Kata, a novel excerpt

Stacy Mattingly

The following is an excerpt from my novel, Kata, which tells the story of a deteriorating friendship between two women—one Croatian, one American—living in present-day Sarajevo. The American, Yancey, narrates.

Out in the courtyard, Jude gave me the milk and half a bag of espresso. It was after eight, and I still had a thirty-minute walk. I texted Kata but heard nothing back and worried I’d upset her, but then I thought, This is life. Things happen. Kata and I aren’t under the gun to see a movie by a certain time. No one has to wake up at dawn. I didn’t feel like waiting for a tram, and I wasn’t going to take a taxi on such a beautiful night. Jude walked with me to Begova Džamija. He kissed my cheeks politely near the entrance to the secret pekara …

Willemien’s Promise

Paula Srur Carcar

She’s sitting at her dinner table, looking out the window as the winter passes through. “I’ll take care of the snow in the morning.” It’s the last thing she remembers. It’s been a long time since she heard another person’s…

Bucha Spring

Ksenia Rychtycka

This fictionalized short story is dedicated to the memory of Ukrainian artist and designer Liubov (Luba) Panchenko, who endured a month of isolation and starvation in her basement while her hometown of Bucha was under brutal Russian occupation. She survived the occupation, but died on April 30, 2022, when her heart gave out. During the Soviet era, her artwork was censored due to its focus on Ukrainian symbolism and folk culture. She was not allowed to exhibit or publish her work. She was a member of the Ukrainian Sixtiers dissident movement, that advocated for freedom of cultural and creative expression.

Microcosmos and Macrocosmos

Louis C. Stewart

    I Avrom Nichols was frustrated with his scientific results. After years of observations of remote galaxies he felt that he had no handle on the real concepts. It is one thing to observe and correlate data and decidedly…

Charlestown High

Joseph Hughes

I ate the little shit’s tootsie rolls. Under the Obama’s presidential photo, the president beaming with arms crossed, I slowly chewed my tootsie roll and hummed the tune to Simon & Garfunkle’s Punky’s Dilemma. The kids in my classroom…

First Prize: “Stateless”

Mina Alali

“June 20, 2016,” Alborz recites aloud as he scribbles on the clipboard. “Gloria’s results were negative; cancer treatment is going well. Keep taking nine micrograms of Denileukin Diftitox daily.”

Second Prize: “Jolene”

Rebecca Wright

I still remember the smile on Baby’s face when I gave her my granddaddy’s guitar. Gap-toothed, too wide, and brighter than a pail full of sunshine. Mama clucked at me when I came home empty-handed. “Delly, you’re a sweet thing,”...

Joint Third Prize: “The Mask Maker”

Cole Andrade

There lived a great spider that made the finest masks in the world. Inside the spider’s cave were hundreds of masks on hundreds of shelves. Each mask was a masterpiece, decorated to perfection with paints, ribbons, jewels and gems. ...