Introduction

Each story brings us to a crossroads. Each character contends with the crumbling world assigned to them. Our editors found themselves either joined up with these characters' causes, or recoiling at their choices—no matter, they were unequivocally compelled to invite you to witness these pieces of fiction. “Every night was the same and every day was the same, too. He’d thought today was going to be different, somehow,” writes Dustin Heron in his short story “The Bottoms.” This potential hope and eventual descent into conflict, disappointment, and chaos is an unintended, but apparent theme in each of the stories we bring to you this issue. In Tammy Delatorre’s “Red Sea,” the narrative fractures into nine shards, all considerations of the way “[the] body holds on to it all, wants what she wants, and won’t negotiate.” These are dark places to tread, but never fear, these writers give you the map with which to navigate a broken world.