At the Governor’s Discretion by Michael Solyman Muhammad

He would be executed at dawn. He would be taken from the holding cell, escorted by numerous guards, the warden and a spiritual adviser if requested, then a march down the short corridor that led to the death chamber. All just like Whittaker before him. He was aware of a pounding sensation in his chest, of a slight tremor that seemed to affect his whole body. He closed his eyes, and willed himself to blot out the thoughts and images and sounds that kept replaying; that room, that... Read More

Fear Scope by Jimmy Smith

Alan had always liked being outdoors.  As a child, he would impatiently wait for weekend visits to his grandparents’ big detached house on the edge of the city.   There were Cul-de-sacs with their gulleys and alleys leading to dirt paths and bristly shrubbery and stinging nettles; dirt paths leading to parks, rusty goalposts and ragged, wet tennis balls followed by unleashed dogs.  Parks leading to proper countryside; rabbits, butterflies, insects.  And the odd fox.  Once... Read More

A Blob of Ice-Cream by Paul Alexander

Margaret stared at the sea beyond the white railing and considered the ending of the short story she’d just finished reading. She turned towards her dozing husband. His bloated profile reminded her of the head of the dogfish she’d seen rotting in the mud below the harbour wall. A flatulent grunt slipped from his down-turned mouth. She stooped to pick up her handbag. “I’m going to get an ice-cream. Do you want anything, dear?” His eyes span open. Constipated tension... Read More

Practice What You Preach, with Fadia Faqir

1. How was the preparation and research for this novel any different from your previous novels? It was different because Willow Trees Don’t Weep is partly set in Afghanistan, a country I could not visit no matter how hard I tried. The British Council sounded me out about going to Kabul to run a few creative writing workshops. I agreed, but the security situation deteriorated and the whole thing was cancelled. All my attempts to travel to Afghanistan in 2011 failed. The alternative... Read More