These stories feature individual audio recordings from stories in Issues 20–32. (A podcast feed for your app is coming soon).
I heard him come, horse and hooves all, smelling of the war and blood, and knew he was home. I was sitting by the unoon, fire warming my feet, and he was trotting in across the old broken road, barren fields on either side. […]
Sometimes in the night, when the dogs stopped barking at the cars along Route 40, the house ceased settling, and the wind came to a rest in the branches of the old maple by the farmhouse, Rachel sensed them. […]
Yuan used to tell Wenjie about the head thief whod snip your head off with shears and replace it with someone else’s. That’s what happens to people who don’t use their heads properly: they get replaced. But where do the bad heads go? Wenjie asked. […]
It’s been twenty-three days since she lost her daughter. For twenty-three days, Mariska searched, trawling ruin and wreckage, sifting through bone and ash, picking apart carcass and corpse in case her daughter’s atoms […]
We weren’t going to torture the spy. But we did threaten to. And now he’s dead. Cyanide capsule. We weren’t fast enough to stop him. All we have to go on are the papers we found in his apartment in the cinquième arrondissement. We know from the dead spy’s documents that […]
Charlie is an orphan. The last known elephant disappeared from the world twenty years ago when she was eight. Loss of habitat, viral pandemic, human insatiability long since devoured the whale, the honeybee, the domestic chicken, but Charlie is especially conflicted […]
“Sorry about your dad.”
Liv’s voice slid down my neck like muddy water, the gravel in it catching at my skin. I didn’t want to look up but I could feel her standing there, could see the chipped black polish on her quick-bitten thumbnail from the corner of my eye. […]
The carnations are oversaturated. I’m in the shop, stocking dental floss and toothbrushes when I see them at the edge of my vision: a bright matte red. Like an apple in an illustrated book I once had. The drawing had no depth, just the outline of a perfectly symmetrical apple with one leaf coming off the stem and inside it, red. […]
Herewith, the results of our modeling… Tonight, we shall demonstrate that categories can be usurped by force for a most dramatic effect. Transitions are mundane: they occur all the time. They are also liminal: suffused with ambiguity, and hence opportunity. Think of this: […]
Bird-clawed and bony, we tread lightly in the shadows, accustomed to the dark. This night, it’s too late to turn back, to break the pattern I follow by rote. Donovan stands against a lichen-edged wall, uneven stones pressing into his back. I hold him, fingers forcing space between his ribs. […]
Till runs her fingers across the angry ridge of skin on her wrist, the latest mountain range to erupt from the fault lines of her veins. Even now the plate tectonics of her bones haven’t resettled, and the carpals grind against each other as she flexes the crust for her audience to see. […]
The doctor turned to watch the great baroque tower falter and sway. A single, skeletal digit, it stretched to brush the pale cheek of the broken moon above, shedding bits and battlements and synth as it grew. The moon was called Izanagi, and the planet it circled was called Izanami[…]
The jenkem pot lies on the floor between us, its tear-inducing fume of alcohol and excrement weighing like plague on the basement's dank air. A red-white crack of light cast by the cop car in the alley stabs through a ragged hole in the wall, illuminating particles of worse-than-dust, but neither I nor Mbesi stir from sprawled repose […]
The sea is rife with immortals and healers. Soft things with cells that never quiet, but keep dividing into pouches of seething organelles. They need never fear that their children will cart them off to a retirement home that smells of nectar and licorice. Much of the time, their children are themselves, cloned afresh […]
Hope is the thing with feet. Brother Jude and I scuffed ours along a cracked sidewalk. Basement holes yawned left and right, swallows flew south, and I leaned forward, hitching up my bedroll and hustling to keep up with Jude, a head taller and half-again wider, a born heavy-lifter […]
Violet woke up with the bruises. Outside, the sky had turned dark. A hushed grey filled with pinpricks of blue fire, and the world tipped forward, a great dome that would suffocate her if she breathed too deep. This was how it had always been […]
A yellow beak, the shape of a crescent moon, pricks through your abdomen, and you know it’s time. Everyone else knows it’s time too. The townspeople track your pregnancies, right down to the hour, so when you phone the paramedics, the woman who answers doesn't bother to ask the nature of your emergency […]
For the past five days, as the cruise ship Venusian languorously travelled the Mediterranean from Barcelona to Venera, the weather had been perfect: bright blue skies tempered by the occasional white cloud with not a hint of rain; never dipping below fifteen degrees centigrade at night, never going above twenty-five in the daytime; a steady breeze that carried the mesmerizing aroma of the sea. […]
His shame was exposed, the scar where a shell splinter had torn through his groin and ripped away his manhood. Albert no longer cared. He was counting the moments until he died. A deep sucking followed the crack of bone. The slurping of marrow, the fluid dripping from her jaws, the varied noise of her digestion. […]
Gerald Michael Leary flat out fainted when Cecilia Murphy lifted up her skirt and showed him her naked flesh. As usual, she hadn't worn any knickers, and the curls of her brown pubic hair writhed like tiny little snakes. It happened during a pub brawl, when he was about to lay one on Sam, Cecilia's brother, who'd been egging him on about his eejit hurling team. […]
The waters had gone stale; the salmon runs dwindled. When we got hungry we remembered what we had tried to forget: that whales were conjoined with humans. That we might speak. […]
In the light of the full moon, her vision enhanced by vermilion, Dematria watched in horror as Hecate’s changeling centurions terrorized her beloved goddess-city, Venera. The Romans had so far ignored the archipelago; in return the city-state fed the Roman capital with a steady supply of underpriced vermilion spice […]
When the first snow falls, it burns. The other women dance in the flurry without me, beneath a moon clouded by giants’ breath. Snowflakes spin into their open mouths and dust their outstretched hands […]
NEW! Aug. 24, 2021 — Issue 33 is live today. Read the first two stories online, or buy the full ebook.
May 18, 2021 — Volume VII print anthology (issues 25–28) is here. Order now in the store.
April 26, 2021 — We’ve added a list of 3LBE fiction with audio recordings. (A podcast feed is in the works).
Nov. 24, 2020 — The new Issue 32 is live today. Read stories 1 & 2 online, or buy the full ebook.
Oct. 29, 2020 — 3LBE print anthologies are returning! Volume VI (issues 21–24) is now available in the store.
June 9, 2020 — Issue 31 is live today. Read the first two stories online, or buy the full ebook.
June 5, 2020 — Visit our store. Half of our 2020 sales will be donated to Black Lives Matter organizations.
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3LBE Volume VII print anthology is here. Order now in the store