From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Fiction

Flash Fiction

The Port of Le Havre, Night Effect, 1873

Mermaid stories and selkie stories, mother Eve stories, they always start the same way: with curious girls who want to know. So they leave their homes and lose themselves, but only for a time. Mermaid stories and selkie stories, mother Eve stories, they always end the same way: heads bowed, hearts heavy, they go back. They go home.

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.

Flash Fiction

Dos Coyotes

Three more big swallows should keep the beast inside. Lupita sat against the wall, on the kitchen floor littered with broken glass, panting from the pain, clutching the canteen in one hand, the bottle cap in the other. Her body screamed for her to stop drinking the liquid fire that would keep her human for another day.

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

By Our Own Hands

On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, David Lev descends into the library, flouting both Jewish law and university regulations. The building is closed, and he is supposed to be praying, or at least meditating thoughtfully on the wrongs he has committed over the past year, not committing new ones. This is an unfamiliar scale of sin for David, a rabbinical student whose usual Yom Kippur regrets are things like only skimmed a reading and said he’d read it or should call his mother more often. Breaking and entering, not to mention violating the most sacred day of the year, are new ones for him.

Flash Fiction

Disenchantment

A girl is born with a hole in her heart. Her parents cannot touch her for weeks; instead, they whisper in immigrant languages over the rune-inscribed plastic tube in which she sleeps: terrified, for the first time, of death. She is so tiny—fists small as a doll’s, fingers the clenched sepals of some infinitesimal flower—and as they watch the tufts of her hair, her mouth opened in a cry no one can hear, a love swells in them so fierce and pure it hardly fits their skin.

Fiction

The Sweetest Source

The sound they’ve all been waiting for finally comes at night. It’s a melting pot of noise ingredients: howls and claps, cries and stomps. Laughter and shrieks are sprinkled in like cayenne powder. It isn’t long before the sound crescendos, the pot overboiling with a furor that calls hearts and stomachs. Deron scrambles to the window, momentarily forgetting his tablet and the buggy application he’s been working on.

Flash Fiction

Like Birdsong, the Memory of Your Touch

When I was a little girl, I’d experience premonitions, like the time I sensed that Mrs. Weatherby should stay home and not take her usual walk around the neighborhood, but of course she did anyway, because who listens to a six-year-old? and got caught in the grill of a self-driving car, which were everywhere in those days, like the kudzu climbing up every tree, swallowing abandoned houses like the old Ripken place, where I’d sit for hours, where there was no sound but birdsong (so much birdsong then, and I didn’t know to treasure it) and in that decaying house the vines were invading so fast I believed I could hear them grow, which was ridiculous, since back then nothing grew that fast.

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.

Flash Fiction

So. Fucking. Metal.

Baron Samedi pounds the drums and the whole floor shakes. That’s his thing, earthquakes. I heard the Skull Suckers played Santa Monica and the Baron literally brought the whole place down during a blistering solo of “The Devil May Ride.”

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