Unlike so many other literary magazines, Thrice Fiction is, in itself, a work of art. It captures the spirit of each piece of fiction within its pages through original artwork and bends the concept of “short fiction” to encompass truly creative works that defy traditional short story formats. Self-identified as an alternative zine, each page tells a unique story from a unique voice, illustrated with unique art.
One gem of a short story within this issue captured my attention immediately: “Bambi” by Kiara A. Breedlove. Here, the tone and character of Ms. Vincent shines through in every phrase, every image, and every bit of slang she uses to describe the world around her. Ms. Vincent is an outcast in her own community because of events in her past, and she willingly lives on the outskirts. However, as she watches the same plot of her own life carried out in her neighbor’s home, she must decide whether she should get involved, or go “back to minding my own side of the fence.” In the end, the author leaves the story with a little bit of mystery, and a little reminder of the sympathy we should have for others. The power behind this story left me eager to see more from Breedlove in the future, to hear her creative tone again.
The pages of this issue share many microfiction stories that defy the concept of a traditional short story. For example, in “Mother-Of-Pearl,” Melinda Giordano uses creative imagery to describe a piece of sand in her eye, comparing her eye to an oyster and the sand to a pearl: “My eye felt as rough and dry as the hide of a mollusk. I waited for it to glaze over with nacre, for the hazel-colored iris to turn iridescent: opaque with lavender and turquoise.” It’s a simple story, but one that reminds me of how something can seem so big and so irritating, only to later be swept away “in a fit of forgetfulness.”
In “Icarus” by Charles Rafferty, the author shares an unusual version of the traditional Icarus story, wherein Icarus does not burn up and fall to the sea. Instead, he skillfully avoids being seen and escapes altogether. He goes on to live an entirely different life, but keeps thinking about his father who “had searched the waves much longer than Icarus expected.” The most powerful aspect of this microfiction is the reminder that, while Icarus believed “the ending could still be changed” in his own life, he doesn’t go back to his father, doesn’t expose himself as being alive, and lets the story simply end where everyone assumed it ended. In life, we always think that something could be changed or could be different, but if we don’t make the effort to change it, we are stuck in the place we have put ourselves, never able to see where we could have gone or what we could have done.
Another very powerful short story that drew me in was “Above Average” by Ashley Marie Dantzler. In this story, the narrator is a black woman living in a town that is often racist or prejudiced against her. She works as a lead anchor, but otherwise considers herself an average person. As she is walking home one night, a very unusual situation occurs and forces her to make a decision—put herself in harm’s way to save another, or run away, never knowing if her presence could have been helpful. In life, we all encounter a situation like this at some point—a situation where we can choose to help another person at our own peril, or stick to ourselves. My favorite line came when she said, “Maybe I was born to be average, and all my life I was waiting for this night to come.” I hope that if I find myself in this situation, I will choose to be above average, and do “my job for humanity.” If only we could all be so strong!
This issue of Thrice Fiction is a testament to its unique spirit and voice. It shares short stories in formats that others might not consider, bringing forward tales that might not be heard otherwise. In addition, the editors build a beautiful bridge between fiction and art by incorporating unique images with each story. It is creative and exceptional in its format, and deserves recognition for expanding beyond a traditional magazine into something truly special.