All Best Short Stories Free Online
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with another list of short stories after researching on which stories will keep you gazing at your screen. Before we begin, we just want to ask if you have already joined our world-class reading community, helping young and old readers find what they love easily.
TABLE TO CONTENT
Futures By Han Ong
- Out There By Kate Folk
- The Liver By Matthew Klam
- Have You Ever Met One? By Rivka Galchen
- Blackout BY JANET BURROWAY
- A Dangerous Creature BY MARY MORRIS
- A Dark and Empty Corner BY OLGA ZILBERBOURG
- A Dark Place BY ANGIE ELLIS
- Arrangement BY DOUGLAS WOOD
- Araby BY JAMES JOYCE
They are not talking about Martin. Toby pronounces it Mahr-teen. Because that’s how Martin himself pronounced it, is from Chile. It was only last year that Martin stayed with them, and Toby’s father was crazy about the young tennis player. Since then, disillusionment has spoiled his father’s gaze, and every tennis player after Martin can only be a reminder of him and an object of suspicion.
I don’t think I could live through that again, Toby’s father says, and switches back to the subject of the new guy: How difficult could it be? Just ask to borrow his phone. Say you want to play a game. Say I don’t allow you to own your phone. Then take a look at his messages for anything iffy. Head things off at the pass.
He’ll know I went through his messages!
Tell him you touched it by accident! Do I have to feed you everything?
I met one of them several years ago. My friend Peter had invited me to a dinner party hosted by a tech founder he’d grown up within the Sunset, and with whom he’d once followed the band Phish around the country, selling nitrous poppers to concertgoers. Peter and I didn’t hang out, beyond the meetings we attended in church basements for people who no longer drank. But I was bored, and it was a free dinner, and Peter made it sound as if he’d already asked a bunch of people who’d said no, which took some of the pressure off.
The E.R. nurse seemed alarmed, too and called an emergency-labour specialist, and they tried over the next few hours to get it to stop but couldn’t. And the baby was facing forward, which was wrong, and was breech, also wrong, appearing onscreen with her hands and feet pushed against the front of her bubble as if she were driving a truck. A new doctor appeared, an older man, an expert in premature birth, who looked out the window and clapped his hands and said, “There goes my golf game.” He was worried that the cord might suffocate her and that once he got her out her lungs might not work, or, after those first breaths, other things, even at this venerable gestational age of thirty-three weeks. He said the name of something, then told you what it meant; nothing was too dark or
It was like this. I was staying at a cabin with my husband’s family over the Christmas break. This large dog, maybe two hundred and fifty pounds, came to the back door. He didn’t bark—he looked in through the glass pane and waited patiently. My father-in-law, who, as a child, had shared a home with a deer and a flying squirrel, opened the door.
That giant mountain dog came up the steps, crossed the room, and greeted me with a gentle head push. He put his nose down between his front paws, to make himself lower than me. He wagged his tail, gently. He had chosen me. He visited every day that week, for an hour or two in the morning, an hour or two in the afternoon, following me all around the house and out into the yard, too. I get along with dogs fine, generally, but this was something else. We loved each other. His nametag read “Kush.” To the rest of the family, he was merely polite. I don’t know how to explain
Almost at once he passes Reefer Ruth and gives her a salute smart enough to cut her off, in case. Reefer Ruth is wearing a tatty black fur wrapped across her bony chest and buttoned under the arm with a cigarette holder two feet long. Her hair is hennaed and marcelled, a black bowl hat bent so far to one side it skims her scrawny neck. She has wings of rouge on her cheekbones, her beak blood red.
“There’s a poppet,” she calls after him and sways seductively on her thick high heels. One night Reame offered her a pint of Bell’s if she could get Johnny to dance, and Cole started badgering him for a Calvinist, so the next week was chilly between them. Farley says she’s not a prostitute, although she took him (Farley) home once—and once Rome. Cole asked Reame what he had to pay, and Reame said, “Man, are you crazy? There are two kinds of people in the world, them that pays for it and them that gets paid.” Johnny said nothing; he doesn’t know if that was true or bragging.
Johnny is in Supply, U.S. Army Air Corps, stationed just outside Hove with the Eighth Bomber Command, proud of being a cog in a crack machine. Mostly he desk-jockeys, but every couple of weeks they get pressed for personnel, and he’ll be sent aloft to load up plasma or insecticides or parts. He is six-foot-two and thick chested, known to be shy but tough. He will slap a back and crack a joke when they swing up into the cavernous belly of a stripped Boeing Stratoliner in the predawn fog, heading for Prestwick, New Brunswick, Goose Bay. He is also nineteen, from Abbeville,
Dr Katz, who was finishing up a Rottweiler with glass in its paw. The dog is a mongrel—a Lab and something-else mix. Maybe shepherd or border collie. Dr Katz isn’t sure. A gentle dog. About two years old. He is mostly white but with a black tail and black patches, including one that encircles his left eye. The minute Roger Katz lays eyes on the dog he knows he’ll call him Pirate.
During the school year, when his grandkids were around, Winston volunteered in the mornings, and this was his first evening at the centre. During the two years since he’d retired to this town, Winston and Peggy had taken notice of each other at church and organizational meetings, but they had never been together in an intimate setting like this
HIS EARLY YEARS were a hollow space, but he remembered well the day he was brought home. Perhaps three years old and without a name, he sat in front of a fiery-haired woman on a horse. She had black crescents of dirt under her rough fingernails, and when he squirmed she patted his hand and whispered words he didn’t understand. They spent some time on a trail that cut through deep, shaded woods, he and the woman on the horse, and the man who walked beside them. He felt afraid at the darkness and the rustling, creaking sounds of the forest, and though the woman seemed kind, he was afraid of her too, but more afraid of the man, who said nothing. They came to a small clearing, chickens about the place and a low grey cabin in the centre. He didn’t understand where he was and felt a sting behind his eyes, his vision blurred with tears so that when he got off the horse, he fell and cracked his head on a sharp rock. The woman covered her mouth with her hand and stood him up. She examined his forehead, tsking and clucking, then brought him inside and wiped his face with her apron, dabbing beeswax into the scrape. The sweet, woodsy smell was curious to him, her humming strange and warm.
They sat at the small table, he and the woman, a slice of bread drizzled with molasses set before him. He watched her and she watched him in return, smiling and nodding and motioning to her lips until he began to eat.
When he was done, she took his hand and showed him around the cabin, teaching him the French words of things. Chair, chaise. Window, fenêtre. Hand, main. Heart, Coeur. A Swede, she’d learned French as a girl in Quebec, then English as a wife on Vancouver Island. She loved French and wanted him to know how to speak it.
Mother, mère. And she smiled and he smiled back.
Slow, the man later said to him, thunking his finger to the side of his head, a low popping sound like knocking wood underwater. And dark as dirt. Why doesn’t he talk?
The woman shushed and smiled and brought him to the sofa that would be his bed. She slipped a nightshirt over his head. Pillow, oreiller. Moon, lune.
Silent boy, garçon silencieux.
She named him Walter.
The blue linen? The black one with the trim? The checked one he got in Brooklyn, what about that? No. All are dispatched, their empty arms flap, the patterns blur. He sends them flying as if combining them with a tan jacket would prove fatal. God, I wish I were dead, he thinks, comforted. He doesn’t want to kill himself, not right then, not in a serious way. But this bleak thought gives him a pinch, enough for Clay to collect himself.
It’s not so crazy. When you love someone you sometimes wear nice things for them, right? He can’t disappoint Mark. Mark, who deserves every good thing. Except for taking their daughter to school, Clay has left the house only twice this week. Mark and Aedon deserve better. Someone who has his shit together. At a minimum, they deserve someone who can pick out a freaking shirt without turning it into Sophie’s Choice. The paisley Robert Graham? Paul Smith with tiny dots? The ecru Calvin Klein? Ich Kann Nicht wählen. His brutal, automatic hands decide: Too fussy. Too dressy. Too boring.
Description: When the short days of winter came dusk fell before we had well eaten our dinners. When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre. The space of sky above us was the colour of ever-changing violet and towards it, the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns. The cold air stung us and we played till our bodies glowed. Our shouts echoed in the silent street. The career of our play brought us through the dark muddy lanes behind the houses where we ran the gauntlet of the rough tribes from the cottages, to the back doors of the dark dripping gardens where odours arose from the ashpits to the dark odorous stables where a coachman smoothed and combed the horse or shook music from the buckled harness. When we returned to the street light from the kitchen windows had filled the areas. If my uncle was seen turning the corner we hid in the shadow until we had seen him safely housed. Or if Mangan’s sister came out on the doorstep to call her brother into his tea we watched her from our shadow peer up and down the street. We waited to see whether she would remain or go in and, if she remained, we left our shadow and walked up to Mangan’s steps resignedly. She was waiting for us, her figure defined by the light from the half-opened door. Her brother always teased her before he obeyed and I stood by the railings looking at her. Her dress swung as she moved her body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side.
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