ABR Fiction

'Help Me Harden My Heart' a new story by Dominic Amerena

Dominic Amerena

I’m scrubbing the word SCUM off the front door of our house. I wipe so hard that my wrists start to ache, but the red letters remain bold and bright, their edges dripping as if they’re bleeding.

The whipbirds are going mad in the fig tree by the fence, the way they always do before a storm. I turn and look at the dark clouds collecting over the buildings ... More

'Slut Trouble' a new story by Beejay Silcox

Beejay Silcox
The first girl is taken on the second weekend of the school holidays. Her name is Julie-Anne Marks; she is nineteen, she is beautiful, and she is gone. More

'Window' by Cate Kennedy

Cate Kennedy

Alex is watching his wife as she stands at the pale stone bench and raises her canister of Chinese herbal tonic to her shoulder to give it a quick shake. She gives him a game, faintly ...

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'Butterfly as Metaphor' a new story by Heather Tucker

Heather Tucker
For all of his eight years Neo has been trying to grow wings. He's mastered the egg, caterpillar, and pupal stages, but the emerging from chrysalis is suspended. More

'Year of the Panda' a new story by Jonathan Tel

Jonathan Tel
She sells her body to save her mother's life. If they made her the star of a reality show, that would be the tagline. The series would end with the mother's funeral; or else with a w More

'It is Margaret' by Elizabeth Harrower

Elizabeth Harrower

Before the ceremony began, the woman with hairy legs and an air of having just abandoned a cigarette wandered as though at a party to the coffin where – though it was impossible and not so – Clelia’s mother, Margaret, was. Three days ago, four days ago, Clelia had said to her mother, ‘Come and see the blossom I’ve brought back.’ She had just returned to ... More

'The 900s Have Moved' by Gregory Day

Gregory Day

Georgie heard it too. On the very first morning of this story, though so much had gone beforehand. The usual warbling of the typical magpies, if anything so mysteriously complex as a magpie’s song can be called typical. There she’d lie, day after day, alongside Muir in their countless beds, in cramped corner flats and large creaking homesteads, in cold fi ... More

'Kindly Death' by John Bryson

John Bryson

A visitation of Kindly Death is recorded by the Law List in a glass cabinet beside the sandstone doorway of Court Four in the City Courthouse, the sole item for the day’s business, and for many days:

Trial: R v Ali Bashir. (1) Murder (2) Assist Suicide.

The second count, rather than the first, is the reason f ... More

'A Body of Water' by Else Fitzgerald

Else Fitzgerald

Behind the houses the river slides away all night. Buttery and resinous, the air hangs heavy with the river murk, the wet stink of the mudbank. Across the water, the railway sidings with their abandoned boxcars lie quiet, generations of graffiti hiding whatever colour they may have been. Beyond, the ibises stalk the salt flats, reeking brackish plains filled with se ... More

'Russell Drysdale’s Trousers' by Catherine Moffat

Catherine Moffat

They were large, stained, rust-coloured. You’d found them in an op shop somewhere. Old men’s trousers. I laughed and wouldn’t believe you when you said they once belonged to Russell Drysdale. So you took them off, right there on the Town Hall steps, and waved them in front of my face, flourishing the tag with the neat red stitching and Russell Drysdale’s nam ... More

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