Once Upon a Time in Hell – Emily Foster-Tomkinson

Once upon a time there was a woman who died. After she had died, she woke up in a small cell with walls of stone. There was a single window with thick, iron bars. Through the window the woman could see a far expanse of red ground and red sky. The only door was locked. Within the room was a wooden bed.
The woman tugged at the bars on the window and rattled the doorhandle but it was no good. She was trapped. Suddenly, the door opened and a man walked in carrying a tray of delicious food. He was a young, handsome man with bright red hair and a bright red suit. He set the tray of food on the bed beside the woman.

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If Then Else – Marco Etheridge

Week by week, month by month, time slows, and then stalls. The walls of the small garden apartment Serena shares with her husband Theo are closing in on her. She feels like a hermit crab that has outgrown its shell. There is nowhere to go: No restaurants, no cafés, no cinemas, no pubs. Date night is reduced to eating take-out kebaps from the Turkish stand, the two of them curled up on the ever-shrinking couch watching yet another DVD.

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Breakthrough – Nicholas Stillman

Reporters crammed into the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford to see the exhumation of William Shakespeare. Those journalists with any contrition about it waited outside. The bitter nighttime breeze nudged them around, while the press inside chattered over the controversial, though legal, desecration of the playwright’s tomb.

Yet they stayed. Their eyes and cameras bore down on Langille and Faulise like a new kind of weight the church exuded. Although both scientists wore forensic white coveralls and gloves, Langille felt the bulk of the gaze. He, after all, would have to scoop out the poet’s dead dust for EM analysis. The materials would go into a hockey bag with a medical white veneer.

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