From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

PRIMITIVES

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Fiction

Flash Fiction

Introduction to Couture 101

Before we delve into the difficulties of designing doublets for dragons or flame-resistant undergarments for would-be dragonslayers, let us consider six instructive examples. Firstly, Cinderella. Set aside the matter of her ballgown. Any fairy godmother can conjure a fabulous confection of chiffon or taffeta. Focus instead on the shoes.

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.

Flash Fiction

A Star is Born

It begins with an explosion: his mother. He isn’t born yet, but he’ll be made from the bits and pieces she leaves behind. Star-stuff. She’s also left some heavier elements, extra dusts and gasses he’ll have to figure out what to do with later.

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.

Flash Fiction

The Life and Death of Atomic Tangerine

Atomic Tangerine skates like a dream / nobody beats Atomic Tangerine. —Federova, Anya. Preserved Graffiti of the Water Riots. 2055, mixed media. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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.

Flash Fiction

The Magical Sow

When I was small, my mother told us a story about a talking fish who granted wishes. I got the family sow, who doesn’t. “Something’s wrong with Little Sister,” I whispered to the sow. Her ears perked. “Tell me.”

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.

Flash Fiction

rat/god

The rat was a god, but you had no idea. You found it snapped in half on the trap you set, dead.

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.