Fall is sneaking up on us, but whether you’re clinging to the dregs of summer or looking forward to the glut of pumpkin options, you’re bound to enjoy our latest offering of stories!

by Kevin Rush
"So you’re telling this hundred million dollar contract ain’t fit to wipe my saddle sores?!" Cornell tossed the NASA contract, as thick as a small town phone book, onto his desk. He had asked his Chief Counsel, Mr. Melville, to review the document again. If he could squeeze a few nickels there, maybe he could avoid whoring himself to the ChiComs. He could go back to the Board and tell them to void this deal with the devil.

"Without the International Space Station, there is no contract. It’s, uh, force majeure. Act of God."

After crossing the Great Mountains, I saw before me, to the west, a vast and sprawling plain. Many great rivers crossed its fertile fields, teeming at that time of year with wheat and cotton. Yet it has no cities to speak of–only small villages scattered about. The simple folk of the foothills had told me that the land held many great ruins–vast cities of stone that now stood empty and crumbling, inhabited only by the owls and jackals. Some of them even claimed to see the ruins with their own eyes and gave awed descriptions. I was intrigued, and I asked my guide to show me the ruins, but he only scowled and shuddered.

"They are cursed," he said. "Ask me no more of them."

by Declan Finn

The first explosive was so perfectly timed with the opening volley from the 1812 Overture that Scott Murphy thought that the cannons were merely louder than usual. He didn’t even look up from his latest edition of The Anarchist’s Cookbook as he sat out on his hotel balcony at the other end of the park from the Pops’ bandstand.
When the orchestra stand blew up, that caught his attention. The giant fireball erupted from the top of the orchestra shell, illuminating half the park as well as most of the people who were jammed into the park like fish in a barrel.

by David Dubrow
153 KILLED, 42 WOUNDED IN TERROR ATTACK IN FRANKFURT, GERMANY
Frankfurt, Germany (AP) — In a recent terror attack in Frankfurt’s popular, upscale shopping promenade known as the Zeil, ten terrorists opened fire with assault rifles, killing tourists and shoppers alike. No terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but a source within Germany’s Federal Foreign Office suggests that it is the work of right-wing nationalists angry at the influx of immigrants from Islamic countries. At least 30 of the victims were children.
As the bus lurched to a squealing stop, Chloe automatically leaned in the other direction to keep from falling into the lap of the person sitting next to her, an overweight man eating an Egg McMuffin from a greasy McDonald’s bag. The salty, artificial smell of his breakfast made her stomach do a slow roll. How could anyone eat that disgusting junk? Processed ham from pigs raised in pens so small they couldn’t even turn around, antibiotic-laced eggs from abused chickens, GMO-laden wheat byproducts. It’s like people didn’t care what they put into their bodies anymore. And the way his piggy little eyes kept swiveling in her direction, as if he was imagining eating her, too. Revolting.

by Frederick Gero Heimbach
"Pastor, I’m young and healthy. I have a whole summer before college starts. I think it makes sense if I–I think God is leading me to spend the summer pregnant."
"I…see." Pastor Williams suppressed a frown. "Tell me more, Trevor."

by Rose Kopp
Russell Bruen drove down I-275 in a stolen Chevy. Bruen may have been a proficient killer, but he wasn’t as proficient a thief. The automobile was over a dozen years old. Rust stains and holes littered the body of the sedan. He assumed the owner was grateful that he stole his car. An insurance claim, if the victim owned insurance. The vehicle shuddered; the gas gauge needle bounced between empty and a quarter. With any luck, all his ride needed was some fluids. He pulled onto the nearest exit. The rain picked up, and he hadn’t paid attention to the name of the exit. He turned the car toward the nearest gas station, a service station with no recognizable gas brand and a small garage that advertised services. The car spit and conked out a tenth of a mile away from the station.

"Well, fuck a duck."