Announcement: New Journal

After listening to your feedback, and considering lessons learned from previous projects, we are pleased to announce a new format for submissions at Orchid’s Lantern. The website will now operate as a quarterly online journal, opening for set periods throughout the year, with a fresh theme every 3 months. There will then be an annual print journal, collecting all accepted submissions from the previous 12 months together with some brand new material from invited authors.

Our first theme is Dreams! Tell us your wildest. Explore the visions, the language, of sleep. Think surreal and peculiar; think repeating motifs and layered metaphor. Imagine a precognitive unconscious, paralysis, waking up in a different land… Surprise us. It’s up to you.

Full details can be found on our Submissions page.

Flash Showcase: Rus Khomutoff – Untitled


I OBLIVIATE MYSELF INTO THE WHOLE LIKE A NAKED FLAME A NAME BEYOND DESIRE/TO EXIST BETWEEN ETERNITIES WILD NOTHING WITH EYES OF THE SKY/AXIS INFINITY DICTIONARY OF OBSCURE BLISS/COME FORWARD WITH YOUR VISCERA & VIOLENCE AND SHARE MY WINGS/UNLEASH YOUR SPIRIT BENEATH THE RAMJET ALLEGRO TEMPLE OF THE NIGHT SKY A NEED FOR MIRRORS & COUNTLESS SKIES/SHAKE YOUR INFINESSENCE SLOT CANYON HIGHBREATH BIRDFLOWER OF MY BECOMING/PARACOSM OF NEX MEMORY FORAGING A MOMENT & SUMMONING UP A BLACK FLAME/ARM OF EXUBERANCE SHORE OF ELAN/VENUS ENDEAVOR MINISTERING BLITHE SPIRITS/REACTION OUT OF MY HEAD/AUTUMN CRY OPULENCE LIKE A TRIANGLE & A DUEL/MELANCHOLY OF TRIBE SAD CAFE IMMORTAL CREAM TERMINAL SYSTEM OF SYSTEMS/CHAMELEON CHARADE STAR CODE CHALICE WONDERMENT CYCLORAMA/MEMORYISANISLAND PYLONS OF RED DUST SNAKING WITH MELANCHOLY/A FACE OF GENIUS IN FULL MEASURE OF THE SPECTACULAR NOW/IDEAPHORIA SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER KARTHIK FLOW/NEON METAPHOR GHOSTROCK OF THE SPLENDID RUINS/MECHANISMS OF YOUTH TRY NOT TO UNDERSTAND IMPOSSIBLE POISON/EROTIC BIRD WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON/TENDER SYMMETRY GLASS ANIMALS LIFE ITSELF/OF RAPTURE DEEP INTO THE NIGHT THE ARMOR OF MANY THOUGHTS/THE LUNAR SCHISM IS RUNNING WILD


My name is Rus Khomutoff and I am an experimental poet in Brooklyn, NY. I have published 3 collections of poetry: Immaculate Days  (Alien Buddha Press), Radia(Void Front Press) & Color Poems (Orbis Tertius Press). My poetry has appeared in Triplov, X-Peri, Problematique, Grody mag, Proprose, isacoustic & Ink Pantry.

Flash Showcase: Bullseye by CB Droege

“Are you hustling me, Harrison?”

Adaqaros turned away from the dartboard, his hand still on the final dart, which rested just to the right of center in the tiny treble twenty crescent. He stared at Jimmy through narrowed eyes, and accessed Harrison’s memories for the meaning of the term. It took several moments. Harrison had not put money on games of skill very often.

“No,” Adaqaros said. “My sudden increase in skill is a natural artifact. This is my second venture at darts only.”

“Wait,” Jimmy said. “That last game was the first time you’ve ever played darts?”

This made Adaqaros pause. He studied Harrison’s memories again, thoroughly. He had played a skill game similar to this at a fair when he was twelve years old, not nearly enough to have developed any muscle memory which Adaqaros could rely on. Several years earlier, Harrison had played with something called lawn-darts, which he had found in the garage of his paternal grandfather, but it was not truly a comparable activity. Adaqaros himself had never played this specific game of skill, and had had little opportunity to test the dexterity and depth perception of Harrison’s body. He decided that the statement was true enough to be spoken, and required no retraction. “Yes,” he said simply, and removed the final dart from the board.

Continue reading “Flash Showcase: Bullseye by CB Droege”

Flash Showcase: The Beast by Stephen Oram

Like a continuous line of ants, they come and they go. Squeezing through the gap in the protective covering created by the bio-build bots. Dashing across the tarmac track. Scrambling up the slope of the grass mound in the centre of the dome to find a patch they can call their own. Breathing in deeply. Sucking down the thick air. Waiting to catch a glimpse. The girl and her grandmother are no exceptions. Rubbing shoulders on the crowded slope they chortle in anticipation. They tingle with the thrill.

Four shiny diamond-like eyes pierce the smog that clings to the floor of the bubble. Pinpricks that gradually grow. A silver mesh stretches between the two largest eyes like a mouth guard for the most ferociously dangerous animal. They both feel a rush of excitement through their veins. A smaller daintier eye sits either side of the larger eyes, one on either side. A rumbling noise with an undercurrent of a steady beating thump increases in intensity.

Glints of sunlight that pierce the skin of the dome reflect off the approaching beast, shooting beams upwards to delight the crowd with the cross of a kiss above them.

The roar is immense as it rushes past them, spewing its internal gases into the air and into their lungs. The girl shrieks with delight and her grandmother chuckles with the incredible joy of reliving her memories. Memories of the bygone age of petrol fuelled automobiles. The power that is barely contained within its shell is exhilarating.

“To feel alive, you must taste the poison of death,” whispers the grandmother to her transfixed granddaughter.

The girl licks her lips and swallows.

“I taste it,” she says and lies back on the grass to savour the sensation.


Stephen Oram’s near-future fiction has been praised by publications as diverse as The Morning Star and The Financial Times. He is published in several anthologies, has two published novels and two collections of sci-fi shorts. www.stephenoram.net


For detail of how to submit your own flash piece. To our Showcase, please visit the Submissions page. We also now accept short stories for online publication.

Flash Showcase: Bridget Set the Table by Elyse Russell

Bridget set the table because she always set the table.

Every evening at six o’ clock, she laid out the dishes, the silverware, and the glasses. She put out a fresh vase of flowers for a centerpiece. Every evening at six o’ clock for the last forty-seven years, Bridget set the table.

Then she would go into the kitchen to bring out supper. A roast, stew, or ham; she had several cooking staples and she rotated through them like clockwork.

One day, she brought out a salad with homemade dressing, chicken parmesan, seasoned green beans, and warm rolls. Bridget made everything from scratch; there was nothing out of a box on her table. She was a wonderful cook: she knew it and took a measure of pride from it. That was why she worked for the most prosperous man in the county. And Mr. Tiller liked his dinner to be punctual.

Continue reading “Flash Showcase: Bridget Set the Table by Elyse Russell”

Flash Showcase: The Puzzle by Anthony Kane Evans

I.

I wasn’t sure I was in the puzzle until I bumped into a young man on the trail I was taking to the beach.

“Excuse me, can you help me?” he said. “I’m looking for the town centre.”

Then he put his hand up to his mouth and laughed a thin, reedy laugh. One of the thirty-six signs of the puzzle. I kept a straight face. I didn’t want the puzzle to know that I knew I was in the puzzle.

“Keep going in the opposite direction to me and you’ll get there,” I said.

“Thank you,” the young man said. “It’s a good day for the beach, I can see that. Perhaps I’m going the wrong way, after all.”

“No doubt you’ll find out when you get there,” I said.

“Yes,” he said.

II.

He did move off. I felt the puzzle’s grip lessening. I found I could think again. I’ve heard that you can sing nursery rhymes to yourself, thereby confusing the puzzle, keeping it busy, as it were, so that it doesn’t interfere so much with you. I sang Humpy Dumpty. I tried not to think of the beach but clutched my towel a little bit tighter.

Continue reading “Flash Showcase: The Puzzle by Anthony Kane Evans”

Flash Showcase: Telescope by Joe Howsin

Eyes open, fists clenched; teeth grinding, limbs limp; a shape, a shift; a whimper, a cry; a scream. This is how I wake up each morning. With routine, the terror I feel towards the shadow in the corner has dulled. No longer sharp, it is merely an ache. Yet still, each morning, I scream.

These days I don’t know why I get up at all. There is no job to go to, no friends to see. Maybe it’s for the coffee, or to escape the shadow.

Have you ever sat completely still because to move would be to hurl yourself into a rage? My blood thickens, lapping in viscus waves against straining eardrums. Electricity arcs across my muscles and burns me from the inside out. I twitch and jitter, shaking the cupboards, rattling plates, smashing a mug. I sink to my knees and collect the shattered rabbits lying in pieces on the kitchen floor. Their blood is thin and watery: a light brown fluid smelling faintly of earth and milk. I cry in shuddering tides over ceramic wildlife as the electricity continues to burn.

Continue reading “Flash Showcase: Telescope by Joe Howsin”

Flash Showcase: After this period, screaming should be minimal by Leonie Rowland

Cracked, I think, from the moment it starts: one foot on the pavement & one in the canal, saying, I could get used to this. My feet, speaking, conscious; considering you, twisting away, walking with strange inflections. That photo I sent, where I am in a bathroom, and they are almost on their side. The buckles on my shoes touching the floor. Get used to it. Get used to being half here and half there; go for dinner with someone I love (not you (not you)); listen when they say, you are always gone after speaking to her; nod and know that I was gone already, eating somewhere else, fading into vacancy and viciousness, expressed somehow as compassion (towards the distance, which pulls us together and keeps us apart). I am shoulders and shockwaves, limbs I don’t want, texts floating to you across the sea. Cups of water between us, flooding everything, all we talk about: look at the body, watch it yawn and take me whole. My feet shouting synergies, my hands scratching the shore. Fingers holding you. 

Continue reading “Flash Showcase: After this period, screaming should be minimal by Leonie Rowland”

Flash Showcase: Thief by Lindz McLeod

Crooked trees beckon you like fingers. Bark wrinkles like elderly hands in motion. You walk on the path, lemon sherberts crunching under your boots. Yellow shards, coating your soles. Cherry drops coo from high above; their young are barely more than red dots, hiding behind their parent’s wrappers. Foil coins hang from branches as long as school rulers. You fill your pockets with strawberry bonbons until your blazer weighs as much as a lie. Cram mint humbugs into your mouth, between gum and cheek. Class hamster-cute.

On the beach, a pink piggy bank—twice the size of a truck—naps, half-buried, in the sand. It is labelled. This is not your name. You drop to your knees and scrape away the wet sludge. The coin slot is exposed. You fit your arm inside. You grope around. It is empty.

Twenty yards out from the shore, another pink piggy bank is drowning. You wade into the creamy waves. The cola water fizzes around your calves. You dive down. You pick starfish off the sides, peeling them back limb by limb. This piggy bank is labelled too. This is not your name. Nothing rattles inside. No sunken treasure. No chest of dark jewels or gold coins stamped with different kings or strings of milky pearls or silver goblets or gem-encrusted daggers. Nothing you can sell or trade. Breaking the surface of the waves, you stumble to your feet. Your face dripping with carbonated shame.

You glance back at the shoreline, wondering if it’s not too late. It is too late. The trees have lurched onto the beach to watch. Faces made of nested leaves. Each expression shucked from the last like dead skin. Scabbed wounds, which have never really healed. Too dense to understand your drive. Too compact to understand your need.

You were greedy, once. You were greedy. Weren’t you?


Lindz McLeod is a queer, working-class, Scottish writer who dabbles in the surreal. Her prose has been published by/is forthcoming in Hobart, Flash Fiction Online, the New Guard, Cossmass Infinities, and more. She is a member of the SFWA and is represented by Headwater Literary Management.


To submit your own flash piece to our Showcase, visit our Submissions page.

Flash Showcase: Houseplants (Love Spores) by Eric Farrell

Kathy Harrison bursts through the Green Lovelies entrance. Cocobolo beads rattle against the glass door. The steely-eyed clerk is dressed head to toe in selvedge denim. She stares Kathy down, inhaling imperceptibly. She knows what’s coming. The woman’s going to start yelling.

“Everyone just stop!” Kathy hollers once fully inside the plant shop’s showroom floor. A few Green Lovelies shoppers freeze in their tracks. The clerk eyes her from beyond the small forest of hanging macramé plants in the middle of the retail space. She’s got everyone’s attention. Part one of her mission successful. Now for part two…

“Citizens of Long Beach, I am warning you as a fellow neighbor, not to buy any of these plants! None of the succulents! None of the pathos! No tropical dwarfs at all! Because you know why?!”

Continue reading “Flash Showcase: Houseplants (Love Spores) by Eric Farrell”

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