Mother is an absolutely tragic, yet unflinchingly raw reveal of one woman’s final moments as she contemplates suicide. The piece’s strength lies not only in the strong visual imagery, but also in the sufferer’s turmoil, their inner thoughts and emotions, along with their mania as they reach the end of their life.
‘Birth Mother’ is a surrealist epistolary story that demands discussion and interpretation. While the accompanying author’s notes bring us part of the way to understanding, we were struck by the dreamlike lens through which the narrator views the world, at once magical and tragic.
‘Burn’ is an extremely raw read, tackling gender identity, toxic family dynamics and self-harm. Fully developed at every turn, Elizabeth Jaeger has crafted a powerfully poignant story, with an instantly relatable narrator no matter your personal journey through life.
‘The Black Oracle’ is an excellent example of how depression and other mental illnesses can be effectively personified. The narrator’s struggle against depression is at times futile, with the Oracle’s sweet, motherly kindness masking a quiet malevolence that underpins the entire story.
‘Albina’ is at once beautiful and sorrowful, brimming with eloquence. This is a story that elicits pure empathy, both for the narrator and for Albina herself, a true feat granted that neither us nor narrator knew Albina intimately. In Lia Marie Talia’s writing, the shadows left by depression and suicide are as tangible as the writing itself.
‘Follow the Rabbit’ is at once surreal, comic and disturbing, chronicling one man’s hallucination of an anthropomorphic rabbit while undergoing psychiatric assessment. This is much left unsaid here, though it is in the unsaid that this story’s strength lies. With the hint of being expanded into a novel, we’re excited to read more.
‘Hello Depression’ offers an interesting, darkly humourous spin on one man’s battle with – or perhaps acceptance of – his depression. We won’t reveal it here, but the latter part of this excellent flash story takes an intriguing, memorable twist that won’t easily be forgotten.
‘Chicken Skin’ is a masterclass of description and dialogue. From the nauseating descriptions of smell to the harsh, unapologetic toxicity of the mother’s words, this is a stellar story that leaves as much unsaid as it does said.