From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Short Stories

Fiction

A Gift from the Queen of Faerie to the King of Hell

The designs weren’t in the window or in any of the shop’s sample books, but I caught sight of the tattoo artist tracing stencils onto transfer paper. I’d been looking for a place to finish my sleeves, and though the tumbling spike-thorn roses weren’t what I’d pictured, I could see them winding between my birds and beasts, viny tendrils and jagged rocks, the buds tempting and lush, the thorns sharp and deadly.

Fiction

Your Ticket to Hell

Your journey to Hell begins on a ferry. You clutch your ticket and line up in the stinging rain, waiting for your chance to board. You remember something about a river in Hell, and a ferryman, but in your memory, he rowed a boat more like a canoe in exchange for gold coins. You’re lined up to board a ship, a modern ship, the kind that might take you to an island.

Fiction

How I Became MegaPunch, Or, Why I Stayed with Dylan

I wake up at midnight for the third time this week. Some villain’s robbing a jewellery store. Can’t they get more creative? Maybe try . . . a high-end winter coat store? Or a candy store? Doesn’t make much sense economically, but that’s never stopped a supervillain before. Me? I’m MegaPunch. Just one of your many overworked, panda-eyed superheroes.

Fiction

The Woman With No Face

Ankuin knew she was in a sim by the mineral taste in her mouth. The other tells were more subtle: the fractal pattern of moss on the cave wall, the cyclical rhythm of the rain on wet fronds, and the lyrical birdsong piercing through the dense forest. Most people wouldn’t notice such details, because most people didn’t have a reason to doubt their senses. But Ankuin’s senses were never fully her own.

Fiction

Arenous

It starts with the patch of skin behind her right ear, where her too-large turquoise glasses frame sits awkwardly, an unbalanced seesaw upon her nose. While finishing a requisition report, she scratches there unconsciously, and her nails catch on something hard and thin, coming back with a flimsy yellow patch the size of her nail, translucent and slightly elastic.

Fiction

Man vs. Bomb

Watch. The starter pistol sounds. The man takes off running. Five seconds later, the bomb takes off after him. The man is young and strong, for a human, but his legs are short. He’s naked and doesn’t have much hair, even on top of his head. His genitals swing frantically, like a smaller, more terrified version of himself, as he runs from the bomb.

Fiction

Flight

Tonight, Jekwu and Izu are perched on Chapel’s fence. They love this fence. It is the only fence in Selemku that is still coated with fresh algae-spirogyra lichen, warm under their feet, like a rug. Here, the glint of the full moon on Chapel’s stained-glass windows crisscrosses their grey feathers, the same way rainbow beams stretch out across the sky in the mornings. The air from this height is cold and dry. It wriggles its way under their skin, sending spasms down their spine. From time to time, the halogen-bulb atop the belfry comes on and then goes off and then on again. A never-ending cycle.

Fiction

Kisser

Bragg sleeps alone. Thirty-four. This morning, he wakes up with one less tooth in his mouth, a central incisor. What his dentist, later and while looking at a dental chart, calls the patient’s Number Nine. Bragg’s Number Nine, root to crown, a crucial corn-on-the-cob tooth, is not in his mouth. It’s on the pillow beside him. Bragg rubs sleep from his eyes. That first glimpse of the tooth sends his tongue darting to the front of his mouth. An absence. A canyon.

Fiction

10 Steps to a Whole New You

(1) Be unaware that the wolf was presenting itself to you in sheep’s clothing. It began, as most things do, simply enough. In a simple neighbourhood, on the edge of a town. Too urban to be rural, too rural to be urban. Women grew old. Some women aged with their children, grandchildren, family around them. Some grew old alone, isolated, bitter. Others might grow old and die sick, in pain. Then there was you.

Fiction

Things to Bring, Things to Burn, Things Best Left Behind

Oz is holding a knife to his wrist when they knock on the door. For a moment he hesitates, weighing his options. His eyes dart between the door and the knife—eeny, meeny, meiny, mo—and land on the door. “Might as well,” he mutters, and gets to his feet. The dull sound of the knife as he sets it aside on the kitchen table seems to fill the room. It’s a terrible thing, he muses, how loud a house is when there’s no one else in it.