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Fiction

Recent Issue

The Hafgufa

The Hafgufa is a giant fish or whale said in Old Norse writings to roam the seas.

In the Konungs Skuggsjá, a book of tactics and morality written by King Håkon Håkonsson for his young son, the king is loath to describe the creature—for no one, he says, will believe him without seeing it first with his own two eyes. As for him, he fears it, “for it is a massive fish, that looks more like an island than a living thing.”

Illustration by Chad Wys

Sporotrichosis

Standing in the lobby of the state-of-the-art LEED-certified Sidwell Friends Upper School, staring at a giant tile mosaic of the word stewardship, Curtis Apple was ready for some bullshit. 

VQR Online

Polly, Looking

December 3, 2020

Polly’s problem after the accident, really one of her largest problems, was an inability to prune what she saw and what she thought, to stop her brain. She was both too easily distracted and too attentive. When she’d gotten out of the hospital, she’d gone on a looking binge. Ned brought her photography and gardening books, stacks of Sotheby’s catalogues he found at the local Goodwill store, piling them everywhere as a hedge against her glitches in language. Polly spent one unnerving afternoon flat on her back in the yard, watching trees encroach on clouds. There hadn’t been much to do but observe.

The Little Blue Horses

December 3, 2020

Rochelle and her mother lived in a large town that was on its way to becoming a small city. On her way to school, Rochelle often stopped to watch the crews of construction workers erect a new house in the hole where, only a few days before, one of her neighbors’ houses had loomed in sour glory, a car parked on its front lawn, silk flowers sprouting along its foundation like hair plugs. 

The Math of Living

December 3, 2020

I’ve been working for the Chicago Tribune for about a year when it strikes me that I will go home in six months. The ticket has been booked, and I’m ready. My boss has reviewed the JavaScript code and made his updates for the day. The code is in production.