Ticked Off by Marcus Rockstrom

The vociferously vegan Christie is forced to overhaul her life after a tick bite results in a rare disease that makes her deathly allergic to fruits and vegetables. Now living on an all-meat and supplements diet, Christie attempts to hide her condition from her all-vegan friends and family while coming to terms with her new lifestyle.

Quicksand by Seetha Dodd

The box is palm sized. You wonder if you should open it, but you resist. You tuck it under your bed. Your sleep is troubled by a nightmare you’ve had before: You are alone in a large hall and, without warning, the floor becomes quicksand. You are sinking, slowly but undeniably. You try to call for help, but the words do not come. You are not one for symbolism, so you do not try to analyse your recurring nightmare for meaning.

Our New Neighbours by Christine Hand

The streets were neatly laced with elegant, well-maintained Queenslanders. This was a sought-after, prestigious suburb, close to Brisbane city centre. It was only after our move that we realised we were one of the very few young families amongst an overabundance of octogenarians. To our right resided a couple in their mid-eighties; they were true blue Aussies, he a former national cricket hero. To our left lived a marginally younger couple. They were first generation immigrants from the heartland of Sicily, fiery tempers still unmellowed. We were witnessing the end of a long-drawn-out soap opera, action to the left and eager observers to the right. I was soon enlisted to pass on what was occurring between Carmelita and Luigi, our boisterously noisy neighbours, to Mary and George, the quietly inquisitive occupants to our right.

Succulents by Kate Maxwell

You sat on the end of my single bed and read one of my poems aloud. Held your chin up, met my eyes at every pause, caressed my words with your charisma. Obviously, we then fell into each other’s faces, grasped, and ground into my lumpy mattress, short-breathed and sublime. Afterwards, you asked me to pass your jeans, lying on the floor. They smelt funky and I wondered when you’d washed them last as I watched you wriggle into the legs.

Finding Glory by Katharine Pollock

Whenever I go back home, I’m relegated to a blow-up mattress in the dining room. I’m hidden only by the couch, which is almost always occupied. With my dad recently retired, Netflix has become the third in my parents’ marriage. I find myself glued to the TV too, mired in self-indulgent inertia. My dad, a bourgeoisie socialist, says something about how America has it coming, and I suddenly can’t with the revolutionary rhetoric. Not today, Stalin. I drive down to a nature reserve, feeling smug that I’m switching off from the TV for the first time in days.

Butterbox Boys by Lisa Habermann

It was hot in Wagga in the summer of 1981 and like in most country towns at that time, there wasn’t much to do. I was sitting in the front seat with my friend in her dad’s Holden. We nicknamed her Jack Brabham after the Aussie Torana racing great. We sat at the intersection near the courthouse and the main street, in the shade of the big trees, saving petrol, watching cars go by.