More in our series of excerpts from issue 19: the unpublished authors issue. Available online, at Barnes and Noble, and at independent booksellers nationwide.
From Jonathan Pescke's "The Castasterole"
It’s greenish blue now. If you hold your nose and relax your eyes, it’s actually kinda pretty to look at. I did this for about 20 minutes tonight after everyone went to bed. When I unsquinted my eyes my left side stayed blurry. I’m hoping it goes back to normal in the morning.
Eye still all blurry. Wearing an eyepatch from my pirate costume to keep stuff straight. I look awesome.
The Catasterole is growing little orange hairs. Tipper joked that it was going through puberty, like it’s alive.
From Jackson Vrana's "The Treasure of Kin"
The surrounding brush begins to whisper. A thousand tiny mechanical ticks creep over the sun-dried vegetation. First one, then three grasshoppers leap into the glow of the lantern. Then there’s seven and now thirteen. They spring from the soil to Elliot’s skin and climb, up into the tacky saliva and pink flesh of our father’s maw, wriggling themselves in like puppies fighting for a nipple. When the crevice is full, Elliot takes a few slow chews, mashes the insects to a single leg-splintered mass and then gulps it down. I pluck one that crawls at the crotch of my jeans and carry it to the lantern, hold it by the hind legs over the flame and watch it writhe and crackle. I pull it back and blow on its smoking corpse. When I pop it between my jaws and crunch, the brothers tending Elliot turn on their feet and pause like cautioned deer. For a couple of seconds, I think it’s the work of my jaws that startled them, and then I hear the chimes.