Short Fiction by Anita Goveas

Maheen is the first to go in, as always. They gawk at the strange booths – the Poison Dart Frog game, Ringing-in-the-Ears, Hook-a-Lung.

Something flaps at the periphery. A tattered orange bead-curtain almost hides the rainbow-striped sign for the Teacups of Nostalgia.

They clasp hands and peek inside the dusty portal. One zinnia-patterned cup still moves around the track, the others cracked and immovable. Trithi pulls them forward as it slows; she’s the one that tells the stories of how they all met.

They clamber inside, Maheen brushing a spider-web off her indigo headscarf, Trithi trying not to inhale too much dust, Alysa careful in her suede kitten heels.

They’re flooded separately with the morning of that day at secondary school. Trithi’s mother stayed in the car to watch her slowly walk up the stairs, Maheen ran past still eating her breakfast toast, Alysa strode along while reading Nancy Drew. And then the infamous netball game when Trithi got detention because the newly-minted P.E. teacher didn’t believe her medical exemption note, and Alysa and Maheen refused to play in sudden solidarity.

The Ringing-in-the-Ears is a black-walled sealed booth that absorbs all Alysa’s problem-solving skills.

There’s a catch along a hidden seam, and the cobalt-blue door slides shut behind them. It’s all the things people whisper on repeat. Alysa, brush your hair till it shines, you look prettier when you smile. Maheen, stop waving your hands around, say it again a little quieter. Trithi, computers are demanding, do you need a sit down.

Trithi tilts her chin up as if it’s a sword, Maheen sways as if to music, Alysa holds her neat soft hands against her eyes as if that will press the tears back in.

The threshold of the Future-Train is a wide red-lipped mouth. Trithi’s still-raised chin leads her forward, although the others shrink back. She sits in a velvet-lined booth and watches Maheen wave her way through university, remove her hijab during her Legal Practice course, put it back on after a woman is shot and stabbed in the street by a man shouting ‘Britain First’. Alysa wipes mango chutney off the twins’ mouths as they chase after Maheen’s daughter and her shiny plait undulates as she straightens books at the library. The plait lies on the floor the day after Trithi’s funeral.

Trithi settles back, sees herself learn to code and make websites. Future-her plants Easter eggs of photos of them all. They find them years later, after the thyroid cancer, seeded by the x-rays to fix the hole in her heart, rewrites her in pieces.


Anita Goveas is British-Asian, based in London, and fueled by strong coffee and paneer jalfrezi. She was first published in the 2016 London Short Story Prize anthology, most recently in JMWW, OkayDonkey and X-Ray lit. She’s on the editorial team at Flashback Fiction, an editor at Mythic Picnic’s Twitter zine, a reader for Bare Fiction and tweets erratically @coffeeandpaneer Links to her stories can be found here.
May 20, 2019

Rides, Sideshows, Etcetera, Etcetera by Anita Goveas

Short Fiction by Anita Goveas
May 16, 2019

Talent Campus 05

Mari Vindis shares her recent experience on Talent Campus
May 15, 2019

100voicesfor100years project needs you!

Lena Rees speaks to Miranda Roszkowski on her project 100voicesfor100years.
May 10, 2019

Podcast: Lily Dunn on A Wild and Precious Life

In the fifth episode of the MIR Podcast, Peter J Coles talks to author Lily Dunn about ‘A Wild and Precious Life: A Recovery Anthology’. They discuss how the anthology came about, writing addiction, and the ups and downs of alternative forms of publishing.     Show Notes: A Wild […]
May 8, 2019

The Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize returns

Rosie Arrowsmith visits Brick Lane Bookshop to meet with the organisers and judges of its recently re-installed short story prize.
May 6, 2019

Merluza by Jacob Parker

Short Fiction by Jacob Parker
May 2, 2019

MIRLive: Rosie Wilby

Elinor Jones rounds up MIRLive with Rosie Wilby
May 1, 2019

Poet Hannah Copley talks to Lauren Miller

Hannah Copley on writing, teaching and the multiplicity of a writer’s life.
April 30, 2019

A London Literary Round-Up: April

Laurane Marchive gives her London Literary Round-up for April
April 29, 2019

The Name of Things by Catherine Menon

Short Fiction by Catherine Menon
April 26, 2019

Blog: MIR16 Creative Non-Fiction

In her 3rd behind-the-scenes instalment, Elizabeth Lovatt examines creative non-fiction and how it fits with MIR16
April 24, 2019

Mari Vindis attends the London Book Fair

Mari Vindis writes on the London Book Fair
April 17, 2019

Louise Hare investigates Riff Raff writing community

Louise Hare on the Riff Raff writing community.
April 15, 2019

The Roast Suckling by Jennifer Obidike

Short Fiction by Jennifer Obidike
April 10, 2019

Book Review: Leïla Slimani’s ‘Adèle’

Angèle Eliane reviews Leïla Slimani’s novel, Adèle.
April 8, 2019

I Don’t Like Your Pillows by Angèle Eliane

Short Fiction by Angèle Eliane
April 4, 2019

Melanie Jones on the next step for MIROnline

Managing Editor Melanie Jones discusses the recent changes to MIROnline 
April 3, 2019

An interview with graphic novelist Nicola Streeten

Stella Klein interviews her childhood friend, graphic novelist Nicola Streeten, about her work and inspiration.
April 1, 2019

The Fall by Alex Williamson

Short Fiction by Alex Williamson
March 29, 2019

Blog: Reading Submissions for MIR16

In her 2nd behind-the-scenes instalment, Elizabeth Lovatt looks at how the team reads and reviews submissions