From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Short Stories

Fiction

How to Join a Colony of Sea-Folk; or, Other Ways of Knowing

Step One: You Wait – You are patient and your love, true. There is nothing you cannot withstand.

Fiction

The Weight of It All

Elizabeth is the first person to notice I’m inside her. “Tell me how to do it,” she whispers. It’s a shock. No one has spoken to me directly in ages. I’m nothing more than a whisper when I slip beneath her skin. I’m less than a breath. I should be undetectable, but somehow, I’m not. It might have been a relief—to be acknowledged, to be known—except that Elizabeth clings to me with her bony fingers and won’t let me go. I struggle to escape her, but no matter how hard I push, she’s got me trapped inside her body.

Fiction

A True and Certain Proof of the Messianic Age, With Two Lemmas

Once upon a time, in the dark ages before the singularity, there was a fox who, while walking its way along a riverbank, saw a great big bevy of catfish fleeing in a panic this way and that. Curious, the fox called out to the fishes, saying, “Good fishes of the stream, I see you fleeing in a panic this way and that. I do not wish to interrupt your suffering, but I am curious and as a fox I must follow my curiosity: Surely, there must be some great evil from which you are fleeing?”

Fiction

The Tails That Make You

Ninth – It is a few days before your suspicions are confirmed. Perhaps it is the baggy trousers your daughter has started to wear, or that she picks at her food. She will lie if you ask her outright, this you know. You throw her bedroom door open without warning, the damp towel clutched around her chest after the shower the only barrier between you. Her mouth hangs open, shrieking like brakes in protest.

Fiction

Odd Peas in a Pod

The year was 1999. Tupac’s Brenda’s Got a Baby was the anthem in Old Creek ghetto. Yes, I wasn’t born. But the first time, in a beat-up, metal-scrunched blue taxi, on her way back home, when the song came on, Mother felt my first kick coincide with the blistering bass beat. It’s a wonder how I knew that feet were made for dancing.

Fiction

The Memory of Chemistry

We hunt for the structure of the universe in its ghosts. – Dr. Michelle Francl / In the beginning / In the beginning was the trigger warning: / Prepare for insects. Prepare for words in Latin and Spanish. Prepare for science and other species of the supernatural. Prepare for losses that rewire the chemistry of the brain. Prepare for aging and the way it flays you back to the first cell. Prepare for ghosts.

Fiction

Potemora in the Triad

There are always three: the father, the unfather, and the child. That’s why Vriskiaab threw my unfather off his back after she bore my baby sister, or so Vriskiaab tells me when he stops in the shade of a dune, his massive scales warm under my calves and the tail of him stretching behind me for leagues. My baby sister is soft and crimson-tacky in the crook of my arm.

Fiction

Baba Nowruz Gives His Wife a Flower Only Once a Year

My mother tells me all the wrong stories. In our hut beneath the cypress trees, my mother opens up at story time. She steps away from her apron and her broom, her heaps of marjoram and pennyroyal, her pestle and her mortar, and her ingredients for medicinal soups. She throws off her scarf, and oils our hair with fragrant sedr oil. We keep company with her stories as the wolves outside howl their song to the moon. Just as their ancestors have and as their descendants always will.

Fiction

One Day the Cave Will Be Empty

“Tell me again about the night I was born.” Li Shing drags the comb through her daughter’s oil black hair. Impermeable, like a starless sky reflected against a dense sea. Or a fish’s opaque cloudy eye as it gasps at the bottom of a boat. Li Shing’s fist accidentally brushes the creature’s clammy gray neck, and she tries not to shudder.

Fiction

Drowned Best Friend

The clatter of rain against the window draws Lesley close. “Hey,” she hisses from across the kitchen. She calls me by my old name and I don’t even flinch. It’s morning, and I’m trying to get breakfast done before Mom comes down, because a perfectly fried egg makes her more likely to say yes to what I’m about to ask. The light was coming through the windows over the sink all yellow and golden, but the storm blew in fast, and now there’s electricity prickling in the air and everything smells damp. I left the window open, hoping she’d show, despite the water pushing through the screen into Mom’s flowerboxes above the sink.