The red velvet curtain rises. Music plays, a piece heavy with woodwinds, flittering flutes set off by the depth of oboes and clarinets. The lights above the aquarium shoot rays of violet and neon pink through the water. The smell of chlorine is strong, but it doesn’t bother the boy; it smells like sanitation, like germs burning away into the ether….
Brittany Kerfoot is a writer, dancer, and lover of animals. She watches way too much reality television, and, by a normal person’s standards, listens to an alarming amount of true crime podcasts. An obsession with the strange led her to research and write about everything from sex dolls to mermaids to trolls in Iceland. When she’s not Netflix-bingeing, adopting yet another pet, or teaching English at her alma mater, Brittany fantasizes about a life as an interior decorator to the rich and famous, island-hopping, and owning a goat farm.
When the dolphin appears in Ava Long’s swimming pool, she thinks at first it is a shadow, the gray outline of a zeppelin circling above her house. Then, the gray sliver flicks its tail and dives to the bottom of the amoeba-shaped pool, and Ava thinks the neighborhood kids are playing some sick joke on her….
Jaclyn’s fiction and poetry have been published in a number of literary magazines, including Ploughshares, Blackbird, Columbia Poetry Review, The Journal, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, New Ohio Review, and Witness. She earned an MFA from the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in Creative Writing from Florida State University. She is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Malone University.
The kickback at the Carmichaels’ was not Riley’s idea. It was Liz’s, of course, part of her obsession with losing her virginity to Frank Marshall. A little over a year ago, Frank had been a skinny drama nerd in ill-fitting polo shirts with an unrequited crush on Liz. AIDS, Liz would call him to her friends behind his back….
Lena Valencia is the managing editor at One Story and a host of the HiFi Reading Series in Manhattan. Her work has appeared in BOMB Magazine, The Masters Review, Storychord, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in Fiction from The New School.
Before the locals knew Isaiah to be a man of good faith, he first became popular for being the man who collected the rainwater in large tin tubs which he placed all over his property. These tin basins were shiny silver, favoring summer solstice cauldrons. It would look like the little do-gooder was conjuring something up….
Melodie J. Rodgers is a Black southern writer who lives in Stone Mountain, Ga with her two-year old warrior child, IndigoPearl. She is presently an MFA student of Fiction at Queens University of Charlotte. Melodie is presently working on a short story collection which highlights the ongoings of under-represented characters and characters living in rural Georgia. In her daily life, she works as a Vocational Program Director for an international refugee resettlement agency.
Tonight, Sarah didn’t want to get drunk with her parents. There had been too many nights of the same thing, and instead of finding comfort in the routine, it only made her feel increasingly worse about what had happened. Her parents had started drinking early and were too lost in the baseball game between the Pirates and the Marlins to cook dinner. It was a perfect opportunity, Sarah thought. She had been waiting for the perfect opportunity….
Elizabeth Green’s work has appeared in Hobart, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Wigleaf, Necessary Fiction, Cactus Heart, Fwriction: Review, Punchnels and others. She is on the editorial board for Philadelphia Stories and is a PEN Prison Writing mentor.
He’s written about this too. He’s almost sure of it. Or at least thought seriously of writing about it a number of times and jotted the incident down in his notebook as an idea for a story. That every time he sits down at his typewriter for the first time that day, or almost every time — six times out of seven, he’d say — he thinks about his wife. But not just thinks of her but of the same scene of her shouting to him from their bedroom window on the second floor of the cottage they rented in Maine that summer that she has great news for him — sometimes “the most wonderful news.” That someone from Time magazine called and said they’re going to run a review of his new book next week and are sending up a photographer from Portland to take pictures of him to go with the review….
Stephen Dixon has been nominated for the National Book Award twice, in 1991 for Frog and in 1995 for Interstate, and has earned a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy Institute of Arts and Letters prize for fiction, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1958 and is a former faculty member of Johns Hopkins University.
She could be sitting up in bed, studying her lines; she might, at any moment, fling off the covers and pass by the window in stunning silhouette. She doesn’t. But thirty minutes later I’m still watching when the light goes out. I am close enough to see all of the horseshoe driveway. The gate is locked, of course, but there is no one around. It couldn’t be quieter….
John Picard is a native of Washington, D.C. currently living in North Carolina. He received his MFA from the UNC-Greensboro. He has published fiction and nonfiction in New England Review, Narrative, The Gettysburg Review, Iowa Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. A collection of his stories, Little Lives, was published by Main Street Rag.
He could stay in the car a few more minutes, or even make a few rounds in the neighborhood, perhaps stop by the grocery store or hardware store and get something; they always need something. Instead, he shuts the car door behind him, the slam echoing. Inside, the air smells of Parmesan and tomatoes and Wife’s favorite French vanilla candle. Dry logs crackle in the fireplace and he wonders how Wife lit them without him. Wife, still at the dining room table, looks up and smiles, places her bookmark in the crease….
Originally from North Carolina, Cheyenne is a third-year fiction student at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in English and a minor in creative writing from North Carolina State University. Her work has been published in Forge Journal, and she attended the Wildacres Writers Workshop.
If I were a suicide I wouldn’t have become a punchline. Budd Dwyer kept his dignity. “Don’t, don’t, don’t” were his last words. “This will hurt someone.” The way he says “Don’t, don’t, don’t” is careful and controlled. A man who knows exactly what he is doing. He’s incanting, summoning up the language to finish the act he knows he has to carry out….
Michael Magnes earned his MFA at Portland State University and is currently working on a novel about a stand-up comedian. It’s swell. It’s called Comedy Minus One and is about a lady just trying to get home. It does not go well.
Scribbling this down to tell you later…
Renée is sitting and eating a lukewarm bowl of banana oatmeal. She’s hunched over, clenching her spoon in her whitened fist and refusing to make eye contact. She glides the spoon around her bowl, eating strategically, and only periodically does she actually lift the scratched spoon to her pale lips. The light flickers a little in the tarnished chandelier hanging over our heads. I am here, it says….
Robert W. Henway is currently studying at the University of Iowa. His work has been published in Cleaver Magazine and 1966.
Eckleburg Workshops in Fiction
Short Story Workshop
Short Short Story Workshop
Novel: From Start to Finish Workshop
Magic Realism Workshop
Writing Sex in Literary Fiction: Are Your Sex Scenes Essential or Gratuitous?
About Eckleburg Fiction
Eckleburg runs online, daily content of original fiction and hybrid including work from Richard Peabody, Cris Mazza, Eurydice, Rick Moody, Steve Almond and more…. Read hard. Write hard. “Being a good lit citizen means supporting lit pubs. Donate. Buy. I’m going to show some
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FICTION SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
We accept previously unpublished and polished prose up to 8,000 words year round, unless announced otherwise. We are always looking for tightly woven short works under 2,000 words and short-shorts around 500 words. No multiple submissions but simultaneous is fine as long as you withdraw the submission asap through the submissions system. During the summer and winter months, we run our Writers Are Readers, Too, fundraiser when submissions are open only to subscribers. During the fall and spring, we open submissions for regular unsolicited submissions.
Note: We consider fiction, poetry and essays that have appeared in print, online magazines, public forums, and public access blogs as already being published. Rarely do we accept anything already published and then only by solicitation. We ask that work published at Eckleburg not appear elsewhere online, and if republished in print, original publication credit is given to The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. One rare exception is our annual Gertrude Stein Award, which allows for submissions of previously published work, both online and print.
ANNUAL GERTRUDE STEIN AWARD IN FICTION
1st Prize $1000 and publication. Accepting entries year round. Eligibility: All stories in English no more than 8,000 words are eligible. No minimum word count. Stories published previously in print or online venues are eligible if published after January 1, 2011. Stories can be submitted by authors, editors, publishers, and agents. Simultaneous and multiple submissions allowed. Each individual story must be submitted separately, with separate payment regardless of word count. Eckleburg editors, staff, interns and current students of The Johns Hopkins University are not eligible for entry.
ANNUAL FRANZ KAFKA AWARD IN MAGIC REALISM
1st prize $1000 and publication. Accepting entries year round. Eligibility: All stories in English and magic realism no more than 8,000 words are eligible. No minimum word count. Stories published previously in print or online venues are eligible if published after January 1, 2011. Stories can be submitted by authors, editors, publishers, and agents. Simultaneous and multiple submissions allowed. Each individual story must be submitted separately, with separate payment regardless of word count. Eckleburg editors, staff and interns are not eligible for entry. Submissions for the Franz Kafka Award are currently closed.
NOVEL AND STORY COLLECTION MANUSCRIPTS
We publish short works at Eckleburg. At this time, we do not publish novel, long memoir, essay collections, story collections or poetry collections. We do offer manuscript workshops at The Eckleburg Workshops. If you are looking to place a manuscript, we can suggest several excellent small and large presses whose excellent books are promoted through our Eckleburg Book Club — i.e., Random House, Graywolf Press, Coffeehouse, Tinhouse, St. Martins Press and more.
Proud member of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses
Supporter of VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts