rivals none, but nobody mentioned the air pollution, the way the smog settles and smothers the valley. Inversion, they call it. I think of Brigham Young and his cohort of weary, persecuted pioneers standing on a mountainside overlooking this land a hundred and fifty years ago. I wonder how it appeared to him back then. It must have been nice – “This is the place,” he famously declared.