Asunder by Hester J. Rook

Puzzle hearted and in pieces
I am scattered and entangled.

They found my nose on a cathedral spire,
my left arm on the back of a bus
in sky-sodden Dublin.
The outside world was an impressionist blur
through the rainwashed glass.

I was part-swallowed by a hapless fish
swimming silvered in the Hunter River.
When they caught it and split its belly
my ear spilled out red and glistening among the guts.
The pelicans swooped and fought.

My elbow was caught in a quandong tree in the deep desert.
Carried back in a basket full of plump red fruits destined for jam
it swung on the life-creased arm of a dusk-scented woman.

A heron fetched my index fingers both
from where they swept softly on the surface of the ocean
(somewhere near New Zealand, I think?)

They stitched and welded and carved and hammered,
reforged me a body of windswept, wandering parts
and finally
I appeared whole (on the surface)
missing only a tiny piece of my puzzled heart.


Originally published in Concrete Queers 7: Speculative Fiction

Hester J. Rook | they/them
Hester J. Rook is a Rhysling Award and Australian Shadows Award shortlisted poet and co-editor of Twisted Moon Magazine. They are often found salt-scrunched on beaches, reading arcane tales and losing the moon in mugs of tea. Find Hester on Twitter @hesterjrook and read more poems and fiction at

Unstuck by Hamish McIntyre

She was unstuck in time.

She wasn’t sure exactly how it happened. There was no secret military experiment, no toxic waste spill, and no magical McGuffin. One day she just felt a low rumble before being flung back three hours, as if she was the only person on Earth not wearing a seatbelt.

There was no rumble the second time around, but the damage was already done. The next day she woke up and got ready for class seven times before it finally stuck and she was able to continue her day as normal.

She kept quiet at first. If she started thinking about it too much, she’d have to accept that either it was real, or she was going mad. So she tried ignoring the problem, occasionally just gritting her teeth and repeating moments over and over without complaint. But gradually it wore her down.


A few days after it started, she was having lunch with her girlfriends, Mel and Hannah, when they finally noticed something was wrong. Mel looked up and saw her scrolling through her phone in boredom, silently mouthing along to what Hannah was saying. Mel put a hand on her shoulder.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Mel asked.

She raised her head with a slight look of panic in her eyes and gave a strained smile. “I’ve already heard this shit fifteen times.”

Hannah’s face fell.

“Fuck, no that’s not what I meant,” she said quickly. “Look, can we talk about it at your place?”

The trio walked to Hannah’s apartment to discuss everything. It took a long time and several pots of tea, but after a while they believed her. They couldn’t work out the cause, but maybe it didn’t matter. Sometimes weird shit just happens to cute people, they reasoned before retiring to bed.


She was much more cheerful the next day. She didn’t have to face this alone anymore, Mel and Hannah were surprisingly understanding and patient. They barely even reacted when she refused to eat the pancakes Mel made because she’d already eaten them half-a-dozen times that morning. They knew it was uncontrollable, so why make her feel bad about it?

She tried not to let it get to her when she fell back through time, but it was hard. One day she interrupted a conversation by throwing her head back, closing her eyes and letting out an exaggerated groan of frustration.

“Sorry, are we boring you?” Mel crossed her arms and glared.

Hannah was a bit more observant.

“How many times?” Hannah asked quietly.

“Twenty-seven”, she mumbled.

Mel’s eyes widened. “Shit. I’m sorry.”

After a minute of silence, Hannah spoke up.

“You normally seem really calm about the whole thing. Doesn’t it just freak you out, repeating stuff all the time?”

She shook her head. “Reliving a moment over and over isn’t always bad. Sometimes it’s the best!”

As if to emphasise her response, she pointed a finger-gun at each of her girlfriends, waggling her eyebrows suggestively. Mel smirked and threw her a wink, while Hannah went bright red and buried her face in her hands.

She looked at them both and smiled widely. If she had to choose, this would be a good moment to get stuck in. Maybe she could learn to control it. Maybe if she relaxed enough, she could just-

“Sorry, are we boring you?” Mel crossed her arms and glared.

Her eyes snapped open.

“Not this time.”



Originally published in CQ5: Poetry

Hamish McIntyre | he/him/his
Ham is especially interested in writing interactive fiction text adventures. He is not a real ham, but can be found on Twitter as @zombieham

Universe Building by Welton B. Marsland

“You okay?”

“Yeah.  I think.  Except … could you let go of my hair now?”

Jimmy chuckled and relaxed the hand he’d gripped in Ryan’s sweaty hair.  “Sorry.”


At first, their expressions were sombre and serious, faces just centimetres apart, breathing heavy, both of them a little stunned and uncertain.  Then, slowly, as it became obvious that no lightning bolt was about to strike them down, nor one of them erupt into mindless rage, their mouths curved upwards at the same time.  Everything was okay – they were on the same page.

“That…” said Ryan, and raised his eyebrows a little way.

“I know,” Jimmy said.

Ryan chuckled like Jimmy had done, his voice very low and a bit throaty.  “That was very, very naughty,” he half-whispered.

Jimmy’s smile continued to widen, warm brown eyes shining with delight and great amusement and not a small amount of mischief.  “Oops!” he laughed.

Raising his head a little way off the bed, Ryan glanced down the length of their bodies.  Not that he could see too much; mostly, he could see Jimmy’s taut upper arm and the sides of their rib cages.  He let his head fall back again.  “Have we made a mess?”

Jimmy swept a glance downwards.  “Not too bad.”  He rolled his hips slightly.

They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment, the enormity of what they’d done beginning to sneak up on them.

“Don’t,” Jimmy said softly.

“Don’t what?”

“Don’t freak out on me now.”

Ryan smiled.  “I wasn’t going to.”

“Well.  Good, then.  Cos you’re not allowed.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah.”  Jimmy quirked his mouth.  “I’ve decided – you’re not allowed to freak out about anything anymore.”

Ryan pulled an exaggerated sad face.  “Not ever?”

“Well.  Maybe at Christmas.  Everyone’s entitled to go a bit yampy at Christmas.  Family and all that.”

“Very generous of you.”

They both smirked and Ryan cleared his throat lightly.  Jimmy resettled himself a little lower down his mate’s body.

“We’ve really done it now, haven’t we?”

“Meaning?” Ryan asked.

“Well, we’ve just caused a whole new universe to be created, haven’t we?”

“Hmph.  You mean we didn’t merely make the planet tilt on its axis?”

Jimmy poked his tongue out briefly.  “Nah.  Quantum theory.  You know, each decision and change we make creates a new reality and a new universe.”

“Quantum theory?” queried Ryan.  “When did you suddenly become a deep prick?”

Jimmy ignored him.  “There’s a universe where we’re just best mates.  There’s another one where we barely know each other.”

“Not friends?”

“Nah, we don’t get along much in that universe.”


Jimmy affected a nonchalant tone as his imagination offered up a parallel universe version of themselves.  “That universe – we pretty much hate each other’s guts.  Fought all through school.   Trophy-fuck each other’s girlfriends.”

“You’re really warming to this material, aren’t you?”

Jimmy tilted his face down and blew a raspberry on Ryan’s chest.  A hand swatted at the top of his head and he came up laughing.  “Anyway.  Hrm.  There’s probably another universe where we never even met.”

“Naturally.  A whole lotta decisions from a bunch of different people went into me ending up in the same classes as you.”

Jimmy nodded.  “And I’m sure there’s one where we’re super-spies or playing in the Ashes series or some shit.  And now, now we’ve just created a whole new one.  One where we’re just a couple of blokes and best mates and fuck buddies.”

A bark of laughter shot up out of Ryan at that.  “Fuck buddies?!”  His chest heaved as he laughed.  “Bloody hell.  Do you seriously have to call it that?”

“I’m not calling you “my lover”, dude.  That’d just be weird!”

They were laughing together again, voices filling the room as their bodies shook against one another.  Ryan composed himself first, rubbing at his eyes as his breathing calmed.

Jimmy sighed happily.  “Hungry work, universe building.”

“Want me to call room service?” Ryan offered. “You’ll have to shift off me if you want me to get to the phone.”

“Pity,” said Jimmy. “I’m pretty comfortable here.  In my cool new universe.”

They lay still together for several more minutes before either of them could bring himself to move away, fresh new universes spiralling off into the unknown as a dozen silent decisions were agreed upon in their locked gaze.


Originally published in CQ4: Romance.

Welton B. Marsland
Welton B. Marsland is a queer-punk writer from Melbourne whose stories, poetry & more have appeared in many local & international markets. Debut novel “By the Currawong’s Call”, set in 1890s Australia, is available through and recently won the Romance category at the 2018 Bisexual Book Awards in New York. WBM is also Editor of a poetry anthology inspired by the TV show Supernatural, called “Carrying On”. Twitter: @wbmarsland Website: